CHAPTER 1: THE PHENOMENON
The experiments described in this book are, in some respects, a hazardous venture; but then, we always have to accept hazards whenever we venture onto paths as yet undiscovered and untrodden, and the adventurous spirit of the explorer is coupled with deep humility before new truths and realisations.
Our human existence is orientated one-sidedly along limited, measurable and calculable lines. The evidence of voices of mysterious origin set out in this book, challenges us to alter our thinking habits and to let them range freely on unfettered cosmlc energies, and on spirit-beings, such as we ourselves one day may become.
It certainly sounds fantastic to assert that we have made contact with spirit-beings, i.e. the dead, through tape recordings. Today, however, when more or less adequate technical devices are at our disposal, it is possible to test the facts by experiment and to lift them out of the realm of the fantastic. Tape-recorder, radio and microphone give us facts in an entirely impersonal way and their objectivity cannot be challenged.
The present stage of the investigation reveals this contact as, so far, only the delicate, fleeting pulse of a new reality, no more than vaguely discernible as yet, because of our lack of experience and the inadequacy of our technical aids. Nevertheless, the voices here described can open up new spiritual vilitas, irrespective of how we explain, interpret and understand them.
Man has an inherent, stubborn characteristic: the wish to fathom his own destiny–within himself and concerning himself. We die whilst we live, for our concepts of life and death conceal the future that awaits us.
From the fragments we hear in the voice-experiments I have made, we can perhaps form some ideas about this problem. My research has led me to the personal conclusion that apart from the biological-psychica1 level on which we human beings here exist, there is a second level: that of the psychical-spiritual being, whose potentialities are only released after death. This psychical-spiritual being tries to build a bridge between its world and that of our earthly form of life, and it endeavours on its own initiative to make contact in order to guide those on earth into a new reality.
Only someone who himself ventures to plumb these inaccessible layers of human existence, where we discern neither beginning nor end, only a forward compulsion of ourselves and our lives, can assess the true position. It is quite possible that one day results will emerge from the voice-experiments that will have a bearing on the highest, indeed the ultimate goal man has sought throughout the ages and is still seeking–the answer to the question: who am I and where am I going? Death might then be seen as no more than a metamorphosis from one state of development to another.
This thought, as well as the attempt to contact those in the so-called next world, is nothing new. From time immemorial man’s mind has been preoccupied with the idea of a hereafter and has tried to gain visual or acoustic impressions of it. We only have to remember the ancient Indian and Creek, and the early Christian religious experiences. Similar attempted realisations have also been experienced through Spiritualism, Occultism and Anthroposophy.
The present investigation takes a different course: it is based on acoustics and leads to empirically provable reality with a factual background that can open new perspectives for the study of psychology. We are trying to gain some insight into this as yet unknown reality, and such insight not only changes our ideas and gives new direction to the activities of our psyche, but points to undreamed-of powers reigning within us and over us.
Those oriented towards natural science believe that such problems can be solved by empirical means. This book is the record of an attempt to do so.
I believe the solution to the problem lies in two directions:
(A) New insight into the domination of the unconscious (or subconscious).
(B) New aspects of the theory of relativity (our relativeness, not Einstein’s theory), which gains considerable impetus through the voice-phenomenon.
The existence of the voices is established through the sense of hearing; methodic repetition then makes deciphering and !checking possible. The voice-phenomenon is autonomous, as far as the listener is concerned, for it manifests on tape recordings through radio or microphone. Anybody can study it and, by fulfilling certain preconditions, take up contact with it.
During experiments with the voices no spontaneous instances were observed. The phenomenon always manifests steadily and adheres strictly to its characteristics. Consequently the voices can be distinguished from noises emanating from different sources in the atmosphere. These constantly repeated, unmistakable features are a safeguard against psycho-acoustic deception and freakish radio sounds, habitually used by a priori skeptics as an explanation of their own negative attitude. As the voice-phenomenon is of an empirical nature, the suspicion of trickery, fraud, or self-deception, constantly levelled against parapsychological manifestations, falls away automatically, for the voice-phenomenon can be examined with scientific accuracy.
It is a well-known fact that man has the innate ability to act upon matter without physical action. This psychic faculty is known as telekinesis. Rhine and his successors are of the opinion that subconscious psychic forces stand as basic factors behind parapsychological phenomena. This view gave rise to the belief that our subconscious mind is just as autonomous as our conscious one, that these two layers of our mind can act independently of one another and that the various problems of parapsychology are subordinate to the function of the “unconscious”. Accordingly, we should equally look for the key to the voice-phenomenon in the realm of the unconscious. This belief ranks amongst the most ingenious rationalistic hypotheses and belongs almost to a tendency to explain man himself.
Professor Hans Bender, who has advocated this hypothesis for thirty years, wrote in his paper “Zum Problem der Aussersinnlichen Wahrnehmung” (The Problem of Extra-Sensory Perception, 1936; pages 34 to 35): “The tendency towards a personality synthesis of dissociated psychic content can often be observed in automatic writing or spelling of quite normal persons. Usually the impulse to create such personifications comes from environmental suggestions, from a casual stimulus picked up as crystallisation-nucleus for the most fantastic images. In Spiritualistic séances such images of personalities often present themselves as incarnations of the dead and try to give evidence of their identity. In rare cases they produce an astonishing abundance of verifiable data which the medium could not have obtained by normal sensory means.”
Thirty years later Professor Bender tries to interpret Spiritualistic phenomena as aspects of pathology in his “Mediumistische Psychosen” (Mediumistic Psychoses; Parapsychology, 1966, Pages 574 to 604). He describes Spiritualistic practices as “psycho-mechanic automatism” and explains them by means of what he calls “overflow pipes of the unconscious”: the belief that Spiritualists are in touch with the “world beyond” is erroneous, he asserts, for the Spiritualistic supposition that other-worldly intelligences, “spirits”, appear before us stems from the personification-tendency of the unconscious and these phenomena are encouraged by paranormally gifted automatists; alleged contact with the dead therefore has to be classified as a pathological phenomenon. “Many find solace and hope in the conviction that contact with the dead is possible, and they can defend their conviction by pointing to documents of some literary value containing such ‘messages from the beyond’ ” (page 576). In a nutshell: Professor Bender’s own observations, as well as existing literature on psychiatry, have prompted him to regard Spiritualistic practices as “mediumistic psychoses”.
Professor Bender’s term for functions provoked by such subconscious reactions is “psychic automatism”, and he distinguishes between a mechanical and a sensory form. The mechanical function manifests through subconscious processes of movement such as automatic writing, table-tilting, knocking, etc.; the sensory form through visions, voices, or haptic illusory experiences. His classic example is the shell, which acts as stimulus for acoustic pseudo-hallucinations. He regards acoustic hallucinations as rare occurrences in Spiritualistic practices. Acoustic voices, heard by Spiritualists or mystics alike, he describes as illusory acoustic perception. He explains it all as a “clever deception of the unconscious, which uses the normally incorruptible senses the moment the critical ratio of the patient is no longer convinced by former procedures–a sign of the strange split in the personalities of such Spiritualistic adepts” (page 584).
