Jürgenson, Friedrich (1903–1987)
Russian-born Swedish painter and film producer who first
discovered the paranormal voice phenomenon that has since
Jung, Carl Gustav Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
842
come to be known as Raudive voices or the electronic voice
phenomenon. In July 1959 Jürgenson recorded the song of a
Swedish finch on his tape recorder and on playback heard what
appeared to be a human voice. He thought there must be some
fault in the apparatus, but subsequent recordings contained an
apparent message that seemed to be from his dead mother.
Jürgenson mentioned his experiences in a book that made a
deep impression on the Latvian psychologist Konstantin Raudive.
The two men conducted further research into paranormal
voices on tape recordings, collaborating with other scientists
between 1964 and 1969. The collaborators included Hans
Bender of the University of Freiburg and Friedebert Karger of
the Max Planck Institute in Munich.
After 1969 Jürgenson and Raudive had some differences of
opinion and conducted their further research independently.
Raudive’s research was extensive and included the collection
and study of more than 100,000 recordings. Following
publication of his book on the subject, translated into English
as Breakthrough An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication
with the Dead (1971), the phenomenon became generally
known and discussed as ‘‘Raudive voices,’’ although more recently
the term electronic voice phenomenon has become preferred
by parapsychologists.
Essentially this phenomenon consists of paranormal voice
communications (apparently from the dead) that are heard on
recordings made on standard tape recorders, sometimes enhanced
by a simple diode circuit. The voices are also apparent
on the ‘‘white noise’’ of certain radio bands.
In view of traditional opposition to Spiritualist phenomena
from the Catholic Church in the past, it is significant that the
work of Jürgenson on paranormal voice recordings has been
known to the Holy See since 1960, and according to Jürgenson
the suggestion that these recordings are voices from the dead
has been sympathetically considered. In 1969 Archbishop Dr.
Bruno B. Heim presented Jürgenson to Pope Paul VI for investiture
as commander of the Order of St. Gregory. This honor,
however, was in respect of Jürgenson’s work as a filmmaker.
After the initial discovery of the paranormal voice phenomenon
through tape recordings of a bird song, some confusion
was caused by the announcement that Raudive later investigated
mediumistic messages conveyed by a budgerigar (parrot).
Such bird voices may be related to the electronic voice phenomenon
discovered by Jürgenson, but are basically of a different
nature. Jürgenson died October 15, 1987, at his home in
Hoor, Sweden, at age 84.
Sources
Bander, Peter. Voices from the Tapes. New York Drake Publishers,
1973.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Raudive, Konstantin. Sprechfunk mit Vesterbenen. Freiburg I
Br., Germany Herman Bauer, 1967. Translated as Breakthrough
An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with
the Dead. Gerrards Cross, UK Colin Smythe; New York Japlinger,
1971.

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