Disembodied voices

21st September 2018. Reading Time: 6 minutes Stuff paranormal investigators need to know, General. 5149 page views. 4 comments.

There are a lot of fancy terms to describe certain paranormal experiences. One of those is a 'disembodied voice'. What exactly is it? Is it different to EVP? What are some explanations for this phenomena? I look at it from a few different angles to get you up to speed.

Sometimes when on an investigation, you may hear some fancy terms used to describe activity. If you have been in the game for a while, you probably know what they are. Maybe you have an idea from watching some of the reality shows. One of the biggest problems a paranormal enthusiast can face is knowing what is what. A lot of investigators explain things differently, have different beliefs or maybe they are a little misled. It is pretty common for people to learn about the paranormal from their fellow investigators and sadly some of the information they are given is not quite correct.  Our diversity and differences are some of the things that makes our field so great, but it also makes it really confusing too. It can be very easy to get your wires crossed and not know what information you should be listening to and who you should be taking advice from. One of these instances is when someone is referring to a ‘disembodied voice’. What is it, what does it mean and is it different to an EVP? Here is all you need to know and some of my thoughts on a potential explanation.

What is a disembodied voice?

In simple terms, it is a voice you hear with your own ears and you cannot see the source. On a paranormal investigation, for example, you may hear a scream, a moan, a growl, a word or even a sentence. There is no one else around that you can see, so therefore the voice is disembodied. A voice without a body.

How is a disembodied voice different to an EVP?

This is where things can get a little tricky. We will look at this from a common belief perspective. A lot of paranormal investigators classify an EVP to be a voice on a recording that they did not hear with their own ears at the time. So an EVP is essentially a voice you are hearing on playback. It is different to a disembodied voice because when a voice is classified as disembodied, you are hearing it as it happens. EVP you are hearing after the fact. A confusing term I have heard on many occasions is someone claiming 'I caught an EVP of a disembodied voice'. I will leave that one with you because it could be argued a few ways, but you can see why people are easily confused. Maybe we don't need to label things so definitively. Maybe 'Hey I caught a voice on my recorder and I don't know what it is or I heard a voice with my own ears and I couldn't find the source' could be suffice?

Is a disembodied voice a ghost?

One of those hard to answer questions. I mean first, you would have to establish what exactly a ghost is. There are just as many questions around the topic of ghosts as there are with disembodied voices. Some believe yes it could be a spirit talking to them. I myself on one occasion have heard what would be classified as a disembodied voice with my own ears that I can’t explain to this day. It doesn’t mean that it was a spirit whispering in my ear, but I sure thought that was what was happening at the time.

A disembodied voice is also a term that is used to describe an actor who is doing a voice-over for animations or narratives. Other people have described this experience as more a message from either a god or a spiritual figure. It could be a message that helps to give them direction. Mediums or people sensitive to the paranormal who have a clairaudience ability would hear these voices all the time. To them, it is spirit communicating with them.

Natural explanations

Then of course there are some natural explanations as well. A person could be suffering from what is referred to as auditory hallucinations. In short, a voice in their head. It is a side effect often associated with schizophrenia but can also occur when someone is using drugs or suffering from delirium. Then there is what we call audio pareidolia. In the same way, our eyes can trick us into thinking we are seeing an elephant shape in the clouds, our brains can trick us into thinking we are hearing a voice, a word or a sentence when it is just a garbled sound that our brain is having trouble processing. Sleep can also cause you to hear these voices. When you are in that place between awake and asleep, some people claim that you are the most vulnerable to the spirit world. You are also quite vulnerable to your brain as well. I have on many occasions when I have been dozing off to sleep heard what has sounded like a voice either saying my name or some weird random word. It is enough to wake me and jolt me a little. Is it a spirit trying to communicate or is my brain slipping into a dream I suddenly woke from? What about when you are a room full of people and all you hear is the general buzzing or chatter. Suddenly you hear a sentence or your name out of the blue. It is like it has come from nowhere. It is really just a form of selective hearing.