Professor Bender thus dismisses the Spiritualist’s hypothesis as pathological and so precludes any possibility of discussion. Spiritualists are, in his opinion, pathological cases in need of psychiatric treatment. He illustrates this belief with examples of his own observations from which he concludes: “Once more the affective shock becomes evident, induced by the misunderstood experience of the beyond and the functional dependence of the voices on the progressive development of complexes made autonomous through night-long experimenting with the pendulum” (page 599).
Clearly his view is that the Spiritualist hypothesis is a kind of psychic sickness which he tries to explain by what he calls “psychic automatism”, and he regrets that most psychologists dismiss the idea. His treatise ends with the following statement: ”The superstitious attitudes built on misunderstood communication with ‘spirit-beings’ are widespread and carry, as case histories show, the seeds of mental illness.”
One may deduce from Professor Bender’s paper and the literature he quotes that in him we are faced with an exponent of the psychiatric school who interprets all paranormal phenomena as pathological symptoms and thereby questions their objective existence. (Note: After this book was written, Professor Bender became interested in the author’s research and participated in experiments.)
But the paranormal phenomena connected with materialization mediums, clairvoyants and so-called miracle cures cannot be explained by psychic automatism. The difficulties involved in getting to the bottom of a paranormal phenomenon cannot be taken as evidence against its existence or its importance. It may seem well-nigh impossible to interpret such phenomena by hypothetical assumption, but parapsychology exists expressly to concern itself with the supernormal and in most cases this does not permit a rational supposition. It is quite unimportant whether something is supposed to happen or not; the fact that something that cannot be explained by rational means is definitely happening is sufficient reason for Parapsychological research and examination. The materialistic attitude of science fails in this respect, because it tries to argue away anything that is not supposed to exist and does not fit in with the traditionally accepted view of life. It is the problem of life after death that really contains the essence of our existence, and since time out of mind man has probed this central question.
One of the mysteries of the human soul on which the voice phenomenon can shed new light is the question of the unconscious which, since Sigmund Freud’s teachings, has become almost an obsession of the human intellect. The unconscious can be explained as scientific fiction, a construction of the conscious mind, but in order to demonstrate this, I shall have to go more deeply into the matter.
Parapsychological research presupposes the existence of the soul. “The soul is the greatest of all cosmic miracles,” said C. G. Jung. The question is: can one explain this miracle through one’s own self? Does it perish with death, or can this soul hope to exist beyond the grave? We know that materialistic thought denies life after death and disposes of any transcendental expression of our soul by declaring it to be a pathological creation of our unconscious. The theory of the unconscious originated amongst such romantics of psychology as Carl Gustav Carus, 1789-1869, and the philosopher Eduard von Hartmann, 1842-1906, who became known as the “philosopher of the subconscious”.
Well, many things start in the heads of philosophers and poets! Sigmund Freud took up the idea, developed the theory of the unconscious and turned it into a kind of scientific dogma. C. G. Jung and, particularly, Gustav Richard Heyer were very much aware of this. “The unconscious has become a hodgepodge of all the psychic happenings that cannot be understood by simply applying the principles of ordinary, everyday psychology of the conscious mind, says Heyer in his lecture Tiefenpsychologie als Grenzwissenschaft (Psychology of the Subconscious—a Borderline Science), addressing the audience at the second Lindau Psychotherapy Week, 1951. The concept “the unconscious” (or subconscious) has only a relative meaning in connection with scientific truth and therefore cannot claim to be “definite”.
This concept of the unconscious can, in my opinion, be likened to that of the “ether” in physics. Compared with other sciences, psychology, and parapsychology in particular, is of quite recent date; but physical science too has only developed gradually and was nourished for a long time by fictitious beliefs. Right into the twentieth century scientists believed in the existence of “ether”, and even such a progressive and forward-looking physical scientist as Sir Oliver Lodge was convinced of its reality. Not until the beginning of the twentieth century did the physicist Max Planck dispose of this fictitious substance. He spoke of light quantums and photons and finally came to the conclusion that space was conditioned by electromagnetic radiation.
Prior to Planck, “ether” was made to explain something that could not be understood. Earlier physicists had tried to portray the whole of nature in mechanistic terms. Planck’s conception of the world, however, was not a mechanistic one; on the contrary, it seemed impossible to connect it with any kind of mechanistic view of life. Mainly for this reason Planck was at first rejected and ridiculed, but his teaching triumphed and developed into one of the great principles of modern physics–the quantum theory. This was the end of the mechanistic era in physics, and an entirely new phase began.
One can take the “unconscious” of parapsychology as a parallel and rate it as mechanistic-automatic fiction which calls for revision. We cannot explain man through man himself.
The psychologists of the nineteenth century were apt to assume that their knowledge penetrated the whole of creation, and their dogmas on the nature of man were built up on that basis. Even today the unconscious is thought to be “something like a colossal labyrinth”. Nobody, however, asks how this unconscious is sustained. The hypothesis of the unconscious can be regarded as a psychological illusion for the following reasons:
The apparently acceptable supposition of an “unconscious” fails immediately when we are faced with a new reality, namely post-mortal life. We come back, straightaway, to the cardinal question whether the unconscious, on whose efficiency our inner life is supposed to depend, really exists or whether it is no more than a figment of our imagination. We must always remember that the reality of the unconscious is only a hypothesis, introduced into science by the psychologists. These psychologists, who imagined that everything could be explained in mechanistic terms, concluded that all the activities of our psyche could also be interpreted by some mechanical means; but this intangible “something” is a supposition, a fabrication, an intensely private thing within the conscious inner realm.
To interpret the voices as products of the unconscious however is out of the question, as the phenomenon is of an objective, physical-acoustic nature.
Psychology uses the term “the unconscious”, but admits that it knows nothing about it. C. G. Jung gives a hint in this context: “… psychology can know nothing about the substance of the psyche, because it cannot realise anything except through the psyche. One can therefore neither deny nor confirm the validity of such terms as Mana, Daemon, or God; but one can note that the feeling of unfamiliarity, which is connected with the experience of the objective, is authentic.”
What we wish to express in the term the “unconscious”, we can equally express as “Mana”, “God” or “Daemon”. C. G. Jung finds these expressions much more qualifying than “the unconscious”. In his memoirs (page 339 of the German original) he says: “… for the unconscious is banal and therefore nearer to reality”.
The reason why the theory of the unconscious is questionable, is that it seeks to explain man through man himself; consequently paranormal phenomena would be automatically reduced to something emanating from man himself. This opinion negates the independence of paranormal phenomena and dissolves in the end into conscious and subconscious subjectivism. We know nothing of that which moves and guides us, nothing of the sources of our paranormal faculties.
