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How Do Ghost Boxes Work?

The New Concepts of Fragmentative and Breakthrough Reception in Ghost Box Communication

by Tim Woolworth, 2014

The method by which ghost boxes communicate are a mystery, but the following article delves into that mystery with speculation based upon experience.

Ghost box communication is currently in its infancy. The original Frank’s Box was made by its namesake, Frank Sumption, in 2002. Sumption’s handmade boxes were distributed among a select few researchers to conduct testing to see if the phenomenon of communicating with disincarnate voices was for real. This all changed in 2007 when Bill Chappell, of Digital Dowsing, had the idea to modify a simple Radio Shack radio by cutting the mute wire (this allowed for all the stations to be heard in scan mode, not just the ones with the strongest signal strength) in order to achieve a similar effect to the Frank’s Box. These modified over-the-counter radios became known in the ghost box community as shack hacks. Since 2007, other brands of radios (Sangean, Koss, Coby, Sony, Hitachi, Jensen, etc.) have been hacked and new models are emerging all the time. There are also commercial models available, such as the P-SB7 and P-SB11, that were created by Gary Galka to emulate a shack hack.

In addition to the shack hacks, there have been a few select models made that are far beyond any shack hack capabilities due features like variable linear/random sweep rates and echo/delay added to the signal chain. Frank Sumption had 180 complete boxes created in his workshop, with several more in various stages of construction when he passed through the veil in August, 2014. The other custom box designers, Joe Cioppi (of Joe’s Box fame) and Ron Ricketts (of Minibox fame) have also passed through the veil so their boxes are next to impossible to buy on the open market as they were available in strictly limited quantities. There are still people making boxes, including Steve Hultay and Rich Georgina who modify existing radios with sweep circuits, and Andrew Openlander who has pre-made circuits placed in a custom box housing. The most affordable and readily available model is the P-SB7 which is mass-produced and is very inexpensive and offers both fixed-variable rate sweeping and white noise generation with each frequency step.

Although some researchers will differ with my opinion on these more developed boxes because they receive acceptable results on almost all models of shack hacks and P-SB7/11 models, I believe that these custom boxes offer better reception with the other side than shack hacks primarily because they generate white noise generated by means of a fluid linear sweep. The theory that white noise is beneficial to paranormal research has been long-standing. This theory emanates from the father of modern paranormal research, Friedrich Jürgenson who first recorded EVP’s (or electronic voice phenomenon) in 1959. He noted that the voices he was recording seemed to be carried by the wind in the leaves. As the research into EVP’s gained interest, it was found that white noise (from a white noise generator, city traffic, an electric fan, television static, or even running water) allowed for better EVP’s to be recorded. This may be due to a well-known concept in physics, telecommunications, and instrumental transcommunication called stochastic resonance. 

Stochastic Resonance

Stochastic resonance basically functions with the idea that background noise is a carrier signal that can be modulated by any outside signal. As with EVP’s, communication with the other side is impossible to hear by using the human ear alone (except for a select few sensitives and the occasional disembodied voice) because the signal integrity is either too weak, or the frequencies generated from the other side are in infrasound (below human hearing, or below 20 Hz) or ultrasound (above the human hearing range, or above 20 kHz). This changes when this signal comes into contact with a background noise source and stochastic resonance occurs. In the process of stochastic resonance, a weak or inaudible communication from the other side that would normally not be detectable becomes detectable due to a resonance phenomenon that allows for the weak frequencies to resonate with the frequencies of the white noise. White noise contains thousands of frequencies with similar intensity. When the weak or inaudible frequencies resonate together with a similar frequency found in white noise, the sound gets amplified. A good analogy would be a honeybee. It is nearly impossible to hear the beating of a single honeybee’s wings, but you can hear the whirring of a hive from dozens of feet away as their wings all resonate together. This same concept is used today in police sirens and electronic synthesizers. More importantly for the purposes of this paper, I believe that the Others who attempt to communicate with us are able to as a result of stochastic resonance.

