In history

All through history there have been reports of voices and sounds manifesting at a distance from the person(s) who heard them. St.Paul on his way to Damascus was taken aback when he heard a voice saying "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?...And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no man."(Acts 9:4-7).
But also under less dramatic, but more reliable circumstances voices were heard, often in the vicinity of children - the so-called poltergeistphenomena.


Finally such voices have been heard in the seance-rooms of mediums in the past 150 years in the wake of modern Spiritualism.

Leslie Flint

Impressive was the direct voice phenomenon of the late Leslie Flint, see photo (1911-1994). This British medium has been tested many times. The voices manifesting in space in his vicinity could be heard by everyone present and were recorded on tape by some of them. The late sitters, Betty Greene and George Woods, made it their lifetime work to copy their tape-recordings of communications in direct voice at Leslie Flint's seance-room and make them available for everyone who asked for it.

On the cassettes voices are heard of persons who tell of their passing into another world. Quite normal people, who left no imprint on history. But there are also voices of passed celebrities such as Gandhi, Tagore, George Bernard Shaw, Valentino and Oscar Wilde. Former "Queen of the stage" Ellen Terry, speaks in a beautiful diction and intonation without any hesitance or pausing. Sound-clips of the direct voices of British actress Ellen Terry, Mahatma Gandhi, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, as well as a conversation between a mother and her dead son may be heard on page Death no End. The Woods/Greene collection of direct voice recordings.(click)

In his best-seller "Life after Death" Neville Randall gave excerpts of what the voices told of their experience of dying and waking up in a hereafter they had never dreamt of. In "Dood geen Einde"(in Dutch, alas) the background in history and genuineness of the voices are explored.

For further information on the Woods/Greene collection of direct voice recordings as well as sound-clips thereof click here


Various explanations have been put forward. One of them is that an artificial larynx or voice-box is being built up from ectoplasm drawn from the medium and the sitters. It should be noted that ectoplasmic materialiations are known to have taken place simultaneously. The entity could be seen in the reflected light of fluorescent plagues.
Jack Webber at seance with floating trumpets

Although Leslie Flint did not use them anymore, in former days "trumpets" were being used. These floated around unsupported in the seance-room and approached a person for whom a message was intended. The trumpet amplified the faint voice and was said to facilitate the phenomenon. See photographs of such floating trumpets or ectoplasmic voice boxes by clicking on the following icons (medium: Jack Webber):

  • Ectoplasmic voice box with Jack Webber
  • Ectoplasmic voice box with Jack WebberAnother infra-red photo showing a ball of ectoplasm resting on his shoulder (click on photo-icon right)
  • Click here for more info on Jack Webber
  • Floating trumpets and ectoplasmic voiceboxes resting on the shoulder have been photographed with other mediums as well:

    Mrs. Osborne Leonard

    The seances were usually conducted in absolute darkness. No wonder that fraud is one of the first explanations that comes to mind. In the case of Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard (photo), who was a well-known mental medium in the thirties, voices coming from her mouth mingled with whispers in her vicinity. Her sittings usually took place in semi-darkness so that the half-lit room could still be seen. Gramophone-records were made of these whispers by the rev. Charles Drayton Thomas.

    Daniel Dunglas Home

    Many instances have been recorded of sounds and music being heard by more than one person. In the case of the famous medium Dunglas Home (see photo) during a seance at the court of the French emperor Napoleon III an accordion floated unsupported in mid-air, playing a melody. From afar the emperor and his entourage heard choir music - first faintly - then becoming louder and louder, until the voices filled the room.

    What makes the phenomenon noteworthy is that the circumstances in which it manifests bear great resemblance, yet, are recorded independently without the witnesses having had access to each others' reports.
    In 1852, for instance, a choir of voices were heard at seances of farmers' family Koons. It is the first instance recorded that a trumpet was being used to amplify the voices. He is also credited with constructing the first machine to produce the voices. One may expect it to have worked only in the presence of a physical medium.


    Quite independently a former high-ranking Dutch government official, J.D. van Herwerden, reported on seances with his Javanese servant, Aridjan (see photo). He had discovered that the 14-year old boy was psychic. One of the communicators said that he was a Spanish monk, Paurellus, who had been murdered in The Hague three hundred years before. At his request trumpets were being folded out of cardboard and placed at the table. In December 1858 he wrote to a friend: "Imagine my surprise to hear the spirit producing sound. I have to admit that it made me shiver! .... And then, what sort of a sound! I can hardly describe it. It can best be compared with what young birds, canaries, produce. A soft, musical whistle. A tweeting so fine and melodious as no human voice can imitate...". This is the more interesting as other reports on the direct voice also signal a very faint beginning, like a whistle. The voice became louder and louder. Finally it could dispense with the trumpet and be heard in space by everyone present. It spoke in French, a language the boy-medium was not conversant with.
    Other phenomena accompanied the direct voice. An accordion floated over their heads whilst playing; direct writing; a flock of sparkling lights moved sometimes through the room, there were touches by a hand etc.
    Before the reader bursts into laughter at such gullibility, may I remind him that van Herwerden was a person of distinction who was not expected to make public fantasies that would endanger his prestige.

    Poltergeist voices

    Another instance of voices being heard is in poltergeist phenomena. In Dutch annals is a report dating back to 1668 regarding strange events occurring in the vicinity of a daughter of the family Westfundt at Nieukerk. Objects were being moved, hurled and even appeared out of nothing. Next a voice started to speak in space, even in the presence of many neighbours and in full daylight. Finally the priest was called in. He submitted the "voice" to an interrogation in front of many parishioners, after having convinced himself that the girl was "God-fearing". The "spirit" affirmed too that he was "van Godt", of God. Yet he was banished from the house.

