In the presence of Dr Anabela Cardoso*, Dr Mario Salvatore Festa**, Prof David Fontana*** and Dr Paolo Presi ****
This report details experiments conducted with Marcello Bacci at his laboratory in Italy on the evening of 5th December 2004 in the presence of a team of experienced investigators from Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Marcello Bacci (e.g. Bacci 1985) is one of the leading researchers into ITC phenomena, a field in which he has been active for more than 30 years. It is not the purpose of this Report to provide a survey of the impressive evidence that has accumulated for the ITC phenomena since publications by Jürgenson, Raudive and others in the middle years of the 20th Century as this has been fully documented elsewhere (e.g., Brune 1993, Senkowski 1995, Brune and Chauvin 1999), so suffice it to say that the subject is concerned to study the anomalous communications received, often under controlled conditions, through electronic media such as audio tape recorders, radio receivers, computers, fax machines and telephones. Many of those working within the field have become convinced not only of the reality of these communications, but that they appear to originate with the deceased, and therefore to provide strong support for the hypothesis of survival after physical death. Marcello Bacci, who has been consistently successful in obtaining these communications in his own experiments, is principally dedicated to working with bereaved parents, but he is also concerned to co-operate with scientists in order to demonstrate the credibility of his results (e.g. those from Il Laboratorio in Bologna, Italy, the only laboratory in Europe devoted entirely to the scientific testing and analysis of apparently paranormal phenomena). An experienced Radio Technician himself, he takes no money for any of this work and does not seek to attract publicity.
In his ITC experiments Marcello Bacci uses the Direct Radio Voice Method (DRV), i.e. the method that seeks to obtain anomalous communications directly through the loudspeakers of radios, and such voices frequently refer to listeners by name, respond to questions put to them, and sometimes provide relevant and lengthy items of information. For this purpose he favours a valve radio, tuned to white noise in the short-wave band, rather than solid-state technology. The experiment detailed in this Report was a sequel to a number of earlier successful investigations carried out into the voices received by him using this Direct Radio Voice Method. Two of these earlier carefully controlled investigations are of particular relevance to the present experiment. In the first of them, conducted in the presence of Dr. Eng. Carlo Trajna, a second radio was set up beside that used by Bacci, connected to the same power lead, with independent aerial, and tuned to the same short-wave frequency. While Bacci’s radio was heard to receive the anomalous voice communications, the second radio was found to be receiving only normal white noise (e.g. Trajna 1985). This experiment strongly discounts the possibility that the anomalous voices were fraudulently produced. In the second and equally ground-breaking investigation, Professor Mario Salvatore Festa, professor of Physics and Physical Radio Protection at Naples University, and Radio Technician Franco Santi removed the two valves ECC85 (the FM valve) and ECH81 (the AM/SW converter valve) from Bacci’s radio during the receipt of anomalous voices, and established that even without these valves (in the absence of which no normal broadcasts can be received in the short wave band), the voices continued unabated. During this experiment Professor Festa also measured the intensities respectively of the electric field and of the magnetic field adjacent to the radio with the radio switched off, and both during normal radio transmission and during the period when the voice phenomenon occurred, and found that these fields did not show any variation when the voices phenomenon started and also that the values measured after the valves were removed but the voices continued were practically identical to the values measured when the radio was turned off (see Festa 2002 for full details). The demonstration that the voices continued even in the absence of the valves and that there was no variation in electric or magnetic fields during their reception provides further convincing evidence that such voices cannot be accounted for by fraudulent transmissions.
The present experiment took place in Marcello Bacci’s laboratory in Grosseto, Italy, in electric lighting from a blue coloured, wall mounted, 25-watt bulb, situated just above and slightly to the right of the radio and bright enough to allow the investigators to observe closely all movements by Bacci and by each other. Prior to and subsequent to the experiment, the laboratory and the radio used by Bacci were available for full inspection by all those named below. When the experimental sessions commenced, Marcello Bacci seated himself directly in front of his radio, a Normende, Fidelio model, dating from the late 1950s, with Professor Fontana (professor of Psychology and former President of the Society for Psychical Research and current Chair of the Society’s Survival Research Committee) beside him on his left, and Dr. Anabela Cardoso (founder and Editor of the ITC Journal and Director of the ITC Journal Research Centre) immediately behind him and positioned so that she could look directly over his left shoulder that she could touch with her chin. Professor Festa, named in connection with one of the two investigations already described, was seated on Dr. Anabela Cardoso’s left, and Mr. Robin Foy (leader of the well-known Scole investigation in the UK and an expert in physical psychic phenomena) on Bacci’s right. These four investigators were at all times in close touching proximity to Marcello Bacci. Aeronautical Engineer Paolo Presi (a leading member of Il Laboratorio and a long-standing investigator of the Bacci phenomena) was on Bacci’s left, separated from him by Mrs. Laura Pagnotta, daughter of the benefactress Silvana who has been a close collaborator and observer of Mr. Bacci’s work for 20 years, and by Professor Fontana. Radio Technician Franco Santi, named with Professor Festa in connection with the investigation already described, remained free to move around the room for reasons detailed shortly, and Dr. Angelo Toriello, also called Emanuel, and Mr. Sandro Zampieri, both of whom have also been close observers of Mr. Bacci for many years were also in close attendance, Dr. Toriello seated on Dr. Cardoso’s right, and Mr. Zampieri just behind Professor Festa. Lawyer Amerigo Festa, another researcher who has worked closely with Bacci for some years, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Rossella Forte was also seated close by. Sandro Zampieri (Sandro is the official translator of the group into English) with his wife Mrs. Maria, Mrs. Carmelina and Mr. Gennaro Dara, Mr. Franco Grigiotti, a close and old friend of Marcello, Mrs. Angela and Mr. Luciano Manzoni, responsible for the tape recording of the sessions and for the transcripts, were also seated in the vicinity. In the room there were also a few mothers who had lost their children and other experimenters exceptionally admitted at the session in a total of 37 people.
