Konstantīns Raudive The Latvian who discovered the Electronic Voice Phenomenon


Today on our Smartphones and computers an applications called “Ghost Radar”, “Spirit Vox”, “EVP Recorder” ect. have became widely popular. There are certain groups of individuals who try to communicate with “spirits from the afterlife” using modern equipment like tape recorders, microphones or voice recorders. There are even “Ghost Boxes” for sale that claims receive voice messages from the afterlife. It’s interesting enough that the man behind this is Latvian exile Konstantīns Raudive the husband of the famous Latvian poet Zenta Mauriņa. He was one of the first to discover the Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) and bring the world’s attention to it.

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are the sounds found on electronic recordings which resemble speech, but are reportedly not the result of intentional recording or rendering. EVP are commonly found in recordings with static, stray radio transmissions, and background noise. Recordings of EVP are often produced by increasing the gain (i.e. sensitivity) of the recording equipment.

Konstatīns Raudive was born in April 30 1909 in the Asūne parish in Latgallia not far from the town of Dagda. Born in farmer family a devout Catholic as the majority of Latgalians in those times. Raudive attended the Krāslava Gymnasium and the Riga Catholic Theological Seminary, but did not graduate it. He then started to look for education abroad at the University of Parma, Madrid, Edinburgh. He lived in Italy and Finland. During his studies he became a student of Carl Jung. In 1938 he returned to Latvia and became active publisher and lecturer. He was untouched by the Soviet occupation in 1940, during the Nazi occupation he expressed deeply sympathetic views towards national socialist ideology in his publication For the culture of life. Problems of the Modern Day Man. There he spoke about the importance of the racial purity and health.

His wife Zenta Mauriņa was however known as humanist, philosopher and talked about spiritual purity rather than racial. Since she was disabled by poliomyelitis from early childhood she was bound to a wheelchair. The marriage union between two however lasted until the very end. In 1944 they both moved to Germany to escape returning Soviets. In 1947 he moved to Sweden and gave lectures. In 1965 he returned to West Germany at Bad Krocingen and remained there with his wife until his death in 1974.

The literal talent of Zenta Mauriņa was well known in whole Europe. She received the Konrad Adenauer Prize, for literature and Officer Cross, of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Some call here one of the greatest Latvian philosophers. Raudive had to find another way how to enter history and in 1964 this chance came.

Friedrich Jürgenson was well known Swedish opera singer set up a microphone on the windowsill of his country home outside Stockholm, intent on recording bird songs”  He thought, however, that he heard voices when he played back his tapes. He also heard voices even when he wasn’t playing back his tapes; he thought of them as telepathic messages. After the first such event in 1959 he started extending research and on 1964 made a book Voices from Space. Raudive read his book and became heavily influenced by it.

He arranged a meeting with Friedrich Jürgenson and soon started to record his own tapes. And he too managed to record what he thought was the voices of the dead. 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 everyone 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. With the help of various electronics experts he recorded over 100,000 audiotapes, most of which were made under what he described as “strict laboratory conditions.”

Raudive developed several different approaches to the recording of EVP, and he referred to: – Microphone voices: one simply leaves the tape recorder running, with no one talking; he indicated that one can even disconnect the microphone. – Radio voices: one records the white noise from a radio that is not tuned to any station. – Diode voices: one records from what is essentially a crystal set not tuned to a station. Interestingly enough he transcribed some voices as Latvian, French, Russian while recording them in Germany. He attributed some of these voices to recently passed friends.

In 1968 he published his conclusive research called Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead . In 1971 this work was published in English and reached a wider audience. After his death in 1974, his legacy prevailed with the help of his book and voice recordings sold as LP’s. Paranormal researchers have used his methods and improved them. To many he is known as the patriarch of the EVP research.

The cover of the original Raudive book Breakthrough in German

The cover of the original Raudive book Breakthrough in German

The discoveries of the Jürgensson and Raudive have not been widely recognized by the mainstream science. The voices on the empty radio spectrum was just random radio  interference interpreted as voices by the human brain. It could be Interference from CB Radio transmissions and wireless baby monitors, or anomalies generated though cross modulation from other electronic devices, are all documented phenomena. It is even possible for circuits to resonate without any internal power source by means of radio reception. In child days after reading about EVP I also made tape recordings of empty AM frequency. I did not hear any messages, however there was 0ne intriguing noise that resembled a sound of marching soldiers. What ever that was is unclear, but it also leads to another explanation: Raudive was a victim of the wishful thinking.

Many of the Raudive recordings do resemble human voices, however in some cases its not easy to transcript them in the same way as Raudive does. For instance when Raudive claims that he heard voices in Latvian, for me as Latvian speaker is somewhat hard to recognize it as Latvian voice. For the recordings in many cases are faint and unclear leading to many explanations. For instance if the voice is claimed to be French, some Russian speaker may recognize as spoken in his own language. Below is a video of the Raudive recordings showing how complicated is to recognize these voice messages. And both Jürgensson and Raudive really wanted to discover ghost voices and these random sounds lead them to interesting conclusions. For instance if you use the Tarot card deck to foresee the future, the cards you pick in most cases show what you want to see not what they really might show. If one writes down his Tarot card reading and reads it again after some time, the reading may seem surprisingly different and even closer to reality.

However, that does not mean Raudive and other paranormal researchers were delusional. EVP is still not fully explained. The very problem lies within the fact if a man has not experienced a paranormal event he will never fully understand those who have. Albert Einstein proved that all the energy of the universe is constant and that it can neither be created nor destroyed. So what happens to that energy when we die? If it cannot be destroyed, it must then, according to Dr. Einstein, be transformed into another form of energy.  The important information that we get from Einstein’s theory is that this energy always exists. The electrical nature of this energy could explain the disruptions in electrical equipment and unusual readings on EMF detectors that often accompany paranormal events. Whatever is the truth we must recognize Konstantīns Raudive as one of the many Latvians who influenced the whole world.


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