Electronic Voice Phenomena

Also called the spirit voice phenomenon, electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are mysterious voices that can be heard in the background of audio recordings when they are played back to listeners. Not all listeners hear the voices, though, or hear them to the same degree or in the same way; in any case, when they are heard they are usually quite faint. Some people believe that the voices are best heard in recordings of the “white noise,” or static crackle, that a radio emits when it is not receiving an actual broadcast signal, because then there are no ordinary sounds to distract listeners from hearing the EVP.

The phenomenon was first noted by Swedish birdwatcher Friedrich Jurgenson, who discovered a voice in the background of one of his recordings of birdsong. In subsequent experiments with his recording equipment, he reported hearing many such voices; they called him by name and said things that made him suspect he was communicating with spirits who were watching and listening to him. Today many people believe that spirits can communicate through EVP, but others believe that the voices have some other paranormal source, such as extraterrestrial communications or clairaudience (a form of extrasensory perception that involves the psychic perception of sounds not heard by the ear). Meanwhile, skeptics say that the voices are either delusions or the result of listeners fooling themselves into thinking that ordinary random background noises are voices.


  • Descriptions of Aliens
  • Clairaudience
  • Human Ghosts
  • Energy Healers


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning