This essay introduces an experiment protocol that has proven useful for the study of information gathering using Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).1 The protocol was designed to permit four, geographically separated people to cooperate during an EVP session. The initial objective was to find a methodology to improve information gathering; however, a number of important findings came from the study:
- Distance and time did not appear to be a limiting factor for question-response exchange.
- Meaningful information can be collected via EVP that can be specific to a question.
- The discipline of following a protocol appeared to enhance communication.
- Cooperation amongst a number of interested practitioners seemed to enhance communication.
- While presumably every member of a cell is a practitioner, the protocol is most effective when the Receiver is an experienced and able practitioner.
- Accessing information for which the answer is not known requires direct feedback from informed sources.
Our working model for modalities of trans-etheric influences including EVP and mental mediumship is that the practitioner or an interested observer functions as a conduit through which the trans-etheric influence is propagated. As in mental mediumship, it is more correct to say that the practitioner or interested observer facilitates voice formation by functioning as a conduit for the influence initiated by the discarnate communicating personality. This trans-etheric influence is nonlocal, in that the influence of the communicating personality’s intention to produce voice in a target audio recorder can apparently be facilitated by anyone in the world.
The conduit concept is based on the avatar model which I have been studying in the Implicit Cosmology.2 In that, etheric personality-human entanglement provides a conduit for the expression of intention into the physical aspect of reality. See the Life-Field Complex diagram in the Opinion Setters: What to Believe essay.
In simpler terms, the 4Cell Protocol is for studying mediumship, be it mental mediumship or instrument-augmented mediumship.
A number of concepts are involved in this protocol. Each will be explained in brief. Please use the comment tool if you wish to know more.
This is briefly addressed above. A characteristic of psi fields is that an influence in one location is able to be experienced all locations. For this protocol, it means that, wherever the members of the 4Cell live, they will be able to psychically influence the process as if they were all in the same room.
You may remember that I discussed the concept of rapport in the Big Circle essay. From that essay:
Contact Field: Rapport can be considered a conceptual form of energy and the rapport of mutual cooperation builds what might be thought of as a contact field which is seen as necessary for etheric to physical influences. A contact field can also be thought of as a type of thoughtform which becomes entangled with a group of people or a place. Such a thoughtform may support similar trans-etheric influences which otherwise require the entanglement of a personality-avatar relationship. In general, contact fields are associated with cooperative communities or places of long-time human occupancy or the expression of strong emotions. For instance, unusually frequent trans-etheric influences (haunting) are often reported at churches, hospitals and battlefields.
The four members of an experimental cell are believed to develop a contact field because of the mutual cooperation. This field is nonlocal and tends to accumulate over time. It is thought to facilitate transcommunication; think of it as an intentionality amplifier.
Everyone is Psychic
If you review the Life-Field Complex diagram in the Opinion Setters essay, you will see that a likely understanding based on psi research is that all of our mental processing is basically psi functioning. The degree to which we are considered psychic depends on a number of personality factors as described in James Carpenter’s First Sight Theory.3, 4
Virtually all personal improvement training techniques I am aware of involve mechanisms related to a common perspective on human potential known as mindfulness.5 As a lifestyle, mindfulness is an attitude of personal responsibility which involves careful management of thoughts and intention. The unconscious perceptual processes are functionally out of reach of direct manipulation; however, indirect training of the processes is possible following mindfulness techniques.
Mediumship is when psi functioning is focused on communication with a discarnate personality. Otherwise, there appears to be no difference between mediumship and psychic ability; it is all in the purpose and the nature of the accessed information.
In the context of psi functioning, lucidity is a term used to indicate the degree of clarity of a person’s conscious awareness of his or her etheric personality (intelligent core).6 Perceptual processes moderated by worldview functions as a filter between personality (I am this) and conscious self (I think I am this). As stated, the perceptual process is not directly influenced by conscious self. Worldview represents our personal reality, and that assumed mismatch with actual reality represents the filter or discontinuity between personality and self. Aligning worldview with the actual nature of reality increases lucidity. In other words, mindfulness is a technique for improving communion with personality.
It is interesting to note that the Spiritualist community expects personal responsibility and prizes understanding of Natural Law. Understanding and learning to live in accordance with Natural Law is one way of aligning worldview with the actual nature of reality.
