posted with the permission of the Noah's
Mounting evidence suggests
that communication between this world and the next may one day be
achieved at the flick of a switch. That is if we are to believe the
claims of a growing number of researchers world-wide who are seemingly
receiving spirit world messages and pictures through radios, TVs and
computers. The breakthrough is called Instrumental Transcommunication
- ITC for short - and is the collective term for conversing with the
Other Side using electronic instrumentation. This month, in the first
of a two-part series, former Psychic News editor Tim Haigh
traces ITC's history, which has its roots in the Electronic Voice
Looking back through Spiritualist
archives in search of some sign that communication with the so-called
dead would some day evolve to fit in with the modern age, it was
reading the works of Theosophist Alice Bailey that I found what I was
looking for. Bailey was not a Spiritualist - I think she would have
shuddered at that description - but nevertheless her writings offer
the student of spiritual science a great deal. In 1936 Bailey's great
teacher, the Tibetan Master DK, whose words she faithfully transcribed
over a 20-year period dictated these words: 'Within the next few years
the fact of the eternity of existence will have advanced from the
realm of questioning into the realm of certainty. Through the use of
the radio by those who have passed over, will communication be set up
and reduced to a true science'.
Was this a prophecy based entirely upon inner plane insights? Students
of EVP might think so because it was not until 1959 that Swedish film
producer Friedrich Juergenson famously captured voices on audiotape
while taping bird songs - of which more later.
But if you trawl back through
psychical history to the beginning of this century, you will find
reference to a little known American anthropologist named Waldemar
Bogoras. For it was he who conducted the first known experiment in
which voices of 'conjured spirits' were recorded on an electrical
Bogoras was on a trip to Siberia to visit a shaman of the Tchoutchi
tribe when his experience took place. In a darkened room, he observed
a spirit conjuring ritual that entailed the shaman beating a drum more
and more rapidly while entering a trance state. Startled, Bogoras
heard strange voices filling the room. The voices seemed to come from
all corners and spoke English and Russian. After the session, Borgoras
wrote: 'I set up my equipment so I could record without the light. The
shaman sat in the furthest corner of the room, approximately 20 feet
away from me. When the light was extinguished the spirits appeared
after some hesitation and, following the wishes of the shaman, spoke
into the horn of the phonograph. The recording showed a clear
difference between the speech of the shaman, audible in the
background, and the spirit voices which seemed to have been located
directly at the mouth of the horn. All along the shaman's ceaseless
drumbeats could be heard as if to prove that he remained in the same
It was 25 years, however, before
there was to be any attempt to record spirit voices in the West. At
the forefront of research was the eminent scientist Thomas Alva
Edison, inventor of the electric light, who together with his
assistant Dr Miller Hutchinson was busily at work in his laboratory
building a machine to achieve spirit communication. In his diary
Hutchinson wrote: 'Edison and I are convinced that in the fields of
psychic research will yet be discovered facts that will prove of
greater significance to the thinking of the human race than all the
inventions we have ever made in the field of electricity'.
Yet Edison was to pass before achieving his goal. But as he lay dying
he said to his doctor: 'It is very beautiful over there'. A remark
from a man of science that he would only have uttered if he'd seen
reality with his own eyes, perhaps? (Edison was to return nearly 70
years later as an integral part of the ITC team on earth. His image
and that of filmmaker George Cukor, who died in 1983, appeared on a
computer in Luxembourg in 1991).
It was in the 1950s that the baton
was picked up, albeit unintentionally, in Italy by two Catholic
priests Father Ernetti and Father Gemilli. However, you will not find
their names in any history of EVP written before 1990 because the
results of their 'experiment' were not published until then. The
priests were collaborating on a musical research project; Ernetti as
an internationally respected scientist, physicist, philosopher and
music lover, and Gemilli as President of the Papal Academy. On
September 15, 1952, while the men were recording a Gregorian chant, a
wire in their equipment kept breaking. Exasperated, Gemilli looked up
and asked his dead father for help. To his amazement his fatherÕs
voice was heard saying: 'Of course I shall help you. I'm always with
They repeated the experiment, and the voice, even clearer than before,
said: 'But Zucchini, it is clear, don't you know it is I?'.
