EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena)

The book I’m working on now came about because of a trailer for the movie White Noise. In the trailer was an example of EVP, which are audio recordings of dead people talking (so the recorders believe).

I’ve included a few of my favorites. I’m not going to say what it’s generally believed the voices are saying. One of the arguments about EVP is that people hear the words they expect to hear. The problem with that argument is, when people insist that the voices are not saying what we think they are saying, they don’t address the fact that we’re hearing voices when there shouldn’t be voices at all.

Update: Most of the links I originally had here are broken now. These two still work as of 8/11.



Thank you to Ghost Web and the The American Association Electronic Voice Phenomena, the places where I found these recordings.

Sodder Story Airs Friday

My story about the Sodder family is going to air on NPR’s show All Things Considered on Friday, December 23rd. I don’t have an exact time, but the show is between 4 and 6, and it will probably air towards the end of one of the hours, so either between 4:45 and 5:00 or between 5:45 and 6:00.

If you don’t know which station NPR broadcasts from in your area, go to the NPR website and look in the upper lefthand corner. You can type in your zip code and find a local station.

Due to time constraints, some information we uncovered didn’t make it into the story, but I will talk about all of that here after Friday.

For an excellent, in-depth account of the story, there’s West Virginia Unsolved Murders by George and Melody Bragg. You can order it by calling 304-256-8400.

For their enormous help with the story I would like to thank the Sodder family, West Virginia State Police Cold Case Unit Sergeant Mike Spradlin, author George Bragg, West Virginia State Fire Marshall Sterling Lewis, Joe Leake, also of the West Virginia State Fire Marshall’s office, retired Fayetteville Fire Chiefs Roy and Steve Cruikshank, Debrah Arrington and Crystal Rose at the Fayetteville Public Library, Fayette County Clerk Kelvin Holliday, Fred Martens, former head of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission and member of the Vidocq Society, all the people we met in Fayetteville who talked to us about their theories of what happened to the children, and the members of Websleuths, where I first read of the Sodder story and where they continue to discuss the case (and others) to this day.

Again, the billboard the family put up starting in 1952.


Maurice Sodder, 14 years old on December 25, 1945.


Martha Lee Sodder, 12 years old on December 25, 1945.


Louis Sodder, 9 years old on December 25, 1945 (his birthday was in 5 days).


Jennie Sodder, 8 years old on December 25, 1945.


Betty Sodder, 5 years old on December 25, 1945.


Review of our Concert at the Met

We got a rave review from The New York Sun!! A few sections from the review:

“I assumed that this would be a pleasing concert, although an amateur one. I was wrong. It was magnificent.

“I have been concentrating on religious music this month and so have heard several large singing ensembles, but none has been even close to the level of professionalism of this strictly volunteer group … The aggregate sound of the assemblage is excellent,and individual bits of melody or harmony move about freely but accurately on a regular basis. The choir expertly combines the two most important tools in a singer’s armamentarium: discipline and passion. They are amateurs in the best of all possible senses.”

“All the material for this presentation was carefully considered for that most high-minded of purposes, a genuine contemplation of our place in the universe.”

Thank you, Fred Kirshnit.

Stacy Chances a Tree

Christmas trees are just too interesting to cats. They must be climbed. Ornaments that have been in the family for years must be torn from the tree limbs and broken in a millions pieces.

So I got a little fake tree and put it on my desk.


Shortly afterwards, Finney notices the tree’s existence.


What’s this? ORNAMENTS??


Stay tuned for the aftermath.