On 13th October 1969 as the Frankfurt Book Fair was about to close, Colin Smythe was approached by an elderly gentleman who presented him with a copy of a German book and said: “Here is a book you might like to publish. You had better take it and look at it.”
In fact, Cohn Smythe must have brought back a dozen books in German and some time in November I got round to looking at this particular book entitled Unhorbares Wird Horbar, literally translated The Inaudible Becomes Audible.
Browsing through the pages, without actually reading the complete story, I formed the opinion that Konstantin Raudive, the author, had joined the host who are set on telling us that life after death is a reality which can be scientifically proven. I don’t think I would have given the book a second thought but for the section containing letters and comments by scientists I personally know to be of the highest integrity, and incapable of supporting anything scientifically suspect; for example, Professor Gebhard Frei, a Roman Catholic Priest and philosopher, Professor Alex Schneider the physicist, Professor Dr. Hans Bender of Freiburg, the psychologist, and many others.
I was greatly perturbed, and actually wondered whether by some clever trick I had been misled into assuming that these scientists were actually referring to this book, but doubts were dispelled when I found that they had not written some kind of testimonial for Dr. Raudive, but clearly stated that they were members of a large team that had taken part in hundreds of experiments and were taking personal responsibility for the accuracy of his description of those experiments.
After much thought and consultation with Cohn Smythe, I made a great number of telephone calls, and as a result letters and cuttings from German newspapers and other material was sent to us.
The picture that now emerged was fairly clear: Dr. Raudive (through the work of a Swedish author Friedrich Jurgenson) had encountered the phenomenon of voices which appeared on recording tapes, apparently without human intervention, and could be played back at choice. These voices had certain characteristics but, although twice the speed of normal human speech, could be clearly understood. Further investigation had shown that the voices did not appear at random but seemed to respond to invitation to manifest themselves. A great number of experiments had obviously been conducted, and the phenomenon was still being examined by scientists in other countries who had been called in by Dr. Raudive. Of the German newspapers, the larger reputable papers simply reported in the smallest of paragraphs certain lectures given by Dr. Raudive and did not comment one way or the other. The popular press such as Bild am Sonntag (Sunday Pictorial) gave Raudive’s work a treble spread and perhaps rather over-did the story with pictures of Hitler, Napoleon, Goethe and Plato, and headlines such as “Hitler speaks from the other side”, “Goethe’s words from heaven” and “In the footsteps of ghosts”.
I was now certain that, without committing our publishing house either way, we ought to talk to the author, and I telephoned Dr. Raudive in Bad Krozingen and secured a three-month option on his book.
On Sunday, 16th November 1969, I was once more assailed by the gravest doubts. Two days before, Colin Smythe had reproached me for being unsociable. Although I am always in the habit of closing my office door, that week my colleagues and friends had apparently found me completely unapproachable. Unknown to me, Colin Smythe had purchased a number of recording tapes from our local electrical supplier and followed the simple instructions one of the papers described and I had translated. On the way to Heathrow to board the Dublin plane he told me what he had done and mentioned that at one particular point (he had scribbled the number on the rev. meter on a piece of paper), a certain rhythm was clearly audible and also a voice but he could not make sense of it. On my return from the airport, I found a tape on the recorder and next to it a piece of paper with the number 126 written on it. I re-wound the tape to 120 and played it back. I heard nothing. I played it back five times and was just about to give up when suddenly I heard this rhythm. I played it again, and once more. It is very difficult for me to narrate clearly what happened next; suddenly I heard a voice—quite distant but very clear. I played this part of the tape again because I was absolutely sure I had fallen a victim of my own imagination. The voice was—if anything—even clearer. A woman’s voice said in German: “Mach die Ttir mal auf”, “Why don’t you open the door”. This in itself might not appear significant to an outsider, apart from its relevance to the situation I have mentioned, but for two facts. As soon as I heard the voice I recognised the speaker; although the voice spoke terribly fast and in a strange rhythm, I had heard it many times before. For eleven years before her death I had conducted my entire correspondence with my mother by tape, and I would recognise her voice anywhere. And this was my mother’s voice. Secondly, Cohn Smythe cannot speak German and in any event is quite incapable of playing a deceitful trick of this kind on anybody.
