Electronic Voice Phenomena, or “EVP” for short, is a sound that is unintentionally captured on tape. For those who believe in the supernatural, these sounds are interpreted as voices of ghosts who are trying to contact the living. Here are 10 particularly intriguing stories of people who claim to have spoken with the dead…
10. Friedrich Jurgenson
In 1959, a man named Friedrich Jurgenson was a regular “ornithologist,” or someone who is interested in bird watching. He wanted to record the sounds of nocturnal birds to include in a documentary. He set up his tape recorder, and allowed it to tape the birds’ songs. When he went back to listen to the tape, he heard a strange, distorted noise. He became convinced the noise was the voice of his dead mother speaking to him, calling him by his childhood nickname, “Freidel.” This shocked him, and inspired him to continue the studies. He began recording thousands of different sounds, and the same strange sounds came up again and again. They were called “Electronic Voice Phenomena.”
Jurgenson published a book on his discoveries, called My Friend on the Other Side, and it inspired many other amateur ghost hunters to see if they, too, can get in contact with the dead.
9. Konstantin Raudive
In 1969, Dr. Konstantin Raudive claimed that he had recorded the voices of famous dead political leaders like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. He recorded over 72,000 tapes in rooms that were totally silent, and still managed to pick up the sounds of “ghosts.” In the background of his recordings, you could hear the soft static whispers of what sounded like voices.
Raudive wanted the world to know about EVP so badly that he traveled to England from his home land of Latvia in order to publish his book, which was called Breakthrough. If you’re interested to see the extent of his research, the entire book is available to read online.
When Dr. Raudive died, his publisher took possession of the tapes. They are all recorded in a variety of different languages. In one tape, Dr. Raudive can be heard speaking in Russian very loudly, summoning a ghost in a séance. The majority of what ghosts have apparently said in these recordings don’t actually hold any meaning, like in the apparent recording of Adolf Hitler, the “ghost” says, “You are a girl here. Or else, you’re thrown out.”
Raudive was so convinced that he found scientific evidence of the existence of the afterlife that he even brought his findings to the Vatican in Rome. Pope Pius XII was excited by this research, claiming that, “This experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a building of scientific studies which will strengthen people’s faith, thereafter.”
8. Sarah Estep
In the 1980s, Sarah Estep pored over the work of Raudive and Jurgenson. She became convinced that EVP was real. Sarah was so enthusiastic about these experiments that she founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomenon. By the year 2000, she had over 25,000 recordings. She claims to have spoken with ghosts, supernatural beings from another dimension, and aliens. The most important message she ever claimed to receive was, “Your soul is not defeated.”
One of the more controversial discoveries Sarah made was apparently the voice of the late Dr. Konstantin Raudive, who she claims called her on the telephone. His voice is low and gravely, but it is clearly audible. Oddly enough, he felt it was necessary to repeat over and over, “This is Konstantin Raudive speaking.” The major difference in Estep’s work, compared to Raudive and Jurgenson, is that her recordings contain full sentences and conversations, rather than small blips of noise captured on tape.
7. Marcello Bacci
A man named Marcello Bacci owned a small shop in Grosetto, Italy selling household appliances. He heard of Friedrich Juergenson’s breakthroughs in communicating with the afterlife through EVP, and visited him so they could begin working together. One day, they began to pick up on spiritual messages over the radio. He would even ask the voices questions, and they responded.
Once he retired from running his appliance shop, Bacci decided to devote his life to EVP research. Together with other researchers, he started the Psychophonic Center of Grosetto, where he invited people over to his house so that they could witness the communication with ghosts. He truly believes that if people were convinced in the afterlife, they would be kinder to one another while they are still on Earth.
Bacci has been included in multiple documentary films on EVP, including one that is entirely on him called Marcello Bacci – Direct Radio Voice. In the film, one woman claims that she truly believes Bacci has a gift. She said that she recognized the voice of her dead son, even down to the specific way he pronounced his syllables. Speaking to her son in this way has helped her cope with her grief.
6. The Big Circle
The death of a child is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a person. For many parents, it helps them go through the grieving process if they can believe that their child’s soul still exists in Heaven. A group of parents came together to form an organization called The Big Circle, where they all participate in EVP seance sessions. Instead of saying their children passed away, they say that their souls have merely “transitioned” to the afterlife. This group still holds meetings face-to-face, and they also have an online forum as a support group for grieving parents.
Some of the recordings, like those apparently from the ghost of a teenage girl named Cathy, truly do sound like the voice of a young woman. However, many of the messages are gurgled, and do not sound like a human voice at all. If these were actually words, the voices can only be described as deep and demonic. Some of these “voices” are quite frightening, and couldn’t possibly sound anything like their child’s voice. However, many of these mothers excitedly continue to have “conversations” through tape recorders, listening for anything that sounds even remotely close to words. Sadly, the communication they claim to have is rarely in complete sentences, and they sometimes do not make any sense at all.
