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Skeptic Jargon


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#1 cotton08

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:09 PM

...and I quote...

it is safe to say that unless the EVP believer is highly bankrolled, I use much higher standard recording equipment, built to much higher tolerances. That being said, I've never heard from the dead, and I have been listening to tape and hard disk recordings for years. It may be the low quality of their equipment that is cause for mistaken ghosts, but it sure isn't lack of willed ignorance!

For example one website says to set the "sensitivity level" of the microphone to the highest possible setting as ghosts are apparently afflicted with laryngitis. Doing this raises what's called the "noise floor" - the electrical noise created by all electrical devices - creating white noise. If I were to filter white noise (the audible equivalent of watching the snow on a detuned TV) I could make it say just about anything. This is really no different than using a wah pedal on a guitar. It's a very focused sweep filter moving about the spectrum creating open vowel sounds. Was Peter Frampton channeling? I hardly think so, however his use of the "talkbox" effect on his guitar sounds exactly like some of these recordings. When you factor in other aspects of physics, such as cross modulation of radio stations or faulty ground loops in equipment, you have a lot of people thinking they are listening to ghosts when in fact it is nothing more than a controlled misuse of electronics.

And maybe we should remind our ghost hunting friends that there are billions of electronic gadgets filling the air waves at all times. The odds are that they're picking up some earthly signal rather than some voice from beyond the grave. My VCR used to receive CB signals from my neighbor, until he died. Since then, the uninvited voices have vanished. Of course, maybe the voices were the sounds of angels calling my neighbor home.

The simplest explanation for EVP is that it is the product of our own wonderfully complex brain, aided by the strong emotional desire to make contact with the dead.


...........thoughts, please....

#2 Retro

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:43 PM

Well, not exactly sure what you are looking for in the way of a response. His\her points are actually valid and scientifically sound.

Having said that, though, the problem with it is that it just doesn't account for the paranormal aspect of it. It is a great explanation of how the technology itself works, but... my problem with these dismissals is simply that they are no more an assumption than the person claiming it is paranormal. It is all too convenient to claim it was some radio station being picked up that happened to nearly exactly answer you at the exact moment you asked a question and then stops when you stop. I mean, seriously. Yes, it can happen, but knowing it can, doesn't mean it did.

People are pretty used to getting interference on their radios and think nothing of it. If something appeared paranormal to them, it just might have been.

My point is that more often than not, skeptics explanations are just as ridiculous as the paranormal claims. The personality of these people usually is that they feel intellectually superior to everyone else, and assume everyone else is just too stupid to tell the difference between a talk show and a direct answer to your question.

Modern electronics are designed to deal with interference. Claiming that I am picking up radio stations with my digital recorder is just ridiculous. If it was soooo common, then why don't we get EVPs on EVERY recording. And why aren't people complaining that their recordings are ruined?

And pareodola and simulcrea? Prove it. Seriously. It's a theory. An assumption based on what we think we know of how the brain works. But prove that is what is going on and I will accept that it is what went on. Prove that we are hallucinating. Prove that a radio station was interferring with our 'inferior' recording equipment. Not prove that it can by installing a 1W transmitter next door, but prove it under the exact conditions that it occurred. And if they claim that they can't know everything that was broadcast at that exact moment, well then ask them how they are so sure that is what happened.

Challenge the skeptics to prove that was exactly what happened. They can't. But, it turns it back on them. I am an electrical engineer, but in all of the EVPs that I have heard, I have never once heard one that sounded like some stray radio station. I have heard many faked outright, and I have heard normal sounds that 'sounded' like voices (try grinding your feet in gravel while recording.)

Unfortunately, it is simply too convenient for skeptics. They don't have to 'prove' anything. They're just smarter than everyone else like that. I will be a full-blown skeptic when I hear an explanation that isn't just as ridiculous as the original claim.

#3 OMPRDave

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 12:24 AM

Same here...I've never heard the mechanical sounding EVPs in any of my recordings, or anything that could have resembled a stray broadcast signal. It doesn't mean I didn't ever record one, because I've also gotten some recordings where the audio level and message was too indistinct to get anything from it, which I usually discard after hearing them.

It may take years of study and field research before we find that link that will explain where these voices are coming from. Until then I say we just need to be focused on all the data about each recording and be as detailed and accurate as possible. And instead of thinking of them as "paranormal", just think of them as a process through which we can study and ultimately (HOPEFULLY) find an explanation for, whether it's paranormal or normal.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#4 CaveRat2

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 08:59 AM

I will have to also agree. Most so-called EVPs are just what the article said, false. They are caused by equipment, an over-active imagination, and outright hoaxes.

But just as soon as you say that, along comes one which was captured using the type of equipment that rules out the conventional. So you can't say categorically ALL EVPs are false.

Nor can you say that cheap equipment won't capture EVPs either. What you CAN say is cheap equipment will capture noise and other anomalies which can be mistaken for EVPs. Thus the reliability of EVPs captured on cheap equpiment is such that its validity can be questioned.

And I would also point out to the writer who says, and I quopte, "that unless the EVP believer is highly bankrolled, I use much higher standard recording equipment, built to much higher tolerances" .
I also use equipment built to that level. And I have captured EVPs on it. I would contend a lot has to do with how the equipment is utilized. I would not expect to get EVPs from a system in an environment where a band is playing such as a live studio durring a recording session. And who leaves the board turned on and mics live when nobody is present? Let alone a recorder running..... Thus even if an EVP was picked up in the studio who would hear it? You don't hear something if you're not listening......

But an investigation is different. The equipment is running, the area is quiet, and people DO listen for hours to dead tape just in case something is there. It might make for an interesting experiment if the writer tried the same with about 1,000 hours of tape from his studio equipment, recorded under the same conditions as the investigator's recording.

Edited by CaveRat, 03 February 2009 - 09:01 AM.





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