Popular term for the electronic voice phenomenon first reported by Raymond Bayless, but rediscovered by Friedrich Jürgenson in 1959. Voices, apparently from deceased individuals, are found to be electronically impressed on tape recordings made on standard apparatus (sometimes enhanced by a simple diode circuit). The voices are also apparent on the "white noise" of certain radio bands. The suggestion that they are communications from the dead is based on many thousands of experimental recordings made by Jürgenson and later Konstantin Raudive, and later replicated by various parapsychologists, including Hans Bender.
Konstantin Raudive (1909-1974), a Latvian psychologist, conducted joint experiments with Jürgenson between 1964 and 1969 after reading a reference to the paranormal voice phenomenon in Jürgenson's book. Subsequently the two men had some differences of opinion and conducted their further researches independently.
Raudive's researches were very extensive and included collection and study of over 100,000 recordings. After the publicity given to his book Unhörbares Wird Hörbar, translated into English in an enlarged edition as Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication (1971), the phenomenon became generally known and discussed as "Raudive voices." The book was translated by Peter Bander, a British psychologist who subsequently appeared on a number of television and radio programs to discuss the subject. His own book reviewed replication experiments in Britain and the Irish Republic, the attitudes of religious authorities, the experiments carried out by the electronic experts, and the alternative theories to explain the phenomenon.
Bender, working at Freiburg University in Germany, suggested that electronic impulses might be transmitted by the subconscious mind and impressed on tapes, rather like psychic photographs. However, there is some evidence tending to suggest that the communications are mainly from dead individuals.
A later development of Raudive's researches into paranormal voices were his investigation of a budgerigar (a bird) named Putzi, owned by Editha von Damaros in Germany. In March 1972, von Damaros wrote to Raudive stating that a few weeks after the death of her daughter Barbara at the age of fourteen, her pet budgerigar started giving extraordinary messages suggestive of spirit communications; one of these advised contacting "the Latvian doctor." Raudive made a careful investigation of the budgerigar and took a number of recordings. It concluded that possibly the bird was being used as an energy field for the direct transmission of paranormal voices.
This investigation has led to some confusion, since Jürgenson's original researches into paranormal voices on tape recordings were stimulated by attempts to record bird song. "Bird voices," however, remain a quite separate phenomenon from "Raudive Voices."
Bander, Peter. Carry On Talking: How Dead are the Voices? London: Colin Smythe, 1972. Reprinted as Voices from the Tapes. New York: Drake Publishers, 1973.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Jürgenson, Friedrich. Rösterna frå;n Rymden (Voices From Space). Sweden, 1964. German edition as Sprechfunk mit Verstorbenen. Freiburg i. Br.: Herman Bauer, 1967.