Entertainment Magazine

Electronic Voice Phenomenon—EVP

Production Information Electronic Voice Phenomenon—EVP—is the process by which the dead, through sound and image, communicate with the living through the static and white noise of modern electronic devices.

By modest estimates, there are nearly seven billion audio and video recording devices in homes around the world...and every one of them is a portal.

For two decades now, a quiet worldwide movement has gained momentum among the growing number of people who believe in EVP and who themselves have captured extraordinary recordings of communications from the dead.

These transmissions, recorded with simple household electronic devices, force us to question our basic notions about life and death and seem to confirm what many of us have dared to believe: it is possible for the dead to communicate with us. All we have to do is listen. Now, for the first time, this otherworldly occurrence stands at the center of a motion picture paranormal thriller—White Noise.

ABOUT ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENON

White Noise- the movie

Until the sudden and mysterious death of his beloved wife, architect Jonathan Rivers (MICHAEL KEATON) considered himself a decent, rational man, one who would not ordinarily subscribe to any theories about communicating with the dead. But now, a stranger, Raymond Price (IAN McNEICE), has entered his life, claiming to have heard Jonathan’s wife, Anna (CHANDRA WEST), through EVP.

Fueled by his grief as much as curiosity, Jonathan soon finds himself swayed by Raymond’s claims, validated by the recordings of Anna as well as the testimonial of Sarah Tate (DEBORAH KARA UNGER), who herself has found closure with her deceased fiancée through EVP.

Jonathan comes to believe when Raymond says of the dead, “I can hear them, I can see them and I can record them.” Then, the unthinkable—Jonathan himself captures Anna’s voice and image through recordings he has made; she has established direct contact. Anna’s message: for Jonathan to save the future victims of the brutal psychopath who took her life.

But his dead wife’s communications are often fuzzy, challenging to decipher.

And Jonathan, in his growing obsession with reaching Anna, fails to notice signs of impending danger, summed up by Raymond’s assessment of the souls who cross the divide from the other side: “They can’t all be nice.” What Jonathan hopes to be true is, in fact, possible: our departed loved ones can reach us... but if they can come through, who, or what else, can also come through?

White Noise marks the American feature film directorial debut of distinguished British television director GEOFFREY SAX (Othello), from an original screenplay by NIALL JOHNSON. PAUL BROOKS (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and SHAWN WILLIAMSON (House of the Dead) produce, with NORM WAITT, SCOTT NIEMEYER, STEPHEN HEGYES and SIMON BROOKS serving as executive producers. Behind-the-camera talent includes director of photography CHRIS SEAGER, B.S.C. (Ashes and Sand), editor NICK ARTHURS (Othello) and production designer MICHAEL S. BOLTON (Final Destination 2), along with costume designer KAREN MATTHEWS (They). The music is by Cirque du Soleil music director turned film composer CLAUDE FOISY (2001: A Space Travesty).

ABOUT ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENON

For two decades now, there has accrued a great deal of documentation and speculation about a method of tracking and recording voices of those who have passed on; these transmissions, captured by audio recorders and other everyday electronic devices, are known to the believers as Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP.

The contact from the departed is accomplished through television, radio and computer frequencies— commonly referred to as “white noise”—which is then received and interpreted by people still living in the physical world. EVP is much more than just a premise created by Hollywood filmmakers for the purpose of producing a supernatural thriller like White Noise.

It is a highly researched, increasingly widely practiced yet little exposed paranormal phenomenon with devotees around the world. A search on the Internet for “EVP” will result in thousands of hits and web sites, many of which include photographs or audio and video clips from EVP encounters. Research is being conducted on EVP within a variety of organizations around the world that use EVP for such purposes as hauntings investigations and grief management.

According to these groups, thousands of people are recording evidence of communications with the dead on a daily basis. They also claim that in addition to the voices being captured through the white noise of television sets and radios, images of the people to whom these disembodied voices belong are regularly captured in photographs via a process known as Video or Photographic Instrumental Transcommunication.

The common thread among these various groups is the firm belief that those in other dimensions are desperate to communicate with us and are using modern technology to do so. More than likely the first web site one finds on a search for recordings and evidence of EVP sightings is that of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (www.aaevp.com).

The site is managed by Tom and Lisa Butler, directors of the Association, a married couple who happen to be spending a great deal of their time and energy in the universe known as the paranormal. How did they get involved in the world of psychics, mediums and spirits from another dimension?

“Well, actually,” says Lisa about what happened when she and her husband relocated to Kansas some 15 years ago, “we were corporate workers—Tom was writing a book, I was upper management—living in Kansas City, which is the kind of a town where you had to be quiet about paranormal things. But it’s also not California, it’s very humid, and there are only two months out of the year of really good weather, so you do a lot of reading and things like that.

