by Michael E. Tymn via e-mail|
As Tom and Lisa Butler see it, the survival hypothesis is substantially proven by electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC). “No other hypothesis addresses the evidence,” states Tom. “We know that people physically die and that their aware Self continues in some other aspect of reality. Further, we know that they want to and are able to initiate communication with those of us still in the flesh, by way of our technology.”
Although they took over as directors of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) in 2000, the Butlers, residents of Nevada, have been carrying out research in EVP and ITC for some 17 years. Their research was interrupted in 2004 and 2005 as they served as marketing consultants for the movie, White Noise, which is about EVP. Prior to that, they were busy writing their book, There is No Death and There are No Dead. They are now looking forward to hosting the AA-EVP conference in Atlanta on June 8-10. I recently interviewed them concerning their work.
When and how did you become interested in EVP/ITC?
LB: “I read a book, Voices of Eternity, in the 80s written by Sarah Estep, the founder of the AA-EVP. It is about her experiences with recording paranormal voices. At the time, Tom and I had just moved from California to the more conservative state of Kansas and we both had high level corporate jobs. We were both very logical, but something about the book rang true to me. With the loss of my father, an electrical engineer, I decided to try to determine if it was possible to hear from my father. We began recording every evening after work. The third day was a Saturday and I remember waking up with the idea of putting crystals around the recording equipment. I have no idea why but it kept coming into my mind, and finally about noon that day, I gathered up some crystals that we had in bookcases and put them around the recording equipment in preparation for that nights recording. That evening, when I played back the recording using headphones, I heard that first voice. It said, “Crystals help.” I was dumbfounded and had difficulty going to sleep for several days.”
Did you figure out what it meant?
"It was later pointed out to me that the first radios were crystal sets. Do crystals help with EVP reception? I don’t really know. If so, it is subtle. It may have just been something that they knew I would hear, but I like to think that they placed the thought in my head to gather the crystals and that this somehow helped them make that first contact. At first Tom could not hear the voices. Although he seemed to believe me and not think that I was quite ready for a padded room, I was very grateful when that first Class A EVP came through and Tom could hear it over the speakers without even the use of headphones.”
Tom, how did you react to Lisa’s experiments?
TB: “As an electronics engineer, it is important to me that I have at least a sense of the underlying processes that are involved in things I experience. When Lisa began recording, I was conducting research for a book I was writing, theHandbook of Metaphysics. Lisa and I had substantial experience in many forms of etheric to physical phenomena, so I was open for the idea of EVP, even though I could not imagine how the technology side of it could be possible. It took me a long time to put the phenomenal voices found in recording media into perspective. Today, I think I have at least a working model of how they might be possible, but I will be forever amazed by their existence.”
Would you mind briefly summarizing the nature and scope of your research?
LB: “When we took over the Association, about 80 percent of our time was devoted to ITC research using a video feedback loop to receive pictures. When we agreed to participate in the marketing of White Noise, things really changed for us, as we found that we no longer had time to conduct experiments. We are the only ones running the organization and there is much paperwork along with writing and publishing four quarterly Association NewsJournals. When we added the media attention and mass of correspondence created by Universal Studios, our private research stopped. We found ourselves in front of often very skeptical media people doing EVP recordings. It’s amazing that we were able to record anything in those often difficult situations, but somehow our Spirit Team pulled through and we usually always recorded a few EVP that they could hear.
‘The mass of correspondence from the movie is just now settling down. The movie was gradually released around the world, bringing lots of emails from many other countries. In June, the DVD was released with three bonus features about EVP. One shows the two of us conducting an investigation in two purportedly haunted sites while recording for EVP. Another bonus feature was filmed at the last AA-EVP conference and features AA-EVP members talking about EVP. Most importantly, it features several mothers who have used EVP to reach their children who are now on the other side. As you can well imagine, the bonus features on the DVD caused another huge wave of correspondence. We hope to once more be able to run the Association and do our own private research in 2006.”
What is the focus of your current research?
TB: “We recently initiated what we refer to as the 4Cell EVP Demonstration, which is based on several groups of four people conducting periodic double-blind EVP recording experiments. The experiments have proven that the cooperating entities will accurately answer specific questions, and that they are able to tell us things that we do not know. We believe that the 4Cell protocol is a potentially powerful tool for researching personal survival, the etheric aspect of reality and the etheric/physical interface. Equally important is that the protocol can be easily applied for formal university study.
"Another interesting area of research that we are promoting is a standardized ‘Orb Stage’ that can be easily constructed and used to study visual orb phenomena. Our objective here is to separate the mundane causes of photographic orbs and possible phenomenal orbs. Most orbs clearly have mundane causes but there is sufficient evidence that some may be phenomenal for us to accept the need to study their nature. We are also defining a number of potential areas of inquiry which we would seek qualified researchers to pursue, should the day come that we have sufficient funding. We have classified this area of research, “etheric studies,” to distinguish it from traditional psychology, parapsychology and physical science research. In that regard, and as a federally recognized non-profit organization, we expect to eventually seek endowments and other donations that can be dedicated to EVP and ITC research for the public good. I would think that there would be many upcoming scientists who would jump at the chance to write their doctorate thesis on the interaction of such a diverse and enthusiastic group of people as they help one another learn to use technology for trans-communication. The distinction here, being that the interaction is both amongst the physical group and between the physical group and the etheric group. EVP gives us a window on the lot. To our knowledge, there is no similar opportunity to study this interaction elsewhere in the world.”