Of course, the real challenge is in understanding what is and is not Natural Law. First, don’t look for immutability. Look instead for understanding of local processes by questioning your reaction and assumptions. Since worldview mostly changes incrementally, how you align your understanding with the actual nature of reality will likely need to be an evolving process.
There is a group dynamic which apparently enhances a person’s effectiveness in transcommunication. The concept needs further development, but you should be able to get the gist of it from this “Media Watch” item Lisa Butler posted to The National Spiritualist Summit Magazine:7
Crowd Wisdom: British paranormalist Ron Pearson is conducting an experiment to see if “… the wisdom of crowds [can] predict when the Yellowstone super volcano will erupt.” He notes that individuals tend to be poor predictors, but that the average of many people’s predictions tended to be astoundingly accurate. For instance, in one study 160 people were asked to guess how many jellybeans were in a jar. The answers ranged from a few hundred to about 60,000; however, the average of the guesses was 4,200 which were within 0.1 percent.
Pearson is conducting a study to test the predictive ability of crowds by asking people to submit a guess as to when Yellowstone will erupt. As it happens, in geological time, the super volcano is way overdue. You do not need to be psychic to submit a guess. Just go to Yellowstone.cfpf.org.uk and fill out the form.
From: Pearson, Ron, “Crowds and Catastrophes,” Paranormal Review, Winter 2015, spr.ac.uk
For the average of the guesses to approach the actual number, it is believed that each person is able to sense the correct number, but that information is more or less corrupted as it passes through the unconscious perceptual process. In other words, each of us is more or less lucid, but as a community, we approach perfect lucidity.
As it turns out, working with others to execute a predesigned protocol has been shown to be an effective way to enhance lucidity. Following then, is an explanation of that protocol.
4Cell EVP Demonstration
The Association TransCommunication had been looking for an effective way to use Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) as a research tool for studying trans-etheric influences. Part of the problem is finding a way to make the recording of the phenomenal voices more reliable while reducing possible false positives due to witness coloring and environmental contamination. There is also the problem of practitioner ability, which varies considerably amongst people willing to participate in experiments.
One initiative to increase our understanding that has proven to be very effective is the 4Cell EVP Demonstration,1 which was conducted by association members and tracked in the Idea Exchange.8 The 4Cell project is designed to function as a test bed in which new ideas can be tried and the limits of EVP can be explored. As the 4Cell demonstration matured with more cells and more experiments on record, we anticipated being able to provide solid support for the existence of EVP, and the fact that EVP may be evidence of personal survival. Further, we expect this proof to be in a form that the scientific community will be able to accept, and therefore, feel obliged to repeat the experiments.
The 4Cell EVP protocol is explained here. As always, we are available to assist researchers in setting up Cells to meet their research goals.
Each cell consists of four people:
- A Requester who thinks of a request to be given to cooperating etheric communicators. A request may be a question, such as, “Who was my favorite teacher,” or a request for action, such as, “Please tell the Receiver what I am wearing now.” The request should be of interest to the Requester. The request can be directed at a research question, such as, “What happens after the moment of physical death?” The Requester tells the Sender the request but not the expected response
- A Sender who is given the request and then conveys it to his or her etheric communicators, asking that they send the requested information to the Receiver. This may be accomplished in any way the Sender feels will work. Part of the objective here is to allow the participant to invent a way that “seems” right. Since so much of this is intuitive, personal initiative may be more effective than constraining rules. If there is doubt as to how to proceed, we advise that the Sender meditates or contemplates on the question. The idea is to send the message psychically, but to also send it verbally and maybe even in writing. All are effective techniques for EVP, as all helps focus attention. The Sender then notifies the Receiver that a request has been sent.
- A Receiver who conducts an EVP session (or contemplates/meditates for mental mediumship), asking to receive the response to the request. There may be many receiving sessions and they may be designed to suit the Receiver. To maintain focus, the Receiver should be the only one conducting a receiving session for any particular cycle. If the Receiver thinks EVP are in the resulting recording, the sound files are sent to the Scribe. (Mediumistic messages should be prescreened by the Receiver for a sense of meaningfulness.)
