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Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) refers to the purported manifestation of voices and sounds of paranormal origin on electronic media such as radios and tape recorders. Proponents of EVP commonly attribute the phenomenon to communication from ghosts or spirits, although others have suggested alien communications or psychokinesis from the living as possible explanations. Skeptics of the paranormal have offered radio interference, hoaxes, artifacts due to low quality equipment and auditory pareidolia as more likely explanations for the apparent phenomenon. According to parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, who popularized the idea, EVP are typically brief, usually the length of a word or short phrase.
Interest in spirit communication through electronic recording dates back to at least the 1940s and has its roots in the turn of the century Spiritualism movement (1840s-1920s). Originally labeled "Raudive Voices", after Raudive, recordings thought to be spirits were later renamed "electronic voice phenomena", a term introduced by the publishing company Colin Smythe Ltd in the early 1970s. The explanation that EVP are produced by spirits of the deceased was first introduced by American photographer Attila Von Szalay, who believed he recorded the voice of a dead loved one in 1956. Similar claims were made up until the 1970s, notably by psychologists Raymond Bayless and Konstantin Raudive, and film producer Friedrich Jürgenson. In 1980, inventor William O'Neill, backed by industrialist George Meek, built a 'Spiricom' device which was said to facilitate very clear communication with the spirit world through EVP.
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