5. George Meek and Bill O’Neil
Two men – George Meek and Bill O’Neil – claimed to communicate with the dead through a machine they called the “Spiricom.” Bill O’Neil would speak to the “ghost” of a man he claimed to be Dr. George Jeffries Mueller. The voice that replied sounded very robotic. It responded perfectly to everything that Bill had to say. If you listen to the video footage, included above, you will notice that Bill’s voice echoed in a similar robotic tone as he spoke. This suggests that the source of the second voice was in the room, too. The two men shared their schematics with other researchers. Unlike other types of EVP using tape recorders, no one was able to replicate the experiment with the same results, even when they built their own “Spiricom.”
Even as early as the 1980s, many EVP researchers believed that the Spiricom was a hoax. It may not be a coincidence that both Bill’s partner and this apparent ghost were both named “George,” so there would never be a slip-up in names over the course of 20 hours of recording. If you wanted to attempt to talk to your relatives just like O’Neil did, they were offering to sell a Spiricom for $10,000. With inflation, that would make it more like $26,000 today.
4. Monique Simonet
In 1979, a French woman named Monique Simonet founded the French EVP Association Infinitude. The group grew to 1,700 people who were all trying to get in contact with dead loved ones. Part of her success in recruiting so many people to her group was that she spent a great deal of time teaching others how they could capture Electronic Voice Phenomena in the comfort of their own homes with a simple tape recorder.
Voices of “ghosts” on every recording will change languages to match whatever the medium is speaking. Part of this theory is that in the afterlife, ghosts apparently continue to learn and grow as spiritual beings, and part of that is becoming multi-lingual. Simonet could still speak to ghosts in French, even if the person she was trying to contact never spoke French a day in their lives. Many people would see this language switching as confirmation that anything that is “heard” through EVP is, indeed, the equivalent of an auditory Rorschach test, or some sort of local radio interference.
3. Jali Wright and Monet Lamertina
Nearly every modern-day ghost hunting TV show nowadays includes forms of EVP. One of the ways to guarantee scaring the pants out of a non-believer is to take a tape recorder into an abandoned house or building, “summon” the ghosts, and play back the noises picked up on the recording. The vast majority of people do not know that this phenomenon happens almost 100% of the time, and yet it’s used to convince people that a house is haunted.
In Columbia, Maryland, two professional psychics named Jali Wright and Monet Lambertina claim to pick up ghostly voices on a regular basis. In a 2016 interview with the Baltimore Sun, they claimed to mentally communicate with a ghost first, and wait for a “sign” to begin recording. They record their conversations, and listen back for anything that sounds like a third voice. They suggest words that they claim to hear, and ask the client to listen for those same words in the recording.
When the interviewer asked Wright how she feels about skeptics, she responded by essentially saying that her astounding psychic powers might not make sense to mere mortals: “Being a medium myself, there is no way to fully describe how I hear things and how I convey things in a reading.” Wright and Lamertina are paid by visitors who are looking to communicate with their dead loved ones through EVP. Or, if you want to phrase it a little differently, they take advantage of grieving people for profit. Classy!
2. Steve Huff
A man named Steve Huff claims to talk to the dead through a custom-made radio that he calls the “Wonder Box.” He uploads his apparent interactions with ghosts on his YouTube channel. He claims to speak to dead celebrities. One of his most popular videos is a claim that he spoke to the late Robin Williams, capturing the words, “F-, I must have got it wrong.”
A certain subsection of the Internet is into “creepy pasta,” and many people don’t mind if something is fictional, so long as it is scary. However, Huff seems to be taking this very seriously, and is profiting from the people who truly believe his claims. Huff claims that in order to get in contact with the dead, one needs to use his specially designed “Wonder Box.” He sold one on eBay for $5,000. In the videos where he is using the “Wonder Box,” the voice is very robotic, similar to the Spiricom voice made by Meek and O’Neil. However, these videos are laughably fake, since it would be very easy to insert these “ghost” voices during the video editing process.
1. Dan Drasin
Dan Drasin is a photographer and documentary filmmaker living in the New York area. In his personal life, Dan is completely fascinated by everything and anything paranormal. He became especially interested in the claims of EVP researchers, and created a documentary named Calling Earth, which compiles interviews of first-hand accounts, and recordings of alleged ghost voices. You can check out the entire film for free on Vimeo.
Along with communicating with the dead, Drasin claims to have had precognitive dreams as a child. He also gives lectures on near-death experiences and other paranormal topics delving into the existence of the afterlife. Since he has a background in filmmaking and video manipulation, he is even called in to confirm the validity of paranormal videos, including some that were claims of alien crop circles.
Thanks for checking out this spooky list. Are you going to try recordings the “ghosts” in your own home? If you hear anything, be sure to leave it in the comments below.
Shannon Quinn is a writer and entrepreneur from the Philadelphia area. You can find her on Twitter.