By Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Copyright Visionary Living, Inc.
[Note: Sarah Estep died on January 3, 2008. She was a friend and neighbor, and I was privileged to spend time with her talking about her life’s work in Electronic Voice Phenomena. This is one of the last interviews she gave.]
Sarah Estep was five years old when she saw her first dead person. The corpse in a casket convinced her that death is the end, a finality — there is no survival into an afterlife. Many years later, Estep had another profound experience: the voice of a dead person speaking to her on an audio tape. That experience propelled her into the exotic world of EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena, the recording of voices of the dead, angels, ETs and other entities.
Today Estep is recognized as one of the world’s leading EVP experts. She has collected thousands of EVP recordings, and she founded the American Association-Electronic Voice Phenomena, an organization she led for 18 years. In addition, Estep has had ET contact experiences and past life recollections, even photographing an ancient tomb in Egypt where she believes she was buried in a previous life. And she has definite views on the afterlife.
Thanks to the work of Estep and many others in the field, EVP has virtually exploded in popularity in recent years. You know a topic is hot when Hollywood takes it on, and Universal Pictures and Gold Circle Films are doing just that in January with their release of White Noise, a film centered on EVP. Estep has a role in the trailer.
For someone who started life with the certainty that death is the end, it has been a long, mysterious and rewarding journey.
I was delighted to discover that Estep lives in Annapolis, Maryland, minutes away from my own home. She is a gracious and interesting person to visit, sharing her knowledge and experiences about communicating with the dead and other realms. I even got to try out taping for EVP on her equipment â€“ with successful results.
Is death really final?
Estep remembers well her pivotal point at age five, when she looked down at a corpse awaiting burial. Estep and her family lived in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Once a year they would visit her father’s parents in Westfield, New York, where they owned a funeral home. The family lived upstairs on the second floor, where Estep and her parents stayed. Five-year-old Estep was taken into a room where bodies were prepared for burial. There she saw a man laid out in a casket. Fascinated, Estep would sneak into the room to peek into other caskets.
“I would slip in and very quietly close the door behind me,” she recalled. “I would walk over to the casket and I’d stand on my toes and put my hands on the edge and look down into the face of a dead person. I’d just stand there and look at them. I wasn’t at all frightened. They were dead and I knew they couldn’t hurt me. But I became convinced that once you die, you go into a hole in the ground. Death is a casket. I grew up thinking there was no life after death. There was no heaven, no anything. I didn’t dare tell my parents or anyone. I didn’t like that feeling, but I couldn’t think anything else because I’d seen all these dead people.”
Estep’s turnaround came in 1976, when she read The Handbook of Psi Discoveries by Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder. There were two chapters on EVP, talking about the work of Konstantin Raudive, Friedrich Jurgenson, Harold Sherman and Walter and Mary Jo Uphoff. The evidence for survival challenged and intrigued Estep. She decided to try EVP herself, using a large reel to reel tape recorder belonging to her husband, Charlie. She committed herself to a week of trials. If she got no results during that time, she would abandon the effort.
Every morning., Estep went down into her basement and tried to capture voices on tape. She returned late at night to check for results. She asked the question over and over again, “Is anybody here?” For five nights, nothing happened. “I was bored to death,” Estep said. “I thought that if someone was listening on the other end, they must be as bored as me.”
On the sixth morning, she changed her question to “Please tell me what your world is like.” A female voice of the highest quality, Class A, replied, “Our world is one of beauty.”
Thankful and delighted, Estep decided to continue her EVP experiments, only to be greeted by silence for nearly a month. Just as she was ready to quit again, she heard voices say, “Don’t give up” and “Keep it up.” After several months of more experimentation, Estep recorded voices nearly every time she tried. Many were Class A.
Estep taped seven days a week and received three to four messages a day. She kept up her practice until 2000, when she cut back to occasional taping. Her vaults now contain 25,000 recordings, about 22,000 of which are dead human beings now living in the realm of spirit. About 2000 seem to be extraterrestrial, and the remaining 1000 are beings from other worlds or dimensions.
About 90 percent of all the voices sound male. “I’m not sure why that is,” said Estep. “Perhaps it has to do with the technology of EVP.”
