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Old 27th January 2005, 06:39 PM   #1
RobHenry
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The EVP Hoax

Here's my original article which became quite a "hit" on Usenet. Seems some people don't like having their silly notions shattered into a million pieces:

~~
The latest trend in paranormal quackery has cropped up from Universal Pictures new film "White Noise" which claims to be based on a "real phenomena" where voices from the 'dead' are picked up on tape-recording and radio equipment. As always there are plenty of gullible people who want to desperately believe in something this absurd. Now, people all over the country are turning on their recorders hoping to make contact with their deceased and nonexistent grandfathers by listening carefully to the static transmissions.

I've thoroughly investigated this entire so-called phenomena. I find it important for skeptics to take immediate action when the public is getting deceived with actual malicious intent. Allow me to explain further as we examine how this hoax is perpetuated.

The roots of EVP date back to a German paranormalist by the name of Konstantin Raudive. He kicked off the obscure theory with his 1971 book titled Breakthrough. Whether he believed in his work or was merely seeking fame or publicity is up in the air. But many are inclined with the notion of his research being little more then a well-orchestrated publicity stunt.

Since the 70's there's been a variety of different organizations taking the throne of EVP research. On the White Noise trailer you'll be directed to the website of the organization AAEVP.com which seems to be the premiere perpetuator of this hoax. Some of the so-called voices in the movie White Noise were even donated by this group: and I presume for a hefty price. It's a rather easy scheme when all you have to do is talk into a tape recorder in a spooky voice and you'll get a paycheck from Universal Pictures.

According to AAEVP founder Sara Estep there are three classifications of EVP noise (http://www.whitenoisemovie.com/mirro...ples_voice.htm). A class "C" is generally unheard by people who are not trying to distinguish a voice in the static, a class "B' is difficult to hear, requires a headphone and not everybody will agree what it says. A class "A" is a distinct audible message ("I love you") and everybody can agree what it means.

It's quite simple actually. Anybody can detect Class C's by turning on their tape recorders and searching for patterns in the static. The mind naturally seeks out patterns, and it explains why nobody will agree on what a Class C is saying. (They usually sound like "mzghyrtkylts")

Class B's are easily attributed to stray radio signals. Instead of hearing something to the effect of "mzghyrtkylts" it may sound more like "mznewsghyrwartkyltsIraqgytz" -- If you're taught to believe that you're listening to the voices of dead relatives then it's easy to fall for this if you don't know any better.

However, it is Class A's which keep public attention on EVP. These vary between audible radio signals and actual two way "communication" -- such as voices in a clear pitch identifying themselves as dead friends, relatives, children, pets, dead goldfish etc. The interesting thing to note here is that you will only find these sort of EVP's being sponsored by large publicity seeking websites and private groups. You'd think if the dead could communicate like this you'd be hearing their voices over just about every transmission everywhere, but instead it's only the organizations frequently reported by the media which pick up such amazing results, a bit odd no?

It is my conclusion that almost every Class-A EVP is created by the simple act of turning on a tape recorder, talking into it, and publicizing your results. There are a number of malicious hoaxers who need to be seriously investigated.

http://www.aaevp.com/ has a number of these Class A's. Not only are they deceiving people they are profiteering from it.
http://www.evpvoices.com/ is another site to look at. One "voice" even calls the webmaster by her name.
http://www.worlditc.com/ run by Mark Macy is a site of pure quackery.
bigcircle.aaevp.com is another transparent hoax.
And countless more like these...

Listen to the recordings on these sites, petition the webmasters, post on the forums. Anything to expose them as fraud.

Skeptics must rise up and end this nonsense before belief in life after death becomes the new 21st century mythology. It is preposterous and borderline schizophrenic to believe such notions, not to mention it's damaging to our society.

