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 EVPs and sound generators

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soothsayer
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PostSubject: EVPs and sound generators   Thu Dec 19 2013, 14:09

An EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena, quite simply, is when someone records a sound or voice on a recording device that isn't apparent when the recording originally took place.  Chances are everyone has seen this played out on any number of paranormal shows, where an investigator walks through a building, voice recorder in hand, and asks a series of questions with a few seconds worth of pause between questions.  The recording, in turn, is played back through one filter or another in the hopes of having recorded a response.

Lately, the use of artificial noise generators, known as the Spirit Box or more commonly a Ghost Box, alongside a recorder has become popular, due in large to those same television shows.  These generators, more often than not, would be devices that cycle through radio frequencies in short bursts.  This is done to improve the success rate of recording an EVP.  But what is this doing, really?

The answer lies within the device.  If you think about it in this manner, it is a radio that is scanning through radio frequencies.  You can do the same thing by rotating the frequency knob of a radio at a quick rate, going back and forth through the channels.  Some higher end models allow you to adjust the speed of the cycle, the direction of which it goes through (forward, backward, mix of both).  But all these devices do is go through radio waves.

The excitement and positive results occur when seemingly random sounds form words, words that are heard with the unaided ear in response to a question being asked.

Let's think about that for a moment.  You are using a radio to help in the recording of words.  How is this even considered helpful to the paranormal investigator?  Is it not possible that by cycling through radio frequencies, you may inadvertently create words?

A human is capable of generating about 150 distinct noises / sounds; this is called a phoneme.  Most languages use about half of those sounds.  English, for example, uses around 40, give or take.  To break it down further, in the English language, there are 24 sounds for consonants and 20 for vowels.  That's roughly 44 different sounds used in English to form words!  With every cycle of the ghost box, it makes a sound; how many possible combinations are there of sounds to produce words?  That's easy enough to answer...  how many words are there in a dictionary?  Or put in another way, 44 sounds have been used to create 250,000 words (new and obsolete).

So then why is the paranormal investigative field given credence to the box device?  By understanding language and by knowing how the box works, you can see that such recordings do not work, they are not (nor should they be considered) an indication of paranormal activity.

Click on this link to see a chart of all the sounds contained within the English language.


Last edited by soothsayer on Thu Dec 19 2013, 16:47; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: EVPs and sound generators   Thu Dec 19 2013, 16:00

Now that we've established the number of sounds within the English language, let's look at the words themselves.  Words are made through syllables, or rather "a unit of pronunciation having one vowel sound, with or without surrounding consonants, forming the whole or a part of a word."  A word can be formed by any number of syllables, from as few as one to nineteen!

**In 1957, there were over one thousand one syllable words, but now there are only 8,267.  As far as the word with the most syllables, that would be pnemonoultamicroscopicsylicovolcanoconio, or black lung disease.**

According to linguist Chris Baker, there are potentially 15,831 active syllables in the English language.  However, there are only about 2,700 that are used.  So then, what are the chances of a syllable being formed from random sounds?

With 24 consonant sounds and 20 vowel sounds, that gives us a combination of 480 distinct possible sounds.  The probability of getting a recognizable syllable is 17.8%  If you include potential syllables, this goes up to 19.6%, an average of 18.7% of a syllable forming.

Since we know there are 8,267 active one syllable words, and we know there are roughly 2,700 recognized syllables, there's a 32.7% chance of a word being recognized.  If you include the fact that there are actually 15,831 possible syllables in the English language, the chances of hearing a recognized word jumps up to 66.7%!

This is all under the assumption that the spirit or ghost box actually plays random noises and sounds, which it doesn't.  It is playing radio stations.  Radio stations are full of recognizable sounds and words.  But, to remain on the conservative side of things, let us just say that the box is set for a really quick cycling.  Really quick, to where you can just barely catch a piece of something.

Rounded, that still leave us an 18% chance of hearing a recognizable syllable, or a 30% chance of that syllable being recognized as a word.  Averaged, 25% chance of us hearing something known.

In other words, there's a 1:4 chance of hearing something through the ghost box as being recognized!

Granted, that is just for one syllable words, and naturally the probability of a multi-syllable word forming from random sounds increase per syllable.  But if you think about it, if you actually watch or listen to EVP sessions created with a device such as this as they are posted on Youtube, a vast majority of words formed fall within that 25%, and any grouped words fall within what can be expected by the random generation as demonstrated here.

Essentially, if you take into consideration word construction, you will see that the much valued spirit box does nothing other than form words through random generation.
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