Little memory men and spirit voices

A curious footnote on p183 from Mary Roach’s wonderful book on the natural history of the dead body Stiff: The Curious Lives of the Human Cadaver (ISBN 0141007451):

People have trouble believing Thomas Edison to be a loopy individual. I offer as evidence the following passage on human memory, taken from his diaries: “We do not remember. A certain group of our little people do this for us. They live in the part of the brain which has become known as the ‘fold of Broca‘… There may be twelve of fifteen shifts that change about and are on duty at different times like men in a factory…. Therefore it seems likely that remembering a thing is all a matter of getting in touch with the shift that was on duty when the recording was done.”

As well as his idiosyncratic views on memory, Eddison also thought that departed spirits might communicate through electrical equipment. In his writing, he refers to a device he had specifically designed for communicating with the dead.

Later, Dr. Konstantin Raudive, a Latvian psychologist and student of Carl Jung, continued Eddison’s work by looking for the apparent voices of spirits that appeared on audio recordings (known as EVP).

Critics suggest that the apparent voices are nothing but our brains trying to making sense out of essentially random data – something known as apophenia.

Raudive is pictured on the right with one of his special devices.

An unusual chapter in the history of psychology.

Link to Fortean Times article on the history of EVP.

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