A disembodied voice

9th May 2024. Reading Time: 6 minutes General, Paranormal Investigation. 1039 page views. 0 comments.

One of the terms I often see thrown around 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 potential explanations.

Sometimes when on an investigation or watching your favourite paranormal TV shows, you may hear fellow investigators use specific terms to describe types of what they believe to be paranormal activity. If you have been into the paranormal for a while, you probably know what they are. One of the biggest problems a paranormal enthusiast can face is knowing what these terms are and what they are referring to. A lot of investigators explain things differently, they 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.  It starts this train of information that gets changed and muddled along the way.  Our diversity and differences are some of the things that make our field so great, but it also makes it confusing at times as well.

One of the terms I often see thrown around 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 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.  It is a voice without a body.

How is a disembodied voice different to an EVP?

This is where people tend to get confused. EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon. A lot of paranormal investigators classify an EVP to be a voice they hear when playing back a recording that they did not hear with their ears at the time. So an EVP is essentially a voice you are hearing on playback. This is different to a disembodied voice because when a voice is classified as disembodied, you are hearing it as it happens.  When it comes to an EVP, you are hearing after the fact upon playback. Sometimes people claim they have captured a disembodied voice on an EVP.  I personally think this is confusing and not what a disembodied voice is (but that is me) as it is difficult to determine based on it being something you are hearing upon playback.  Technically I guess you could call it a disembodied voice, however to me in a paranormal context, a disembodied voice is a voice you are hearing at the time that has no source.  If you want to confuse things more, there are occasions where a person hears a disembodied voice and it is caught on a recording.  Instead of arguing over if something is a disembodied voice, let's look at what it could be.

Is a disembodied voice a ghost?

This is one of those hard to answer questions.  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 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

Of course, there are some natural explanations as well. A person could be suffering from what is referred to as auditory illusions. In short, it is a voice in their head. In some cases, 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 in 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 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 mums with young kids and a baby at the time would do, I spent the afternoon in bed napping. I was lying in bed and got a horrible fright. I heard a baby crying. I ran to my son's room on 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. Maybe there is someone outside or voices are carrying across a room.  There are a lot of possibilities. Just because they are not obvious straight away, 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 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.

Id love to hear about your experiences with a disembodied voice or your thoughts, tell me in the comments below!

Cover Photo by Edmond Dantès: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-talking-on-a-megaphone-7103040/

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