“I came across a book called Voices Of Eternity by Sara Estep and I read it. And I thought, I knew it was real—I had a gut feeling that you could record paranormal voices on tape. And now that I look back at it—I was a corporate person, why in the world would I believe something so preposterous?—but I believe it and I will say it took about a year for me to get up the nerve to record because I wasn’t sure if I was going to bring something unwanted into the house.”

Lisa began by following the path taken by the book’s author, Estep, who recorded for seven days. On the third day, Lisa deciphered a voice captured on the tape. From then on, she became a believer.

“That was the first EVP that I got. I’m glad it was Saturday, because I didn’t sleep the next day! Now we’ve been doing this for probably 15 years, and we still come across some thrilling things and it’s still very interesting...but that first one, there is nothing like that, because it changes your reality. What is this, how could this voice be there?”

Tom, the more technically oriented of the two (and hence would have been the more skeptical), joins in: “Lisa is pretty much the navigator for me in fields like this. I am an electronic engineer and at that time was very deeply engrossed in working on things for the corporation that employed me. And when she told me about the book and EVP, it was more like I didn’t have that sense so much as that I trusted Lisa’s sense. I knew there was some modulation in the sounds she was playing for me. As an engineer I knew what modulated sound and knew it shouldn’t have been there, but it was. I couldn’t really make it out until later. In time, after I heard the first voice, I tried to become more and more supportive. And it gets to a point where it’s such perfect proof that you survive—so many other things that unfold out of that, that it becomes not so much about EVP as it is a way of life.”

While Lisa herself acknowledges the shocking power of hearing that first voice, it was a much later recording that struck closer to home: “I lost my mother about five years ago, and she didn’t even know we did this. She had very different religious beliefs and we respected them—I didn’t want to upset her so we literally did not tell her about our involvement with EVP. Tom and I were presenting at a spiritualist convention. Before presenting we often conduct a recording session and ask questions that might interest the people attending and try and make EVP more accessible and exciting for them. And in the end of every session, I always ask, ‘Is there anything else you want to say?’ And when we played back the recording, there was my mother’s voice saying, ‘I miss you, Lisa.’”

Tom remembers, “Lisa brought the recording out and told me to listen to it, without telling me what it was and I heard it plainly. Not only did I understand the EVP but I recognized immediately it was her mother’s voice.”

Lisa continues, “We had been recording for about 12 years by then—and she came though more than once. There were some very emotional issues surrounding her death and it was really important for her to reach me. It provided some incredible healing for me.” Since that first recording session 15 years ago, EVP has become a way of life for the Butlers and to hear them describe it, the urge to communicate with beings “on the other side” is a concept that has taken hold of people’s imaginations. “If you Google EVP,”

Tom says, “almost every larger community has one or more ghost hunting clubs, and they all have samples—and sometimes very good samples—of EVP on their web sites. We’re not that large; the AAEVP has about 300 members in the U.S. and 15 other countries, because there are other outlets available, such as ghost hunting clubs. The German group has 700, the French group has 1,700 and a group in Brazil had 3,000. In the U.S., there are also a lot of closet EVPers who will not subscribe to a website but continue to record on their own.”

The link between nearly all of the seekers of the paranormal is the desire to contact a loved one.

Tom says, “When people get involved with EVP there is often an element of grief management, where you are communicating with a loved one. In this field, you have a very important tool for communicating with the other side.

“As an engineer, I would explain the phenomenon this way: it’s voices in the recording media that are not going to be explained by known physical principles. It’s being done all over the world because the average person can do it—it doesn’t replace methods like using mediums, it’s more of an adjunct to that. But there are no guarantees that you can pick up a recorder and you’re going to contact long lost Uncle John.

On the other hand, a lot of people have picked up the recorder and have been able to make a recording...maybe it might be ‘I miss you’ or ‘I love you’ or the name of a lost loved one that’s on the other side. “That’s one of the things that we have learned—one of the most important things that spiritualism does for the congregation—is to teach us to expect that we do survive.

You can think of it as being an inoculation against becoming earthbound. Well, in our association, we try really hard to make sure that everybody understands that EVP is a fundamental proof of survival. And that if the implication is that we do survive, then what? We hope that in subtle ways that it helps people understand that there is much more to their reality than what they are experiencing at this minute. If, in the global mind change, we come to understand, both intellectually and emotionally, that we do survive and that there is a continuation of life—that would probably call us to behave accordingly.”

When trying to explain EVP in the face of a pantheon of the governing laws of the acknowledged sciences, Tom simply says, “A lot of the rules that we consider normal seem to be violated by these voices.”

VOICES OF ETERNITY

By SARAH WILSON ESTEP

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2005 Entertainment Magazine / EMOL.org