Later that evening, I went back to the tape-recorder and played that tape over and over again. There was no doubt about the voice being on that tape, I no longer had any difficulty in hearing it right away, for somehow my ear appeared to have tuned to this unusual frequency. I tried hard to find some rational explanation and on Monday, without going into details, I asked two of our junior assistants in the firm to listen to the tape. They listened with stereophonic earphones ten or twelve times, then wrote down what they heard phonetically, and although these young men are not trained in phonetics it soon became clear that they were hearing the same thing I had heard. On Cohn Smythe’s return from Ireland the following day, I asked him to listen carefully to his own recording, and after playing it about five or six times, he noticed a voice but was still unable to identify language or content.
This voice, however remarkable and inexplicable, neither convinced me nor changed my mind as far as the publication of Dr. Raudive’s book was concerned. I decided to invite him to come to England to demonstrate his voice phenomenon in the presence of as many witnesses as possible, including experts who could examine every single item used during the demonstration, and on Friday, 12th December 1969, he arrived.
On Friday night he played to us a number of his own tapes, and Colin Smythe suggested that he might like to show us there and then something of his recording technique, for at that stage, of course, we did not understand the various descriptions he gave to voices; “microphone voices”, “diode voices” and “radio voices” meant nothing to us. However, I had already arranged for a qualified electrical engineer to come the next day.
Dr. Raudive had brought a small diode, a box about twice the size of a matchbox with two inches of wire sticking out of one end and also a small wire (to be inserted into the hole marked “radio-input” on our tape-recorder) fastened to the other end. To be frank, this thing bothered me because I did not really understand its function and I wondered whether it might be some clever little device which would procure voices. I immediately telephoned the engineer and asked him what a diode was, and I arranged to have this one taken the next morning to his workshop for examination, and then to have another one built—just in case.
Five people were in the room, including Dr. Raudive, when we started the experiment; it was quite obvious, especially to our guest, that we felt extremely uneasy when Dr. Raudive asked Mr. Smythe to start the tape-recorder as if he wished to make an ordinary recording. The microphone was placed in the centre of the room and I was quite satisfied that nothing unusual had been done to the tape-recorder. The experimenter gave his name, the date of recording and invited voices wishing to manifest themselves to do so; he then asked all those present to speak as well, which we did and then waited for the next four minutes in total silence.
Then Dr. Raudive asked the voice-entities to manifest themselves through the diode. I really did wonder about this apparatus, because during his demonstration earlier on I had noticed that those “diode voices” he referred to were clearer or more resonant than those voices he described as “microphone voices”. He plugged the diode into “radio input” told us that we could converse freely during the recording on diode and began telling us about his year at Edinburgh in 1931. After some five minutes he suggested that we should switch the recorder off and try to listen for whatever phenomenon might be on the tape. He reminded us that it would be very difficult to tune into the acoustic waves which would be audible only to the trained ear, but that he would play those parts over and over again if he thought that a voice had manifested itself.
The first part to be played back was the “microphone recording”. After only ten seconds, in fact in the first empty space after Raudive’s short talk, we all heard quite clearly: “Koste—Tekle”, in the unmistakable rhythm we had noticed on the demonstration tapes. (There was no doubt about these two words; “Koste” is Dr. Raudive’s nickname, often used with other variations of his name by voice phenomena on those recordings we had already heard, and Tekle was the name of his dead sister who, as he pointed out, had spoken on many recordings before). A number of other voices were noticeable but not sufficiently audible to convey their meaning.
As soon as we switched over to the “diode recording”, the name Malcolm was called out quite clearly. (Malcolm Hughes, a student at Oxford, was in the room with us). A number of other voices came through, some speaking in Latvian or Russian, with the occasional German word. However, as only Dr. Raudive spoke Latvian and Russian, and I could only make out the German words, we had to take his word for the fact that the short telegraphic sentences really made sense. This was, of course, an anti-climax, although we knew that nearly all the voices Dr. Raudive had recorded used fragments of different languages to fit the sentence into a pronounced rhythmic pattern.