The essence of the voices can be gleaned from their acoustically perceptible appearance and from insight into the meaning of their utterances, rather than through psychological knowledge or psycho-philosophical theories. The voices make their objectively valid statements independently of our attempts at interpretation; they are an acoustic fact and need no special theories to confirm them.
The hypothesis of the unconscious can be confronted by that of an “anti-world”, which is based on the theory of relativity. There is no “thing as such”, there is no “man as such,” either. The phenomenon “man” exists, with his conscious and unconscious faculties, as a unit; but he is dependent on a host of relationships that mark him as “man”. He can only then regard himself existent as “man” when both the world and its counterpart–the higher world–are in existence and he, as “man”, has a relationship to both these worlds.
Starting from the same premise we see, for instance, that the unconscious can only prove its existence in relationship to a higher consciousness. A world establishes its reality by its relationship to an anti-world; and the anti-world is a condition for the relative existence of the world and of all that is portrayed as reality in man.
This assumption fits in with the hypothesis of “spirits”: a spirit-world must exist in order to proclaim the earthly, human world. This hypothesis can be shored up, or demolished by experiments. It is by no means based on mere dogmas of faith, but on the theory of relativity. The key-note of our world is interaction, and man stands at its centre; he is not an exception to the rule, but the result of a great universal “teamwork”. This is the reason why it is so difficult to understand man’s earthly existence and his higher existence in isolation from each other, or to bring both under a common denominator. Nothing can be explained from the purely human point of view alone.
The voice-phenomenon calls for consideration of both these hypotheses, that of the unconscious and that of relativity.
The unconscious presents parapsychology with a dire dilemma: the problem concerns the belief in a “dark side” of our psyche on the one hand, and the principle of consciousness on the other. Can a way of reconciling the two be found? Is there something constant within us–without consciousness?
Philosophical thought and physical science have led us to the realisation that no object can be more than the sum total of its attributes, and these attributes exist only in our consciousness. Accordingly, our world is a construction of the conscious, composed of symbols shaped by the human senses. The philosopher Berkeley, who believed in “categories of the spirit”, held that components forming the structure of the world itself have no substance without the conscious, and reasoned that existence itself would be impossible, unless it existed in the consciousness of an eternal spirit.
This realisation calls for the existence of a higher consciousness, which alone can give us an understanding of human consciousness. We comprehend that man stands in relation to a higher existence, and that this justifies his own “being”.
Asserting that man can be explained through man himself must logically lead one to the conclusion that he needs no other reality outside himself. If, however, man assumes that he himself is the explanation of all extrasensory phenomena, then his existence loses all meaning; such an “explanation” is but a subjective feeling used to express the supernormal part of our psyche. In other words, instead of providing an explanation, man, in his subjectivism, simply rotates around himself.
It is interesting to note in this context that the most eminent physicists of our times, Einstein and Planck, followed this train of thought consistently when they pointed out that even time and space are just frames into which we fit our observations and are as inseparable from consciousness as are our conceptions of colour, shape, or size. In the opinion of these two physical scientists, space simply serves to bring order into the range of objects we perceive, and time has no independent existence outside the order of events by which we measure it. This basic realisation explodes our so-called reality and shows us how circumscribed our senses really are. The human eye is sensitive only to the limited range of colours between red and violet, and the difference of a few ten-thousandths of a millimeter in wave-length signifies the difference between the visible and the invisible.
The same applies to our ear, which can hear only a small fraction of the field of frequency. Our sense of hearing cannot discern electromagnetic waves; they must first be converted into- sound-waves by electronic apparatus. The sound-picture of the world received by the human ear is incomplete and attenuated. How much more would our world mean to us if our sense of hearing were a hundred or even ten times sharper, if our eyes were receptive to X-rays, or the gamma-rays of radium!
Realising that in fact all our knowledge of the universe rests on fragmentary impressions of our senses, we must assume that we shall never fully appreciate the true reality of the cosmic structure.
The voice-phenomenon, however, opens up new paths for parapsychologists to explore and points to an underlying objective reality, which hitherto lived only as an assumption or a belief in our imagination. This reality is the continued existence of our soul after death.
To solve the puzzle of the human soul without taking life after death into consideration, seems to become increasingly difficult. The voice-phenomenon unmistakably indicates a higher reality of the soul, an “overself”, that by some mysterious means can send us messages. Thanks to electronic apparatus it is possible to verify this existence after death objectively; through this objective knowledge we can heighten our perception of the universe and can be helped to understand many psychic phenomena which hitherto were shrouded in mystery.
If the physical scientists with their equations have been able to penetrate deeper into the invisible and inaudible secrets of the universe, than have the psychologists and parapsychologists into the secrets of the soul, it is because the psychologists have been philosophising about themselves without any means of explanation of the psyche other than through the psyche. For this reason the psychology of the past could produce no objective interpretation of psychic phenomena and simply drowned in supposition.
The voice-phenomenon shows acoustically perceptible, objective manifestations that lead us, by inference, to what may be at least a true hypothetical reality. One must, of course, take into consideration that extra-sensory phenomena can hardly be probed by the research methods of physical science. Further difficulties arise in research into the voice-phenomenon, because we have no idea of the substance in which our soul exists after death.
The American parapsychologist Rhine indicates in his book, The Reach of the Mind, that man possesses, in addition to his normal consciousness, an “inner window” that is breached time and again by experiences of extrasensory perception. Rhine compares the impact of this parapsychological fact with that of nuclear physics, while Professor Bender has now expressed the opinion in a talk, recorded on tape, that the voice-phenomenon is equal to nuclear physics in importance.
The working hypothesis of the unconscious and of relativism could complement each other in a significant way if researchers acknowledged the fact that all we commonly call “real” represents only a fraction of true reality. The voice-phenomenon establishes a relation to an extra-real or anti-real world of manifestations.
C. G. Jung followed the same trend of thought in his theories: “Our psyche is of a cosmic design and what happens on a large scale also takes place in the smallest and most subjective way in our soul. That is why the God-image is always a projection of the inner experience of a mighty vis-a-vis.”
The physicist Werner Heisenberg equally rejects the dividing of the world into subject and object, inner and outer world, body and soul, in his conception of the nature of modern physics. “In natural science,” he states, “the object of research is no longer nature itself, but nature subjected to man’s questioning.” Das Naturbild, page 18; (The Image of Nature). The theme is no more just an “image of nature” as such, but an “image of our relationship to nature” page 21). Descartes’ division of the world into “res-cogitans” and “res-extensa” is therefore no longer valid for modern natural science. Man is an interaction of sensory and extrasensory worlds, and the animistic view of life will have to be abandoned, for its image of man relates to sensory man only.
As an object can be explained only in relation to something else; so man stands in relation to a higher, spiritual, sovereign being that does not perish with death.
