Phenomenon research otherworldly voices give twofold results. Some experiments show that people only hear what they want in random noise, while the results of other experiments give a chance to open the door to the unknown.
The most astounding cases are difficult to replicate in the laboratory - all you have to do is believe or not believe.
Term The Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) describes ethereal voices that can be heard using electronic devices. Many paranormal researchers bring white noise devices to haunted houses in an attempt to hear voices.
In 2014, Michael Nees, Associate Professor of Psychology at Lafayette College, Pennsylvania, conducted research that found that people mistake random sets of sounds for meaningful combinations.
Nees thinks trying to hear voices is an audio version of the inkblot test, where everyone sees their own. Nees divided the test subjects into two groups. The first group knew that the experiments concerned EVP. Another believed that speech perception in a noisy environment is being investigated.
The subjects were allowed to listen to audio recordings, among which were recordings of EVP from a TV show about ghosts, as well as samples of human speech, clean and against a background of noise, and just noise.
Subjects who knew the true purpose of the experiment were more likely to hear meaningful voices in the proposed samples. However, only 13 percent of those who heard the EVP were able to make out the words, compared to 95 percent when it was real speech.
In a report on the results of his experiment, Nees wrote: “In a recent analysis, we showed that the participants' interpretations matched those of the paranormal researchers in less than 1% of the time. This suggests that researchers need to be more objective."
After reviewing Nees's findings, Director of the Office of Paranormal Research Lloyd Auerbach wrote: "We are also concerned that trying to hear voices in white noise produces so many erroneous results."
He mentioned a 2011 study by his colleagues Mark Bocuzzi and Julia Bichel.
They used a device that reproduced a stream of short speech elements, which created the illusion of "robotic speech." The subject asked questions, and it seemed to him that he hears meaningful answers in a random mixture of speech elements.
Simultaneously, Bocuzzi and Bichel analyzed the "responses" using speech recognition software. The responses received by the operator were not confirmed by the program. "This data suggests that the interpretation is very subjective, the content of the dialogue is meaningful only for the subject," they wrote in their report.
However, Auerbach noted that sometimes, on very rare occasions, even a computer program mistook the recording for a human voice.
In addition to these very rare incidents (which are unlikely to make it onto TV, where Nis got his samples from), some episodes go well beyond a fuzzy voice in the midst of white noise.
These episodes are very difficult to confirm. They rely only on the experimenter's report. And they happen so rarely that it is almost impossible to reproduce them.
One such rare event is described in his book The Impossible Is Possible by Dr. Imants Baruss, professor at Queen's University College at the University of Western Ontario.
This story was told to Baruss by one of his students.
A Barussa student named Angela was in the same room with her mother, who was typing the report on a computer. Suddenly, the word "great" appeared on the monitor several times.
The woman found it strange, and she showed the monitor to Angela, who was also puzzled. Then a dog, lying there, jumped out from under the table, frightening both. Angela screamed in surprise.
The words "devil" and "scream" appeared on the screen.
Thinking that it was a hacker playing around, Angela pulled out the network cable and turned off the webcam.
At this time, Angela's father and brother went to check what the noise was. A new message appeared on the screen: "Bring the Ouija board." Such a board was stored in the next room, and Angela went there, and at that moment on the screen appeared: "Boo!" Angela screamed again. Scream, said the computer.
Before everyone went to bed, very agitated, a "good night" appeared on the screen. In the morning there were the words: "Forgive me, loved ones."
Her mother received an excellent grade for her report. “Magnificent” is the word that started it all.
The odds of the supernatural?
Baruss' research does not provide direct evidence for EVP, but he faced what he called "a statistically rare event." He conducted an experiment with a computer that randomly answered "Yes" or "No" to a series of questions. The idea of the experiment was that if an intelligent entity tries to communicate through a computer, it can influence random answers, making them not random, and answer the questions correctly.
In one of the tests, the computer answered 9 questions out of 11. The probability of getting such a result is approximately 4.2%.
Several other researchers have also tested the Electronic Voice Phenomenon in the past and concluded that it might be supernatural.
For example, philologist Anabela Cardoso published a two-year study on EVP in the journal NeuroQuantology in 2012. She has worked in professional recording studios with a high degree of acoustic protection. She concluded by writing: "In the course of many of the experiments performed, several 'extra' voices were recorded for which no conventional explanation was found."
During amateur ghostbusters' experiments, there is no such acoustic shielding.
Auerbach notes that experimenters must "make sure that there are no other sources of sound, otherwise it is difficult to isolate this possible source of contamination."
As for the possible source of the EVP, Auerbach says there are other options besides ghosts or the subject's imagination. For example, the effect of a human biofield on an experimental device.