Although this method is referred to as the Estes Method, it's been around much longer than most folks realize. Sensory deprivation has been practiced for ages, even in the act of communicating with the dead.
The process by which one places a blindfold over one's eyes and covers one's ears with isolation headgear that is plugged into a device which creates white noise in order to commune with spirit has been coined the Estes Method. The name came from Karl Pfeiffer, Connor Randall, and Michelle Tate who were searching for a "new and different" way to communicate with the other side. Their brainstorm was conceived at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado in 2016.
How does it work?
You need two people at the very least (I'll elaborate in a minute on variations we've found which works wonders for us), one set of sound isolating headphones, which cover your entire ear (earbuds won't work … too much sound has the chance to filter through), one device which creates white noise, and a blindfold which fits tight against your eyes, letting no light in.
One person (the receiver) dons the blindfold and the headphones and listens to the white noise scan (either forward or backward, it doesn't matter) for words or phrases to blurt out when he hears them. The other person (the operator) asks questions. it is as Simple as that. The person with the blindfold and headphones cannot hear the other person asking the questions. The whole point of the experiment is to try to gain unbiased answers. honestly, it's amazing how well this can work.
While you can use what you have, we recommend the following equipment:
SB7 Spirit Box - use preferably the latest model. This model is much louder, which helps rule out fraud by the receiver hearing the questions. If you're unfamiliar with what a spirit box is, it's a device which uses a frequency sweeper with different millisecond intervals. When it sweeps (forward or backward, whichever way you want it to), you'll hear words and phrases that are believed to be controlled by or spoken by a spirit. But, just remember, not every word is spoken by spirit … you ARE using a radio to scan. You will be picking up random words from radio stations. Use your best judgement and relax. This experiment is great fun.
A pair of Stereo Isolation Headphones - I use Vic Firth S1H1 (you can also use the S1H2 model). My headphones were $75 dollars and I got them (because Vic Firth is a drumming fool) from a Guitar Works store so anywhere good band equipment is sold they should have them in stock or be able to get them for you. The reason you want isolation headphones is that they block external noise up to 25 decibels, ruling out unintentionally hearing the operator's questions. Anything less than 20 decibels of sound isolation won't work for this experiment to be done correctly. Also, be wary of using noise CANCELLING headphones. Noise cancelling headphones work by playing a tone that deafens outside sounds. You don't want your headphones accidently muting a voice from the other side that might be whispering through your feed.
A tight fit blindfold - whatever you can find that works, use it.
So, that's it in a nutshell. Now, We've been working with several people tweaking the Estes Method in our own way. Here's what we do …
We worked with one group where we had three people receiving (blindfolded and plugged into three separate boxes using three separate sets of headphones) and two people asking questions. The results are amazing. On separate occasions, we ended up with the receivers having conversations between themselves with no help from the operators beyond the first few questions. And the conversations were relevant to the locations and initial questions from the operators.
We've also worked in pairs, where two people are receivers and each receiver has his own operator asking him questions. This adaptation also has had amazing results for us. As a matter of fact, using multiples seems to work better for our group than just the single Estes Method.
When we have two receivers, two operators, we call it the double blind. When we have three receivers and two operators we call it the triple double.
We invite you to try this with your own group. If you have a person or persons who normally obtain great audio evidence, start with them in the receiver position, just to get yourselves acclimated and comfortable. We'd suggest that when you're just beginning, try not to have the same person receiving for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Your receiver could end up with a headache from all that static!
Please let us know how your experiments go and if you have any questions, we're happy to help if we can!
Lisa and Nicole