Then suddenly, two complete sentences followed within five seconds of each other; they were completely in German and I understood them clearly. Malcolm’s German is very modest but the actual words (except the name) were quite simple; he too understood the sentences, which were:
“Bauer ist noch hier” this means: “Bauer is still here”, and
“Wo ist Ruhe?” which means “Where is rest?”
None of the people present could recall anybody called Bauer or Bower, which is a well-known family name on the Continent, and although I could clearly understand the sentence, it had no meaning for me or anybody present. But, beyond a shadow of doubt, the voice was there and by all laws of physics, so we are told, it should not have been.
We terminated the experiment at this point and had a cup of coffee.
I fetched the tape I have mentioned earlier, about which Dr. Raudive knew nothing, and placing it on my own tape-recorder I played it three or four times to myself to check that the voice was still there. Dr. Raudive did not even pay any attention to what I was doing, as he was at the other end of the room, discussing with Colin Smythe another book of his which he had given to us as a present. I then called him over and asked him to listen to this tape; for this purpose I gave him a pair of stereophonic earphones and I myself moved the tape forward and backward twice until he stopped me and said: “This voice says quite clearly ‘Mach die Tuer mal auf’—where did it come from? I don’t remember hearing it earlier and I would not have missed it.” I briefly explained that Colin Smythe had obtained this recording but gave no details.
On Saturday morning Dr. Raudive went with Cohn Smythe to the workshop of the electrical-engineer, Mr. David Stanley. Mr. Stanley examined the diode and took it to pieces; within seconds he said that it was an ordinary diode and of no particular value, he would build us one of these within the hour if we wanted. Dr. Raudive then explained to David Stanley about his three different methods of recording and, to our relief, David appeared to have no difficulty in understanding Dr. Raudive’s explanation about the technicalities involved. He promised to put all that in layman’s language later that evening, when a number of guests had been invited to meet Dr. Raudive and—we hoped—could actually see him at work.
In arranging this my aim was simply to satisfy myself that I was not hearing or imagining something that others could not hear. The friends I invited are honest people, very much down-to-earth, and they come from different walks of life. Some of them hold eminent positions in public life, but none of the twenty-odd people present was a Spiritualist or in any way associated with studies of the supernatural. I do not wish for one moment to cause any offence to those people who practice Spiritualism; I simply wanted to make absolutely sure that none of the people present had any previous experience of the kind I hoped was in store for them. Suffice it to say that, apart from a number of highly respected members of the academic world, I had invited a high dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church and, of course, two experts in electronics. None of the people invited, except Mr. Stanley, the electrical engineer on whom I had to rely for explanations to non-experts, knew the real reason for our invitation, but had been told that we had invited an author who was going to talk about a book we might publish. What type of book, who the author was or what kind of evening awaited them, they did not know.
I had asked Mr. Stanley to prepare himself to explain in the simplest possible way, when the appropriate moment came, what certain things of a technical kind would mean and where the limits of recording methods lay etc., and Mr. Stanley’s own words and drawings are used here. The full credit for any technical explanation in this introduction is his, and if all the queries that arise are not covered, it is because they were not put to Mr. Stanley on this occasion.
At about 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 13th December 1969 serious business began. Dr. Raudive was introduced as a scientist, born in Latvia, and a Swedish citizen who lived in Bad Krozingen near the Swiss border in Southern Germany, and I mentioned that his book, containing a record of his research, had been offered to us for publication. Resisting the temptation to present my guests with the voice-phenomenon immediately, I explained our doubts about the suitability of the book for publication in England and added: “By being suitable I simply mean: is there something I have overlooked? I hope that you may be able to help me answer this question at the end of this evening.”
