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eXTReMe Tracker
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
A fascinating - and sceptical - Telegraph article about Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), on the back of the new (in the UK at least) Michael Keaton film, White Noise. The film's official site is stuffed full of hokum ('Do you believe?', 'The origins of EVP', etc.) and you can share your EVP experience on the official message board.

As the article explains, these noises exist, but interpretation of them is largely down to the individual. "EVP [is] sometimes referred to as "Rorschach audio", after the test in which subjects read their own interpretation of inkblot images as just another example of the brain's penchant for making sense even of the patently senseless." As you'd expect, there's a bucketload of EVP stuff online, starting with the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena. Perhaps the reason EVP thrives on the internet is that it distills nicely into little itty sound-bites, easy to download and, generally speaking, the more fuzzy and realaudio-like the better.

Check yet another credulous page at The Anomalist, which advises not "not expect to hear anything the first time you tape, or perhaps the ten times after that. It seems to take about two weeks before most tapers get anything, or before their ear has been trained to distinguish a spirit voice.." But technology might also be the 'phenomenon's' undoing. Just as the global proliferation of visual recording media - cameras, digital cameras, cine cameras, handicams, phone cameras, etc., etc. - hasn't resulted in a corresponding increase in the number of UFO sightings, so the gradual increase in recording mp3 players and phones will reveal very little in the way of spirit voices (happily, the baby alarm that is softly breathing next to me, hasn't seen fit to speak out in an alarming way just yet).

The Telegraph piece quotes a Professor Imants Baruss (snappy name, practically zero Google hit rating) as saying that 'some EVP turns out to be genuinely anomalous'. It also quotes a spooky incident on a recent Radio 4 programme, when the presenter Sandi Toskvig broadcast from a 'haunted castle' in Ireland, and 'something else' turned up on the tape. Happily you can listen to the snippet in question right here. Related, spooky pictures by Simon Marsden.

And there's more. Buy The Ghost Orchid, a CD compilation of EVP material. Half-heard the other morning was this report on Radio 4's normally reputable Today about the subject, the kind of journalism that must have gladdened the hearts of the Keaton film's PR people.
(original link via Agenda Inc.). Also related, spooky websites.

Other things. Hyperkit in Norfolk / Hollywood Noir, via Coudal / Cast of Shadows, an excerpt from the new novel by Kevin Guilfoile / Sun's Project Looking Glass, a 3D desktop prototype / I like to judge blogs by their covers / we love Richard Avedon's bed / Look At Me, found photos collected by tmn's art director Frederic Bonn.

The Burke Family Grape-Nuts TV Commercial, 1968 - 70 (via the equally quirky via Sixties City), the story of a 1968 commercial that entered US pop culture history (were we ever able to buy grape-nuts in this country?). Related, cereal boxes. Hundreds of them. Staying with that retro vibe, visit Wes Clark's Avocado Memories, where you can tour his house, 1631 North Lincoln Street, Burbank, California 91506, and re-live the days of aluminum Christmas trees. Naturally, there's ATOM, the Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum ('the world's only museum dedicated to vintage Aluminum Trees!'). And why the US vs UK spelling discrepancy? No-one really knows.

Thanks to Blake at Tweaks the Limbs for the rss tip.