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Ghost stories abound, but most are unbelievable yarns of the dead maintaining a post mortem grudge against those of us with pulses and describe events that none of us can believe.

But then there are the simpler, more earthy renditions. Simple voices, the feelings of being watched or followed, items moved, or unusual sounds. Easier to accept because they’re something that could happen to any of us, but at the same time easier to dismiss: feelings are not trustworthy, items are misplaced, and sounds are often made maleficent in the imagination.

The truly scary are the ghost stories you can hear for yourself.

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) describes when a recording device of some sort records a voice that shouldn’t have been present. Many believe these are the voices of wraiths that human ear misses, but for reasons unknown, the electronic device picks up. It’s a discipline that began in 1936, but even then it was based on rumors that spirit voices were being caught on phonograph records. The study and speculation of EVP carries on still today, and is one of the major tools of Ghost Hunters worldwide.

Early examples of EVP include a pair of Catholic Priests in Italy during the 1950’s, Fathers Ernetti and Gemelli, who were engaged in music research when the magnetophone picked up a voice. Upon repeat of the conditions, the recorded voice referred to Father Gemelli with a childhood nickname.

Some EVP are recorded under strict laboratory conditions, such as in 1971 when engineers at Pye Records, Ltd invited a somewhat famed EVP pioneer, Konstantin Raudive, into a room that had been specially shielded to block out unwanted radio or TV transmissions. The company supplied a recorder and the tape. Konstantin wasn’t allowed to touch the recorder, and he was given 18 minutes in the room. Observers heard nothing but Konstantin’s voice while he was in the room, but upon examination of the tape, they identified more than 200 voices in several languages.

Maybe it’s just a good conspiracy theory—just plausible enough to make one wonder. Maybe it’s just another mass hoax taking simple tape hiss for words.

Utah Ghost Hunters Society Collection of EVP. Check out the “Best of” at the top.