Dr. Raudive spoke for about half an hour. He briefly explained his meeting with the voice phenomenon through Jurgenson’s book, his subsequent research and his work with a great number of scientists. He then asked for a tape-recorder and played to my guests one tape of different voices, recorded by three different methods, and explained in some cases, where the sense of sentences escaped the audience, the situation or questions he had asked before receiving the answer on his tape-recorder. Everybody was very intrigued, very fascinated and very polite. Nobody asked any questions and the silence was almost embarrassing. Over supper, however, the conversation became quite animated, even heated. In particular, my ecclesiastical friend held forth on what his Church taught on such matters and said he certainly did not intend to deviate one inch from the official position of the Church, citing Joan of Arc, Fatima, Lourdes and other miraculous happenings which had taken the Church many years to investigate. When the Head of one of the Cambridge colleges pointed out that none of these people had been able to produce a tape-recording in evidence when questioned by the Church, he admitted it was the tape-recorder and the simplicity of the matter that worried him most. He still preferred the slow process of taking the testimony of human witnesses, to the scientific examinations of physicists, psychologists, electronic experts and other scientists.
I don’t remember ever having had such an animated discussion in my dining room.
Mr. Stanley was then invited to explain the mysteries of electronics in connection with this business. “What can a tape-recorder do and what can it not do?” “What advantage is in a diode and what exactly does a diode do?” We all asked many questions. It is to Mr. Stanley’s credit that he satisfied everybody present with his explanations.
The three methods of obtaining voice phenomena then open to us are relatively simple to explain—if you have a basic knowledge of electronics, but few of us have this basic knowledge. Most people know how to record on a tape-recorder and how to play the recorded music or voices back; but how exactly this process of recording takes place is one of the questions very few ask until a moment like this arises, when we begin to wonder whether some trickery or expertise on the part of a good technician might not lead us to believe something that is not really possible. Technology has advanced so much that with the help of little gadgets, transistorised and so small that they can be hidden anywhere, many things can be produced electronically; in fact, our imagination of what may be afoot exceeds physical and electronic possibilities. But to remove any doubt in the bona fide of a recording we must rely on experts, and this was exactly what we did on the evening of 13th December 1969. As far as humanly possible we had taken every step to make absolutely sure that nothing was used in this experiment that might have been tampered with. A new tape-recorder was ordered, which proved rather a setback during the next few hours because even our expert Mr. Stanley had never operated this particular model and we had to use the operating instructions throughout the evening. A number of new tapes, sealed in plastic bags and sealed in boxes, had been purchased and were delivered the same evening; Mr. Stanley opened these tapes and put them on to the new tape-recorder. He operated the machine himself and we all agreed that this would be sufficient evidence that whatever might happen was certainly not due to trickery or technical know-how.
Our first experiment was to obtain microphone voices. This means that the tape-recorder is set for ordinary recording of voice or music or any sound whatever in the room. The technical process is relatively simple, as Mr. Stanley explained:
“The microphone is a device for recording sounds that take place in a room at a particular time. It is merely connected to the tape-recorder. Obviously for the purpose of this experiment you need complete silence as any noise will upset the recording.
Sound waves are picked up by the microphone which converts them into electronic impulses. These electronic impulses are amplified in the tape-recorder and passed through the recording head which gives out a magnetic impulse. This in turn is recorded on the passing magnetic tape. The average microphone will pick up sound waves with a range from 60 cycles per second (the very low sounds) to 12,000 cycles per second (very high sounds). This roughly corresponds to the average range of the human ear, which is unable to perceive sounds outside this range. If there are any voices or noises on the tape, then all the people in the room during the recording should be able to hear them whilst they are recorded. The microphones in use are only able to pick up what is also audible to the human ear.”
After ten minutes of recording we had the “playback”, and the first disappointment of the evening. Whilst everybody had remained silent during the actual recording, a clock on the mantelpiece had been ticking loud and clear and a Labrador puppy, two rooms away from where we were, had been crying. These sounds were there and it was impossible to hear anything else. For the purpose of our experiment the recording was useless. It became obvious that Dr. Raudive felt embarrassed, and whilst my guests were all understanding and encouraging, the situation which was building up became a little tense. It was now past ten o’clock, and someone reminded me that the last train to London would be going in one hour. Many a housewife must have felt like me when preparing a meal for a large gathering and discovering that the first course is ruined. I therefore hurried Dr. Raudive, broke into a conversation he was having with Mr. Stanley and asked him to try another method. He suggested radio voices.
