Raudive, Konstantin (1909–1974)
Latvian psychologist and parapsychologist who spent many
years investigating electronic voice phenomenon, involving
electronic tape recordings of voices allegedly belonging to
dead individuals, which has been popularly known as Raudive
voices. His surname is pronounced ‘‘Row-dee-vay.’’ Born in
Uppsala, Sweden, on April 30, 1909, he studied psychology in
Switzerland, Germany, and England. For some time he was a
teacher at the University of Riga and also edited a Latvian
newspaper. In Switzerland he had studied psychology under
Carl Jung and was also a pupil of the Spanish philosopher Ortega
y Gasset. He left Latvia when the Soviet Army invaded the
Baltic and absorbed Latvia in 1945. With his wife, Dr. Zenta
Maurina, he lived for a time in Sweden, later moving to Bad
Kroningen, Germany, near the border with Switzerland.
It was during his period in Sweden in 1965 that Raudive met
Friedrich Jürgenson who had pioneered the study of paranormal
voice recordings. In 1959, Jürgenson tape-recorded a
Swedish finch, and on playback he heard what appeared to be
a human voice in addition to the bird. He thought there must
be some fault in the apparatus, but subsequent recordings contained
a message which seemed to be recognizably from his
dead mother. Jürgenson described his experiments in his book
Rösterna från Rymden (Voices From Space), published in Sweden
in 1964. Prior to Jürgenson, Raymond Bayless had reported
such phenomena. Raudive published an account of his research
in 1968.
Starting in 1965, Raudive and his wife devoted themselves
to investigating this phenomenon of paranormal voices manifesting
on tape recordings, later assisted by Swiss physicist Alex
Schneider and various engineers. Other scientists and parapsychologists
who investigated the electronic voice phenomenon
included Professor Hans Bender of the University of Freiburg,
Germany, and Dr. Friedebert Karger of the Max Planck Institute
in Munich. After 1969, differences of opinion arose between
Jürgenson and Raudive, and thereafter they conducted
their research independently.
Ratte, Rena J(osephine) Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Essentially the electronic voice phenomenon consists of
paranormal voice communications (apparently from dead individuals)
manifesting on recordings made on a standard tape recorder
(sometimes enhanced by a simple diode circuit). The
voices are also apparent on the ‘‘white noise’’ of certain radio
The communications are usually fragmentary and ambiguous,
rather like those produced by a ouija board, and need considerable
amplification. The voices are sometimes in a mixture
of different languages, rather like scrambled radio bands, but
in many cases they appear to be recognizably from persons
known to the experimenters during their lifetimes. They comment
on the experimenters or convey cryptic messages in a
kind of terse, disjointed telegram style. So far no communications
appear to indicate high intelligence and seem relatively
Various explanations of the voices have been suggested.
They may be sounds relayed back to earth from other planets
by some unknown natural phenomenon or a potpourri of ordinary
radio communications. Some skeptics think the voices
may be imaginary, since listening to amplified electronics static
and hum may suggest voices that do not really exist. Another
theory is that the voices come from the subconscious of the experimenters,
impressed on the tapes like the thought-forms of
psychic photography.
Against such theories and criticisms, a number of highly
qualified researchers have conducted and analyzed thousands
of careful experiments which lead them to suggest that some
of these recordings are of paranormal voices, and voice prints
of communications purporting to be from the same source
show matching patterns.
In June 1970, David Ellis, a Cambridge graduate, had been
elected to the Perrott-Warrick Studentship which grants aid to
conduct psychic research. He studied a selection of Raudive
tapes in 1970. In his 1978 book, his findings were largely skeptical,
and he believed that on occasion Raudive may have mistaken
fragments of foreign language broadcasts for paranormal
voice communications. However, Ellis was inclined to
believe some of the voices might be paranormal, but their faintness
and the background noise prevented positive identification.
Raudive died September 2, 1974, and his widow Dr. Zenta
Maurina-Raudive published a tribute to his work. After his
death, controversy arose on the question of archive storage and
availability for study of the Raudive Collection, which the Society
for Psychical Research expressed willingness to house.
Bander, Peter. Carry On Talking How Dead are the Voices
London Colin Smythe, 1972. Reprinted as 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.
Ellis, David J. The Mediumship of the Tape Recorded. West
Essex, UK The Author, 1978.
Maurina-Raudive, Zenta, ed. Konstantin Raudive zum Gedaechtnis.
München Maximilian Dietrich Verlag, 1975.
Ostrander, Sheila, and Lynn Schroeder. Handbook of Psi Discoveries.
New York G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1974. Reprint, New
York Berkeley Publishing, 1975. Reprint, London Abacus,
Raudive, Konstantin. Unhörbares Wird Hörbar (The Inaudible
Made Audible). N.p., 1968. English edition as Breakthrough
An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead.
Translated by Peter Bander. New York Taplinger, 1971

Previous articleQuigley, Joan (1927– )
Next articleRhabdomancy