There are also some odd things that can happen where you do hear a voice from seemingly nowhere but the source isn't readily recognizable. One experience I will never forget is my children were staying at my parents' house so I had an afternoon all to myself. Like most mum's with young kids and a baby at the time would do, I spent the afternoon in bed napping. I was laying in bed and got a horrible fright. I heard a baby crying. I ran to my son's room in autopilot but he wasn't there. That's right he wasn't home. So why was I hearing the disembodied voice of a baby? It took me a while (I wasn't even a paranormal researcher at this point) but I figured out that the frequency on my baby monitor must have gotten crossed with one of the neighbours because I could soon hear talking. Maybe a television has been left on, a phone could be on speakerphone, there could be radio interference on a two-way radio. There are a lot of possibilities. Just because they are not obvious, doesn't mean they aren't there.

How do I know what is what?

At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide. I can't tell you if you are having an experience or not. I can present you with some alternatives and it is up to you to decide what you are experiencing. I always say as well there is a thing called context. What were the events leading up to and after the voice occurred? There is usually some sort of pattern. Are you reading too much into something or is it randomly out of the blue. Looking at the experience from different angles can help you figure it out. Then of course there is your gut. We say that the best tool a paranormal investigator has is their own body. Listen to your gut. Ultimately we don't really need all the fancy terms such as an apparition or disembodied etc. The phrase itself doesn't make it paranormal. It is really just a voice. It is where it came from that is the real mystery.

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  • Kels 4 years ago

    I just wanted to say that I’ve heard a disembodied voice one time in an old house I was renting at the time. I remember it plain as day. I was in the dark basement, putting laundry from the washer into the dryer, and as I stood up from moving the last bit of clothing, in my left ear an almost sinister sounding hoarse “helloooo” with an upward inflection at the end. Every hair on the back of my neck stood up. I booked it up the stairs and moved out shortly after. Never went in the basement of that home by myself, ever again.

  • JimmY david 5 years ago

    Just last night, actually around 6:45 am (but still dark outside) i was in bed but wide awake, couldn't get much sleep anyway, i heard a distinct whisper next to me. Didn't quite get the words. I sleep alone, so WHO could be talking? The voice was smooth, like a woman's or a child's. It freaked me out, but again, all sorts of weird things have been happening in my room at night lately. From the door being open by itself, to waking up at night feeling a nasty electrical vibe through my body (as if some form of energy had passed right through me), etc. And, get this, i have a digital camera that can detect human faces - it's a fancy function it has, and it draws a square over ANY human face it depicts onscreen - well, lately the damn camera insists in "detecting" a human face by one of the room's corner... where nobody stands! It always points there, not anywhere else, as if the camera just sees what i can't exactly see with my own eyes... These and other weird events have made me believe that some serious paranormal stuff is going on in my bedroom!

  • Joseph Kapusta 5 years ago

    By nature, I have been a very cautious investigator and tend not to place my trust in an establishment not trying to 'drum up business' with hidden microphones. I try to do an electronic sweep for hidden electronics during my pre-investigation sweep and simultaneously and discreetly place a few small, hidden spy mics of my own at opposite ends of a premises. I do this in the hope of validating any disembodied voices that may arise and that usually happen "somewhere over there" and not immediately close to the person hearing it. I have used this method to debunk what was first considered a disembodied voice and found none so far that weren't the result of audio pareidolia. Although this might make me sound too skeptical, it is done in the mindset to prove authenticity of a voice, not disregard it.

  • Terri 6 years ago

    Often, I hear my name shouted out, when no one has called out to me. At these times, I have not been tired, asleep, etc. Nothing else, just my name. I have often replied to this, as in called back, "yes?", only to find no one has called me. It has happened while at work, on my own, etc. I don't know the cause. It doesn't appear to be a danger warning, in the circumstances that I have had. Once, I was waiting at a set of pedestrian crossing and a female voice simply said, "Hello Terri!" I turn around straight away, expecting to see someone, nope no one at all there.
    If it is a spirit, I wish they might say something else lol. I just shrug it off as weird.