Making Séances Digital: The Shadow Soiree

Yacovetti and Gonzalez came to the Pine Bush UFO and Paranormal museum just once before back in March to showcase their voice-editing software. Photo Courtesy Gabby Gagliano.

Throughout the Victorian Era, All Hallows Eve (or Halloween) was spent trying to ward off evil spirits and ghosts that haunted the villagers during the cold, arduous season of winter. However, Ron Yacovetti and Lourdes Gonzalez are spending this “spooky season” doing the exact opposite; with their new project, the Digital Séance Initiative (DSI), they attempt to blend the mystical practices of paranormal communication with the scientifics of white noise to be able to talk to — and even befriend ­— the dead. 

On Friday Oct. 7, Gonzales and Yacovetti graced the narrow hallways of the Pine Bush UFO and Paranormal Museum for The Shadow Soiree, one of the museum’s many festive Halloween events. The Soiree was advertised as a “paranormal formal that reimagines the mid-Victorian Era by blending modern technology with antique ghostly exhibitions,” per the website. Party-goers may have been enticed to attend because of the promise of snacks or the possibility of fun prizes, but they stayed to see Yacovetti showcase his novel ghost-hunting software in hopes that he will lift the veil between themselves and their deceased loved ones. 

Our digital initiative is a movement; we want to take it to public events and expos. We want to give people a moment of closure by feeling connected to a loved one,” says Yacovetti. “We’re not selling them a bill of goods; if they feel like they’ve had an experience where they can go home with a tangible recording that they can listen to over and over again, then we’ve done our job. Nobody’s doing it the way we’re doing it.” 

Here is how a Digital Séance with Yacovetti and Gonzalez works; first, they use a handheld radio to show the audience the empty radio signal that they will be using for their software. That means that nothing is being broadcasted over that signal; it is just plain white noise, which is a collection of all frequencies across the audible sound spectrum. Then, Yacovetti is able to take that empty signal and put it into his software, which allows him to slow down the speed of the signal (approximately 186,000 miles per second, the same as the speed of light). Slowing down the signal allows listeners to hear sounds that would otherwise be inaudible to the human ear; sound moves too fast for the receptors in our ear canals to distinguish any speech-like noise that is hidden between the frequencies. 

After Yacovetti slows down the signal, the sounds that come out of his speakers are awe striking; it sounds like a room full of people talking! Listeners can pick up bits and pieces of conversations that are not currently being held by anybody that is physically in the room, leading Yacovetti and Gonzalez to believe that those conversations are being held in real time, just by spirits who exist in a paranormal realm. 

“We’ve had instances of DVR, or direct radio voice,” says Yacovetti. “A young girl was with us once during an investigation, about 15 years old. She’s asking the radio signal questions, and all of a sudden she goes ‘that’s my grandmother, I recognize her voice.’ Then she goes, ‘Grandma, if this is you, what TV show did we used to watch when I was little,’ and the voice over the radio said ‘Dr. Roberts.’ She immediately started crying; it was life changing for her. There was another time that our friend from Queens who was at our first ever Digital Séance in Pine Bush who asked if his mother and his childhood dog were there, and if his mother could have the dog bark over the speakers. A bark came through so clearly over the radio; everyone in the audience gasped.” 

If you would like to know more about Yacovetti and Gonzalez’s process, what they do and how they do it, Ron has published two books; one called “Paranormally Speaking: Knowingly Talking to the Unknown” and the other called “ITC Technomancy: The Magical World of Electronic Spirit Communication” that are both available for purchase on Amazon.

About Gabby Gagliano 51 Articles
Gabby is a third-year, digital media production major. This is her first semester as Sports Editor and her third semester at The Oracle.