In 1982, Estep founded the American Association-Electronic Voice Phenomena, one of the largest nonprofit organizations devoted to the study of EVP. She directed it until 2000, when she turned it over to the leadership of Tom and Lisa Butler of Reno, Nevada.
In 1996, the Dr. A. Hedri Foundation for Exopsychology and Epipsychology awarded Estep and George Meek first prize for Epispsychology, in recognition of their accomplishments.
I asked Estep what she had learned from her years of EVP work. She said that she became convinced of survival after death within the first six months of EVP recording. “After death, I think we all go to a world that is for us,” she said. “Humans go to their own place, and other beings from other worlds go to their own places.” As for reincarnation, we stick to our original kind. Humans reincarnate as humans, and so forth. “I know I have lived in this world many, many times,” said Estep.
Some of Estep’s most profound past-life EVP experiences occurred during her three trips to Egypt, where she feels she had several past lives. She even found a desert cemetery where she believe she was buried more than 2000 years ago. She took a recorder into tombs and pyramids and captured voices. In an ancient cemetery, a female voice said, “I buried you.” In a small pyramid she got a voice of a boy, perhaps about 12 years old, who said, “Mother.” In the Great Pyramid in Cairo, she was called by name. Voices asked if she could be trusted, and other voices answered, “Yes, she is a good person.”
About six years after her first EVP results, Estep received a comment from the dead on her long-ago experiences as a child, when she concluded that “death is a casket” and the final end to everything. A clear class A voice told her, “Death no more a casket.”
“So they knew me from the time I was five or six, ” Estep said.
During the first year of Estep’s EVP work, she received strange messages that did not seem to originate from the realm of the dead but from extraterrestrial sources because of their content. Estep had the feeling that a transmission could come through her television set. A voice told her to tune her set to channel 47 at night. After several tries, letters appeared on her screen. Estep initially was unable to interpret the message, but three days later, letters appeared that spelled recognizable words. The first word was VENUS, which appeared many times. The word ARRIVED came six days later. Two weeks on, the ETs brought pictures to the television screen with words underneath. One was a circle with lines in it and the word VENUS beneath it. Next to it was a circle resting on a holder with the word WAR beneath it. Within 24 hours of this transmission, the United States took action to try to free American hostages held in Iran. Other pictures and words came through in the following weeks.
The ET voices talked about their own worlds. Their messages were longer than the short and clipped messages from the dead. Estep asked them about their god. They told her they have different gods. “Our god is with you,” they told her, and she replied that she was honored that he came.
Once Estep saw two beings who looked like human men, dressed in black uniforms, who were working on a small box in front of her television set. They said their craft was over her home or the river in front of it, and that they had brought down boxes to Estep’s office. Estep had the impression that the boxes facilitated communication in English, and the appearance of images and symbols on her television screen. Her little French poodle, Misty, seemed to see the ETS and shake all over when they appeared.
On another occasion, Estep asked ETS what color was their world. The answer was, “We look like yellow.” Two nights later, Estep was visited by a bright yellow light the size of a basketball that came down from the sky and was visible through her home window. The next day she received the message, “We came down to see you.”
In addition to Venus, ET messages have come from Mars and Alpha Centauri. Estep has received the most from Venus, and has been told that Venus most closely approximates Earth in terms of life there.
Estep emphasizes her positive relationship with the ETs who communicate with her. “I have always felt close to them,” she said. “They have never been terrible with me. I have had very good contacts with them.” Some of her messages have been corroborated by messages received independently by other EVP researchers.
Estep has written two books, Voices of Eternity, published in 1988 and now out of print, and Roads to Eternity, published this month by Galde Press. Roads to Eternity is accompanied by a CD featuring spirit and ET voices from Estep’s collection. The voices speak on either the forward or reverse sides of the tapes. Some of the reverse voices are from scientists such as Charles Darwin and Arthur Stanley Eddington. The CD includes some of Estep’s many contacts with Beethoven, and features a musical chord and a minute of music from one of Beethoven’s compositions, which is slightly changed from the original.
Estep’s work has inspired many people to explore EVP and undertake research that someday may provide definite answers to the realm that lie beyond death, and to other places in the universe.