Meticulous analysis of the voice-phenomenon confirms the fact that it cannot be interpreted in animistic terms. It manifests in collaboration with our psyche (anima), but confronts us as an independent acoustic manifestation, exhibiting its specific, individual existence. The tangible results of this new discovery encourage the assumption that the voices can be defined as extrasensory entities. Appearing as independent manifestations, they can be determined by a host of basic features. We can experience the occurrence as an acoustic phenomenon and draw rich material for research from its content.
In searching for clarity concerning the ultimate questions of our existence we search for the most precious gift of all–the certainty of our soul’s survival. This is perhaps the main problem parapsychology, in its attempt to define life after death empirically, has to solve. In the same measure that we attain clarity on the ultimate questions concerning our soul, shall we also find meaning and aim for our earthly existence.
It is my opinion that the voice-phenomenon produces facts by means of which we can break through the habitual confines of our existence and make contact with the “opposite world” that can be regarded as the center of our life after death. We step into a new dimension, and that means freedom from the fetters of time, space and physical preconceptions. We enter into transcendental reality.
One thing is clear–the path that leads to this truth will be long and arduous, for many preconceived ideas and thinking habits will have to be brushed aside. Those who do not shy away from all these difficulties however will feel enriched, and empowered to guide their lives towards a higher destiny.
Towards the end of 1964 a book appeared in Stockholm under the title Roesterna fran Rymden (Voices from Space). The author’s name was Friedrich Juergenson.
All my life I have been preoccupied with parapsychological problems, especially with those concerning death and life after death. These problems play a part in all my books and particularly in Der Chaosmensch und seine Ueberwindung (Chaos-Man and his Conquest). Whilst studying in England I had come into close contact with men like G.N.M. Tyrrell and William Oliver Stevens, who were then working intensively on various parapsychological problems. After the war I lived in Sweden and I am closely connected with those interested in parapsychological research in that country. Juergenson’s name struck me as that of an outsider.
Reading Juergenson’s book carefully several times gave me a very definite impression of the author as a highly sensitive and susceptible man. Many of his ideas seemed to me to have been formed by a vivid imagination; the kind that could conjure up pictures in an empty room or voices out of the stillness. Later in his book, however, he came to develop a fascinating theme: he maintained that with the help of tape-recorder, microphone and radio he was able to hear voices on tape which he called “voices from space”; that these voices did not belong to any other “physical” world, but to a world in contrast to ours, a spiritual world; that the voices were those of the dead. Juergenson gives a detailed account of this in a book called Sprechfunk mit Verstorbenen (Radio-Link urith the Dead), 1967. He heard not only the voices of near relatives or friends, but also those of historical personages of the recent past, such as Hitler, Goering, Felix Kersten, the Yoga-author Boris Sacharow, the controversial Chessman etc. Juergenson mentions a great number of such voices–all recorded on tape in the course of several years.
Almost every page of the book confronted me with unanswered questions; no practical hints were given, and so I contacted the author in April 1965 and asked him to demonstrate some of his tapes to a small private audience.
I felt an immediate empathy towards Friedrich Juergenson: all that he told me had a ring of sincerity and deep emotional involvement.
Apart from myself, three people were present at the demonstration: Dr. Zenta Maurina, G.Sch. (a teacher) and Mrs. M. Juergenson. Juergenson went straight to the point and let us listen to a selection of his recordings. Against a background of ordinary tape noises, voices were audible; we could hear them, but our unpractised ears had great difficulty in identifying or comprehending them. They had to be repeated several times before our sense of hearing could gear itself to the unusually quick rhythm.
At the first recording Juergenson made in our presence, through microphone, voices appeared that could not possibly have come from any of the people in the room. Dr. Maurina, for instance, remarked that she was under the impression that the inhabitants of the beyond were living a happy, carefree life. A voice answered: “Nonsense!” This word was distinctly audible and easily identified by all of us when we listened to the tape being played back, and there were other voices that could not be determined quite so unequivocally.
The phenomenon began to grip my attention and awakened all my explorer’s instincts. After looking into several hypotheses and theories, I studied the phenomenon as a function of the unconscious; then again I tried to explain voices obtained through radio as coincidental sound-freaks from transmitting stations.
My searching and reflecting involved me more and more in Juergenson’s discovery, and in June 1965 I decided to do some research with Juergenson on his estate, Nysund, in order to gain some personal experience.
Renewed contact with Juergenson and deeper insight into his personality and his life’s history confirmed my view that this man was utterly sincere; that he was completely immersed in the mystery of this phenomenon and firmly convinced that he was dealing with a world beyond–a world into which we merge after death and where we continue our activities in a transcendental existence. Faith and intuition can never harm a cause; for my part, I endeavoured to understand the phenomenon in its factual sense.
In the beginning our recordings produced unclear, hardly discernible voices; not before 10th June at 9.30 p.m., did we achieve good results. This successful recording was made through radio. I have played it over to many people since, and all have heard and understood the voices it contains. First a voice calls: “Friedrich, Friedrich!”—then a woman’s voice says softly “Heute pa nakti” (German and Latvian: “Tonight”) followed by a woman’s voice asking “Kennt ihr Margaret, Konstantin?” (German: “Do you know Margaret, Konstantin?”); the voice continues in a singing tone: “Vi talu! Runa!” (Latvian: “We are far away! Speak!”). The fragment closes with a female voice: “Va a dormir! Margarete!” (French: “Go to sleep! Margarete!”).
These words made a deep impression on me, as Margarete Petrautzki had died recently, and her illness and death had greatly affected me. This coincidence gave me much food for thought, and I resolved to investigate the phenomenon by myself; to isolate it, if possible, from Juergenson’s personality as medium and to make it “independent”. Was the phenomenon really universal and free from all subjective influence? In that case it should be able to manifest itself on tape quite independently, regardless of persons, time, or space. Should this prove to be so, one would have to reckon with an objective existence of the phenomenon. If I were able to succeed in becoming aware of tile phenomenon through my own individual research, I would try to understand its working and penetrate its meaning.
So I started my own experiments in June 1965. In the course of five years I have made so many observations and gained so much experience that my main task now lies in sifting the enormous amount of voice-material collected on my tapes; in crystallising the essential criteria common to all possible forms of manifestations heard, and in discarding all details not essential to a thorough comprehension of the phenomenon.
“Realisation of the character of something seen or heard is the adding of a specific impression to an overall meaning one already knows”, says A. F. Marfeld in his book on electrotechnics and electronics.
It is very difficult to trace the voice-phenomenon back to an already known denominator. First of all one has to grasp the nature of the manifestation, determine the pitch of the voices and understand the language they use; as the phenomenon is of a physical nature, all these problems are still this side of the “cloud of unknowing”. How the voices create electromagnetic fields on the tape remains for the moment an unsolved riddle; but experimental work is bringing us nearer to the root of the problem.