- A Scribe who accepts what was received, if anything, from the Receiver and makes a first determination as to what is said. The Scribe then asks the Requester for the request and privately posts the request and possible responses to the other three members of the Cell. The results of collaboration amongst Cell members are documented in a standardized report. For ATransC sponsored Cells, the report is posted on the Idea Exchange for peer review.
- Other board participants are then asked to consider the offered response by functioning as a listening panel. The Cell’s determination of what is said remains as The Report, but comments from others are retained as a record of possible alternative considerations (peer review).
Cell members have been asked to rotate positions, but we have found that it is more important that the cell has some degree of recording success so we are now asking that each Cell has at least one experienced experimenter with some level of confidence that at least some messages will be recorded. The Cells were also asked to record on a regular, weekly basis but now we see that there are too many normal living interruptions. It is better that the group tries to record when possible, perhaps on a monthly schedule.
It is important that some recording schedule is maintained, otherwise, the normally geographically distributed group of people tends to lose focus resulting in eventual abandonment of the study.
Once an effective Receiver has been found and the Cell has had some initial success, rotating members into the Receiver position will help develop more overall ability of the group.
In the event that one of the four members is temporarily not able to participate, the functions of Receiver and Scribe can be combined. But separation between the Requester and the Sender is required to address the possibility that the Requester is asking something that is emotionally biased. This also separates the expected response from the send/receive process. The reason the Scribe is asked to independently decide whether or not the request has been correctly responded to is to see if he or she is able to arrive at that conclusion without the influence of group-think unconsciously guided by the Requester.
The protocol does not require a specific type of question or technique for obtaining the answer. The reason for this is that the group dynamics are as much part of the research question as are the resulting answer. One of the predictions from this protocol is that a cooperating group will have better results than one that experiences internal conflict. The concept is that the rapport of mutual cooperation builds the kind of contact field thought to be necessary for trans-etheric influences.
The flexibility of the protocol is in the fact that the Receiver can use EVP, automatic writing, mental mediumship, any form of transcommunication. If EVP is not used, then the Listening Panel can be referred to as something like a Witness Panel.
Since Cell members are usually scattered around the country, it is unrealistic to attempt physically supervising the experimental cycles; so many experiments by many different Cells over many months should provide sufficient information to assess the validity of the concept, even though individual results should be judged on a case by case basis.
Responses are seldom going to be decisively correct and many requests will require a subjective response. For instance, a possible answer to “Please recite Mary Had a Little Lamb” might be a verbatim recital, but more likely would be more arcane such as Lamb chops, Happy Mary, or baby sheep. As such, the determination as to whether or not the answer is correct must be made on a scale of reasonableness and the unlikeliness of the results. This is why the first decision is independently made by one person and that decision is preserved in the record.
After the Scribe sends the first determination to the other Cell members, the group collaborates to accept, modify or completely change that first determination. The results of this process are also reported.
Finally, the use of an independent Witness or Listening Panel8 of less invested people helps to avoid group-think. This final review of what the Receiver reported is most effective if one of the Witness Panel acts as a Judge to sort out potentially divergent opinions.
The three versions of the transcommunication: Initial determination by the Scribe; Cell member’s group determination; and, the version selected by the Judge are retained in the report record. Confidence in the usefulness of the answer is based on this report.
At first, the effectiveness of the protocol was unknown; however, early Cell reports made it clear that the communicating entities were happy to participate and that they could do all that we asked. Most of the answers were pretty poor Class B, meaning that the average listener would have difficulty making them out. Such difficult to understand utterances are not normally shared, but they are used in this kind of study as long as a Listening Panel is used.
Here are a few examples. We are able to include audio files for three:
4Cell 1 – Voices:
- Question: “Does it take more of your energy to manifest a Class A EVP, and if so, please indicate your answer as ‘More energy’ or ‘No difference.’”
Class B answer: “No difference.”
- Question: “What can we, as receivers on the physical level, do to help facilitate communication from you, the transmitters in the spiritual?”
Class B+ answer: “Just open up the portal.”
4Cell 2 –Infinite:
- Question: “Can you tell me the name of Jim Robinson’s make believe sister?”
Correct answer: Sissy Sally.
Class B- answer: “Sally’s the name.”