I brought a portable radio into the room and Dr. Raudive asked Mr. Stanley to find a “between frequency” which could be used for the recording. Such radio voices as demonstrated on the tape we had listened to earlier in the evening, were very clear and simplified the playback afterwards. However, both Raudive and Stanley warned us that at this time of night the medium wave was fairly overloaded with transmissions and the possibility of finding an “empty55 wave was remote. For twenty minutes—agonising minutes for me, watching the time pass—they tried in vain to find that empty space; furthermore, we discovered that the reception even on “Radio 4” (Home Service) was very poor. I then remembered that I might have chosen the worst possible room in the whole house for any experiment of this kind; three months ago the builders had completed an addition to the building and four heavy steel girders which had been put above and on two sides of the room, appeared to create strong interference with our reception. When I pointed this out to Mr. Stanley, he agreed with me and suggested that the radio voice experiment be abandoned. However, he briefly explained what was involved in such a method.
“Dr. Raudive told us that he has carried out many of his experiments on the medium wave. In our own case, the Light Programme broadcasts on 247 metres and the Home Service in this area on 330 metres. Apart from these two, there are dozens of other broadcasting stations on the continent and further afield which make use of this wave band. We have to be very careful in selecting a position which is not being used by a radio station; fortunately we do not have to worry about amateur radio operators, but as Dr. Raudive said, the ideal place for such a recording would be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where there would be the smallest possible local interference. If one knows when a particular radio station closes down for the night, one would have something to go on but there are certain pirate stations which immediately begin their broadcast on the same wavelength. What we want is a true ‘inter-frequency5 where nothing but a general atmospheric static noise would be audible; this can be generated by a great number of factors, for example a light which is switched on or any atmospheric disturbance. Given a true ‘inter-frequency5, the radio picks up the static noise but no particular signal. All that gets amplified is the static noise; the process now is similar to that of a microphone recording. This amplified static noise 2—TB is fed into the tape-recorder and from the recorder head on to the magnetic tape.
There is one point I would like to make; I have listened to some previous recordings made by Dr. Raudive through radio recordings. The amazing thing is that one can dismiss the possibility of those recordings originating from radio stations because there is never any music and the voices speak at a speed which is at least twice the speed of the human voice if not faster. We all know that one can distort voices; one could play around with special devices which would get the waves out of phase, so that the resulting voice would appear higher or lower but you just cannot alter the frequency of a voice. The strange rhythm might be explained by fading but this would not account for the speed. In other words, once speech has originated, the actual spoken word or the emphasis of the word will always remain the same. Of course, we can speed up voices; but this can only be done after they have been recorded. You can compress it but this would have to be manipulated, it would not just happen. Also, when you speed a voice up like that, it becomes distorted as you are going into a different harmonic, you could no longer understand it.55
David Stanley then suggested that in view of the difficulty arising from the girders, the small piece of wire which acts as an aerial on the diode, ought to be lengthened by four inches. This was done and Dr. Raudive decided to do a five-minute diode recording (his most successful method, although difficult to analyse during the playback) and Mr. Stanley inserted the diode into the tape-recorder. There were three “inputs” at the back of the recorder and he chose No. 2, as he believed that this would give additional control over the microphone input.
Every recording Dr. Raudive makes, is preceded by a brief mention of day, time and other details, just in case the recording should be afterwards used for reference, and to add to this chaotic situation, No. 2 input was found to be faulty (in a brand-new tape-recorder!) and another ten minutes had been wasted. Once the fault had been remedied by inserting the diode into the radio-input, Dr. Raudive decided to split the recording into two distinct three-minute parts. For the second half he, or any other person who might wish to do so, could touch the aerial of the diode in order to see whether the aerial potential could thus be increased. In spite of the lengthened aerial, nothing happened. Odd bits of tuneless music (probably five or six different stations all mixed up) came on and off; to add to this, when somebody afterwards touched the aerial, the noise emanating from the recording was absolutely horrifying.
