by Andrew K. Arnett

It’s Saturday morning and we’re in the motel room. We’re about to head out to Mount Misery Road, located just a few miles away. We decide, however, to first consult an EVP and see if we can make any initial contact, wether for guidance, or a foreshadowing on what to expect.

“Do you have the Ghost Hunter M2 app?” I ask Sophie.

Sophie gets out her phone and pulls up the app.

“Cool,” I said. “Let’s do a quick session.”

If you ‘want to believe’ in ghosts well, that’s one thing. But believing that your phone is capable of communicating with the dead, that’s a whole other level of belief. It’s going to take some convincing.

The Ghost Hunter M2 app has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, which could have immediately disqualified it in my eyes. Nonetheless, it is popular amongst ghost hunters, sporting an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 on APPFOLLOW.

It has in fact become one of our favorite go-to devices when in the field. On numerous occasions, it has delivered results which were uncanny in our eyes.

The M2 offers a variety of features including a luxsccope, an audio detection instrument, EVP and EMF meters and a geoscope.

It is however, the EVP function that we are exclusively interested in here. EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon, are digitally recorded voices, inaudible to human ears, which are displayed on the app in text form.

In addition to the EVP, I set up a camera on a tripod, to get a video and audio record of the event. I start by asking, “If there are any spirits here, please identify yourselves, or give us some foreshadowing of what we might expect to find at Mount Misery Road.”

We waited in silence for almost a minute with no response from the EVP. I felt compelled to begin speaking to the camera, discussing the set up for our investigation, etc., when suddenly the EVP flashed the word TONGUE followed immediately by the word MEASURE.

“We just got two,” I said to Sophie. “I’m not sure what that means. I started talking and it said TONGUE. Now I’m using my tongue and it said measure so maybe I should ‘measure my tongue,’ like I should just shut the hell up and listen.”

“Yeah,” Sophie said.

“Well that’s good advice, right there,” I said. “I do flab my tongue quite a bit.”

“Yeah,” Sophie said. “You do.”

EVP session in Mount Misery motel (2020). Photo Andrew Arnett

Another couple of minutes go by in silence with no response from the EVP. I felt compelled to ask another question.

“So we’re looking for one ghost out there,” I say, “Her name is Mary. She was allegedly an inmate at an insane asylum and she apparently burned the place down and died in there and haunts Mount Misery Road. Is there a Mary or somebody out there that goes by that name?”

Immediately the word DRESS appeared.

“Dress,” Sophie said.

“She wears a dress,” I said.

“Oh, you said that.” Sophie says. “That’s weird.”

We were both surprised and genuinely spooked by the response. The legend speaks of a ghost named Mary, also known as The Lady in White, for sporting a white dress. The gown, perhaps, in which she wore when she perished in the asylum fire so long ago.

I decided to follow up the response with one more question before heading off.

“Do you have any advice for us as we move towards Mount Misery Road?”

A couple of minutes elapsed in silence.

“Is there anything regarding this spirit that goes by Mary that you want to communicate to us?”

Some more time passed and still no further response. Whatever initial contact we had made was now apparently closed up. We had nothing left to do but pack up and drive to Mount Misery itself.

It was, we felt, a good initial start. But what can one make of such responses? Was it a matter of mere coincidence that the timing and content of the answers seem to correlate with our questions, or were we just working ourselves up into a lather over nothing at all?

Thomas Edison’s Miraculous Machine

The skeptical mind may very well dismiss the entire phenomenon of an EVP contact as a hoax, or a parlor trick. The EVP though, has a very interesting and somewhat illustrious history. No less a scientific luminary than Thomas Edison himself tried to invent an electronic device capable of recording and communicating with the dead. In 1920, Edison wrote:

“If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, other faculties, and knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore … if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something.”

Thomas Edison

By the 1940s, there were a number of allegedly successful EVPs documented. Marcello Bacci of Grosseto, Italy claimed to pick up voices of the dead on a vacuum tube radio. Attila von Szalay, an American photographer, teamed up with psychologist Raymond Bayless, first using a 78-RPM Pack-Bell record-cutter and player to record the voices of the deceased.

In 1959, a Swedish filmmaker by the name of Friedrich Juergenson was making some field recordings of birds when he discovered, upon playback, hearing his mother’s voice speaking to him in German, “Friedrich, you are being watched. Friedel, my little Friedel, can you hear me?” Juergenson went on to record hundreds of EVPs and authoring two books on the subject, Voices from the Universe and Radio Contact with the Dead.

Juergenson has been dubbed the “father of the EVP” for his tireless efforts in the field.

By the 1970s, more advanced recording devices provided greater opportunity to commune with the dead. Spiritual researchers George and Jeanette Meek teamed up with psychic William O’Neil to record EVPs utilizing radio oscillators. The researchers claimed they had recorded evidence of conversations with the spirit of university professor and NASA scientist Dr. George Jeffries Mueller, who died in 1967.

EVPs may not answer all the questions about life and death, and their results are always open to scrutiny. Nonetheless, they should be viewed as another tool in the tool kit for the paranormal researcher. Sometimes, they can turn out to be a very useful tool indeed.