Gemilli was astounded. No one knew
the nickname his father had teased him with when he was a boy. It must
be my father, he thought, suddenly afraid for as a Catholic priest he
had no right to speak with the dead. Troubled, the two men eventually
sought an audience with Pope Pius XII in Rome. Gemilli told the
Pontiff of his experience, and was to his very great surprise,
immediately reassured. According to the 1990 translated text of his
meeting, Pope Pius told Gemilli: 'You really need not worry about
this. The existence of this voice is strictly a scientific fact and
has nothing whatsoever to do with spiritism. The recorder is totally
objective. It receives and records sound waves from wherever they
come. This experiment may perhaps become the cornerstone for a
building for scientific studies which will strengthen people's faith
in a hereafter'.
Yet even this papal reassurance was not enough to convince Catholicism
that the phenomenon merited further attention. And there the matter
lay until the spirit world turned its attention to the man widely
regarded as the founding father of EVP, Friedrich Juergenson (a
slightly unfair epithet as it was two men from California, the medium
Attila von Szalay and paranormal researcher Raymond Bayless who really
initiated the modern EVP era. In 1956, they recorded, quite by chance,
a series of paranormal voices on magnetic tape, voices that should not
logically have been there. Though Bayless reported their experiments
in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, not a
single person contacted the society or the researchers to enquire
about their work).
Juergenson was a film producer in
Sweden who, in 1959 while making a documentary, had decided to tape
bird songs. As he began recording, little did he realise that what was
to follow would change the course of not only his earthly life but of
that he would lead in the world beyond after his death. When he played
the tape back he was startled to hear, in among the tweeting and
chirping, his mother's voice say in German:
'Friedrich, you are being watched. Friedel, my little Friedel, can you
hear me?'. In later years Juergenson said that when he heard his
mother's voice he was convinced he had made 'an important discovery'.
An understatement if ever there was one. Since then, EVP, as it became
known, has been investigated by many psychical researchers, including
most notably Dr Konstantin Raudive from Latvia, the USA's Sarah Estep,
and in the UK Raymond Cass and George Bonner.
Raudive was a Latvian psychologist
who had read Juergenson's book, Radio Contact with the Dead, with a
great deal of scepticism when it was translated into German in 1967.
Nevertheless he was intrigued and over several years carried out
hundreds of experiments under laboratory conditions. Perhaps the most
memorable from a scientific perspective was that conducted at the
German headquarters of Pye Records in 1971.
The engineers at Pye had invited Raudive to do a controlled experiment
in the special sound lab that blocked out all external radio and
television signals. They taped his voice speaking into a microphone
for eighteen minutes - and heard no other sounds. But when they played
the tape back they were amazed to find over two hundred voices on it.
In the years that followed Juergenson and Raudive blazed a trail that
many others attempted to follow. But constant criticism that the EVP
was nothing more than ambient sounds processed by the mind into a
semblance of speech, or snatches of police radio, dampened enthusiasm
for research in Europe. During the 1970s and early 80s in the United
States, however, it continued to evolve with much of the work
spearheaded by a retired engineer, George Meek.
Opening a small laboratory with a
friend in Philadelphia in 1971 after a lifetime's interest in the
paranormal he became immersed in the EVP - and soon realised its
limitations. Meek was convinced that for electronic communication with
the dead to really make its mark, apparatus more sophisticated than he
had found on his travels in Europe would be necessary.
The way to go about building this, he decided, was to contact someone
who had passed on and work with him and his team in achieving two-way
communication. Meek wrote to the now defunct American magazine The
Psychic Observer, which put him in touch with Bill O'Neil, an
electronics engineer who was also a very gifted clairaudient and
Through him, MeekÕs team, later to form themselves into the
Metascience Foundation, made contact with a man who had been dead for
five years and who was a medical doctor while on earth.
'Doc Nick', as he became known,
suggested to O'Neil that the team use certain audio frequencies
instead of the white noise traditionally used by EVP researchers.
This, he said, would serve as an energy source against which the
sounds produced by his vocal cords could be played. It worked. Soon
after, a spirit being calling himself Dr George Jeffries Mueller, was
recruited to the team - or rather he announced he had come to join
them after materialising one afternoon in O'Neil's living room.
Mueller was a dead university professor and NASA scientist. He told
Meek and O'Neil he had died in 1967 and gave them numerous facts with
which to verify his identity including his security number; the place
where his death certificate could be found; and intimate details of
his life and scholastic achievements. All of them checked out.
He began communicating regularly; helping to design a new piece of
electromagnetic equipment that would convert spirit voices to audible
voices. On October 27, 1977, his first words were recorded on the new
system Meek called 'Spiricom'.