How many members do you have and how do they function in the organization?
TB: “We presently have 550 members with 22 countries represented. Many join so that they can communicate with loved ones. What has happened in the past is that a member will record the name of a deceased loved one before the loved one still in the physical even joins the group. So an EVP names registry has been established. People also record EVP that seem to predict future events and for this reason a predictive registry has also been established. Such research tools take years to develop, but we know that the concepts are sound.
"We are a support organization, and our true role is to facilitate the research of others. We see the AA-EVP document archive and public web site as part of this. We also feel that some of the research grants being issued today are at least partially the result of our role of working with the media to raise awareness of EVP and ITC throughout the world. Of course, all of this is a team effort mounted by an international community, but we are working hard to fulfill our roll.”
What is the single most evidential phenomenon you have received?
LB: “Today, due to the Internet, results can be immediately shared and we find ourselves awed by the evidence on a continual basis. I guess the most evidential thing for Tom and I personally was hearing from my mother two years after her death. What was interesting about this was that we had not tried to reach her. She had a very different worldview and did not even know that we were involved in receiving paranormal communication through devices. We had done a controlled experiment and at the very end I asked my communicators if there was anything that they would like to say or ask. When I listened back to the recording, there to my utter surprise was my mother’s voice saying, “I miss you, Li…sa.” I did not say anything but asked Tom to listen to it. He immediately said, “That’s your mother!” It was very healing for me because there had been some unresolved issues.”
TB: “Probably the most gratifying for the two of us as Directors of the AA-EVP is the communication being received by members of the Big Circle. Over the past few years, we have witnessed the formation of an EVP recording group formed by members. The group began with children on the other side speaking to their parents via EVP. They call themselves the Big Circle. This group has grown to the point in which loved ones on both sides of the veil work as a group to communicate. Some family members on the other side have even participated as cooperating etheric communicators for the 4Cell EVP Demonstration. In at least a few instances, we know that people have been guided to join the Association by their etheric loved ones, who later made contact via EVP.
Would you call EVP/ITC a form of mediumship?
TB: “We have evidence that the physical person is responsible for providing the energy necessary for etheric to physical influence. In all of these forms of phenomena, it is the physical person who enables the actual expression of the influence. A corollary to this is that mental mediumship is fundamental to all of these phenomena and developing mediumistic skills may improve trans-etheric communication.”
Aren’t many of the voices and pictures analogous to seeing faces in the clouds?
LB: “It’s true that most EVP are nothing more than whispery voices that are very difficult to understand. Getting voices that can be heard and agreed on by others can take lots of time and patience. We always get something when we conduct a recording and I think that this would be the same for those who have been recording and working with the phenomena for a long period of time. It perhaps could be compared to physical mediumship. Once you develop contact with a spirit team and build on that, your results improve. This may take longer for some than others, but we have also had members get outstanding voices on their first try.”
TB: “The utterances are energy limited, in the language understood by the experimenter or an interested party and they are clearly communication that make sense and are relevant to the circumstance. A smaller but equally important list has been identified for visual forms of ITC. What seems to be especially profound is that we see substantial overlap in characteristics amongst audio, visual and mental forms of trans-etheric communication. A good example of this is that these phenomena all require transfiguration of available physical energy.”
What do you see for the future of EVP and ITC?
TB: “All forms of etheric studies are firmly establishing the existence of a greater reality, of which, the physical universe is just one aspect. We are talking about a continuum marked by differences in the character of energy, itself probably derived from a common source with shared principles determining its behavior. Further, research is showing in conclusive ways that life here in the physical is but a local experience for sentient beings who more naturally exist in that greater reality. The implications of these findings are profound and promise to considerably affect the nature of human society. What our religions and cultural leaders teach about what to expect when we experience physical death is more often than not, misleading, causing people to fear what is really the continuation of their experiences with new opportunities to learn. In view of the evidence, much of what society holds to be true about death, the worth of human experiences compared to possession of things, the nature of religion and a person’s relationship with and responsibility to Humankind will need to be examined.
"It is pretty clear that we are not talking about “if” these things are true, so we know that it is time for us to begin to speculate about when these changes will occur and what they will look like. There is probably a critical mass required of people who believe in the existence of a greater reality as a matter of fact rather than faith, for change to begin. I believe that we are very near that threshold, and if our social, cultural and religious leaders are not prepared to address the inevitable questions in a way that reasonably account for the evidence, then they will face a vacuum of trust that could challenge all of society.”