Edison on the likelihood of spirit communication

Edison’s forgotten ‘Invention’: A Phone That Calls the Dead

Thomas Edison could lay claim to being referred to as the father of the idea of electronic communication with the dead.  He had always had a curiosity about methods of communication with the dead using resonant frequencies, electronic transmissions, electric power, and even light.  His researches on the subject intensified when his mother passed in 1871, and in 1897, he registered a spirit communication device with the United States Patent Office.  The Edison Spirit Communicator, or an early version of it, had been born.

Saturday Evening Post

The device proved to have great popularity in the years following WWI, and in an interview with a reporter from American Magazine in 1920, he said that he was working on his next step, the Spirit Phone, which would allow communication over a standard telephone of the time.  This resulted in a worldwide clamor for the invention as spiritual communication was in its heyday in that era, but by the time Edison passed away in 1931, it had yet to be revealed to the public.

It has been said that a séance was held in 1941 and that the spirit of Edison himself appeared and related the remainder of the instructions needed to complete the device, but that it did not function as it was intended.

Over the years, attempts to record the dead have gone from elaborate contraptions, back to simple recorders, and recently, back to sophisticated devices like the Spirit Box and its imitators, up to the latest Wonder Box that Nick Groff has employed in the Paranormal Lockdown series.  What most teams use is a simple voice recorder, then they play back the audio, amplifying it, and in some cases enhancing the playback with noise reduction through commercial software.

What are we hearing?

There are 3 generally accepted classifications of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) that are used:

  • A - Clear, discernable, and virtually indisputable audio that is easily interpreted without the use of amplification or enhancement technology.  Many class A EVPs are found to be direct responses to questions that are posed.
  • B - Lower quality than the class A, but overall still very discernable.  It may need some amplification or enhancement.  Even after enhancement, it may not be completely clear and there may not be complete agreeance on what was said. Most EVPs will fall into this category.
  • C - The lowest quality of EVP.  Characterized by static, "warbling", hums, pops, and unclear speech or other noises.  Even after enhancement, there will be debate as to what was said.  Due to the phenomena known as pareidolia, the Paranormal Response Team does not rely upon this class of recording unless a portion of it is unmistakably clear.

There is also an entirely different type of audio that we are exposed to at times and that is Direct Voice Phenomena (DVP).  These are unrecorded pure voices that are heard during an investigation.  Unfortunately, due to its very description, it is unable to verified as such on recorded media, as once it is recorded, it is then called an EVP. It's quite a discouraging thing to hear a DVP and then realize that it just became an EVP upon playback, as it is like a full bodied apparition in that it is considered as a kind of Holy Grail amongst ghost hunters.

Below, we're going to show you some examples of different EVPs along with some short recordings of Wonder Box sessions.  See if you agree with our classification on the EVPs!