The Ghost Orchid
“The Ghost Orchid” CD, recently released on British record label Ash International [R.I.P.], was compiled, edited and produced by Justin Chatburn and Ash International’s Mike Harding. They sourced a massive tape archive, property of an organisation called the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative (PARC), to bring the curious up to speed on this weird and vexing phenomenon. Sam Ayres and Justin Chatburn established PARC in Autumn1998. As a co-operative effort, PARC consists of many members who willingly contributed to the project or concept under development. The results were then archived, documented, and finally published. I welcome the release of this definitive CD. Ringmaster Leif Elggren unravels the threads as we proceed through the tracks, which, by the way, includes the material from the 7” record released with Raudive’s 1971 book Breakthrough. The CD is most certainly a valuable addition to this field of research, and, dare I say it without appearing to be flippant, a source of some of the most beautiful textural sounds I have heard for a long time.
The hero of “The Ghost Orchid” is Raymond Cass, who devoted a great deal of his time to researching this phenomena. He first became interested in EVP when a male voice suddenly called his name over a primitive radio, which was switched off at the time. An investigation of his genealogy revealed that he had psychic ancestors, one of whom was persecuted for her paranormal abilities in 1773, and another who could levitate a table with three men sitting on top it. The publication of Konstantin Raudive’s book Breakthrough in 1971 was the impetus that propelled Cass to the forefront of British EVP research, and he was soon producing recordings of voices of such amazing clarity and amplitude that he attracted worldwide attention. His previous studies in acoustics and his practical experience as a hearing-aid technologist were probably invaluable tools in his research. Cass was one of the first to record examples of the disputed polyglot voices, which construct phrases and sentences from several different languages, examples and interpretations of which occur on this CD. However, in 1997 at the age of 76, his abilities seemed to falter, and it remains to be seen whether he will return successfully to the field. Cass seems to favor the ET scenario, suggesting that fragmented communications might be being directed at selected individuals over a long period of time, possibly from extraterrestrial monitoring and relay stations positioned somewhere in our solar system. The fragmented nature of these messages keeps the recipients finely tuned and simultaneously ensures that they conduct their own continuous research in order to corroborate their observations and conclusions. He also suggests, however, that “the voices may be a mutant development of the subconscious mind, or a transient by-product of the electromagnetic pollution which now rings our planet.”
Joe Banks, who is no stranger to peculiar audio phenomena—as he spends much of his time recording natural radio waves from stars and galaxies—contributed one of the several excellent expositions included in the CD booklet. He makes the very valid point that there is a natural human inclination to “project” meaning onto otherwise innocent phenomena, in an attempt to either simplify them even further, or to make them appear (more) mysterious than they may already (appear to) be. The human imagination will try to impose meaning on configurations of sounds, in this case, and of course each individual will usually use his or her own language as the basis for interpretation. If no sense can be made of what we perceive, then some form of auxiliary hypothesis will be invented and/or introduced to support the conclusion. The wilder the territory that unfolds before us, the stranger the language that we use to attempt to describe it becomes. Even conventional science has been reduced to poetic terminology to articulate the infinitesimal and abstract worlds within worlds that it seems to continually unearth. One of the problems pointed out by Joe Banks with regard to this particular aspect of the phenomenon of EVP is that ‘we are asked to accept that the entities have the intellect to acquire a grasp of many languages, while having lost the ability to speak grammatically or confine themselves to proper words’. Additionally, he observes that it is conventional when compiling EVP demonstration tapes to reinforce the process of projection by first having the narrator announce the meanings before playing the examples. The human mind has to fill in the blanks, or else it would go completely bonkers and the mysterious voices which we might hear through our radios or telephones will start to resound inside our own craniums. To be frank, there are simply not enough lampposts around for us all to have one to talk to. It remains to be said that the phenomenon has been considered serious enough to have not only been assessed by various paranormal groups, but also to have come under scrutiny by Defense Ministries on both sides of the Atlantic and no doubt by their counterparts in the (former) East bloc too.
Personally, I cannot make up my own mind about the phenomenon of EVP, but I know that this audio document will be a thing to treasure and listen to from time to time, just to tantalize and encourage my human desire for the all-too sweet, and eternally uncharted terra incognita which may just possibly be waiting beyond the gate.
Anyone with an interest in the study of survival of the human consciousness beyond physical death stands to learn and grow from investigating and/or conducting his or her own EVP research. There are many ways to approach the possible manifestations of post-mortem survival; perhaps the best attitude to take is to consider it a mix of both science and spirituality. Most researchers conduct recording sessions in their homes, on a regular basis. Frequency and consistency seem to aid in obtaining results. What do you need to tape?