To begin with I wanted to find out whether the phenomenon happened independently of outer influences. I started with recordings through microphone. Despite my most strenuous efforts I heard nothing but the words I had spoken myself and the rushing sound of the tape whenever I played a recording back. After three months of practice, at last I heard a male voice. In answer to my observation that the inhabitants of the beyond, just like earthly humans, probably have to contend with certain limitations, the voice said in Latvian: “Pareizi ta bus” (“That is right”). The voice keeps a definite, steady rhythm :
“Pa- rei- zi- ta bus”
I must stress here that although this was the first voice I heard, it was by no means the first to have imprinted itself on tape during my experiments. Later on, after repeated and careful listening-in, I could detect many voices I had not noticed in the beginning.
Psycho-acoustic experts assume that the human ear can distinguish approximately 400,000 different sounds and therefore it always recognises the difference between two sounds presented one after the other; but this is only a theoretical assumption. Research shows that most people are unable to distinguish more than seven levels of sound-volume and seven levels of pitch. During various listening-in tests, we made the interesting discovery that, to start with, the human ear either does not pick up the voices at all or distinguishes them only very slowly and vaguely. The ear must attune itself for quite a period before it can start to hear the phonemes. (A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech-sound that can be distinguished from another.)
All of us, with the exception of those who have a specially trained sense of hearing, hear only very superficially; but the sense of hearing is of the highest importance when it comes to discerning the voices. Musically trained people were able to follow the voices with much less trouble than others during tests. Professor Atis Teichmanis, of the College of Music in Freiburg (Breisgau, Germany), noticed immediately when listening-in that the voices differ in pitch and sound-volume from ordinary human voices. Despite his particularly acute sense of hearing, however, he could differentiate and understand the voices only with difficulty at first–because of the unaccustomed rhythm, pitch, intensity and strange mode of expression used, which make these voices sound so different from earthly human ones. After a time of diligent practice, when the ear has become attuned, we can find in these very deviations from the accustomed the clues to help us determine the structure of the voices. Voices may vary in sound-volume from whispering to fortissimo; their timbre is usually well defined.
Over four hundred people have taken part in listening-in tests, which have shown that each participant could become aware of the voices through the sense of hearing and could understand the speech content. At first, most people had difficulties, depended often only on feeling and guessing, and heard only vague noises; after a period of practice, however, the noises emerged as definite sound-shapes and meaningful sentences. Audibility of the voices, therefore, depends on practice, ability of the ear to distinguish, and the extent of undivided attention given whilst listening. The ear is the best voice-analyser (apart from electrical measuring-techniques which allow us to measure the minutest time-differences); it is a masterpiece of nature, “for in the nerve-fibres, various electronic processes are connected in series, each of which lasts roughly 100 micro-seconds. With such slow-working elements as building-material, the electronics engineer could achieve such accuracy only with the greatest difficulty.” A. F. Marfeld, Electrotechnik und Elektronik (Electrotechnics and Electronics)-Safari-Verlag, Berlin, 1965. p.725.
It is necessary to stress that the verification of the voices depends on repetition, and the ear cannot hear the voices without technical aids. Tape-recorder and microphone are as essential for the investigator of the voice-phenomenon as microscope and telescope are for the natural scientist and the astronomer.
When we have detected a voice on tape we still have to identify and understand it. We start by determining what language it uses, and whilst the ear will not quickly differentiate unknown foreign languages, it can adapt itself to the mother-tongue or languages that are familiar to it much more easily. The voices are characterised by an unmistakable, polyglot speech.
After having determined the language(s), we try to grasp content and meaning. Only when we have analysed the sentence in this way and found that it is composed of several languages and that the words add up to a sensible content, can we claim that the voice is paranormal. The extrasensory character of the voice phenomenon can only be determined by comparing its mode of expression with the rules and regulations of ordinary human speech. Everyday life, and speech in particular, is full of complicated noises composed of a multitude of varied frequency components. When such a noise spreads through the air one can treat each component separately, for the sound waves travel through the atmosphere without influencing each other. It is quite easy to determine, when listening to a tape, that the voices are in no way influenced by any other sources of human noise.
I would like to repeat here that the decisive factor in studying the voice-phenomenon is not the theoretical interpretation, not the philosophising, but the empirical result, arrived at through experiment, that can be verified under test conditions. The fact that the voices are audible to our ear and we can understand that speech, confirms that they exist physically and independently from us, and the experiments prove that the voices can be heard by anybody with a fair sense of hearing, regardless of his or her personal views, sympathy or antipathy. The voices are objective entities that can be verified and examined under psycho-acoustic, physical conditions. This concurrence of psycho-acoustic and paranormal data can hardly be brushed aside as mere coincidence; the voices must therefore be deemed to stem from a different plane of existence than our own.
The main difficulty for effective research lies in the “listening-in” process. Because the ear has only a very limited range of frequency, and the language of the voices is tuned to more rapid frequencies than human speech, I have found that it takes at least three months for the ear to adjust itself to the difference: to begin with, though it may hear speech-like noises, it cannot differentiate the words–let alone understand what they mean. Of course, sharpness of hearing can differ widely from person to person: listening-in tests have shown that children and people with a musically trained ear have least difficulty in following the voices; military-trained radio operators achieve a high degree of accuracy, and for some unknown reason specialists of internal diseases and Catholic priests also seem to be able to discern the voices with relative success.
To augment audibility, I have evolved the following method:
When a sentence that can be understood has been located, this section of the original tape is re-recorded on to another tape and this process is repeated at least five times. It is a procedure that makes it easier to analyse the voices phoneme by phoneme, and statements can be verified with greater certainty. It is for this reason that a recording of, for instance, ten minutes, may take ten hours to analyse and verify.
The concrete results of this new method of research give substance to the assertion that the voices can be defined as belonging to transcendental beings. They appear as independent acoustic shapes that can be determined by a number of basic, characteristic features. This means that we can recognise the phenomenon in its acoustic manifestation.
Results vary considerably according to the method of recording used.
The process of making recordings through microphone for the investigation of the voice-phenomenon is approximately the same as for ordinary tape-recording.’ Speed can be adjusted to 3-3/4 i.p.s. or 7-1/2 i.p.s. Friedrich Juergenson considers that a speed of 7-1/2 i.p.s. is probably more suited to the fastspeaking voices; but my own experiments show that 3-3/4 i.p.s. gives equally satisfactory results and quite often the voices appear to be even clearer at that speed.
