The operator effect

  • Having a heightened level of psychic awareness may be a positive indicator for success in EVP capture but as an innate ability we all possess, actively working to further your potential, whether through meditation or psychic exercises such as remote viewing, will increase results if you are willing to invest in the effort. As children we have a natural curiosity to investigate and engage with subjects we do not understand, but as we grow older, few are able to allocate a substantial amount of time to an activity that promises no material reward. Those who have succeeded in achieving clear channels of communication through EVP and ITC, have universally invested many years refining their expertise at their own cost.

    Progress is by trial and error; equipment that works exceptionally well for one operator may draw nothing for the next. George W. Meek, founder of the METAscience Foundation, working with the physical medium William (Bill) O’Neil achieved remarkable communication with Dr George Jeffries Mueller (deceased), through SPIRICOM in the 1980s. Because operators have not been able to replicate their results with their schematics, cynics are keen to report fraudulent results, but I would advise a cautious acceptance that idiosyncratic methodologies may be valid in ITC experimentation.

    The mental and physical well-being of operators may be negatively affected, possibly due to the demands of experimentation and/or the toll of criticism; should an operator disclose a mental health problem, their interests in the subject are often pathologised by doctors and academics; this is unhelpful and stigmatising and disinclines external consideration of potential data. The subject is rarely addressed in literature or in research, yet anecdotally in the UK community at least, we are aware that many who regularly take part in ITC experimentation and physical mediumship, have chronic health problems. Historic and modern reports of physical mediumship often mention post séance exhaustion, but this does not appear to be a feature of ITC and EVP experimentation. Personally, my ability to capture EVP and enable transfiguration is reduced when fatigued and communicators have demonstrated an awareness of how my overall health affects results. An example of this was a séance, after a long working day; a speaker acknowledges my lack of energy as Tracey reports a blurring face, “Oh she’s feeling tired” (39). After learning of other operators’ unfortunate experiences, I wondered how our personal effect on phenomena, could be objectively studied without the requirement for outside interaction.

    With an increase in the affordability of electroencephalography (EEG) devices, it has been possible for our group to explore how our brains perform whilst we record for EVP; group members were eager to see if phenomena correlated with fluxes in specific brain wave frequencies. Numerous papers have focused on determining if common patterns of brain waves are exhibited during altered states of consciousness, whilst attempting communication with the deceased. Delorme et al. (2013) found statistically significant electrocortical activity of beta (13-32 Hz) and gamma (32-100 Hz) wave bands in six subjects, that correlated with the accurate relaying of descriptions of known targets, in a test of mental mediumship. I was unable to find any study relevant to ITC or physical mediumship, so I purchased two Muse headbands to investigate our group. Muse is a dry EEG device with seven data points, two frontal lobe sensors at FP1 and FP2, two temporal sensors at TP9, TP10 and three reference sensors on the forehead. I took EEG readings for sittings lasting two hours using the Mind Monitor app. Readings so far have been unremarkable for all channels except gamma waves; short bursts of 90 - 120 Hz occurring during periods of sensory phenomena. Further study is required to determine if there is a supporting correlation of gamma waves to EVP capture.

    Engaging with audiences, other than those who have a specific interest in EVP, has helped our group to define how we present our work; we have been widely perceived, incorrectly, as ghosthunters, Spiritualists and psychics, none of which we identify with. Although I have some sympathy with their assumption, while those who record for EVP might not commonly consider themselves to be mediums in the popularist way we might envisage a spiritual intermediary, I believe there are many similarities in their attunement to communicators. When experimenting over extended periods the operator may recognise a subtle shift in their senses as they record. Whether you call it intuition, extra sensory perception or mediumship, these feelings when acknowledged by the conscious mind and acted upon, guide the operator to behave in a way that often benefits the working relationship. Regardless of how proficient an operator may become at sensing the presence of a speaker, it is impossible to be certain that a specific link with an individual may be achieved and it reminds us again that ultimately, we are not able to exert control over communication.

    The unpredictability and undetermined nature of the phenomena we work with should always be borne in mind when recording, remembering that discouraging results are usually transitory. During sessions, mentally I might misinterpret a message or be unable to differentiate a voice, the outcome of which can be frustrating to both sides (37). Using psychic skills such as clairaudience to receive information from speakers is testing because it requires acceptance from sitters that my perceptions are correct when they are often inaccurate. We must also accept that difficulties exist for communicators, environmental conditions unbeknownst to us may prohibit them from making audio or visual contact (38). As a group, we accept that not all sittings are equally active, and some may be eerily absent of phenomena, in which case we try to put aside any disappointment and remind ourselves of previous positive sittings.

    Please note: the information on this page is an excerpt from my accepted BICS essay. You may download the full text here: CLICK