The BBC on those who believe that radio and tape recording devices offer a window to the realm of the dead:
In 1969, a mysterious middle-aged Latvian doctor turned up in Gerrards Cross with a large collection of tape recordings…he had established contact with Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and many other deceased 20th Century statesmen. The recordings – 72,000 of them – contained their voices. His name was Konstantin Raudive, and he called his technique Electronic Voice Projection, or EVP.
It wasn’t real-time interactive communication. You asked your questions, and then left the tape running, recording silence. But listening back, through the mush and static, you could sometimes just about make out people speaking.
Nowadays, EVP is a standard tool of ghost hunters worldwide. There are hundreds of internet EVP forums and many serious and well-educated people who see it as proof positive that the dead are trying to talk to us.
For example, Anabela Cardoso, a former Portuguese career diplomat who lives in Spain and publishes the Instrumental Transcommunication Journal. She has a well-equipped recording studio and claims to have replicated the Gerrards Cross findings.
The simplest explanation is that EVP voices are just stray radio transmissions. Usually they are so faint and masked by static interference that it’s hard to make out what they are saying, and the EVP investigator has to “interpret” them for you. That might seem like a weakness but that’s also their power. A dead person speaking in studio quality wouldn’t be nearly so convincing as a voice you must strain to hear.
Once you start experimenting with EVP, it’s hard to stop. Today EVP researcher Brian Jones in Seattle records the noises made by seagulls, dogs, cats, and even squeaky doors and crunching pebbles. They all contain voices. One dog says, “Where’s Sheila?” referring to its owner. Another complains of its owners, “they always sail away”.
He would like to use his techniques to help solve crime, or to pick up the thoughts of stroke victims who have lost the power of speech. So far, he has been shunned by private detectives and doctors. But the EVP community really want to believe they are onto something.