When the tape-recorder has been switched to “recording”, the person in charge of the session might begin, for instance, by simply giving the date: “Today is the …” Unless the experimenter is alone, he can then give the names of participants. Should the investigator be by himself he might say perhaps: “Hello, hello, here is X.X.— I should be very happy to know that the unseen friends are here and are manifesting through the tape.” He can follow this up by calling the names of dead friends and acquaintances; he should feel free to say whatever he likes, to ask questions, to explain or to specify what he wishes to know. If, on the other hand, the recording is being made in the presence ·of several people, the conversation should be kept on general lines so that each participant can contribute whatever he or she wants to express. Recording sessions should not exceed ten to fifteen minutes, because, as I have explained, examination of voices received may take several hours.
I have found microphone-voices to be very soft, quick as lightning, and only too often drowned or made unintelligibie by voices of people taking part in the experiment. I therefore advise participants to speak slowly, quietly, and to take time to pause; afterwards, when the tape is being played back, to pinpoint every hint of a voice precisely and to repeat that section, so that the utterance becomes audible, the contest clear and unequivocally verifiable and identifiable to the human ear.
Equally important is that participants should refrain from making noises, such as, for instance, murmurs of assent or dissent. Sincerity and honesty of purpose are, of course, essential. How the manifestations are explained or interpreted by those present is not important at this stage; it is most important that we should hear the voices and essentially comprehend them, in their various aspects of rhythm, language, content, etc.
Sincerity and honesty do not rule out logical thinking and criticism, but an atmosphere of harmony and discipline should prevail. Idle gossip during recordings is to be avoided.
The microphone voices fall into three classes of audibility:
Class “A” voices can be heard and identified by anyone with normal hearing and knowledge of the language spoken; no special training of the ear is needed to detect them.
There are several hundred microphone-voices amongst my recordings that fall into this group. It is easy to make tape copies of “A” voices, and they can be repeated as often as desired. Thus, I have analysed roughly 25,000 voices according to speech content, language and rhythm. By this method of repetition, the acoustic reality of the voices can be established beyond doubt, and hallucinations of the ear are excluded.
Class “B” voices speak more rapidly and more softly, but are still quite plainly audible to a trained and attentive ear. The ability to differentiate increases with practice, but this is a slow and wearisome process. For this reason it is difficult to use non-regular participants for experimental purposes with class “B” voices.
Class “C” consists of the most interesting voices; voices that give us a great deal of information and much paranormal data. Unfortunately, these can be heard only in fragments, even by a trained ear, but with improved technical aids, it may eventually become possible to hear and demonstrate these voices, which lie beyond our range of hearing, without trouble. This grading and my comments are but a rough guide in the present stage of our approach to the psycho-acoustic aspect of the investigation.
The problems pertaining to the recording of voices through radio are complex. In recording, as well as in listening to the results, the sense of hearing is of vital importance. Friedrich Juergenson maintains in his book Voices from Space that no radio-voice recordings can be made without a “mediator”. This “mediator voice” is that of a woman (in his case “Lena”), telling one which transmitting station, wavelength, and hour of day or night to choose for a recording. I was able to hear Juergenson’s mysterious “mediator” on one of his tapes. She asked him to wait for the recording till 9 p.m.; hints about people and events also came through in her strangely hissing voice.
I had to wait six months before such a mediator appeared on my tapes. It was at the end of 1965 when at last I heard a voice reply to my query as to who my mediator might be; it said “Spidola” (a Latvian name), spoken in Class “B” audibility. A male voice added in Latvian: “Mes dzirdejam. Latviesi tev palidzes.” (“We have heard. The Latvians. will help you.”)
At the next radio-voice recording–it was the first one I made by this method–I heard a female voice indicating a quite unknown transmitting station. “Sak’ Peter!” (Latvian: “Tell Peter!”), it said. Further evidence on tape confirmed that someone called Spidola really did assist in radio-voice recordings, and that the voice-entities appear to have several transmitting stations of their own.
If one is relying on the help of the “mediator”, one glides slowly from one end of the wavelength-scale to the other and listens carefully for a voice that will hiss “Now”, or “Make recording!”, or some such hint. At that precise moment one switches on the tape-recorder (which is connected to the radio) and starts the recording, regardless of music or speech being transmitted on that particular wavelength, or of any other noises. Afterwards, when the tape is being played back, all extraneous noises resulting from radio transmissions have to be carefully eliminated, so that possible “voices” (always distinctly marked by their unmistakable rhythm, language-mixture, and frequent habit of addressing the experimenters) may be discerned. I will come back to these special features later, when we examine speech-content.
Further experiments proved, however, that successful radio recordings could be achieved even without the help of Spidola. One chooses transmitter waves that meet and produce a typical “rushing” sound (or ‘white noise’). In this way one can make recordings without interference from radio programmes; but only afterwards, when the tape is being played back, can one hear how the voices stand out against the background of any incidental fragments of radio-transmissions. Once again they are recognisable by their paranormal features. They may address the experimenter and give him hints; or persons we know may give their names, tell us something, warn us or plead with us. But whether the voices are microphone, radio, or other methods of recording, they always keep the same rhythm, the same peculiarities of speech, and often say things that relate to extrasensory data.
The presence of Spidola, the mediator, is confirmed on many of my recordings. Sometimes she gives quite definite advice; sometimes other voices rebuke her, or try to make her appear unimportant, even unnecessary.
Radio-voices too can be grouped into three grades of audibility; but they differ from microphone-voices in that their pronunciation is clearer and their messages are longer and have more meaning.
The voices themselves tend to clamour again and again for radio-recordings. I have some extremely good examples of this on tape. We know that radio waves penetrate the human body without being registered by the sense-organs. Electromagnetic fields within us continually make music or speeches –and perhaps these voices from “beyond” also cry out for contact within us and we fail to hear them. Many things are inaudible to our unaided ears, but a sensitive radio or microphone receives these subtle vibrations and creates electromagnetic fields on tape which are transformed into soundwaves and made audible. Perhaps these “voices from space” seem strange to us only because they are excluded from our ordinary, everyday powers of perception, but I have the impression that they are always present and through microphone or radio, can give us enormously varied information.
So we see the voice-phenomenon is closely linked to radio waves that come from afar, penetrate everything and create electromagnetic fields within the so-called physical world, and we can regard the tape-recorder as an intermediary between electronic waves and sound-waves; only with the help of a tape-recorder can we hear what the electronic world tells us through the medium of sound-waves.
Quite by chance I discovered a method of combining radio and microphone recordings. One day, whilst I was playing back a recording, I noticed changes on the tape. A voice incessantly demanded “signals”. Suppressing my astonishment I followed this strange recording to the end. When the tape had run through I fixed a fresh one, as I intended to make a radio-voice recording, but I forgot to adjust the tape-recorder, so that in effect the recording was made through microphone while the radio connection remained in operation. On playing the tape back I discovered several voices; by mistake, so to speak, I had stumbled upon a method which opened up quite new possibilities of registering conversation. By this method the voices can enter into discussions and answer questions, Listening, as the tape is being played back, we hear our own queries, and conversations between participants, to which quite exceptionally meaningful answers and comments are received. Once again I noticed the characteristic peculiarities of the phenomenon, which remained exactly the same as in the other recording methods. Sentences are compressed, the meaning is usually obscure, and in all languages used grammatical rules are ignored; for instance, the German word “binde” (“bind”) becomes “bindu”, a combination of “bind” and “du”, the German word for “thou”. Neologisms are particularly remarkable: our apparatus is called ”Dezentraten”–“decentrators”.
