Ghostbox cartoon

Listen: Why “Ghostbox” Can’t Be Taken Seriously

Episode 21 of The Spooktator looked at Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and the Ghostbox and during the show, I played examples of EVP recordings made by active ghost hunters including one from Erica Gregory. If you’ve read my previous writing on Gregory you’ll know that she believes to have uncovered hidden information relating to the Moors Murders which were perpetrated by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Her evidence for this are her EVP recordings and psychic work, but it turns out that not all is what it seems with the recordings…

One of the EVP recordings from Gregory is alleged to say “Brady Heard That” and during the show we concluded that the phrase was simply caused by the way in which the Ghostbox scans radio frequencies and the resulting scramble of audio from different channels being used to find familiar sounding words which can be squeezed to fit the context. The context, in this case, is The Moors Murders. This audio is presented in real-time and in a way in which it isn’t obvious which clips are being heard from which sources.

The problem with the Ghostbox is that it’s basically an illusion-creating device which allows users to find audio illusions in real-time without the source of the audio being detectable. This is the audio equivalent to what psychologists refer to as The Pareidolia Effect. The “Brady heard that” EVP is a brilliant example of this. It starts with Gregory speaking and asking to hear voices, so have a quick listen below:

[source]

One of our lovely listeners, Tammy W., got in touch shortly after we released the episode to say that the “Brady heard that” EVP was actually a radio sting from British radio station Radio X. The sting, which says “Radio X”, can be heard below:

[source]

It’s pretty clear to see how the Ghostbox being used has picked up the frequency for Radio X right at the moment that the sting was being played while Erica Gregory was trying to use the device to communicate with ghosts regarding the Moors Murders. If someone did the same in a completely different context they might interpret the words as meaning something different.

There are EVP recordings that are a lot more detailed out there, I know, but they all rely on the same sort of recording system where audio is captured without the person recording it being exactly sure what the source of the noise they’re hearing is. The Radio X EVP mistake is a great example of why this just isn’t a trustworthy type of “evidence” and just can’t be relied on.


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Published by

Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

One thought on “Listen: Why “Ghostbox” Can’t Be Taken Seriously”

  1. Do people really believe in this rubbish? It’s 2017. I can’t work out if Erica Gregory is truly a deluded lunatic or knows it’s all hocum and just wants fame. I keep expecting Derek Acorah to pop up (probably her idol!)

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