It now appeared certain that the evening had not yielded the desired result. It had been interesting and many a stimulating discussion had started but I had failed to involve my friends directly in this field of voice phenomena. Furthermore, the question had arisen whether the diode method might not be very deceptive; after all, we had just witnessed a number of radio stations coming in together, was there not the possibility of any voices (particularly in more than one language) being just such a mix-up? Mr. Stanley now explained briefly what this particular method of recording was about:
“This diode here is basically a piece of germanium with a bit of metal on it. It will conduct electricity one way and not the other; electricity will flow one way only. Really it is nothing but a common crystal set we used to know as a cat’s whisker in early radio days. It acts in a similar way to a radio but it is not as sensitive. A radio would select a particular station one wants from all the signals that are picked up by the aerial (radio-television-teleprinter etc.); the radio will select just one particular frequency. I don’t want to go into the technical details here because they are a little complicated, but by tuning the dial we set in motion a sophisticated process of selection. A diode like this is a very crude and primitive gadget which has a slightly tuned coil and an aerial. However, I must comment on this particular aerial because it is absolutely useless for picking up anything. The nearest broadcasting station to this house is Brookmans Park and in order to receive a signal from that station we would need an aerial of some 2 to 3 metres (or 6 to 8 feet) at least in length. This aerial is only three inches long (7 centimetres) and absolutely useless for picking up anything. I can say quite categorically that it is impossible to pick up anything with this aerial. There is no signal strong enough to induce a three-inch wire to act as an aerial.”
There is no doubt that Dr. Raudive must have felt very unhappy and embarrassed at this moment, and in retrospect I appreciate that the unsuitable circumstances under which he had conducted a scientific experiment formed no basis on which to make up one’s mind whether to publish or not. However, with this last failure, it looked as if we might have to consider the whole project once again. During the next half hour a number of my guests talked to Dr. Raudive on technical points, and one of them indicated that the only proof he was now willing to accept would be something definite; for example, if a voice were to give the name of a person present. As it was highly unlikely that such a name would be “floating in the air” from some radio station, it would prove to him that a voice was trying to make a deliberate contact.
Meantime Mr. Stanley had disconnected the additional four inches of wire from the diode and connected the original diode to the radio input, letting the tape run. I think the tape had only been running about two minutes, (by now we had used the fourth tape because each time an experiment had been made, we opened a new tape), when Dr. Raudive asked Stanley to play the recording back. With about twenty people talking and wishing each other a Merry Christmas, it was most surprising when four of them suddenly rushed to the tape- recorder. There, clear and without a shadow of doubt, a rhythmic voice, twice the speed of human voice said “Raudive there”—Mr. Stanley was perhaps the most surprised of them all, because according to his explanation there just could not be any voice on the tape. But there was a voice and it called the name of the one person who was most concerned with it all.
At this unexpected turn of events, I asked Dr. Raudive not to continue with any further experiments. Professor Alex Schneider, the physicist who had participated in the experiments on the continent, has said in one of his reports that all that mattered was to prove just one single voice, its genuineness, and the impossibility of this voice being the result of some freak reception. Everything else would simply confuse the scientist. I remembered this and felt that any further experiments would only blur the impression this particular recording had made on all present. Naturally, we had to rely once again on our experts, who assured us that this voice could not have been caused by radio interferences and also that to hear the name of a person present at that particular moment was more than surprising, it was “mathematically an inconceivable chance”. Very late that night Mr. Stanley discussed with those who stayed on, the problem of understanding—or rather, the difficulty in actually hearing the voices immediately. He gave two examples of situations well known to most people:
“If you telephone a strange office and the operator at the other end mumbles something and you don’t know the actual name of the firm or person, you may well be left in ignorance whether you have dialled the right number or not. If you were attuned to that particular voice and knew which company or person you were speaking to, you would have no difficulty at all in making sense of the mumble. The same applies to aircraft broadcasting to one another. It is very difficult to understand at all. Unless you are actually attuned to a certain noise, you will always find it very difficult to perceive it properly and understand the spoken word. It is quite surprising how much we rely on sight to understand speech, as well as on clarity of diction.”