If you wish to host this article on your website or newsletter, please first contact Robert Henry (Robhenry77@aol.com) Cheers,

(NEW 1-27-05 Additional Notes)

~ Great article can be found at http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/evp.html

~ I think CB radio attributes many of those "Class A's" and those persons doing the recording unwittingly believe it to be the voices of ghosts. It's when you hear two way "dialogue" we can be assured there is fraud. Look at www.evpvoices.com and check out the downloads. Look at the "Melissa" tape. Talk about the fakest thing I've ever seen! Perhaps we can shut these sort of sites down by pressuring the sponsors and hosts?

~Rob Henry
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Old 27th January 2005, 07:01 PM   #2
Hawk one
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Would you be so kind as to post a few lines of the more interesting comments you've received, Rob? I could really go for some serious woowoo anger tonight.
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Old 27th January 2005, 07:08 PM   #3
RobHenry
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Sure, "Andrea" from www.vortexofparanormal.com a deluded EVP whack didn't like my article very much so she sent this letter:

"I think you have no beleif system so it's easy for you to debunk: Glad it makes you feel better your an idiot/ denial/ superegoistic persona. Gee fo all you stand for your pathetic. I am glad I am not you. Imagine you went to school how may umpteem years ago. Never forget the minute we stop learning and think we know all we stop being. You sir think you know it all. Have you ever tried this? Would you know what recorder or software to buy? Would you know how to interface it to a computer? This is not about us making voices. This is us al all about actually getting the voices to the after life. A very complx comprehinsive idea "

A very complx comprehinsive idea indeed! So how about we head over to www.vortexofparanormal and let HER know what we think of her site?

Rob
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Old 27th January 2005, 07:11 PM   #4
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Reposting link, for some reason the other one didn't budge:

http://www.vortexofparanormal.com/
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Old 28th January 2005, 03:16 AM   #5
plindboe
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I think the vast amount of evps are presented by people who really honestly believe that it's ghosts communicating with them. I have never heard an evp so good that I considered it could be fraud, but I haven't tried the sites you mentioned. I think most class A's are radio signals, while most class C are pareidolia. Used tapes can probably account for some too.

Most evps takes some tweaking too by audio programs, which is why they often end up sounding a little unhuman, and thereby scary.

PS.Welcome aboard RobHenry.
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Old 28th January 2005, 08:21 AM   #6
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The phenomena of EVP has been used by spritualists in the same way as the ouija board effect i.e. saying it is the dead talking. This is unfortunate as this then produces fruitless claims and counter claims from the skeptics and protagonists as to the source. The science somehow gets lost in it all, which is unfortunate.

My understanding of EVP is that you don't necessarily have to use a microphone to demonstrate the effect. Apparently, the old "cats whisker" used on ancient crystal sets is just as good, if not better, to produce the effect. This indicates that the "voices" are derived most probably from a remote electromagnetic signal generated from an unknown source. It should not be beyond the wit and imagination of a scientist to design an experiment that will conclusively prove that the signals are from existing and recognisable external transmitters, using a Faraday cage. From memory, I have a vague feeling this has already been tried. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?
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Old 28th January 2005, 12:24 PM   #7
CurtC
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The whole EVP thing seems just like an audio version of what icantakepicturesofdemons used to post here about. Remember him? He was completely, obviously insane, thinking that if he took digital video in his dark basement, then processed the video on his computer by adjusting the contrast, that he could see patterns of faces in the noise. And he thought the faces were those of demons for some reason, instead of ghosts.
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Old 28th January 2005, 01:06 PM   #8
RobHenry
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But Plindboe, I can't necessarily deny that some of the EVP's featured on those sites are unmistakable. Voices calling the participants by their names in a regular tone of voice, which is why I am inclined to believe hoax, I am not sure if there is a sufficient enough alternative explanation. And as a man who follows the principle of occams razor, it basically leaves only leaves on notion: Hoax. And this only applies to maybe 5% of the "voices". These webmasters probably create those particular voices for the purposes of people believing the other ones are real, too.
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