1: A tape recorder, obviously. Early recordings were made on reel- to-reel machines, then cassette decks. Anything with a built-in microphone or speakers has proven unreliable as they increase distortion and often pick up too much local motor noise, if recordings are made at high levels. The introduction of digital technology has greatly improved recording quality and is a still more preferable medium.
2: A microphone. Condenser mikes aren’t up to scratch. You will end up hearing yourself talking and there will more than likely be a wall of hiss in the background. Good quality microphones can be bought at most hi-fi stores.
3: Decent headphones always come in handy. They can help to pinpoint sounds more specifically if used simultaneously with (loud) speaker playback 4: Good loudspeakers that can tolerate high volume levels, a stereo amplifier to drive them, and if possible, a graphic equalizer, so that you can filter out unnecessary frequencies.
5: A sound source. Try tuning to a frequency between stations on an AM/FM radio. You’ll probably achieve better results on the AM waveband, as FM contains so much bleeding between the stations on an already overloaded dial. Seek out areas where white noise is the dominant sound. This same procedure can be applied to short-wave radio, where there are less frequencies. If utilizing the AM/FM or short wave bands doesn’t appeal to you, try the air bands. These are frequencies air pilots and control towers use to communicate. The only earthly voices you are going hear will be clearly evident as air traffic communications, so if someone says, “This is your dead uncle,” you can be sure it isn’t a British Airways pilot. You might also try playing a record or making a tape of running water. Apparently both of these methods also work well.
7: A commitment to taping.
What should you expect?
Do not expect to hear anything the first time you tape, or perhaps the ten times after that. It seems to take about two weeks before most tapers get anything, or before their ear has been trained to distinguish a spirit voice, which might sound like a whisper, be low and tonal in pitch, be faster or slower than normal speech, or oddly accented. If you are successful, you will undoubtedly hear voices uttering strange, seemingly unintelligible words and phrases. You may hear calls for help from distressed souls. You may never receive messages from the people (in spirit) you love best, or if you do, you may hear from them only once or infrequently Web Resources:
Metascience Foundation Inc.
Electronic Voice Phenomena EVP Alphaland
International Ghost Hunters Society—Electronic
Rev. Jarvis’ Electronic Voice Phenomena Page The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena Robin’s EVP Examples & Transcommunication Page All About EVP - Fortean Times 104 EVP Spirit Recording More information and reviews of “The Ghost Orchid” CD can be found at the Parapsychic Acoustic Research Cooperative.
Copyright 1999 Mark Poysden
in “The Anomalist”
“The Ghost Orchid CD is available from Amazon . These are voice contacts received on the 29th April 2005 DRV experimental session. You will hear Marcello Bacci asking spirits to come through and talk.
What do I think of EVP? There is merit in the case for it, though, like trance mediumship, controling for fraud is an essential, as is avoiding the tendency to create “ordo ab chao”—that is, to hear coherent sounds when only noise is present.
That said, anyone can experiment with this, and decide for themselves. Some of the best cases of EVP are carefully controlled for any fraud, and are clearly not random sounds. Are they “voices of the dead” or paranormal voices of any sort? I am inclined to think that some are. Experiment and decide for yourself. Spooky stuff."it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication. " Thomas Edison
For the uninitiated, you may think that "Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) refers to "White Noise" - the Michael Keaton film about EVP, or, worse, White Noise, the utterly awful band Wyrdsli & Tom attempted to get going in Atlanta in the '80s (egahh, I still have their demo tape - I was managing Speed Metal bands then). An absolutely essential summary of the history of the purported spirit communications via radios and other electronic media is given by Professor David Fontana in the misnamed but otherwise excellent"Is There An Afterlife?" (O Books, 2005) in Chapter 14 "Instrumental Transcommunication".<img src="http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y126/tausirhasirim/whitenoise.jpg" alt="Image hosting by Photobucket">( Collapse )
If you have DSL or broadband, you can judge some of the results yourself at
http://www.transcommunication.org/evp_itc_000001.html. These are voice contacts received on the 29th April 2005 DRV experimental session.
You will hear Marcello Bacci asking spirits to come through and talk.
What do I think of EVP? There is merit in the case for it, though, like trance mediumship, controling for fraud is an essential, as is avoiding the tendency to create "ordo ab chao"--that is, to hear coherent sounds when only noise is present.
That said, *anyone* can experiment with this, and decide for themselves. Some of the best cases of EVP *are* carefully controlled for any fraud, and are clearly not random sounds. Are they "voices of the dead" or paranormal voices of any sort? I am inclined to think that some are. Experiment and decide for yourself. Spooky stuff.