My question as to how it had been known that I was playing back a tape was answered by a woman’s voice: “Wir waren in deinem Zimmer.” German: “We were in your room.” Sentences in Latvian and Russian followed, for example: “Izradas tads nevizigs, nebo!”–literally, “It becomes apparent that he is negligent, oh Heaven!” but as we might say “Heavens, he’s obviously been careless!” The next sentence is striking: “Jundahl kan ga sjalv,–oh veca pott! Bindu han an de(m) mort-bed!” The sentence is composed of five languages: Jundahl–a name; kan ga sjalv-Swedish: veca–Latvian; pott-North German dialect or Swedish; bindu–modified German; ban–Swedish; an de(m) –German; mort–latin or one of the Romance languages; bed–English. In English the sentence would run: “Jundahl can walk by himself, the old pot. Tie him to the death-bed.”
In this context yet another sentence became audible: “Lido ernst nach ziami auf Konstant! Konstantin, Alex.” This is a mixture of Latvian and German words: lido–Latvian: flying; ernst-German= serious; nach–German: to; ziami-Latvian: earth; auf-German: on (or: to); can be understood in English as: “Fly in earnest to earth to Konstant! Konstantin, Alex!”
The method of recording is virtually the same as in radio recordings, except that the tape-recorder remains switched to “microphone”; the microphone itself is placed very close to the radio. It is best to tune the radio–set to a wavelength that gives only the “rushing” sound, so that no noises from radio stations can be heard and even the “rushing” sound is hardly audible. There is, of course, always a chance that earthly transmitting stations may intervene, but, as stressed before, the voice phenomenon has its own distinctive features which rule out any danger of confusion. With me the voices use mostly Latvian, and as the Latvian language is very rarely heard on radio, one may safely regard messages spoken in Latvian as being of the same paranormal origin as those spoken in various languages.
Radio-microphone-recordings, where voices can take up points of discussion and answer questions, produce excellent evidence of the voices’ independence and their partnership with us, and the results like the others, can be grouped into A, B and C grades of audibility.
Since April 1968, two new recording methods have been developed in cooperation with Physics Professor Alex Schneider of Switzerland:
This method excludes freak noises from radio and microphone only carrier-frequencies operate and these are used by the voice-entities. The voices thus recorded show the same traits as those of other recording methods. Their statements are often slightly overlaid by sinus-frequencies, but their audibility is good and they are free from other interferences. Up to several hundred voices recorded in this fashion have been definitely verified by Professor Schneider and other collaborators.
In this highly interesting method, the recording is made directly from the room on to the tape. For various reasons it is a complicated process. The length of the aerial (6-8 cm.) has to be exactly adjusted, and vibrations sent out by the voices are received by this aerial. In quality the voices thus received come nearest to those of ordinary human ones, although we find exactly the same peculiarities as before. When this last method has been further developed and perfected, we shall be able to regard it as a direct contact, in every sense of the word, with the unseen entities. Results of diode-recordings can be heard without great difliculty even by an untrained and unprepared ear. One has the impression that the voices speak directly onto the tape; they have a spaceless quality, an immediate impact, and their diction is remarkably clear; they are instantly received and can be heard without atmospheric interferences. These recordings have to be made with the tape-recorder turned to highest sound-volume. (The copying too has to be done with both machines turned to maximum. Other recordings, whether by radio or microphone, would produce ear-splitting noises at that volume.)
For more information about these latest two methods, see Professor Schneider’s technical commentary in the appendix of the original book.
Although we are far from grasping the full complexities of the phenomenon as yet, the so-called “voices from beyond”, are easily distinguishable from terrestial human voices. They speak in an unmistakable rhythm and usually employ several languages in a single sentence; the sentence construction obeys rules that differ radically from those of ordinary speech and, although the voices seem to speak in the same way as we do, the anatomy of their “speech-apparatus” must be different from our own.
Examination of our human speech-mechanism has shown that the whole process of “speaking” is a very complicated one; vocal chords, glottis and lungs all play their part. In producing the sound of a voice, the vocal chords are brought together by a system of rotatory cartilages and a complicated interaction of small muscles; air, being pressed out of the lungs, causes the vocal chords to vibrate, and size and tension of the chords determine the frequency of this vibration. The movement of the vocal chords, influences the stream of air and this, in turn, sets off the resonance-frequencies in the oral cavity. The timbre of a voice depends largely on the shape of the mouth. Voices are usually unique and everybody possesses, so to speak, his or her own voice, distinguished by its special, unmistakable tone-quality.
Apart from their paranormal characteristics, the voices that manifest on tape show great similarities to those produced by ordinary human speech organs. It is possible that they may use already existing human voice material. They are softer, (those in Class B or C generally only a whisper) but they do seem to be produced through some kind of speech-apparatus.
Differentiations in their speech pattern also seem to indicate that in some unexplained way, the voices use the same sources from which we terrestial humans build our speech. They use continuous and fragmentary sounds just as we do. The continuous sounds are characteristically drawn out, whilst the fragmentary ones break off abruptly. One can also distinguish vocal and non-vocal sounds, according to whether vocal chords have been in action to produce them or not.
The words made audible on tape are generally pronounced in an unmistakably uniform way, regardless of the language used. Identification of the voices is, nevertheless, often a remarkably difficult task. One may, whilst listening-in, discern the resonance and frequency of voices–one hears the sounds, but the sense of hearing has the utmost difficulty in recognising them as words; only after intensive and concentrated listening does a tangible word emerge. Some of my collaborators often heard definite resonance-frequencies over quite a period of time, without being able to grasp what they contained. These difficulties pertain particularly of course to the whispering Class C voices. It is interesting to note that troubles arise not only on the side of the listener, but also on the side of the speakers–the voice-entities. I have examples on my tape which demonstrate how a voice tries to form words out of torn vibrations that sound like the humming of a bumble-bee.
It is impossible to explain the language of the voices by saying that it is formed through the language of the experimenter himself. The voices speak their own language–a kind of Esperanto, a single sentence often comprising a number of languages and cut down to the barest essentials. For instance, the experimenter calls upon his deceased collaborator, Professor Frei, to state his name clearly and unequivocally from “the other side”. A voice answers distinctly: “Frei! Du sova, willst nicht glaube!” (Swedish and German: “You sleep, you will not believe!”). Here we have the curtailed polyglot mode of expression repeated consistently in all the recordings that have produced voice-texts, up to the present time over 72,000. It is this particular voice-phenomenon-language, differing fundamentally from terrestial human languages, by which the entities can be distinguished from ordinary human voices.
