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EVP Classification Lesson #4: Class A EVPs (Part I)

Started by PPI Karl, March 08, 2008, 04:28:57 AM

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PPI Karl

LESSON #4:  Defining Class A EVPs (Part 1)
Thus far, we've covered some of the basics (and I do mean basics) of EVP classification, as well as some of the challenging issues that impede our accurate judgment of these anomalous voices and sounds.  Such issues are, by nature, the hallmarks of Class C and B EVPs, for they determine the sum and kind of one's doubts over their authenticity.  In pronouncing a piece of Class A EVP evidence, then, one is motivated, not so much by doubt, but rather by a freedom from doubt.  Decisiveness is a rare and precious commodity, like having a Rinsai experience--in which the perfect truth of something is visited upon you in a eureka moment of clarity and elegance. 

In fact, it's not uncommon for one to feel a sense of spiritual wonderment upon hearing a Class A EVP for the first time, particularly if you're actively involved in its capture.  No longer is our willing suspension of disbelief required; rather, we are inspired with a certitude that a voice from an other-dimension or other-reality has called to us.  It reminds us just how lonely and insecure we are in our own living but separate bodies.  We worry that death will at best be an isolation cell that keeps us from all and everything we loved about living.   We fear that the concept of "afterlife" is nothing but a trick of the sentient mind, or a neurosis resulting from the human condition, or a pipedream of our incorrigible egos.  We anxiously obsess in the probability that all our intellectual pursuits to discount death as a final nothing will be, finally, all for nothing.  And there, in the evidence, miraculously clear and distinct, like a clarion call, is that all-encompassing something:  a Class A EVP.

Besides spiritual wonder, Class A EVPs evoke within us a strong empathy.  Like Horton hearing that vulnerable little Whovillian and declaring him "friend," we feel a deep-seated responsibility to honor the life that, we believe, once spoke through that voice.  We feel this way about Class C and B EVPs as well, but a lingering degree of doubt prevents us from fully committing.  That Class A voice is a mighty yop begging us to acknowledge the spirit realm's forgotten:  the disempowered; the disenfranchised; the homeless and aimlessly lost; the hopeless and anxiously waiting.  If we dignify a Class A EVP with legitimacy, then we are suddenly very much responsible to the datum, the soul, and the realm in which it seems to exist.

And this is where things can go wonderfully right or so terribly wrong with designating a Class A EVP, because that legitimacy issues from a blend of two different sources:  faith and logic.  If these are not deployed in a proportionately balanced way, one may falter from being overly confident or overly skeptical--no gettin' around it.

To address the issue of faith first, let's say a woman claiming to be a Sweepstakes Claims Department representative has left a message on your answering machine; she's "delighted" to inform you that you're name has been drawn for a substantial cash award, but she must talk to you in person to verify your identity, or the prize will go to someone else in forty-eight hours.  You chew your thumbnail for a few minutes and vacillate about whether to ignore the message out of distrust that anything so lucky could happen to you, or to give in to your prurient curiosity about the value of the cash prize.  You've never won anything before in your life, and you'd sure like to own a FLIR in your lifetime.  On the other hand, that Internet cash transfer dealy to divide up the unclaimed wealth of a deceased Nigerian prince--that didn't go down so well, did it.  Maybe this is the same kind of scam.  Do you call and risk being duped, or do you pass up the opportunity altogether?  What to do.  The same is true of the dilemma to acknowledge a Class A EVP.  The risks involved if you're proved wrong are the damage to your investigative reputation and the queasy feeling of having misled others to believe in the proof of life after death.  My advice is to invest as much faith in a Class A EVP as you would in your ballot for an elected official:  neither trust fully all outward appearances, nor take at face value everything a politician says.  Instead, do your research!

Unlike Class C and B EVPs, whose uncertainty arises as a result of factors such as obscured sound quality and competing acoustic sources, the factors that will topple Class A EVPs from their pedestal are dubious investigative practices and unreliable recording methods.  Retracing Class A EVPs to their source should take you back to a scrupulous account of when, where, and how the EVP was recorded.  If there is ANY doubt whatsoever that deserves mention, it will be to your credit, not to your shame, to announce these when you post the EVP.  A simple caveat is expected with most Class A EVPs.  Remember, it's all about the odds of a piece of audible evidence being for real.  If you can give up on the idea of proving that life-after-death is for real, then you can get down to the real business of shoring up the theory instead of just reinforcing the guess.  A strong, clear, articulate EVP with no probable explanation is an excellent catch, and it's the best we can hope for, given what we don't yet know about the scientific side of this phenomenon.  If you put too much faith in the veracity of your EVP and do not acknowledge and accommodate its potential detractors, then you will seem to equivocate the truth, and this can only damage your credibility.  Substantiate your claim that an EVP is Class A by revealing your methodologies, your protocols, and your analytical criteria.  Delineate a list of plusses and minuses; show others you have come to your decision by way of a pragmatic debate and always invite further dialogue to continue that debate.

I'm stating in a roundabout fashion that one needs to remain skeptical and document the evidence carefully.  However, hardboiled cynics vituperatively point out that any argument using EVP evidence to support conclusions about life after death beg the question, since one has to first accept the major premise that life after death is possible at all.  Novice investigators will sometimes permit such attacks to shake their faith, and turn their otherwise healthy skepticism into an unrelenting dogma that prevents them even from acknowledging the possibility that EVPs are voices of the dead.  This form of sophistry can be insidious.  Logic and critical thinking are indispensable to the pursuit of this wriggling truth for which we are all searching, and we should rightly put our faith in their power.  Remember, however, that EVPs are "paranormal phenomena" and that, once captured and replayed for others, represent only a record of that phenomenon.  We must not acquiesce to others' misperceptions of the evidence and our inherent purpose in capturing it, nor should we let them define the terms by which others will inevitably trivialize us.  Be not concerned with the rhetoric, nor be an apologist for paranormal research in general; trust that it is better to collect data and revise one's theory along the way than to collect no data and throw out the theory from the start.  Class A EVPs are a superior record of a phenomenon that, accounting for all likely sources (even the improbable ones), suggest something not normal.  Just as UFOs are unidentified objects awaiting identification, EVPs are paranormal phenomena awaiting normal explanations.  And no commitment to a spiritual dogma is required to acknowledge the inherent value of a Class A EVP as a superior datum.

If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

MichaelF (FPIE)

Thanks again Karl, more good info.  How you manage to mix information and humor is as always awesome.
200 years ago, our communication over computers would have been deemed magical and we all would have been burned at the stake.  200 years from now, explanations for what we call Paranormal will be in Science Textbooks.


this is great stuff, oh the analogies are quite entertaining and captures the meat of what it takes in determining EVPs.  Entertaining and educational. :)
Heaven won't take me and hell's afraid I'll take over.


PPI Brian

I revisited these beautifully written articles tonight, and once again I am blown away. Thank you so much for sharing this with us on the forums. I don't believe anyone in the field has published anything to compare with this series of articles.
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

PPI Karl

I'm so glad to hear that these articles are still enjoyable and informative.  I'd like to revise and repackage them for a PPI anthology, if possible.   :)
If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

PPI Brian

Quote from: PPI Karl on June 23, 2014, 04:32:55 PM
I'm so glad to hear that these articles are still enjoyable and informative.  I'd like to revise and repackage them for a PPI anthology, if possible.   :)

I was hoping you'd say that.  ;D

By the way, did you get a chance to listen to the EVPs posted by Jen?
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan