It’s October, and that can only mean two things. One, Walmart is already putting out Christmas trees. And two, it’s time for another month-long series of special blog entries entitled Things That Go Bump!
Tonight, we'll take a trip to the grave of Nobel Peace Prize winning author William Faulkner, and we'll pester him with impertinent questions while drawing curious stares from passers-by. I actually made all these photos and recordings back in 2012, but some of them are so strange I’ve decided to pull them out of the spooky box, shake off the cobwebs, and give them another airing.
I live, reside, and/or dwell in Oxford, Mississippi, which is where Faulkner lived, wrote, and was eventually buried, although I'm sure he died first. We're pretty careful about the whole die-first-then-bury thing these days.
Faulkner's grave is located in a genteel old cemetery not far from Oxford's town square. It's a peaceful place, especially when the Rebels are playing Vanderbilt on the far side of town, which is why I chose a game day Saturday night for my EVP session with Mr. Faulkner.
I armed myself with my trusty Olympus voice recorder, my new Zoom H1 digital recorder, my video and still cameras, and my Ball Microphone housing, which I designed and constructed myself. It’s a simple sphere, with a microphone fixed at the interior center. (For a brief explanation of why I built this, click here).
Also along was my iOvilus device, which prattled merrily on but did actually startle me once with a single insightful exchange (you'll see it later).
I arrived at Mr. Faulkner's grave at dusk, and was greeted the usual small assortment of empty liquor bottles, which students and fans are prone to leave as hi-octane offerings to the shade of old Bill.
My methodology was simple. I placed the Zoom and the Olympus atop the headstone, put the video camera to the side, aimed at the mics. I held a brief EVP session in which I introduced myself and blathered inanities for about four minutes.
I'm posting the audio and the video links below. Note that the Zoom's audio was rendered useless by the faint breeze for the few moments it was outside the Ball Mic housing; I deleted that portion of the audio track, since it was nothing but a deafening roar. Note to self -- the Zoom needs a wind filter anytime it's outside, even in mild breeze conditions.
The Olympus carried on nonplussed, as did the video camera's audio. Below are links to the full audio and video files, in case you'd like to see and hear everything for yourself without any commentary. Or, if you want, skip down and I'll post the relevant portions to save you some time.
ENTIRE BALL MIC AUDIO FILE, UNEDITED (about 20 minutes)
ENTIRE OLYMPUS MIC AUDIO FILE, UNEDITED (About 25 minutes)
LINK TO FULL SESSION VIDEO (UNEDITED)
Full Faulkner session video
So, you ask, what did I find?
THE BALL MIC
Well, first of all, The Ball Mic is crazy sensitive. I heard a weird buzz-thump sound at about 9 minutes, and couldn't place it, until I reviewed the video and realized a fly landed on the granite grave-slab next to the Ball Mic. Not on the mic. Just close to it. Here, have a listen to it, looped:
You can even hear his little fly feet hitting the granite. If that's not a stirring tribute to the awesome power of salsa bowls and duct tape, I don't know what is.
That kind of sensitivity is a double-edged sword, though. Traffic noise, inaudible to the other recorders or my delicate ears, was a non-stop cacophony in the Ball Mic. As excited as I was to use it on the Faulkner run, I think the Ball Mic is best suited for remote locations as far away from traffic as is possible.
Aside from the fly-landing, I'm afraid my Ball Mic didn't return a single apparent EVP occurrence. I've been through the audio twice now, and I never heard a thing out of place.
THE VIDEO CAMERA
Again, nothing out of the ordinary. A few dogs barked. A few cars passed. At no time do any phantom voices admonish me to GET OUT. Camera-shy ghosts? Could be, I suppose. But the audio track is clean, and no visible spectres were observed waving from amid the headstones.
THE iOVILUS DEVICE
The iOvilus device managed to raise my eyebrows tonight, and I caught the whole exchange on all the recorders and the video camera. I was talking, asking questions, trying to engage something, anything, in conversation.
At one point, I said "Mr. Faulkner," beginning to address my host. Immediately, the iOvilus piped up with my name, Frank.
Here's a video excerpt of the exchange. This is an old link, and the original video file is gone. the link still works, even though it looks like it doesn’t. Just hit the play symbol in the middle of the box and wait a few seconds. It will fire up.
Now, is that evidence of something paranormal, or merely a statistically insignificant bit of random coincidence?
I lean toward the latter. The iOvilus has a thousand word vocabulary to draw from. Frank is one of those thousand words. It is odd that it chose to speak that word at that time, but until and unless it happens a lot more often than once every session, I'm going to call this happenstance. Although when you're sitting in a cemetery at nightfall and you hear your name called out of the blue it is a genuine hair-raising experience.
THE OLYMPUS AUDIO RECORDER
Of all the night's instruments, once again my humble Olympus returned the most amazing evidence.
I did not hear either of the voices I am about to present during recording. Neither voice was captured on any other piece of gear, though all were operating within a few feet of each other at all times.
The first piece of audio is a female voice speaking as I speak. I can't quite make out the words -- maybe you'll have better luck.
First you'll hear me speaking. I'm joking about my failure to drink the Faulkners any liquor, and I say "maybe I should have brought a case." Then a female voice says...something.
Here's the female voice, looped:
Hip hop? Hey pop? No clue, but something is there. Not the iOvilus, either -- it has a distinct male voice.
I get an even better voice as I'm leaving. By this point in the recording, I've left the Faulkner gravesite, and I've taken a short stroll through the headstones. I comment that I'm about to leave, and a bit later, I caught this:
It sounds like the very same voice, but this time it's clearly saying 'Go ahead.'
That takes place at 22:32 in the full Olympus file. The wind was calm. The iOvilus was off and my phone was in my pocket. It doesn't have any speaking apps, and none of my gear talks.
So what the heck was that?
I don't have a clear answer for you. Two full words. Not a trick of the wind. Not a snatch of nearby conversation (check the video -- no one was there but me). Not a passing vehicle (again, check the video). I even checked the iOvilus log (it keeps a log of every word spoken, with a time stamp) for the words 'go ahead,' and it never said them.
I suppose some could argue that what we've just heard is an audio artifact created by the Olympus itself. After all, nothing else picked it up.
I really can't say. Do audio artifacts usually tend to present not only clear enunciation, but gender?
Very, very strange.
I do find it intriguing that the female voice presented after I invited Mrs. Faulkner to speak. Again, coincidence?
I regret, of course, that Mr. Faulkner didn't bestow upon me a rambling 40-minute EVP which analysis revealed to be a single run-on sentence. A ghostly image in a photo, perhaps of Mr. Faulkner posing with one of my books, would have also been quite the coup.
But I am proud of the pair of EVPs I captured. I cannot explain either one in rational terms, which is precisely the kind of phenomena I'm after.
I’ll post more ghostly goings-on next week. But here’s your Wild Wild Web link for today, so enjoy!