Friedrich Jürgenson
(Voices of the Dead?)

Friedrich Jürgenson listening
for the voices of the dead (?)

Friedrich Jürgenson (1903 – 1987) – “From the Studio for Audioscopic Research”.
Messages from the dead recorded on reel-to-reel?
The Friedrich Jürgenson Foundation.
Released May 2000 by
Färgfabriken and PARC
in association with
Ash International [R.I.P].
PARC CD3. Duration: 55:14.
Can be ordered at:

If ever there was a recording of utmost interest to spiritualists or readers of “the Tibetan Book of the Dead” or Emanuel Swedenborg or just simply any nut-head with the mind and ears of a connoisseur, this is it! This stuff is the darnest audio I could ever hope to lay my hands on!
I couldn’t even dream of ever hearing a recording from the collections of Friedrich Jürgenson. When I suddenly, the other week, discovered this CD on the net, I almost lost it!

When I was in my young teens there were a lot of stories in the local newspapers about Mr. Jürgenson and his tapes. I lived in a rural town not far from Jürgenson’s home in the village of Mölnbo, in the district of Södermanland in Sweden. Jürgenson was convinced that he had succeeded in catching the voices of the dead on his BASF reel-to-reel magnetic tapes, and he maintained this conviction throughout lengthy interviews by reluctant but fascinated reporters. He convinced some, while others just considered Jürgenson a delusive lunatic. However, technical personnel from the Swedish Broadcast Corporation attended some of his recording sessions, and they couldn’t explain the occurrences of the voices on the tapes. The technician with the most authority was Kjell Stensson from the Broadcasting Corporation. Some reporters, like famous TV-personality Arne Weise, brought his own, sealed tapes to record on.

Kjell Stensson heard the voices through the static and the distortion, but didn’t believe that they were the voices of the dead. Instead he had the theory that the voices originated in Jürgenson’s subconscious, and that he somehow had the ability – unknown even to himself – to have them imprinted in the magnetic layer of the tape. That was a very original theory coming from one of the foremost audio research scientists of the 1960s in Sweden. Kjell Stensson also voiced the opinion that Friedrich Jürgenson’s recordings were an important issue for the Max Planck Institute, and representatives of the renowned Institute in fact visited with Jürgenson to try and solve the mystery – which they could not… The only certain thing that all these investigations made clear was that the recordings were no hoaxes. There were unexplainable sounds and voices on the tapes, of unknown origin.

Jürgenson was born in Odessa in 1903. His mother was Swedish, and his father of Danish descent. The family had moved to Odessa from Estonia, and the father was a physician. Jürgenson early – after World War I and the Russian Revolution – trained as a painter at the Art Academy and as a singer and a musician at the Odessa Conservatory. The family moved back to Estonia in 1925, and Friedrich Jürgenson moved on to Berlin to further his studies. 1932 he moved to Palestine with his tutor, the bass singer Tito Scipa, and stayed on for six years. In 1938 he moved to Milan for studies as well as performances. By way of Estonia, where he visited his parents in 1943, he came to Sweden, where he married and became a Swedish citizen. He sustained himself and his wife by painting portraits of the well-to-do. When he was in Italy and Pompeii in 1949, he was recognized by the Vatican, which promptly employed him to have its archeological treasures cataloged. The Vatican was so impressed by his work, that the Pope, Pius XII, ordered a portrait of himself by Jürgenson. Finally a total of four portraits were painted.

Then in 1957, when tape recorders were already commonplace, Jürgenson acquired one to record his singing, but soon enough he began to notice strange phenomena on his tapes, but at that stage mostly unexplainable fade-ins and fade-outs. Then he started to sense telepathic messages, but inside of himself – not on the tapes.

Friedrich Jürgenson in Mölnbo, Sweden
with his recording equipment

In 1959 he brought his tape recorder along to the family’s summer cottage to record birds. When he played back the tape it was saturated with hiss and noise, and he could barely detect the bird song inside it all. Suddenly, in the midst of the noise, a trumpet-like signal interrupted the hiss, and the startled Jürgenson heard a voice speaking in Norwegian! Right after that the tape functioned normally, reproducing all the sounds of the birds that it hade been his intent to record.

Soon after that first encounter with unexplainable voice recordings he was out in his garden recording birds. On that tape a voice appeared, saying: “
Friedel, can you hear me? It’s Mummy”. Friedel was his mother’s special name for him. From that point on Jürgenson abandoned painting and whatever else that was occupying him, and concentrated on his recordings. He also published a book; “Voices from Space” (1964).

He held his first press conference at that time, and the press was stunned, apprehensive and amused, but some were more seriously interested. As mentioned before, the Max Planck Institute engaged in investigations, as well as the University of Freiburg and lesser-known organizations like the International Paranormal Societies and the Parapsychological Association of the USA.

At the outset Jürgenson simply used a microphone attached to a tape recorder, and let the tape roll. He spoke clearly and loudly into the room, and allowed for silences in between his own utterances, for the voices to appear. The voices spoke in a mixed-up international language. Jürgenson could detect Swedish, German, Russian, English, Italian and so forth. He called the language of these voices “polyglot”, meaning “many tongues”. Being advised by one of the voices that he caught on tape he went on to record signals off of the radio. He experimented with the settings, and found the most rewarding position between 1445 and 1500 kHz. In fact, since then 1485.0 kHz is called “the Jürgenson Frequency”!

Jürgenson engaged in some public endeavors in the years to come, like a TV documentary on Pompeii, and four other documentaries on the ancient Greek city of Salerno, the purposeless killing of birds in Italy, the famous blood phenomenon in Naples and a film about his own archeological findings at Pompeii.

A book about him was published in Germany, called “
Sprechfunk mit Verstorbenen” (1967). In 1968 his own third book – “Radio- and Microphone Contacts with the Dead” – was released. In 1969 Friedrich Jürgenson received the Order of the Commendatore Gregorio Magno from the hand of Pope Paul VI for his documentary “The Fisherman from Galilee – On the Grave and Stool of Peter”. He continued with a film about the Pope, which inspired the Pope to engage Jürgenson for a painted portrait. Three portraits were done of his second Pope.

Friedrich Jürgenson at his collection
of reel-to-reel spirit recordings in Höör, Sweden

In the 1970s Jürgenson moved from Mölnbo near Stockholm to Höör in the southern Swedish province of Skåne, which is where he held his third press conference in 1978. His writings were translated to many languages, and he held his final press conference in 1985.

He died in 1987, leaving several hundreds of tapes with recordings behind.

From listening to the recordings chosen for this remarkable CD issue I’d say that they could be listened to as musique concrète too, or like the short-wave passages in some of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s famous compositions, like “
Kurzwellen” or “Spiral”.

Another thought that is obvious to anyone who has studied “
the Tibetan Book of the Dead” is that these strange voices may be a spill-over from the Bardo state, which is the bewildered and confused state right after death, when the conscience of man isn’t really sure that the body is dead. This could explain the rather confused, nonsensical messages that these voices seem to convey on tape - ... or are Jehovah's Witnesses right when they tell me that all messages from the here-after originate with evil spirits, trying to pull a trick?

No matter what, this is a completely necessary CD for any wildman or any person who has kept his mind open for the unexpected, for anyone with his imagination and his curiousness in good shape. Certainly it is the perfect CD for anyone who almost was a neighbor of Jürgenson’s way back in the early teens of the 1960s! Keep-on-keeping-on!