This phenomenon is the recoding of apparent supernatural voices, some of which are audible, on magnetic tape. Some voices claim to be spirits of the dead. Other theories are that the voices come from extraterrestrials, impressions from the Akashic Records, or an unknown phenomenon of the subconscious mind. Still other psychical researchers believe the sounds are intercepted radio transmissions or static, or distorted mechanical noises.
Electronic voices are also called "Raudive voices," named after a Latvian psychologist, Konstantin Raudive, a leading researcher into the phenomenon during the 1960s and 1970s. Raudive was inspired by the experimentation of Fredrich Jurgenson, Swedish opera singer, painter, and film producer. In 1959 Jurgenson tape recorded songs of birds in the Swedish countryside near his villa. When playing the tape back he heard a male voice discussing "nocturnal bird songs" in Norwegian. At first, Jurgenson thought he had picked up a radio broadcast, and then thought it seemed strange that such an accident should be discussing bird songs. He made more tapings. During the tapings he heard no voices, but on play backs he heard many voices, which seem to have personal information for him, plus instructions as how to record more voices.
After experimenting with the voices for several years Jurgenson published in Sweden in 1964 a book Voices From the Universe and a recording. Jurgenson and Raudive met in 1965.
Raudive recorded over 100,000 voice phrases. The voices speak in different languages, they vary in clarity from being very audible to sounding like bad long distant telephone connections, while others seem to be delivered in code, At times only one or two voices are heard while at other times a multitude of voices can be heard. The voices are identifiable as men, women, and children. Raudive's research was published in German as The Inaudible Made Audible, which was translated into English in 1971 as Breakthrough.
This phenomenon has been investigated by many psychical researchers around the world and has generated much controversy. While some researchers agree the voices are paranormal others attribute them to natural sounds such as someone rubbing the case of a tap recorder, or the white sounds on tape.
Between the years of 1970 and 1972, the Society for Psychical Research in London commissioned D. J. Ellis to investigate the phenomenon. Ellis concluded that the voices most likely were a natural phenomenon. He indicated that the interpretation of the sounds was highly subjective and was susceptible to the imagination.
Raudive, who died on September 2 1974, expressed no particular opinion. At the time of his death, he was studying a parakeet that seemingly began uttering meaningful sentences in German, which were similar to Raudive's voices.
Many individuals and groups conduct the continued research of the electronic voice phenomenon. Sarah Estep founded the American Association-Electronic Voice Phenomena in 1982, which has more than two hundred members in thirty-four states in the United States and eleven foreign countries. This association calls itself "a metaphysical organization interested in spiritual involvement as well as all genuine evidence for postmortem survival" and focuses on "objective contact with those in other dimensions through tape recorders, televisions, and computers."