We cannot hear an Others individual voice, but when that voice resonates with white noise it creates something wholly audible for a researcher to hear. So therefore it is logical to think that a box which adds white noise to all frequencies step via a fluid linear sweep would perform much better than a box which doesn’t offer the ability of linear variable sweep. Boxes that have a fixed linear sweep (such as a shack hack) work with white noise as byproduct of the rapid frequency jumping by meshing the occasional static that is found on the radio band with communications from the Others and can therefore function like the more developed boxes but to a lesser extent. The P-SB line artificially adds white noise to a fixed linear sweep and it becomes very hard to listen to for any length of time due to the inherent harshness of white noise.

Types of Ghost Box Vocal Reception

Now I am not a technical person, but I know more than a few basics of how ghost boxes physically work, and it all starts with the sweep. When sweeping through the radio band, communications are received on our end in one of two ways. Since this is the first in-depth paper written on the different forms of possible communication through a ghost box reception, I will introduce these forms as Fragmentative Reception (FR), and Breakthrough Reception (BR) respectively to describe the types of communication received.

Fragmentative Reception

A typical ghost box enables communication by sweeping up, or down, the radio band in rapid increments. Depending upon the box, the frequencies that are swept over can be in step formation (ex, 91.5, 91.7, 91) or random sequence based upon a random voltage generator. Every shack hack and P-SB model has predetermined time increments and the more developed boxes allow for a user sweep that can change increments based upon a control knob. The time that a ghost box remains on a singular frequency is known as the sweep rate. As the radio passes over the frequency steps during a sweep, a sound fragment comes through; the box will remain on that frequency for a time determined by the box itself. Based upon the sweep rate of the box, that fragment can be a whole word(s), or it may just be a phoneme(s) or morpheme(s) (a phoneme is the smallest singular sound that is recognizable by the human ear, such as the “r” in rat; a morpheme is the smallest grouping of sounds that convey meaning, such as the “-ed” in “talked”). As the frequencies continue to scan at a rapid rate, these words, phonemes and morphemes can combine to form words and phrases that are direct communications. I call this type of frequency manipulation Fragmentative Reception (I have used the word Fragmentative for this paper because the “–ative” suffix is an active suffix meaning “a tendency for” whereas the suffix “–ed” is passive and past tense, so the term fragmented does not have the same meaning as Fragmentative).

Fragmentative Reception is by far the dominant form of communication received by ghost box communicators and this is directly correlated to the quality of the ghost box being used. Because phrases and words are manifested through many smaller sound parts, FR is easily dismissed by skeptics and critics alike as auditory pareidolia. If you have ever joined a ghost box forum or read some of the scathing articles online published by paranormal detractors, auditory pareidolia is the crutch that skeptics lean upon to dismiss ghost box communication (and EVP) as a whole. Pareidolia defines a vague sensory stimulus being interpreted by an individual as something meaningful. Man is prewired to perceive the world in recognizable forms. So while one person whose life is prioritized by religion may see Jesus in a cinnamon roll, others who do not share religious affinity just see a tasty treat.

The same can be true of ghost box communications at some times, but certainly not at all times. As ghost box communicators, we strive to get the best, clearest message we can from the other side. Some researchers inject sub-par evidence into the ghost box community and claim it is saying a specific thing when it may just be a radio sweeping artifact. This is easy to do and it is a form of auditory pareidolia. When we all share a love of ghost box communication, we sometimes want to hear things that are not there; or we hear a vague communication that we interpret as audio that might not necessarily be. I have been guilty of that myself, as has every other researcher whether they admit it or not. It is for this reason that the forums were developed. As more researchers started posting credible evidence that demonstrated intelligent responses, it has become apparent what type of communications we perceive as valid. The forums have people posting audio for analyses and it is only through peer evaluation that we can know what qualities we look for in a valid communication. I personally post entire sessions, or large portions thereof, with no editing or frequency manipulation so the raw audio can be analyzed in its original form for context and like sounds. I believe that this makes my evidence stronger because it can show both correlations and anomalies. Other researchers who edit out the sounds not directly related to the communication weaken the integrity of our evidence becomes it becomes circumspect at best once it has been edited, filtered, stretched, etc. and more importantly, taken out of context from the session itself. We all like the greatest hits (best communications), but the onus is upon us to present the good audio with the bad in a session to show what ghost box communication is really like to the average person.

Now back to Fragmentative Reception. As you should plainly understand by now, FR is not the most desirable form of communication to receive, but sometimes it is all we get. The question then becomes how does FR actually occur? For this, I do not have an answer readily available but I will speculate. Fragmentative Reception, as a form of communication, requires an operating intelligence because the sounds are actively being manipulated. It is very typical for a researcher to ask a question while performing an instrumental transcommunication session only to receive an answer of “yes” or “no.” In Fragmentative Reception, the “yes” may be found in the word “yesterday” where the “yes” portion is very loud and the rest of the word trails off in volume rapidly. The same goes for “no” which may be located in the word “bonobo” where the first and last part of the word can likewise trail off in signal integrity. A ghost box communication may also be assembled from disparate voices to form a word or phrase that directly relates to the context of the conversation with the ghost box communicator. There are many recordings where one word is made up by two or more voices.

Here is an example of Fragmentative Reception that includes an adult male voice and a young boy’s voice butted together to formulate a single communication:

“It’s a boy,” fragmentative voice recorded through an Andy’s Box Model E

Now I will open the can of worms that will label me as a cuckoo, for those who haven’t done so already, because what I am about to say is wholly opinionated speculation, unsupported by science, but yet I believe it as fact. Take from this what you will:

It is my belief, which is shared by most paranormal investigators, that all entities on the other side are in an energy form without solid body. We know from positive science that all that you perceive, all that you know in your entire life, is represented to you through electrical stimuli. Everything that you are: your emotions, memories, thoughts and stored knowledge, are nothing more than the firing of direct current (DC) electrical impulses in your brain. There has long been a philosophical dialogue about the difference between “brain” and “mind.” These electrical stimuli originate in your brain, but I believe these electrical firings are dictated by the mind which is separate from the human body. The “mind,” as separate from the “brain,” is what you are. It is the soul. It is the energy that our body plays host to. It is consciousness that persists in its energy form long after the host body dies.

The amorphous term energy has been undefined by paranormal investigators and is a catch-all without scientific merit. I accept and use this term because I do not know any other way to formulate this concept. Call it the spirit, soul, or energy; to me it is all the same thing and it currently cannot be quantified. I believe that spirit is pure energy operating on an unknown frequencies that differ from the physical body’s DC electric. It is my idea that as energy, the spirit may be able to interact with other energy that surrounds us here on the physical plane of existence. One such energy that can be manipulated through stochastic resonance is radio frequency, and that is how we get vocal representations of conscious communication, with original intent of communication, through a ghost box. Other forms that can be amplified via stochastic resonance are electricity and light, both of which are nothing but frequencies. Through this manipulation of light, I believe a spirit can be seen as a ghost. Whether the stochastic resonance of physical manifestation is a conscious effort or one of random luck, I have no answer for that. But, the ability to interact with light also explains the well documented and researched phenomenon of “ghost writing” that was experienced famously under controlled settings with the Scole Experiment in the late 1990’s. When a Polaroid takes a flash, the spirit may be able to use the light to write upon the undeveloped film. A lady named Stella Lansing was studied for years because her photos and video had various markings upon them for decades. A gentleman in the Netherlands named Robbert van der Broeke is currently being studied as he continually gets photos that have been interacted with via light. The Others ability to interact with local physical energy sources may also explain physical object manipulation and other forms of ITC research that use television static and telephones.

