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January 08, 2005

Interesting: Tape Recorders Pick Up "Voices From Beyond" (or Not, of course)

A piece worth reading if you're interested in strange phenemona and especially the rational explanations for such strange phenomena.

Even before the [new Michael Keaton thriller "White Noise"] went on general release in Britain last week, authoritative-sounding trailers were being screened that purportedly contained genuine, unedited recordings of the voices of dead people.

In one, made in 2003, a woman called Ruth Baxter can be heard saying "I will see you no more" – which may well be the case, since the trailer states that she died in 1987.


Scientists at well-respected universities, radio amateurs and even BBC engineers have all heard the spooky voices. Their experiences are truly disturbing – not because they back the claims made in the film but because they show how easily the unwitting could end up believing that the dead can talk.

Oddly enough, the article doesn't mention what must be the most famous cinematic depiction of this phenomenon-- and the first time I'd seen it explored as a plot device-- in M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense. Bruce Willis turns up his tape-recordings of his sessions with his suicidal patient to hear ghostly whispering.

I don't believe in any of this crap, but I always love reading about it anyway. Stuff like this just strikes me as a cool conceit for a movie or book, even if it's total bunkum.

Just So You Don't Think I'm On the Blog Payola Update: It's not that I wouldn't go on the blog payola; it's just that no one's asked me to yet.

But just so no one thinks I'm pulling an Armstrong Williams and getting sweet blog-money to pimp White Noise, I'll note the film is getting a 10% fresh rating from Rottentomatoes.com, which means it's pretty bad.

Cool premise, I think, though. And I always liked Michael Keaton.

Still... sounds like a DVD rental.

But I guess you never know. The Mothman Prophecies sounded half-ludicrous and half-bore-your-ass-off, but that was a surprisingly good movie.

Another Update: Nathan tips to this page of alleged electronic voice phenomenon.

Ummm... okay, there are sounds there, and some sound vaguely like speech (one sounds like a song, actually). But what is being "said" isn't very clear at all.

"I buried Paul"/"Cranberry sauce" is a lot clearer than any of the examples of the "dead communicating via static" that I heard. So was the supposed "One little child for Satan, he gives us six-six-six" you hear when you play Stairway to Heaven backwards (at the "if there's a bustle in your hedgerow" part, in case you've never tried it).

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posted by Ace at 10:54 PM

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