On Sunday 14th December 1969, Dr. Raudive signed our contract. The original German text, with his additions and alterations, has been translated and edited. Material has been added and the translations of reports we have obtained from physicists and other scientists checked with experts in this country.
No doubt, much controversy will follow. Some scientists will try to prove that Dr. Raudive might be mistaken, others will endeavour to prove that he has contributed to our understanding of great things beyond our wildest dreams. Dr. Raudive’s research is only in its earliest stage of development. But—if he is right, and there is nothing to suggest that he is not, then we have entered a new age. I know that his pioneer work is still going on, and he is now experimenting on far more advanced methods of scientifically recording such phenomena. “If these voices can be received through radio magnetic waves” he said to me at London Airport, when I saw him off, “then I am convinced that sooner or later television will play an important part in our work.”
Personally, I am satisfied as to the bona fide of results and evidence I have seen and heard. I make two qualifications. The first concerns Dr. Raudive; the second the phenomenon itself. Dr. Raudive is Latvian by birth and has lived in many countries, speaking different languages. I think this has serious drawbacks when it comes to interpreting some of the voice phenomena correctly. For example, Raudive played back a particular passage from a sample tape. According to the printed explanations, the text was: “Te Macloo, may—dream, my dear, yes”. Yet to a large number of English people present, the voice said: “Mark you, make believe, my dear, yes”. I challenged the interpretation and explained to Dr. Raudive that “mark you” was not only good English but also made sense in the context of the recording. I am convinced that Dr. Raudive’s multi-lingual background has something to do with the fact that messages received by him are in two, three or sometimes even four languages. Latvian appears to dominate, Russian, German and occasional words from other languages with which he is acquainted make up the rest. Yet all the recordings I have heard made in his absence are straightforward, in one language. In this book, some of the examples given, especially where English or German is used, are not as I understand them. This, I stress, does not affect the basic principle of the recorded voices at all; it is simply a question of how well the vocabulary of the language used is known to the listener.
One of the most difficult problems for the translator, and the editor, has been the sequence of words in many of the recordings. Although some of the passages may appear to leave much to be desired as far as editing goes, in fact it is those very passages which have been given the most careful consideration. I have discussed this more than once with both editor and translator, for whose work my admiration is difficult to express, and generally we decided to keep the sequence of the original language as typical of the strange rhythm employed by the voice-entities.
My second reservation concerns eminent names which are quoted in some of the manifestations. The nonsense they occasionally appear to talk is quite remarkable and out of character for the person or entity they purport to be. Again, this does not mean that the recordings are not genuine. But is it not possible that some of these names are being given by entities who wish to impress? If we accept the principles of good and evil, truth and untruth, sincerity and deceit to be universal, we may well have an explanation for some of the puzzling sayings.
All this does not really worry me; as long as we are aware of fallibility, both human and spiritual or psychic, we shall not fail to apply common sense in judging the voice phenomena on their merit.
Since the visit of Dr. Raudive to England, the voice phenomena have been subject of discussion at scientific congresses and in the international press. Somehow, they have been labelled “Raudive voices” but this is both incorrect and misleading. Dr. Raudive has been neither the first person to receive these voices nor the only one to research into them. Among the many scientists who have worked on the subject, he is, by any standard, primus inter pares and the most successful, and he is the first person to admit that this phenomenon is not exclusive to him.
Of course, better instruments are needed, better tapes and better methods of interference-free recording. All this can and will be achieved by our technicians. There are obvious limits to the instruments available but, on the other hand, what has been done by Konstantin Raudive and other normal, down- to-earth people, is so remarkable and exciting, challenging and provocative that we should not dismiss this opportunity without good cause. Millions of people believe in a life after death and the idea as such is not new to them. Many thousands have practised or are practising methods of communication which rely on certain extraordinary gifts and the integrity of individuals; here now is a man who does not lay claim to any particular gift. Dr. Raudive is a scientist; and as far as his religious attitudes and beliefs are concerned, he is a practising Roman Catholic and therefore not inclined or willing to participate in something of which his own Church would disapprove.
