“Some Thoughts on the First Issue”

David Fontana

I am delighted to learn that Anabela Cardoso is undertaking the difficult and demanding task of establishing an ITC journal, independent of any publications or groups already operating in the field.

ITC (or EVP – Electronic Voice Phenomena – as it was called before results were obtained on video tape) has a long history, going back if you will to Moses and the ten commandments engraved on tablets of stone – in the absence of audio or video tape – by divine intervention.

Through the centuries there have been plenty of other (if less dramatic) allegedly spirit messages impressed upon paper, slates, walls, photographic plates and sundry other surfaces. But it is only in very recent years that the subject has begun to demand scientific attention. With the advent of material on audio and video tapes, it becomes increasingly possible to obtain results under relatively fraud-proof conditions, and thus to get closer and closer to what has long been regarded as the Holy Grail of psychical research, namely the Permanent Paranormal Object (PPO), in other words an object produced by paranormal means under test conditions which remains available for inspection by all those interested.

This new era of research dates from the work of Friedrich Jurgenson in 1959, with his discovery of voices on an audio tape used to record bird song, and from the subsequent research of a number of careful investigators such as Raudive, Bonner, Alsop, Schneider, Senkowski, Bender, Estep, Cass and many others. But it was not until 1977, when American George Meek built a machine (the ‘spiricom’) which allegedly allowed two-way conversations with the dead that researchers moved from the reception of single words and short sentences to lengthy and coherent dialogue. Meek’s machine impressed many (although after an encouraging start it mysteriously failed to produce further results), and Koenig’s ultrasound device, first demonstrated in 1983, went even further in that it produced voices, high technicians testified as inexplicable by normal means, over the air at Radio Luxembourg.

The leap from audio to video came in 1985, when Schreiber developed a ‘videocom’ inspired in part by Meek’s spiricom, and results on video, computers, telephones and faxes have subsequently been claimed by other groups such as the Harsch-Fishbachs in Luxembourg. However, none of this work has attracted the attention from the scientific community that supporters feel it deserves. In spite of safeguards, accusations of fraud are still common, and shortage of financial and other resources makes it difficult for many researchers to continue their work. In a field which holds out so many possibilities for scientific exploration, this neglect by scientists is difficult to justify.

Which brings me back to Anabela Cardoso and her initiative. For some time now Anabela has been sending me some of the results of her work, and I am impressed both by the quality of these results and by her own obvious sincerity. Professionally and financially she has nothing to gain and potentially much to lose by involving herself in ITC research, and her motive for doing so is solely her belief in the potential importance of what she is doing. A highly gifted woman with a demanding public life, she is interested not only in helping establish the evidence for survival, but in researching the nature of ITC and the methods by which it can be improved. Her dialogue with her communicators seems particularly impressive in that they respond clearly and precisely to the questions she puts to them, and I have high hopes for the future. Her communicators also encourage the rest of us in that they insist mediumnistic abilities are not essential for success – time and space are the contributions they ask from us. Whether they are being over-optimistic in this or not remains to be seen. For what it is worth, I think Anabela may well have special gifts as a receiver, but the important thing is that she is sharing her results with the rest of us, and doing so much to move the subject forward.

Anabela, I welcome your journal warmly and with gratitude, and hope that you receive the support from contributors and readers that you deserve.