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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Ruzicki

Franz Seidl, the inventor of the psychophon


The man who really invented the first “ghost box” for live, two-way spirit talk was a Viennese electrical engineer by the name of Franz Seidl. He developed an instrument that enabled deaf people to hear, even some who had been deaf from birth.

The instrument sent a tone-modulated high frequency into the brain. Intrigued to experiment in Electronic Voice Phenomena, Seidl combined tone-modulated high frequencies and the radio to create a unique device he called the Psychofon. Instead of tuning a radio steadily to white noise between stations, the Psychofon rapidly scanned the radio bandwidth.

Seidl is not well-known in English-speaking countries because little of his work was translated, but we believe he deserves more attention. Like other great contributors to the field, he was ahead of his time in understanding the process of spirit communications, not only from a technical perspective but from a more subtle spiritual perspective as well.

“I have a great respect for Seidl,"Rosemary told me during a conversation we had about our research. He experienced everything that the users of ghost boxes experience today. And he was right in in his conclusions about the process of spirit communications."

In 1959 Seidl acquired a tape recorder and started taping animal and bird sounds as a hobby. Something peculiar happened during many of the recording sessions.

When he played his tapes back, every now and then he heard a human voice that he was sure had not been audible during the taping. He could not understand any of the voices. Then during one listening session he was hit with a voice that electrified him. Unmistakably, he heard his dead mother calling his name. Further experimentation convinced Seidl that somehow the dead were communicating through the heads on the recorder.

Seidl's Psychofon is not to be confused with the Psycho-Phone, invented by A. B. Salinger in the 1920s. Salinger's Psycho-Phone was a commercial device for subliminal programming during sleep. No claims were made of paranormal possibilities. Psycho-Phones surface from time to time in estate sales and auctions, and sometimes buyers think they have acquired a genuine prototype of a spirit telephone, perhaps even the legendary one said to have been created by Edison. Not so; as we noted earlier, there are no known surviving Edison prototypes-if any were ever made in the first place.

Seidl believed he had discovered a new form of “transcendental physics,” which he called Psitronik. “Psychofonie" was his term for research involving the new method of recording paranormal voices. Seidl said that paranormal voices could not be explained by classical physics because “in other dimensions there exist different rules of nature which are beyond our space-time continuum."

The hearing of “voices from beyond the grave" was not a hallucination or hoax, he said. “All one has to do is listen and hear and they will know the truth . . . [T]here are other planes of existence where people like us and not like us may live and perhaps want to communicate with us.”

Seidl found that results were not entirely dependent on the device but were heavily dependent on the cooperation of the spirit communicators and the “mental readiness" of the living experimenter. Psychic ability influenced results, and so did preparing for a session by meditating first.

Believers got better results than nonbelievers. “When you believe, you open all possibilities,” he said. As for disbelievers, he stated, "Some deny the existence of the soul.

Thus they can't believe in life after death, so they reject the idea that souls who are not here can still talk with us. Of these people they will often claim that they are hearing signals from some broadcasting corporation. These people are so closed that if [paranormal] voices fell on their head they would not know it."

Paranormal voices, like “standard” EVP voices, are distinctly different from anything coming from the radio broadcast, Seidl said. With practice, listeners learn to distinguish the difference. He believed that a “mental synchronization" among the listeners present would help the dead to form words. “If several persons in mental synchronization give more energy to the signal, a special loading condition will arise and produce a kind of field collapse in the radio signal. . . . A transformation of this kind of energy into an electromagnetic wave may allow these voices to be received or taped."

Seidl cautioned that results may not be immediate and there seemed to be a natural optimum window of communication. “You cannot lose patience when no contact takes place at once,” he said. “It may take a long time for conditions to be correct. Communications normally start ten minutes into the session and peak at thirty minutes, then start to fade. Location and time of day play an important part in communication. One cannot force a spirit or entity to talk with you or give you a message.”

Seidl began experimenting with photography during his taping sessions and discovered that he had “extras" in some of his photographs. An extra is an unknown image or figure, believed to be a spirit or a dead person. The extras are not seen visually but show up on the image.

Seidl's work led to profound psychic and spiritual experiences. He experienced levitation, and he became interested in researching the consciousness or souls of plants.

He died in 1982. His best-known work is The Phenomenon of Transcendental Voices (1971), but it was not as widely translated as the works of Jürgenson and Raudive. Seidl's schematics are available on the Internet today, and experimenters still follow them to build devices. Few outside Europe today, however, recognize the name of this man, one of the most significant inventors in the field of spirit communications.

Source: Talking to the dead, de George Noory, Rosemary Ellen Guiley

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