Paranormal Going Digital - An Intriguing Possibility
UPDATE, May/2015: a follow up post expands on the subject presented here, rendering it deprecated.
“Vocoders: a Conceptual Model for ITC EVP?” tried to present a reasoning framework for paranormal audio. Hard issues regarding EVP quality were discussed, on the underlying assumption that data compression could explain what happens when trans-audio is modulated.
Specially crafted background noises were also analyzed, and paranormal voices emulated, employing an LPC based vocoding model (I called it a “reversed experiment”).
Background noise is a controversial subject amongst paranormal researchers , and one can not argue against some acknowledged facts: a) its proper “crafting” helps to improve trans-audio intelligibility, and b) its scientific neutrality is questionable, cause they mess (a lot) with what is measured.
In my limited experience, even if adequate noises are carefully used, resulting recordings can become almost impossible to understand.
I accept [b] as an important reality. But I also want to further investigate what can be carried out to improve trans-audio, from a practical standpoint. Right now, what is available is good old noise based recording (i.e., [a]).
After thinking a while about this, one thing came to my attention: beautiful trans-images are captured all the time, all over the world. Dropping sound altogether, maybe some light form could be more appropriate for paranormal research, making it easier to record and analyze EVPs.
This is not a novel idea in itself. But the way it was executed is worth talking about. For a bunch of reasons. First, its simplicity is almost outrageous. Finally - and foremost - I think it may open up an important line of ITC research, bringing digital ideas to the core of controlled paranormal experiments.
SHEDDING SOME LIGHT
ITC pioneers Erland Babcock and Hans Otto Koenig were known to use light when doing audio experiments. The former employing lasers, and the latter using a specially designed device, comprised of a complex ultrasound and infrared mix.
I don’t know enough of electronics to design and build sophisticated devices. To replace sound carriers, I worked with the simplest setup I could find.
Laser was believed to be better for this (someway), providing more control and higher frequencies. Later, it was verified that this was not the case, and a more conventional opto-isolator/coupler worked as well.
Figure 1 illustrates the apparatus. Note that cheap/stock components were used (such as a Chinese laser pointer, a couple of white LEDs, a small line transformer, a photodiode, and an external USB sound card).
VLC plays the background noise, that leaves computer through external USB sound card speaker output. It amplitude-modulates the laser beam (i.e., light intensity changes, according to the sound track).
After reaching the photodiode on the reception side, resulting signal (hopefully altered, containing EVP instances) is fed to computer through MIC input, and recorded by Audacity as regular sound .
EVPs were recorded and identified using the laser/light process. Over multiple sessions/days, with varying degrees of success .
Can we leverage this process somehow, finally achieving the long time dream of clear and unambiguous trans-messages’ exchanges? Perhaps. One way to do it would be to introduce digital protocols into paranormal communications. This may sound crazy, but what can be more strange than talking to other dimensions through electronic devices?
When we think about protocols, the discussion turns to which convention will be adopted by both sides of a channel. Technically, handling sound/phonemes seems rather more difficult than some form of bit flipping. Immediately, I can think of fiber-optic alike stuff, and line coding as possibilities. Text exchanges could be a natural startup .
Sound recordings are established discipline among paranormal researchers. But they’re inconvenient and uncontrolled, in a sense that background noise must still be heard. And although sound is suitable for the task of carrying digitally modulated signals (e.g., with acoustic coupling), it’s slow (i.e., baud rates are small), and subject to common external interferences.
The perspective to put light working on behalf of digital paranormal communications is thrilling. It has the potential to unify the fields of ITC audio and video research.
Bits are abstractions powerful enough to transport any kind of data. In a broader sense - that has deep philosophical implications - even physical objects could be exchanged digitally between very different dimensions (albeit indirectly, through 3D printing “recipes”/models).
 - e.g., David Rountree;
 - Makezine at its best;
 - thanks to Sonia Rinaldi for helping with transcriptions (it’s advisable to wear good headphones whenever listening to trans-audio);
 - reminds me of text messages received by Ken Webster on his computer, reported on “The Vertical Plane” (ISBN: 0586204768);