The voice-phenomenon-language must, of course, strike us as highly complicated and on first encounter, without comment given or some knowledge of the situation, it seems confusing, even senseless. In many cases, however, each word has a wider, symbolic meaning, given to it in such a way that the individual experimenter may recognise the voice-entity behind it; in a few instances I have added comments, but in general I have quite intentionally avoided interpretation, as I wanted to stress the factual character of the phenomenon rather than its deeper meaning. The voice-phenomenon must be allowed to speak to the reader directly. Facts are the servants of truth; to understand the new reality in the form presented to us by the voice phenomenon, we need a certain amount of preparation and much more knowledge relating to the possibility of a higher existence.
Let us ask ourselves briefly an important question: does a thought consist of words? The answer is: no. Thoughts consist of psychic particles that stand in the same relation to reality as words. As we all know, there are many forms of language: the language of the battlefield, the language of reports, the language of everyday life, an ex-cathedra-language, and so forth. This means that to think of a language form is to think of a form of life.
I will give some examples of the voice-phenomenon language portraying a form of reality we have not yet learned to understand:
“Eine no Tote,” German and English: “One who is not dead.” We find here a rigorous shortening of the sentence construction.
“Rant te pustjak,” Latvian and Russian: “Rant does not have any importance here.” This we may understand to mean that values are different in the spiritual world; even Rant does not have any special importance there.
Another example: I address the Russian poet Majakowskij and complain about the difficulties in dealing with certain human beings. Quick as lightning a voice answers briefly: “Majakowskij! Konstantin, pluj!” Russian: ” Majakowskij! Konstantin, spit on it!” meaning that I should not bother about what people say, but get on with what I think is right.
These short sentences are rich in meaning. Briefness takes many forms.
One more example: “Nedoma zirgi;” Latvian: “Horses don’t think.” One might complete the sentence by adding: “… because they do not possess the mental ability.” Here it seems I am told that I cannot expect too much from people who lack certain mental or spiritual qualities.
Naturally, intimate knowledge of the particular language helps. The Latvian sentence: “Koste, Slankis, sapulci–vaciete”, for instance, literally translated: “Koste, Slankis, the gathering –the German”, can only be properly understood by those who know the Latvian language well. A full translation of this truncated sentence would read: “Koste, here is Slankis. The gathering (or meeting) is being conducted by the German woman.”
Sometimes pronouncements are kept strictly to the point and refer to current situations on our side, or on theirs. Once, reporters of the newspaper Bild am Sonntag (Sunday Pictorial) visited me, remaining in the studio almost the whole night. Dr. Zenta Maurina, whose night’s rest had been disturbed, was somewhat upset. A voice summed up the situation in three words: “Du zornig, Maurina.” German: “You angry, Maurina.”
Complicated thought processes may be expressed in very short sentences. For example, the experimenter asked in the course of a recording session whether the voice entities could tell him something about Dr. X. The answer came: “Ko, dativo bes.” This is Spanish and Russian and means: “Ko (Konstantin,), dative-devil.” In the light of the given situation, this means that Dr. X. in his capacity of examiner of the voice-phenomenon, can be taken as the “devil’s advocate”. However, only if one remembers the scholastic tradition of discussion in the Middle Ages–from which the expression “advocatus diaboli” stems–in which the “dative” played an especially important role, and the fact that it is still quite common for philologists analysing Greek and Latin texts to argue for hours, does the meaning become clear.
On the other hand, there are quite straightforward utterances needing no explanation, for example: “Konstantin, tev netic, Munthe.” Latvian: “Konstantin, one does not believe you, Munthe.” Or, again, “Bedenke, ich bin!” German: “Imagine, I am!”
This last clear pronouncement was made by Margarete Petrautzki who, in the last days of her life, had maintained that she could not envisage an existence after death. During one of his recording sessions, the experimenter asked her how she felt “over there”, and the answer–“Imagine, I am!”-was spoken in a happily astonished tone of voice.
I will summarise briefly the characteristics I have mentioned in this section:
1. The voice-entities speak very rapidly, in a mixture of languages, sometimes as many as five or six in one sentence.
2. They speak in a definite rhythm, which seems to be forced upon them by the means of communication they employ.
3. The rhythmic mode of speeech imposes a shortened, telegram-style phrase or sentence.
4. Presumably arising from these restrictions, grammatical rules are frequently abandoned and neologisms abound.
These characteristic features of the language of the voices and their speech content, are the outstanding paranormal aspects of the phenomenon and the guide-lines to further research, and in my opinion this is, at least for the time being, the best approach in our endeavours to get closer to its essence.
One may look at the problem of reproducing the voices from various points of view. Results depend on the sense of hearing as well as on mechanical and electronic aids.
The psycho-acoustic aspect plays a major part in listening to the recordings, for the sound encounters many pitfalls on its complicated route between ear and brain, and one tends to hear what one wants or expects to hear. The radio’s humming may be transformed into words, and a blurred shout may sound like a name, but these errors can be eliminated in time, because everything recorded on tape can be repeated until the ear is sufficiently well-trained to make sharp, accurate distinctions.
One must admit, however, that emotions welling up whilst listening to the voices can be of a highly personal nature, and this may be due to the communication of extremely subtle sensations. The voices transmit–as we shall later learn from speech-contents–a vast range of feelings, emotions, passions, thoughts and wishes that are deeply embedded in the human psyche and awaken within us a transcendental sensibility. It would be naive to presume that such complex interrelations could be explained through simple physical formulae. Each individual may react quite differently when listening to the voices, according to his or her thinking-habits or ethical and religious concepts. Whilst listening-in one should try, as far as is possible, not to be emotionally affected by what one hears and to keep one’s feelings, thoughts and wishes well under control.
Gradually, the ear adapts itself to the voices and their various individual characteristics. We realise that each one has its own typical voice-quality, and these qualities help us greatly when it comes to identifting individual voices. With practice it becomes possible to guess at the type of personality hidden behind a particular voice.
As recordings vary a great deal in quality and the experimenters are still unsure of their ground, many voices reach us only in a heavily distorted form. A voice may lose its characteristic quality through the recording process. Radio-recordings are particularly prone to such distortions, caused mainly by music, speech or insufficiently strong transmitting beams, and in such cases it is impossible to recognise the voice either by its timbre or its speech-content. The problem we have to deal with here is the technical one of how to improve recording methods in such a way as to perfect the audibility of a voice and retain its original timbre. The technical aids currently at our disposal allow no more than a partial, often faulty, reproduction of the voices, although quality has been substantially improved by the diode method of recording, and the repeated copying of the audible voices on tape is a further improvement, as it helps the ear to distinguish words phoneme by phoneme (smallest sound-unit). A voice thus recorded can be measured by technical apparatus in the same way as a human voice.