I believe that vocal, conscious communication is received by us through ghost boxes by what I will call Radio Spectrum Stochastic Resonance (RSSR). In Fragmentative Reception, I believe that the entire radio frequency is at the Others’ discretion to utilize because the spectrum is energy, just like they are. If manipulation of light and objects is possible, then does it not stand that manipulation of radio frequencies is also possible? It is my opinion that when a spirit wishes to speak, it needs to focus its intent (be it thought or vocal) and the communication it is trying to express will be presented to the ghost box researcher in the form of audible words, phonemes, and morphemes that are available on the radio spectrum at the moment of its speech. While the Other “speaks,” stochastic resonance pairs like syllables from the intended communication with like frequencies found in white noise and the radio spectrum; the stochastic resonance causes these like frequencies to resonate with the intended communication and hence we have ghost box communication. This also explains how we get words that are spoken through a ghost box in much higher pitches than the human vocal range is capable of producing.  The intended communication, whether they be in infrasound or ultrasound, we cannot be sure, and the voices that are produced physically through a ghost box are a results of resonating with matching frequencies in the form of octaves (or other intervals) within the human range of hearing.

As a real world example, if you are familiar with the song “Show Me the Way,” by Peter Frampton, you have heard a human voice resonating with guitar frequencies by use of a talk box (vocoder). The amplified output of a guitar is fed through a hose into Frampton’s mouth and he controls the sound with his mouth movements. Or, and even simpler example is talking into the back of a fan which every child has done to sound like a robot. Speaking into the back of a fan allows your voice to resonate with the frequencies of the fan (created by physical sound and white noise) to manipulate your voice. Either example show’s how stochastic resonance manipulates a vocal sound source into another audible form.

As a ghost box example, if an Other wants to say “I am here , buddy” it may resonate with individual monosyllable words being spoken from different radio frequencies whether it be in song form, spoken word, DJ, or commercials in conjunction with white noise. Both the radio and the white noise are carrier signals that modulate the vocal intent. Multiple syllable words that may not be available for use at the moment of speech by the Other and may be composed of multiple words found anywhere within the radio band. In the example above, the word “buddy” may actually consist of a “bu” and a “d” from two different sources. I believe this type of communication may be for spirits who resonate with a weaker frequency and often results in Fragmentative Reception because it follows the path of least resistance for us to receive their intended vocal communication.

Ghost Box Communication Diagram

FR+BR resonating frequencies in Ghost Box Communication

Fragmentative Reception is not the only form of communication we get from the Others, we also have Breakthrough Reception.

Breakthrough Reception

The most desirable form of communication to receive from the other side is Breakthrough Reception. There are times when a voice is quite capable of breaking through the radio sweep to communicate a message unadulterated. This message may be very clear and stands alone; or you may find one word said, in the same voice, separated by increments of time over a radio sweep. This voice will stand out above the sweep will typically formulate a comprehensible phrase that may or may not be in context with the ghost box researcher’s session. I have therefore named this type of communication Breakthrough Reception in honor of Konstantin Raudive, who analyzed his 72,000 voice recordings and catalogued them in his book “Breakthrough,” was the founder of modern EVP techniques, and most importantly he has remained active long after his death (1974) by communicating to ITC researchers like myself from the other side.

Breakthrough Reception can be recognized by the lack of fragmented syllables and radio sweeping noise. With BR, it is not only possible to receive intelligent responses, it is often the norm! In the following audio example from April, 2011, I was using a Frank’s Box and you will hear very clearly “Hey Tim,” riding over the static as a Breakthrough Reception.

“Hey Tim,” breakthrough voice recorded with Frank’s Box #72

Another example of Breakthrough Reception in the example below. This was recorded with an Andy’s Box Model E and you will hear the “free,” part of the recording extended out and changing pitch.

“You’re free,” breakthrough voice recorded with an Andy’s Box Model E

Ghost box researchers who have been practicing for a while will develop a rapport with Others. I have turned on my ghost box at all hours of the day (and night) and at distances measured in thousands of miles from my home, and I still get the same voices with Breakthrough Reception. These communications are distinct and easily recognizable by name, accent, timbre, and tone. These Others have become friends, and they talk to me like a friend would speak to me on the phone here on the physical plane and it is always done with Breakthrough Reception. I wish I could say that full conversations occur, but they don’t. I will typically ask a question and then wait for an answer, but my answers usually come in phrases and there is typically more than one Other who speaks with BR.