    There are many similar poltergeist incidents. One of them took place in Canada in 1889 and was researched by Percy Woodcock for the Brockville Recorder and Times. A family in Clarendon had adopted an 11-year old orphan. Not long after her arrival at the farm all sorts of puzzling events occurred. The reporter took the girl to a barn behind the house. She said: "Are you there, Sir?". To his amazement he heard a gruffy voice answer at a distance of five feet. Woodcock thoroughly searched the barn but could not find an explanation. Thereupon he asked the girl to fill her mouth with water. Yet, the voice came again. He took the girl to the parlour of the farm where about twenty neighbours had gathered. They all heard the voice in her vicinity uttering foul language for quite some time.

    All sorts of sounds, including phonecalls from the dead, marching of soldiers, battle-noise (at Waterloo) and (heavenly) music have been reported. Significantly, they were heard by more than one person.

    Electronic Voice Phenomenon

    Friedrich Jürgenson
    Another type of voice reception is that of the taperecorder-, or Raudive type registrations on tape. These so-called EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) voices are another example of man's endaevour to establish contact with the other world by means of instruments. The first attempt seems to have been by Jonathan Koons in 1852, mentioned above. Blueprints of his "machine" have never been found.

    Thomas Edison (photo), a Theosophist, predicted the invention of a communicating-machine in the twenties. He stated in an interview in 1920: "I do claim that it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than tilting tables and raps and Ouija boards.....". Although there is no evidence that Edison ever produced such apparatus other researchers have done so. Recently such an apparatus surfaced in an estate. It appears to have been conceived by E.V. Scammell, London, before- and completed after the WW2.
    There were other reports. Tesla and Marconi claimed before the war to have received mysterious signals. The Italian Prof. Cazzamali conducted experiments from the twenties onward until the war.

    A new wave of interest arose when Friedrich Jürgenson (see photo) reported in 1959 to have recorded mysterious voices on tape. Subsequently dr.Konstantin Raudive devoted much of his life to experiment with this phenomenon.
    These voices are embedded in other sounds on the tape usually. They are very short and require a trained ear to detect and interpret them. Direct voices on the other hand can be heard as any other sound by every one present, be it that they emanate from a point in space. The attraction of the EVP registrations is, however, that they can be received by anyone.

    Recent developments in voice/image registrations

    Recently a new wave of phenomena has been reported. The phycist prof.dr. Ernst Senkowski has introduced the term trans-communication for the collective era's of occurrence.

    Dr.Konstantin Raudive Click on icon for photo Dr.Konstantin Raudive

    Experimentors are under the impression that the abovementioned patriarch of EVP, Dr.Konstantin Raudive, who died in 1974, is behind a number of phenomena aimed at convincing humanity that contact between the dead and the living is a reality. His communications have been received by many researchers, working independently, on cassette- tape- and videorecorders. His paranormal messages were produced on computers and have been printed. He has spoken through the loudspeakers of radio- and television-sets to a number of witnesses. Finally the spirit of Raudive has called researchers by telephone in various European countries.

    Moreover paranormal images on TV-sets have been reported and recorded by Jules and Maggie Harsch-Fischbach of Luxemburg. Other researchers have seen and recorded images of deceased persons some of who they did not know at all. Later identifying information was given on their printers.

    Ken Webster has described how he received on his computer messages from a spirit who claimed to have lived four centuries ago on the site of his old cottage. Fully prepared for some form of elaborate hoax Webster found to his consternation that the language of the messages tallied precisely with 16th-century English usage.

    White noise

    Experimenters have found that a background of white noise is conducive to results. Much of the research is aimed at arriving at the right choice of background noise, or vibration. This varies from tuning in to special radio frequencies to letting a water tap run in the room. In this respect it is remarkable that from an independent source enhancing of a signal by non-linear systems noise has been reported. The discovery was made in 1982 by three Italian scientists: Roberto Benzi, Alfonso Sutera and Angelo Vulpiani. In the August 1995 issue of the Scientific American the phenomenon has been described. It is called stochastic resonance. Best results are obtained by establishing the exact level of white noise. EVP experimenters would benefit from their taking notice of their conclusions.

    Societies who are engaged in EVP/ITC research are a.o.:


    For further information please click on one of the links below.

    For dutch readers (Nederlandse lezers):

    Voices as a psychic disorder

    Finally a word of warning that the above voices should not be confused with voices heard mentally by only one person.
    In the last decades psychiatric research has charted this phenomenon. It should be considered a mental disorder in some cases. The criterion being whether it effects adversely the life of the individual. This is often the case with voices which take over the person's freedom of choice, being of a compelling nature.
    Another explanation, these voices being the result of
    Tourette's syndrome (click) is without any foundation.

    Presentday direct-voice phenomena

    Direct voices belong to the most impressive phenomena associated with physical mediumship which also includes materialisations.
    Presently Victor Zammit reports on spectacular seances with Australian materialization medium David Thompson in Sydney.

    Literature on direct voice:

    Literature on Electronic-Voice-Phenomenon:


    Responses are welcome. Send to after deleting NOSPAM from the address.

    Click for more info on related subjects:

    Foreign translations:

    © Michael Rogge 2023


    Created: June 1996. Last update: 16 Nov. 2023

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