- Also known as direct voice phenomenon. Both terms are used in parapsychology to denote an isolated voice, perceived by those participating in a spiritualist séance, as coming from a distinct location in extracorporeal space, and allegedly arising independently of the vocal organs of the medium present at such séances. In some cases of the direct voice phenomenon, it is claimed that the perceived sound is accompanied by a visually perceived device called a 'voice box' hovering above the floor, at the medium's shoulder or near the ceiling, purportedly made of a mysterious substance (sometimes designated as * ectoplasm) by a spirit that is trying to make itself heard. In other versions there is either no reference to such a visible source of agency, or to a (physical) metal trumpet placed on the floor (hence the term 'trumpet séance' used sometimes to address this type of séance). In the latter case, it is claimed that the trumpet can be seen moving about the room autonomously, and that the direct voice is heard as emanating from the trumpet, wherever it positions itself. Reportedly, the direct voice can be preceded or accompanied by simple or geometric visual phenomena designated as 'spirit lights' or by * faces in the dark. Biomedical explanations of the direct voice phenomenon include an illusionist trick called 'near ventriloquism', * collective hallucinations, simple fraud, and *subvocalization. The term subvocalization refers to a process involving subtle instances of motor activity within the larynx and/or vocal cords which may or may not be accompanied by *verbal auditory hallucinations. Early experiments by the Scottish paranormal researcher John B. M'Indoe (also spelled as McIndoe), carried out with the aid of a sensitive telephone transmitter attached to the larynx of the medium, demonstrated that at least some cases of the direct voice phenomenon coincide with subvocalization. Within the context of the biomedical paradigm, the visual phenomena co-occurring with the direct voice phenomenon can perhaps best be explained as * hypnagogic hallucinations.ReferencesEdge, H.L., Morris, R.L., Palmer, J., Rush, J.H. (1986). Foundations of parapsychology. Exploring the boundaries of human capability. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Melton, J.G., ed. (1996). Encyclopedia of occultism and parapsychology. Volume 1. Fourth edition. Detroit, MI: Gale. Moore, W.U. (1913). The voices. London: Watts &Co.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.
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