Ladies of Paranormal Past: Sarah Estep

19th September 2020. Reading Time: 5 minutes Ladies of paranormal past, General. 1894 page views. 0 comments.

Sarah Estep was one of the more modern day pioneers of EVP research and is the star of this edition of Ladies of Paranormal Past.

While we typically look to people such as Konstantin Raudive and Friedrich Jürgenson who were some of the first to publicize their work with discovering EVP and their research, their findings were not in English and their work was often translated.  While Raudive was responsible for making EVP more well known throughout the World, Sarah Estep was one of the more modern pioneers that took it further with her own research and helping to shape EVP communication in the way we see and work with it today from a paranormal research point of view.

EVP Stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon and is perceived spirit voices recorded on tape that were not heard by the human ear at the time of recording.

Who was Sarah Estep

From a young age, Sarah was quite skeptical of the concept of life after death.  Her Grandfather married a woman who was a funeral director and she spent much of her childhood summer holidays visiting with her grandparents at the funeral home.  As an inquisitive 7-year-old, Sarah often snuck into the viewings to observe the dead bodies.  She was convinced that was it and that we did not live on.  Sarah went on to marry and was not content with just being a housewife, Sarah's curious nature of wanting answers about death led her into psychical investigations where she worked with families who claimed their children were the reincarnation of someone from a previous life.

After many years, I became a psychical investigator. Still having little hope that humans survived death, I began my research by looking into the area of reincarnation. It is not surprising that I did, for I felt that if one reincarnates then one must obviously survive one's own death.

Sarah Estep

Voices of Eternity 1988

In what Sarah described as being at "loose ends" with her research and not finding any cases she believed were genuine reincarnations, in 1976, Sarah picked up a copy of The Handbook of Psi Discoveries by Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder.  In it were chapters dedicated to EVP a concept she did not believe was genuine.

When I first heard about recording voices of the dead on tape, my initial reaction was utter disbelief. As a psychical investigator, I have encountered some fraud and a great deal of self delusion While more people are deluded than fraudulent, Whatever their claim is based upon, the end result is often the same: In mostsituations there is no proof of paranormal activity. 

Sarah Estep

Voices of Eternity 1988

Setting up a workstation in her basement using her husband's reel to reel tape recorder, Sarah set out to record weeks of sessions before making a conclusion.  The first 5 days of recording in the morning and listening back at night saw no results.  She had been asking the question "Is anybody there?".  On the sixth day, she decided to change her questioning to "What is your world like?".  On playback, she heard a female voice respond clearly "Beauty".  Not only was Sarah convinced she had received her own EVP, but she was also now wanting to know what the voice was spending the next couple of decades trying to find out.

Sarah founds the AA-EVP

In 1982, Sarah founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena.  It started with a quarterly newsletter posted to 20 people.  It soon grew to several hundred people in twenty-seven states and twelve countries.  Remember this was a time when not only was the paranormal ridiculed and almost taboo to many, there was no internet or email.  The newsletter was not available online, and Sarah was not able to promote using social media.  The newsletter for many was their only way of gaining information into EVP research.  While Sarah herself recorded up to 25,000 tapes, she spent her time helping others understand and learn how they could do their own research.  What also sets apart Sarah's research compared to that of Konstantin Raudive and Friedrich Jürgenson, she did not limit her recordings to her basement.  Remember Sarah was a psychical researcher and didn't fall into EVP research like her predecessors.  She didn't want to prove the phenomena existed so much as she wanted to research its association with life after death and a possible connection even to alien life and other worlds.  While someone like Raudive would hold public sessions to prove he could record these voices, Sarah would travel to locations to investigate the claims of a haunting with her trusty recorder on hand.  One of the methods she used to validate if she felt a location was haunted was by attempting to record EVP at the location.  

I have further explored through my tape recorder whether unexplained manifestations
at haunted locations are the result of conscious intervention by discarnate entities. 

Sarah Estep

Voices of Eternity 1988

It was this form of research that help make the digital recorder a popular piece of equipment for investigators to carry in their case.

Sarah populizes the EVP Class System

While many people attribute the EVP Class system as being created by Sarah Estep, it was first mentioned many years earlier by Konstantin Raudive in his book Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead (1971).  Sarah however had a slightly different interpretation of the EVP class system and it is her version that is more widely used by paranormal researchers still today.

It is astounding to receive any communication from another dimension. Even hearing raps, which many people who sit in séance circles have reported, boggles the mind. How much more startling if the unseen can come through with even one word on recording tape! Most messages, I discovered, are faint, whispery voices I call Class C. Headphones must be worn to hear them, and rarely can all the words be interpreted. Class B messages are louder and clearer and can often be heard without headphones. Class A voices are the most gratifying. Loud and clear, they can be duplicated onto other tapes. No headphones are required.

Voices From Eternity

Sarah Estep 1988

After 18 years, 72 newsletters, 2 books, and leading 3 national conferences, Sarah retired from the field of research and while she was still said to do some recordings for her own research, it was not at the same frequent level as before.  She transferred ownership of the AA-EVP to ATransC in 2000.  Sarah passed away in January 2003 of kidney failure leaving behind a legacy that still lives on today even unknowingly by many budding paranormal investigators today.  Every time they refer to the class system, for example, it is usually Sarah's version they are using.

A copy of Sarah's book Voices From Eternity is available for FREE online with the blessing of AA-EVP as it is now out of print and they feel it is important that Sarah's research and ideas live on.  Voices of Eternity - Sarah Estep


Voices of Eternity Sarah Estep 1988 (previously known as AA-EVP)

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