live broadcast sound collage

The idea that radio could be used not only as an active broadcast media for terrestrially bound humans, but as a passive receiver of indirect communications from lands unknown, has been present since its inception.

In 1901 Nicolai Tesla published an article in Collier’s Weekly that described mysterious radio transmissions received at his Colorado Springs laboratory.  He posited that radio could be harnessed to communicate with the inhabitants of other planets and “at the present stage of progress, there would be no insurmountable obstacle in constructing a machine capable of conveying a message to Mars, nor would there be any great difficulty in recording signals transmitted to us by the inhabitants of that planet, if they be skilled electricians.”

In an interview in 1919, Guglielmo Marconi told the London Daily Chronicle that anomalous radio transmissions received “out of the ether” by the Marconi Company Wireless Station in Cornwall indicated “communication with other stars may some day be possible and, as many planets are much older than ours, the beings who live there ought to have information for us of enormous value.”

In 1920 Thomas Edison told American Magazine he was developing “an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life” and dubbed this device the Spirit Phone.

This installment of Special Collections focuses on the phenomenon of radio mediumship, also known as Direct Radio Voice.  A radio tuned to an unmodulated carrier signal between stations acts as the conduit for communication from beyond.

Featuring recordings made by the following practitioners:

Marcello Bacci began recording the voices of spirits through his radio in 1949. He held free and public sessions in his home in Grosetto, Italy until 2013.  

Painter and film-maker Friedrich Jurgenson first began experimenting with direct radio voice in 1959.  He coined his technique the “inter frequency method” and published a book, Voices from Space, in 1964.  He recorded all of his sessions on magnetic tape and released a collection of recordings from 1959-1985 called From the Studio for Audioscopic Research.

Konstantin Raudive, a Latvian intellectual interested in parapsychology, was so impressed by Jurgenson’s book that he arranged a meeting in 1965.  This collaboration resulted in almost 100,000 recordings. Raudive published Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead in 1971.  The book was accompanied by a flexi disc.  After his death, he called fellow researchers Sarah Estep and George Meek on the phone, a conversation both were prepared to record.

In 1973 George Meek and William O’Neil began work on a device they would eventually dub the Spiricom.

Meek provided the funds, and O’Neil the electronic and psychic know how.  O’Neil and Meek documented freewheeling two way communiques with entities from “beyond”.  The Spiricom project culminated in a Commodore64 computer program called Spiricom7.  8-bit sound from the program will be included on tonights program as well.

Sarah Estep founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) in 1982.   Her aim was to legitimize direct voice radio as a practice that could be repeated and monitored under controlled circumstances.  She kept meticulous audio tape records and even sent out a tape newsletter for a while.  She was in extensive contact with Beethoven.

Jules and Maggie Harsch-Fischbach began experimenting with direct radio voice with their Euro Signal Bridge in Luxembourg in 1981.  In 1986 they received a message from a being calling itself “Technician” who led them to expand their work to include the use of video. Audio of both their radio and video work will be aired.


Broadcast date: October 25th 2016
KCHUNG Los Angeles 1630AM

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS is a broadcast project by Sam Rowell.
Each edition is mixed live on the air.