I hear dead people: science, technology and a resonant universe

Deborah P. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (SciVal)


In recent years the simplistic categorization of Victorian practices and beliefs as either 'occult' or 'scientific' has been undercut by a series of revisionist analyses that point to an over-arching concern with influence and effect, a concern that was manifest across the sciences and humanities and beyond into popular culture. This paper sets out to further problematize such a distinction via an exploration of twentieth-century research into electronic voice phenomena (EVP), celebrated by its adherents as proof of a spiritual plane of existence beyond the readily observable or audible. In doing so, I focus on the work of one of the most active EVP researchers, Konstantin Raudive, as well as the web pages of the World Instrumental Transcommunication organization, drawing out the pivotal role of technology in the construction of this form of knowledge and some of its associated imaginative geographies. In and of itself, EVP research tells us much about the authoritative status of cause and effect explanatory frameworks, as well as the innocence accorded technological apparatus. An examination of how EVP has been received within academia, however, also reveals how, in our 'post'-positivist academic environment, efforts are still being made to locate explanation within the human subject, as the charge is made that EVP researchers suffer from a logocentrism or are witness to Freud's doppelgnger. In response to these critiques, I pose the question: can the willingness of EVP researchers to abandon such human-centered certainties resonate with emergent 'post-human' ideas on the nature of explanation itself?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-733
Number of pages15
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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