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Electronic Voice Phenomena and Evocation

This series of experiments with electronic voice phenomena (evp), arose out of the flurry of interest created by the movie White Noise with Michael Keaton and a number of articles in Fortean Times on the subject. For those who don't know the movie is about a man whose wife dies and he establishes contact with her via electronic recording devices.

In fact this is a practice that started not long after the invention of magnetic tape recording. People who had to listen for long periods to tape recordings, particularly with the volume turned up high and thus getting the 'white noise' effect, reported hearing what sounded like human voices.

In the past decade the interest has soared, fuelled partially by the Internet. Those interested in making recordings for themselves and who wish to listen to sound files of evp recordings can do no better than trying the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena website - www.aaevp.com This site gives recommendations on types of equipment to use including digital recordings and tips for beginners.

All references, as far as I could find them, seemed to be directed to recording the voices of the dead. In fact it seems that evp is the new Ouija. Many experimenters made recordings, if not at home then in cemeteries or reputedly haunted houses etc. I was curious to find out if this method of recording could also be used to make contact with other types of spirits such as those used in sorcery.

Even before I embarked on this series of trials I did wonder if perhaps my interest was not in part sparked by the desire to 'prove' the existence of spirits in a direct and physical way. Although I have carried out many evocations and obtained results there remains a desire to see the spirits manifest physically as if only then will they be judged as 'real'. It is interesting that the West generally is regarded by itself as 'materialistic' and even in matters of the spirit we don't quite trust them if a physical manifestation is absent. Isn't this why the conjuration of spirits to visible appearance exerts such a strong fascination? Of course, having carried out a number of these evocations the sorcerer realises the difference between 'visible' and 'physical' and perhaps a residual disappointment remains.

I decided to carry out the experiments in three parts. The first would be to try to record evps by making a general invitation to any passing spirit to leave a recording. This is the instruction given to try to record the voices of the dead. Because of the difficulty of listening so closely to long recordings the suggestion is that the time be made short so I opted for ten minute sessions with a general invite at the start and occasional repetitions during the period.

The second part was to banish then draw an invoking pentagram for an earth elemental and call one forth by vibrating the name of one for a period of time. Once this had been done to ask a series of questions leaving thirty seconds for a response.

The third part was to perform a full evocation placing the tape recorder in the triangle of art for the duration of the rite.

All the literature I could find on the subject of evps said that it was necessary to make many recordings at first until one had 'developed an ear' to hear the voices. When I read this alarm bells started ringing as I realised that undoubtedly a certain amount of projection would go on as the brain tries to make sense of random signals made by the device. This is the same as seeing images or figures in a dark room the brain fills in the gaps in perception and residual emotional states can strongly influence perception in this way. Despite this I thought that it would be interesting because my own experience has shown that such projections can themselves attract 'odd' coincidences and would therefore be worth investigating.

The results were as follows:

For the first part I made seventeen recordings all had a large amount of static or white noise as background. A number of tapping sounds and heartbeats could be heard on some of them. After a while the white noise began to sound like distant voices and sometimes like people shouting a long way away. It wasn't until the twelfth recording that I heard a female voice whisper "Leave it there". From what I had read it seems that having 'developed an ear' then voices come thick and fast. I did not find that but the following few recordings did produce audible voices or odd noises. On recording thirteen I heard syllables: "Hon-ey ma-ka p-p-p-p" and then a series of sounds like a metal rod striking a pipe (all recordings were inside a room at night with door and curtains closed).

Next I moved onto the calling of elementals spirits. Only one produced another voice recording. Having been vibrating the name of a spirit on playback I heard a deep voice whisper "We're it".

Finally I carried out two full evocations (circle and triangle of art) with the device in the triangle. The first was for an elemental spirit and produced no recorded result. However I saw him in the mind's eye well enough although he was not particularly communicative even there. The second evocation was o a goetic spirit - Bune. I called him for a request unconnected with the evp experiment but had the tape running in the triangle anyway. Although no voice was heard there were some unusual results. Upon playback I notice that once the conjuration to the spirit had been recited the level of static suddenly increased almost drowning out my voice for the next part of the ritual. The noise level dropped just before the licence to depart. As soon as I had finished the licence there was a sound of a train whistle and then a couple of thuds like heavy footfalls.

So what conclusions could I draw from all this? Is it really anything more than parlour tricks for the curious?

I have to admit that I'm not going to be channelling a new Book of the Law by this method. To be honest although it is exciting to hear evps I cannot say that it will be playing a major part in future evocations. What about the little voice in my head, the Doubting Thomas who wants his physical proof? Well of course he will continue to 'explain away' every event no matter what paranormal phenomena occur. There is a part in the book Jurgen by Joseph Cabell where the protagonist is show n the secret at the centre of the universe by the god Pan. He responds by quite simply refusing to believe it. Pan replies, in an aside, that the gods are powerless against such foolishness. Perhaps in the end I will just have to learn to live with that voice of unbelief and stop blaming the spirits for their lack of direct physical manifestation.

One final thing, when I was considering what to write up for this article I happened to look in my dream journal. Three nights before I wrote my intention to undertake these experiments in my magical diary I dreamt that I was part of a team investigating a haunted house. I have no conscious recollection of that dream having any influence on my decision to try out evp recordings.

Ah! Don't you just love it when those little synchronicities happen?