- Question: “Who is the artist and what is the name of the painting hanging at the end of the entrance hallway in Vicki and Pete’s home?”
Correct Answer: Marc Chagall and The Lovers.
Class B- answer: “Who painted it? … Chagall did.”
- Question: “What Did Keith’s Grandpa Hallmark give him, and also, it has been lost. Can they tell us where it is?”
Correct Answer: Cue stick.
Class C answer: “A cue” and “Christy know right where it is.”
- Question: “What are the names of Jim’s Montessori School teachers?”
Correct answer: Vivian and Rosmund.
Class B answer: “Vivian” and in same file
Class C answer: “Rosmund.”
- Question: “What was the name of the tavern where I (Vicki) met my husband?”
Correct answer: The Waterfront.
Class B answer: “Has a view of the bay.”
Cell Name: CellOctetic
Question: “What were some of your misconceptions about death and/or life on the other side?”
Answer: Vicki told us that, “Braden (her son) wanted us to know that the answer ‘Regrets’ was a very difficult one for him to give.” The order of the EVP that was most important to the study was: Class C- “It’s just hard to answer this,” Followed directly by Class A “Regrets.”
Vicki explained: “I think that he and his friends on the other side did not want to hurt their moms or frighten others—they discussed whether Braden could even say it. He knew I could handle it, but others might not be able to. The EVP came as you see it above. As I said, Braden wants us to know that this is an important part of our passing; our life review.”
Comment: Near Death Experience researchers appear to be in agreement that we do experience a life review, and that it is from the perspective of those with whom we have interacted during the lifetime. This review can be expected to be emotionally painful, but it is probably the foundation on which we build new spiritual understanding. The 4Cell results are amongst the very few we have seen indicating all is not heaven when we make our transition.
4Cell 2 –Infinite: Shell Morrison: “Review our lives”
Shell was functioning as the Sender during a 4Cell EVP Demonstration experiment, but when the Receiver did not record an EVP that was appropriate to the question, “What happens when we die?” she asked Sell to record for answers. Shell recorded this response, which is an astoundingly clear Class A.
Working with EVP and using a confident practitioner, the 4Cell protocol averaged around 60% effective in soliciting meaningful responses. Of course, meaningful is a soft parameter because specific types of responses were expected.
Experience indicates that coordinating four people in a series of question and answer cycles has the potential of overcoming many of the objections normally cited for mediumship experiments. It may be reasonable to have two Receivers working independently. One could function in the mental mediumship modality of transcommunication while the other works with EVP.
The main point I want to make is that anyone wishing to conduct organized mediumship (instrumental or not) studies and who is able to organize three other people, including a confident practitioner/medium, can use this protocol to produce meaningful results. The key is to faithfully follow the methodology while avoiding the urge to get one right by accepting less than useful results. The rest of this is that, to be useful outside of the Cell, a Witness Panel with a Judge is necessary.
We have tried to use this protocol for objective information gathering such as looking for lost people or objects. The problem we encountered has been that it is necessary to have a fairly clear idea of nature of the answer. That is, if approximate information is not known, and if it is not possible to ask for interactive feedback from involved parties, it is difficult to assign meaningfulness of answers.
There is a standing offer too use the Idea Exchange for the Witness Panel part of the protocol. The forum is very quiet now, so for now, you will also need to bring your own witnesses.
- Butler, Tom and Lisa, 4Cell EVP Demonstration, Association TransCommunication, 2005, atransc.org/journal/4cell_experiment.htm
- Butler, Tom, Implicit Cosmology, Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/cosmology.htm
- Carpenter, James C, Ph.D., First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook). See: firstsightbook.com
- Butler, Tom, Perceptual Process, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/concepts/perception.htm
- Butler, Tom, Mindfulness, Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/mindfulness.htm
- Butler, Tom, Mediumship, Etheric Studies, 2014, ethericstudies.org/concepts/mediumship.htm#Lucidity
- The National Spiritualist Summit Magazine, a National Spiritualist Association of Churches publication, nsac.org
- Idea Exchange, Association TransCommunication, atransc.org/forum/
- Butler, Tom, EVP Listening Panel, The Collective, 2013, atransc.org/bp/EVP_Listening_Panel