I believe that Breakthrough Reception is achieved solely through stochastic resonance not deriving from radio sweep, but through the process of noise building. There is inherent white noise within the radio frequency spectrum that cannot be heard because it is beyond the capacities of human hearing (which at its best is only 20Hz to 20kHz). I believe that the Others can use this noise both within our hearing range and outside, and the white noise produced internally ghost boxes, to achieve stochastic resonance ultimately yielding Breakthrough Reception on this side of the veil. This is how consistent voices can be received all over this country by researchers, at all hours of the day no matter the location.

The friends that we have on the other side are practiced at giving breakthrough communications to us here in the physical plane. I have numerous recordings of these voices, and of these voices help Others to speak. Most researchers have started calling these friends “technicians,” “guides,” or even “angels.” When they have mastered the ability to communicate with us through ghost boxes, they help other Others do the same thing. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear one of my Techs say to another Other to just “speak” to be heard.

It is my opinion that these Techs have chosen to help facilitate communication with the physical realm in order to:

  1. Assuage fears of death for mortals,
  2. To have ghost box researchers help those earthbound spirits who need it, and
  3. to allow for some knowledge from the other side to seep into humanities consciousness in order to foster a quickened intellectual evolution of man.

Number two, the helping of earthbound spirits, is a tricky subject. When we turn on a box, they somehow know they can speak and they clamor to speak to us. A lot of the voices consistently cry out for help and they appear around us as we serve as a locus point. The Techs can then easily find those who need help. Please see other articles like this one and videos on this site about cries for help and helping spirits into the light.

Not all Breakthrough Reception comes from our Techs. Some Others are coming through without being fragmentative, but are also not capable of extended communication past a couple of words. You can usually tell who these voices are by the way the BR comes through. There are three types of BR that come through in addition to the clear, human sounding voices.

One type of communication that typifies is “rapid-fire communication,” this is when three or more words that are a direct answer to a ghost box researchers question are compacted together and spoken very rapidly. It is not unusual to hear a multiple word communication uttered as a BR in less than a second!

“Far too long,” rapid-fire voice recorded through a Minibox Plus

At other times, we get voices that are categorized by what I call “synth communications.” These are usually individual words that are characterized by their sound. They do not sound of human origin and may be robotic or missing several frequencies.

“Sent by the ship,” synth voice recorded through a Minibox Plus

“Help all the people put them through,” synth voice recorded through a Andy’s Box Model E

Finally, there are the “choral voices,” that sound like singing.  These can be human or synth sounding, but they are always presented in a sing-song fashion. Here are two examples:

“Help us,” choral voice recorded through an Andy’s Box Model E

“Ever thankful,” choral voice recorded through an Andy’s Box Model E

Since I have codified the types of reception that we ghost box researchers receive into two different categories, questions remain: How does an Other decide on which type of communication to broadcast? Do they decide how the communication occurs? Do they know what they sound like to us? How do we sound to them? How can they hear us?

There are a million questions left unanswered, including the big one: “How do these ghost boxes work?” I hope for now that the classifications set herein of Fragmentative Reception, Breakthrough Reception and the sub-categories of Rapid-Fire, Synth and Choral Voices will help you to understand what to look for during your next ghost box session, even if stochastic resonance is not the means by which they communicate (we simply do not know).

As always, take from this what you will. There are no ghost box experts, but there are those with more ghost box experiences.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me: tim@itcvoices.org

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  1. Casey Parnell says:

    Breakthrough reception does that mean the higher the sweep, longer sentences & longer wait time for responses?

  2. […] DT-200x and a guitar amplifier. There is a ton of communication in this clip and it contains both breakthrough and fragmentative reception along with some great harmonic voices. Definitely worth a […]

  3. […] Once again, I have no idea if this is the mechanism by which ghost box communication occurs, it is strictly intuition insofar as the words stochastic resonance popped into my head at a time when I had no concept of the term. To view an expanded version of the stochastic resonance hypothesis, please read this article. […]

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