Analysis of Electronic Voice Phenomena
I've just been doing research on EVP - Electronic voice phenomena. People have noticed out you can record noise from the air and hear voices. This is true, it works. The question is, where do these come from?
The folks at AAEVP come across as trying to sound like unbiased researchers but who have some real convictions that they're talking to a spirit world. They're excited because a movie is coming out, White Noise, that involves some of this EVP stuff.
I'm spiritual and would like there to be more to the universe than just a big machine. On the other hand, I'm a skeptic because people come up with wacky ideas and are easily convinced of dumb shit. So I've been looking into this stuff to form my opinion.
I'm listening to some clips that someone has interpreted. I'll list the expert's reading, followed by my alternatives:
- "Think you better six"
- "Think you're better than six"
- "Think you're better than sex"
- "Think you'd better take this"
- Backwards: Sounds like backward speaking.
- "Out of the fire".
- "our devices"
- "how divine"
- "how to buy"
- Backwards: "Howard Wright."
There's some agreement on an --ow--ta--ai-- pattern that we're both hearing, but coming up with some real variation on what these could actually be.
- "Shoot hurt"
- Actually, it sounds like a noise, not a voice to me. Distinctly not white noise, true. Some sort of machine, or like an old rusty water pump. Maybe a sound effect?
- "That shocking ... the way down"
- "It's starting to do thinking..."
- "It's static. What'cha thinking?"
I pick out these next few bits, but am unable to figure out how they match to the authority's transcript.
- "Hey" or "Eight"
- "Derelicts", though could be "Daryl's" or "barrels".
- "She Climbs In, Princess you talk to her-homework for you"
- "Second cousin" ... "Sick of vibes"
- "Sick gun" ... "
- "Sick of..." ... "Say goodbye"
- "She comes..."
- "think this the end"
- "Cheek bone"; "Sad".
- "Chipotle"; "Said".
- "chick pole"; "Fed".
- "Chip pole"; ...
- "...the news"
- "...Zest...", or it could be a fragment of the word "possessed."
- "I'm Christa" or "This is Christa"
- "The rocket's up all day."
- "Rock is up all day."
- "Rocket's up all way."
- "Rock a couple twig."
- "Rocket couples meet"
- "Rocket couples week"
- "Dave, complete me static"
- "Dave, compete with ..."
- "Rock and roll..."
- "Not all all"
Okay, so I'm convinced: this is bullshit. Yes, there is something being picked up via some receiving process, and in some of the cases it probably is voice. But if you listen in the background of the voiceover (not the host) of the skit "Fast Food's Biggest Mistakes"1 , you'll hear music. That wasn't noise in the room when I recorded the segment, but it was there when I listened with my headphones on. If I'd listened long enough, I could have figured out which radio station my crappy $15 microphone was picking up.
We're surrounded by electromagnetic noise. It's everywhere, and every piece of electronic stuff picks it up. Usually, it's small enough we can't hear it. But, if you take a enough samples and you don't have larger signals to hide the occasional bit of noise you collect, you're going to get some snippets of stuff (and if you've got a really crappy microphone and a big ass set of transmitters nearby, you'll get more than an occasional one!). These EVP folks are picking these up, recording them, amplifying them, then using their imagination and subconscious to create stories about the word snippets they collect. I'm sad to say, because it would be neat, but it's crap.
In fact, it's likely there's an example of subconscious
influence on my translations: If you read back, one of my
It's static. What'cha thinking? I was
concentrating on listening and transcribing what I thought I heard
and didn't write that intentionally. Nevertheless, given the
context, it's very plausible that a thought in the back of my
head— that this was a lot of noise to try to make stuff out
of— made it's way into what I was hearing. Before I
consciously gave up trying to extract data from the recording,
hearing that was my intuition telling me that was I was listening
to was just noise.