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EVP, The Next Level: Getting Proof

How AA-EVP is experimenting to validate the "ghost voice" phenomenon


Tom and Lisa Butler analyze an EVP recording.

Tom and Lisa Butler analyze an EVP recording.

ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA, or EVP, is one of the most fascinating areas of ghost research. Human-sounding voices of unknown origin are captured on audio recordings. Ghost hunting groups around the world now routinely include voice recorders as part of their standard equipment for ghost hunts in the hopes of capturing EVP. They are often successful.

For the most part, however, the recordings are as far as they go. Rarely is there any follow-up to determine whose voices they are or where they come from. Are they indeed voices of the dead… or something else?

Today, the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) is taking EVP research to a new level. Through scientific experiments, they hope to provide more understanding of this intriguing mystery. I spoke with Tom Butler, Co-Director of AA-EVP, about the group's work.

When was AA-EVP established and why?

Sarah Estep established the AA-EVP in May of 1982 to, as we say in the NewsJournal: "Provide objective evidence that we survive death in an individual conscious state."

Lisa [Butler, Co-Director of AA-EVP] began recording for EVP after reading Sarah Estep's first book, Voices of Eternity, which is now a free PDF download from the book page of AA-EVP. That was in 1987, as I remember. Sarah had run the Association for eighteen years and wanted to retire. So in May of 2000, Sarah dissolved the AA-EVP, sent us the old membership list and we reformed the Association without missing a newsletter. We immediately got the Association on the Internet. We wanted members to be able to share their EVP and discuss the paranormal voices, so we established an email sharing group. So that members could learn from the past, we also set up an online document archive, which now holds the majority of past newsletters.

A discussion board, called the Idea Exchange, was recently added. There, members are able to help one another learn to work with EVP, and share ideas for new techniques. It is just the two of us operating the Association, so we are not able to give one-on-one attention to all five hundred plus members. That is why members helping members is very important. We are thankful for the help of volunteer moderators and regional coordinators, as many members have greatly benefited from their help.

We wrote the book, There is No Death and There are No Dead, as a textbook to introduce EVP to people who are interested in these phenomena in a way that is both interesting and rational.

EVP is showing up in many parts of our culture. For instance, just about all ghost hunting clubs have at least one person using EVP as part of the investigation. Scientists seeking to debunk any form of nonphysical phenomena now include EVP in their comments, albeit usually while ignoring the evidence. The media is more often including some use of EVP in television programs and movies. However, not all of these references to the phenomenal voices are accurate, and we spend more and more of our time trying to counter misleading and nonsensical references with evidence-based explanations. We are determined to let the evidence be our guide, but we are also determined to provide at least one resource for the public to use when trying to determine what that evidence really does show and what something is that just "seems to be true."

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