The radio was situated on a workbench placed against the wall directly facing the investigators, and in a position that made it inaccessible from the rear except by leaning over the bench from the front. There is no back to the radio, and sufficient space was left between it and the wall for Radio Technician Franco Santi to reach inside by leaning across the bench, as detailed shortly. Inspection prior to the experiment had revealed that there was no access to the radio through apertures in the workbench or in the wall. Behind Bacci and the investigators and separated from them by approximately one and a half metres were rows of chairs on which some of those who attend Bacci’s regular sessions for bereaved parents were seated. No member of this latter group took any part in the experiment or approached the radio used by Bacci at any point in the course of it.
Proceedings commenced at 19.10 hours, with Bacci, the investigators and those elsewhere in the room all in their places. Audio tape recorders (analogue and digital) were switched on in order to record proceedings. Bacci began by turning on his radio and selecting the short wave band. He then, as is his usual practice, began slowly to turn the tuning control, scanning the range from 7 to 9 megahertz. As expected, this produced a range of radio transmissions interspersed with white noise. Bacci explained in Italian that he was ‘searching for good white noise’. This procedure continued for 15-20 minutes until Bacci pronounced, again in Italian ‘I can feel them — they will come’. At this point he stopped turning the dial, and the white noise was heard to change to a vortex-like sound that could variously be described as wind or the sound of waves. Shortly afterwards this noise died down (though often it recurred simultaneously with the voices, as if they were in some way ‘carried’ on its sound) and voices became audible from the radio. The first words were in Italian, and these were followed by words in Spanish. Bacci, again in Italian, informed those responsible for the voices that they could ‘speak in Portuguese, English or Spanish’. The invisible communicators then addressed David Fontana and Robin Foy in English and Anabela Cardoso in Spanish.
In the ensuing session, which lasted in all for approximately one hour, what appeared to be five or six separate voices (one of them possibly female, and the rest male) spoke in English and in Spanish as well as in Italian, some of them with a clarity resembling that of normal voices, others with the sonority that characterises many ITC voices and that renders them distinct from normal articulation. Also present in the voices were the strange semantics that are characteristic of many ITC communications (e.g. when addressing Dr. Cardoso the communicator referred to her visit to Bacci with the words ‘Anabela is here, you are going to the learning boss’), and the parabolic, wave-like speech rhythms. Sometimes the sound wave carrying the voices became distorted, but in spite of these features the meaning of approximately 70 per cent of the vocal utterances was directly clear to those named above, five of whom are fluent in Italian and English, and one of whom (Dr. Cardoso, a senior Portuguese diplomat by profession who lives in Spain most of the time), is fluent in all the languages used as well as in her mother tongue Portuguese. The voices referred to those present by their first names, and addressed Professor Fontana by both his first and second names (‘David Fontana’, perhaps to distinguish him from David Pagnotta, who was present elsewhere in the room), and then added ‘Ciao David’. Bacci himself was frequently referred to either as ‘Marcello’ or as ‘Bacci’. All names were given clearly, and were easily recognisable. Sometimes the voices replied to questions in a different language from that used by the questioner, and sometimes they even changed languages during the course of their answers. Not all questions were answered, and certain of them only after a pause.
The most significant incident during the session, and the one that marks this experiment out as of historic importance in the history not only of ITC research but also of psychical research in general, occurred near the end of the session. As mentioned earlier, the finding by Professor Festa and Technician Santi that removal of two of the valves from the radio did not prevent the receipt of the anomalous voices provided crucial evidence that the voices were not produced by fraudulent transmissions. However, critics have suggested that even without these two valves it was still technically possible for the radio to produce sound in other wavebands. Therefore, with the consent of Marcello Bacci, it was decided that in the present experiment all five valves would be removed during the reception of the anomalous voices. Accordingly, approximately one hour after the commencement of the voices and while they were still continuing, Radio Technician Franco Santi leant over the work bench and removed four of the valves, followed after a short pause due to difficulties in handling the hot glass, by the removal of the fifth and last valve. All five valves, ECC85, ECH81 (the two valves removed in the experiment of 2002), EF89 (the intermediate frequency amplifier), EABC80 (the AM/FM detector and low frequency amplifier), and EL84 (the final power amplifier) were then visible outside the radio, and were laid by Franco Santi in full view on the workbench. Despite the absence of the valves, the voices continued with the same volume and clarity as before.