His collaborators include people from many walks of life— physicists, psychologists and electronic experts, as well as doctors, teachers and representatives of the church.
They all say quite simply: “Here are voices which identify themselves, call our names, tell us things which make sense (or sometimes puzzle us); these voices do not originate acoustically, and the names they give belong to people we know to have left this earth.” The voices are on a tape which can be listened to and heard by everybody. The physicists cannot explain the phenomenon, and the psychologists cannot offer an explanation either. Scientific tests have shown (in the Faraday cage, for example) that these voices originate outside the experimenter and are not subject to autosuggestion or telepathy.
Philologists have examined the phenomenon and testified to the fact that, although audible and understandable, the voices are not formed by acoustic means, they are twice the speed of human speech and of a peculiar rhythm, which is identical in the 72,000 examples so far examined.
Matters of this kind do not only cause controversy, they create many other problems as well. For some considerable time it has been known—in Fleet Street, as well as elsewhere— that the American space programme has yielded certain unexpected results which nobody had foreseen. Dr. Raudive has been visited twice by American engineers who have asked too many peculiar questions to be explained by mere curiosity, and have themselves given too little information from which to draw any definite conclusions, and when Dr. Raudive asked whether there was a chance to listen to tape-recordings made during moon flights, he was told that those recordings would not be released for some years to come; it would therefore be wrong to speculate on the possibility that information might be forthcoming from official sources in the United States of America. Nevertheless, if Dr. Raudive has received voice phenomena with his ordinary recording apparatus, it stands to reason that more sophisticated equipment would probably receive those phenomena as well. The utter silence on this matter is interesting. Many eminent scientists have participated with Dr. Raudive (among them those whose reports appear as Appendices to this book) and to ignore their work and achievement would be foolish. However, it would be equally wrong to expect that tomorrow we can 5‘dial M for mother” and establish long conversations with those who have departed. First, we have not got sufficiently advanced equipment to do so. Secondly, this kind of impatient expectation would not help the scientific research being carried out at the moment.
Many people will be concerned about the reaction of the Church to Dr. Raudive’s work, and we have included in Appendix I reports which give some indication of a support which is truly remarkable, and of great importance to the author.
Many scientists have put forward suggestions and ideas; Dr. Fatzer, a participant in Dr. Raudive’s experimental recordings, has expressed a wish to see experiments conducted by different people in different localities in order to form a basis for comparison and clarification of both the nature and meaning of phenomenon. In the United Kingdom, members of the Society for Psychical Research and the Scientific Committee of the Churches Fellowship have shown great interest in the project. Trinity College Cambridge has awarded the Perrott Warwick Studentship to Mr. David Ellis: his research subject is the investigation of ‘Raudive Voices’. Mr. Ellis and I have spent many hours conducting experimental recordings. The voice phenomena we have recorded are of modest quality: we gave them a B— to C— grading, but all of them had a relevant content. These recordings were independently verified by two more listeners, Mr. Colin Smythe and Mr. Leslie Hayward. We have so far established two important facts: first, all our recordings are in one language and not of a polyglot construction; secondly, they are always relevant.
To simplify recording playbacks I developed a loop-tape with a running time of nine seconds at 3f i.p.s. (9| cm.p.s.). I found we received one message per recording.
It seems ages ago since I heard “Mach die Tur mal auf” in November 1969. As publishers we have opened a door to you; we don’t know what you will find. Perhaps much, perhaps nothing; this book may give you comfort, or it may disturb you. If you dislike the thought of such voices really being those of people whom you know to have left this earth, don’t worry about it. After all, if you dislike a picture you need not look at it. You would have to use a tape-recorder to hear voices and even then the chances of establishing a reasonably successful dialogue are unpredictable. You need patience and time to acclimatise the ear to those strange rhythmic sounds, and you might find yourself at a loss if some of the words are in a language you cannot understand.
On the other hand, you may be excited at the thought of witnessing a break-through in another dimension; this is neither spooky nor frightening; it is simply strange and unlike anything you have ever done before.
This is an extract from Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead by Konstantin Raudive published by White Crow Books.