Tapes of the Mueller conversations were released to the public and
make fascinating listening. You can plainly hear Mueller joking with
Meek and O'Neil and discussing topics from his favourite foods to the
view of time from the spirit world. He gives unlisted telephone
numbers asking them to make calls to confirm the identity (which they
did successfully) of the people at the other end (usually top-level
government personnel); and he gives O'Neil precise directions with
which to help build experimental video equipment.
The clarity of the communications is
quite astounding - and sometimes amusing: in one conversation, Mueller
identifies a problem with a particular device and impatiently barks at
'The fault lies in an impedance mis-match which can be corrected by
using a 150 ohm half-watt resistor in parallel with a 0.0047 microfad
ceramic capacitor'. But Mueller eventually broke contact after telling
Meek and O'Neil that natural law meant he could 'not be here forever'.
(He did in fact return once more to a group of ITC researchers working
in Rivenick, Germany, led by Adolph Homes. In 1991 they received on a
TV screen an image which was unmistakably that of Dr Mueller).
Meek concluded that Mueller's consciousness had expanded to such a
point that Spiricom could not be used for communication so exposing
one of its flaws. It had become clear that the most limiting aspect of
the device was the fact that it depended almost entirely on the
operator possessing mediumistic or psychic abilities, like O'Neil.
George Meek fully accepted this and
never patented Spiricom in the hope that science would carry on his
work and take it to the next step, going beyond what he and O'Neil
were able to accomplish.
In 1982 he held a press conference in Washington, USA, and revealed
Spiricom's secrets. The conference made little impact on a largely
sceptical world; in fact a large section of the media even refused to
attend, so the device went largely unreported - except by the tabloids
who naturally poked fun. Since then, the focus of attention in terms
of results switched to Europe. Nine months after Meek went public, on
January 15, 1982, an electronics engineer Hans-Otto Koenig, helped the
now defunct Radio Luxembourg broadcast live what was claimed to be a
two-way conversation with a dead person. Koenig had invented an
ultrasound device after closely following MeekÕs work which, he
claimed, could replicate the Spiricom and Mueller/O'Neil dialogues.
The equipment was set up under the watchful eye of the Radio
Luxembourg engineers. The device, nicknamed 'Koenig's Generator' by
programme presenter Rainer Holbe, was connected to a set of speakers
and switched on.
An engineer asked if voices came through on request. Within seconds, a
clear voice was heard. It said quite simply: 'Otto Koenig makes
wireless with the dead'. Understandably pandemonium broke out. Another
question was asked and seconds later a voice replied: 'We hear your
Rainer Holbe affirmed live on air there had been no trickery and later
the station issued a statement stating that its engineers had found no
natural explanation for what had happened. Soon after, the device was
demonstrated to members of the German EVP Association in Frankfurt
where Konstantin Raudive, who had died in 1974, confirmed his
presence. On the strength of this, one of KoenigÕs associates Dr
Ernst Senkowski, a physics lecturer, electronics expert and veteran
EVP researcher, persuaded George Meek to fly to Germany.
After a demonstration of the Koenig's Generator, Meek flew back
convinced it was genuine and set about raising money to fund future
work. But a year later in 1985, the mantle was picked up not by
Hans-Otto Koenig, but by a Swiss electronics expert, Klaus Schreiber
who, as a result of studying Meek's Spiricom designs had invented an
apparatus he called 'Vidicom'.
It consisted of a specially adapted TV, switched on but not attached
to an aerial, with a video camera in front of it to capture images
that appeared on the screen. One of the first pictures he received was
a blurred, fleeting image of a figure. Over the next few years until
his death in 1988 faces of deceased relatives also appeared; some of
the images were sharp, some not. Schreiber's friend Martin Wenzel
continued his work with some success, but as with Spiricom the
Schreiber method, to work effectively, needed to be used by someone
with the sensitivity of a psychic and strong inner plane links.
Author's Note: I would like to
acknowledge Mark Macy of Continuing Life Research (CLR) for his help
in compiling these series of articles. To receive his triannual report
Contact!, which focuses on the work of INIT or various books,
videos and audio cassettes published by CLR, Mark can be contacted at
the following address: Continuing Life Research, PO Box 11036, Boulder
CO 80301, USA, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. INIT also has a
web site www.worlditc.org.