When the voices paused Marcello Bacci, without previous warning and obviously yielding to an impulse, switched off the radio at the set and the light illuminating the glass panel at the front of the set disappeared. After 11 seconds of silence (the timings reported have been taken from the tape recorded during the experiment) the observers could hear modulated whistles (sounds similar to those of whip lashes) and the usual acoustic signal that precedes Bacci’s reception of paranormal voices which is similar to a vortex of air. The voice of the invisible communicator, interspersed with whistles, recommenced 21 seconds after Bacci had turned the radio off and continued for 23 seconds (as timed from the audio tape) with the same acoustic quality previously heard, perhaps a little slower but as clear as before. When the speech ended the whistles remained for another 6 seconds while the vortex which was heard at the end of the vocal utterance became weaker and finally disappeared after 12 seconds. However, the contact did not seem to be terminated since another 53 seconds later the vortex could again be heard as well as a very weak male voice which seemed to arise from it and comment the sentence just uttered by Mario Festa “Siete grandi!” (You are great!). The phenomenon lasted for 2 minutes and 20 seconds after the radio was switched off.
During this time Radio Technician Franco Santi inspected the interior of the radio with his pencil torch, the beam of which was briefly visible through the glass panel. This part of the experiment was unplanned, and occasioned particular surprise on the part of the observers. In all three parts of the experiment (radio switched on with valves in place, radio switched on with valves removed, and radio switched off with valves removed) the voices came out unequivocally from the loudspeaker of the radio, and apart from what may have been a slight loss of quality after the radio was switched off, with the same volume and clarity. The radio was then switched back on for a short period, but no further voices were heard during this time, and the experiment was concluded.
Franco Santi then turned the radio through an angle of 90 degrees so that the inside could be closely inspected by all present, with all the room lights now switched on. Dr. Cardoso and Professor Fontana both took photographic evidence of the inside of the radio and of the five valves. Lawyer Amerigo Festa, who also documented the event with his video camera, made a detailed written account of the incidents surrounding and consequent upon Franco Santi removing the valves and Bacci switching off the radio, and this account has been signed as correct by all those present.
In the view of the authors of this Report and of all other knowledgeable observers present, this experiment is of momentous importance in the history of psychical research because the persistence of the voices in the absence of the valves and during the interval when the radio was switched off conclusively discounts any possibility either of fraud or of the reception of stray radio transmissions. The experiment was conducted in the presence and with the participation of investigators with many years of experience of ITC and of other areas of psychical research (together, in the case of Professor Festa, Radio Technician Franco Santi and Aeronautical Engineer Paolo Presi, with experience in radio technology and in addition Paolo Presi is an experienced Short Wave Listener with SWL Licence No. 2330), and this leaves no room for charges of mal observation or of other forms of experimenter error. The results of this experiment, taken together with those yielded by the 2002 experiment of Professor Festa and Franco Santi, provide firm evidence of the authenticity of the Bacci voices.
A résumé of the acoustic events as perceived from the recorded tape follows:
t = 00 sec Bacci switches off the radio.Silence
t = 11 sec The modulated whistles start (sounds similar to those of whip lashes) and the conventional recurrent signal similar to a vortex of air starts to be felt
t = 21 sec A voice starts to be heard among the whistles
t = 44 sec The voice finishes but the whistles and the vortex continue to be heard.
t = 50 sec The whistles finish
t = 56 sec The vortex finishes.Silence
t = 109 sec A new vortex starts to be heard
t = 127 sec Faint male voice in the background that seems to reply to Mario Festa’s comment “Siete grandi!” (You are great!)
t = 140 sec End of vortex and end of contact.Silence
* Editor ITC Journal, Director ITC Journal Research Centre;
** Professor, Naples University;
*** past President Society for Psychical Research;
**** Aeronautical Engineer, leading ITC researcher.
All four authors are Associate Members and Researchers of ‘Il Laboratorio’, Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Biopsychocybernetic Research, Bologna, Italy
Bacci, M. (1985). Il Mistero Delle Voci Dall’Aldilà. Roma: Edizioni Mediterranee.
Brune, F. (1993). Les Morts Nous Parlent. Paris: Philipp Lebaud.
Brune, F. and Chauvin, R. (1999). A L’Ecoute de L’Au-Delà. Paris: Philippe Lebaud.
Festa, M. (2002). A particular experiment at the psychophonic centre in Grosseto, directed by Marcello Bacci. ITC Journal (Cadernos de TCI) 10, 27-31.
Senkowski, E. (1995). Instrumentelle Transkommunikation. Frankfurt: R. G. Fischer Verlag.
Trajna, C. (1985). Introduction in Bacci’s Il Mistero Delle Voci Dall’Aldilà. Roma: Edizioni Mediterranee.