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Strange Acoustics


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Whilst on a case in an old house in Scotland near a ruined abbey, I experienced a memorable accustic event. It occured in a long stone barrel vaulted room at the bottom of the house, probably just below ground level. Whilst we we were covering this area my fellow investiagtors and I heard the unmistakable chanting and singing of monks. No mistake, no error, monks chanting and singing.

We hung around far longer than any sane person would have. Long enough to hear the ghostly voices stop. Then we heard "And that's all from BBC Scotland etc etc" followed by the national anthem.

Somehow the radio waves had travelled to the room, maybe through the stone, I'm not sure, but and when they hit the barrel room we got to hear the show.

If we had fled when we heard the monks there would be a story now of singing monks haunting a house. If there is a moral to this story it's always try to see the experience through to the end if you are lucky enough to have one and remember there may be a natural explanation even though it looks very unlikey.

Lee Waterhouse
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Strange Acoustics

Were there any fireplaces in the room ? as we know chimneys are all connected from floor to floor. Also pipes are a good conductor of sound.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Strange Acoustics

In this case the we had full control of the whole building, so we know the radio was not on in any other room. It must have come from an external source. Maybe it was pipes. Who knows. Either way it was not paranormal.

S Graham
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Joined: 16 Oct 2008
Strange Acoustics

Maybe the wrong page, and no I haven't seen the move, but read up on EVP years ago - so what happened to it? Has anyone tried it - one of the best/maddest tales was of an EVP investigator who got in contact with the dead scientist helping him in earlier life, nad got to build a Electronic Video recorder with images of the dead! ...and then as usual, nothing more was heard after the book came out.

For anyone who doesn't know about EVP - the idea is to tune into static on a radio, add a tape recorder, ask a question and then listen to the tape afterwards - you might here words, sentences that appear to answer your questions. I read that a lot of the dialogue in the Exorcist book was based on EVP to add a bit of authenticity! Well, add good publicity maybe...

So, any tales to tell, or the chance of another good experiment.

Neil Boothman's picture
Neil Boothman
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Strange Acoustics

I would imagine that reports of EVP have dropped a bit these days, mainly due the lack of 'raw' radio traffic in the airwaves compared to the 70s and 80s. Back then we were in the middle of the CB Radio boom and taxi drivers, truckers and emergency services such as the police used very powerful, unencrypted radio transmissions to communicate. It wasn't uncommon to hear 'voices' from your TV set, radio alarm clock, tape recorder, and other A/V devices due to radio frequency 'bleedover' from these powerful radio transmissions. Even if an electronic A/V device were powered off, it would still be possible for the circuits to resonate due to the energy carried by a sufficiently powerful radio transmission.

It's therefore likely that EVPers were simply recording fragments of radio transmissions on their tape recorders.

Radio frequency bleedover is virtually unknown these days - CB Radio is all but extinct, truckers and taxi drivers tend to use mobile phones and, radio technology has reached a level where comparatively low power transmitters and sensitive receivers provide effective range.

S Graham
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Strange Acoustics

I agree stray fragments of radio chatter could be mistaken as answers. But EVP does seem to pull relevant chatter out of the ether too - EVP was most popular in the 1950's - before CB radio - and questions asked have been answered, although fuzzy one word answers don't amount to much proof.
Still the tale of the radio scotland monks is very funny, and a caution to all!

Neil Boothman's picture
Neil Boothman
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Strange Acoustics

Although there was no CB Radio back in the 1950s, there was still plenty of radio traffic ie amateur radio (or ham radio if you're American) was at its peak so, again you'd have had radio hobbyists messing around with self-built, powerful radio transmitters which, combined with the poor signal selectivity of early analogue A/V equipment would give way to bleedover and cross-modulation.

Surely listener expectation would play its part in hearing voices, too. If you really wanted to hear 'voices of the dead' in white noise, then you would. Listen to white noise long enough and your brain will attempt to make sense of it, even to the point of detecting words despite the lack of a seemingly logical source of them.

S Graham
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Strange Acoustics

I have listened to some EVP tapes and the voices do stand out, but EVP, if so easily accessible, certainly hasn't amounted to a hill of beans in the research stakes.

Still - is it worth getting a long lasting digital recording of investigations to get any other information - after all visual recordings are made. Maybe sound recording in set locations would be good to set up too, permanently recording (rather then carried around and prone to all sorts of interference)

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Strange Acoustics

I think my problem with EVP is that I have met someone who was EVP mad Rolling Eyes . He was convinced the static on my CB was saying "Help me, Help me" and worked himself up so much during a vigil that I ended up practically baby sitting him. He was hearing what he wanted to hear. I dare say there are people out there doing serious research, but, if they are searching for voices of the dead, which many are, then aren't they are automatically assuming ghosts are the surviving spirits of dead people and that they can verbally communicate with the living.

I don't mind experimenting with EVP as long as the tests are set out properly.

Lee Waterhouse
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Strange Acoustics

But it wasn't normal either. Was the building made of granite or on a foundation of granite ? I ask this as if i remember correctly there is quite a bit of quartz in granite. As we know quartz is a good conductor (also generator when rubbed together) of electricity, perhaps it can also catch radio waves. Maybe the quartz was acting like a reciever and the part of the building you were in was like a speaker ?

Is it possible for this to happen ?

Neil Boothman's picture
Neil Boothman
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Strange Acoustics

Lee - I don't know anything about granite but under unique conditions I do know it's possible to hear radio transmissions (albeit distorted) from giant metal structures such as masts and cranes, especially when the metal is corroding. A by-product of the chemical reaction during corrosion is an electrical charge, so it has been known for such large metal structures to act as antenna (any piece of metal is essentially an untuned radio antenna), amplifier and speaker.

Regarding EVP - for the last century shortwave radio enthusiasts have documented transmissions of unknown origin, often lasting only seconds and involving musical tones, sequences of numbers and cryptic messages. The popular theory (which I personally subscribe to) is that they are coded transmissions to spies. Some of the cryptic messages reported are along the lines of 'the sunshine has faded' and 'our hen has laid its egg'.

Perhaps EVPers are picking this type of stuff up and are taken with the idea of it being spirits attempting to communicate.

Audio from an East German numbers station in 1978 - listen to the weird gong sounds and the voice after it. One gets images of East German communist sleeper agents rising up like the living dead on hearing it. Smile

See Mysteries of Radio, if like me you like this sort of stuff.



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