The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Frank’s Box: The Real Telephone to the Dead *

* (restored)


‘Yes, I am Frank Sumption, and I made the original Frank’s Box, or the Ghost box. I am on Facebook, but even there, the interaction with the public is disappointing. Very few are interested, everyone knows better, no matter what these boxes say. I can not tell if I hear nothing and the “voices” are purely delusional, or what. Most seem interested only in ghost hunting and how to become rich and famous by doing nothing. No research, no study, no work of their own, seeking only their own reality TV show, or podcast.’ — Frank Sumption

Electronic voice phenomena, abbreviated as EVPs, are sections of noise on the radio or electronic recording that reveal sounds resembling voices speaking words. Paranormal investigators sometimes interpret these noises as the voices of ghosts or spirits. Recording EVP has become a technique of those who attempt to contact the souls of dead loved ones or during ghost hunting activities.



The Frank Sumption Website
American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena
EVP Zone
‘The most horrific EVP ever recorded’
EVP: The Skeptic’s Diary
Frank’s Box Discussion Forum
Lisa Lee Harp Waugh’s Ghost Hunters of America Website


Frank Sumption w Ghost Box at The Stanley Hotel


The Dead Can Hear You! Can You Hear Them?

‘Frank Sumption says he received instructions for building the device that he calls Frank’s Box from disembodied entities. His first box was built in 2002, and he has made slightly more than three dozen. While anyone can build one from his schematics, there seems to be something especially effective about the boxes hand-made by Sumption himself.

‘Frank’s Box allows for two-way communication with the other side, in a way that is more interactive than typical EVPs. Frank’s Box or the Ghost Box as it has come to be known is an electronic system, or method of spirit communication, also known as instrumental trans-communication, or ITC. Simply put Frank’s Box scans AM/FM and low band frequencies to create a noise matrix from which the dead — as well as other entities — can use to modulate for messages.

‘Frank’s spirit receiver starts off with a standard white noise generator which is fed through a random voltage circuit of Frank’s own design. The random voltage is linked to an AM radio receiver which reacts to the voltage by tuning to a specific spot on the radio dial. This is known as voltage tuning and is a common function of late 80s and early 90s radio receivers. Though various radio stations are turned in for a split second every so often along with regular static, the devices also allows the spirits to interact with the device and create their own vocals through the receiver and for lack of a better term, talk through the device.

‘A newer version of the box simply tunes back and fourth through the AM band which Frank is calling the “Sweep”method. At first, he believed that the random voltage design is what allowed it to work but after using the sweep method, he has since changed his mind as it seems to do a better job. Frank has made his plans available on the Internet for anyone who is interested in experimenting with his device. He also makes available his own receiver plans for those who want to take it a step further and create the entire box from start to finish.’  — Ghost Hunters of America




Frank’s Box: the practicalities #1



Frank’s Box Predictions from the Spirit World 2009
as told to Lisa Lee Harp Waugh, world renowned Necromancer

Lisa Lee Harp Waugh

Earth Quakes rattle the world from January to December. China’s Earth Quake will kill many thousands, The number will grow into the thousands each day. And then all goes quiet until late July early August when the cycle it begins again. But this is a precursor to more to come. It may take two to three weeks or more before aftershocks stop. Then another quake hits to the west of Reno. I also have heard from them that many people won’t be able to buy earthquake insurance.

A 70-year-old woman scares would-be teen thieves from her house by hitting one with her favorite saucepan, made by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

CBS will be streaming free TV programming to iPhone users.

>Obamas Choose Portuguese Water Dog as First Pet.

Spring will arrive early, with generally warm temperatures in March. Poor rains, soaring global food prices will make children mute, skeletal in several countries.

A global coastal event of catastrophic proportions is likely in early to mid 2009. There will be a permanent loss of low-lying territory globally and the spirits foresee that one continent in particular will get hit badly, but they do not say which one.

Frank’s Box: the practicalities #2

How to build the box “schematics” for Frank’s Box

Click on one of the Link Below to Download Original Schematics to the “Ghost Box”
* Frank Sumption Original Ghost Box Schematics PDF File
* Newer “Frank’s Box” Schematics PDF File
* Frank has made the plans for his device available on the web in the EVP_ITC Yahoo group which is moderated by Frank.
* Yes, You Can Make Your Own Ghost Box!



A Few Words from Frank Sumpton

I make the boxes, still can’t mass produce the stuff, and rarely take requests, nor do interviews. It has to do with time, nothing else. As far as not producing the boxes, all attempts at mass production have been blocked so far.

I’m #39 so far, and the box continues to evolve, now using a linear scan system that results in more consistent messages. 36, 37, 38, and 39 are AM and FM linear scan boxes. 36, 37 and 38 are based on the Radio Shack 12-469, but instead of doing the hack in it, I use it as a tuner module. 39 uses an AM/FM car tuner module as the radio. 35 is a home made AM radio tuner. I started using home made tuners in #24, but still use pre-manufactured tuners when I can get them, as they eat up less board real estate.

Here’s a cell phone video of #39 done on Monday, you’ll need quicktime to view it. At about 2 seconds in ” Oh God- Please help me”, then at 11 seconds “Earthquake—China”. I don’t run these as others do, I don’t ask questions, I announce I’m doing an EVP recording, and let it run. I don’t do “investigations” either, I use this stuff at home, “they” come to me. Not only does it get spirit, but other entities as well, like Ets and etherics, but they rarely announce who they are, except for the human spirits.

The box is only one method of supplying the raw audio sprits/entites use to form voices, there are a number of other ways to accomplish the same thing, the box only automates the process.

BTW, you might want to be careful with the dark stuff, very tricky it can be, and I know no one wise enough to out smart something that already knows your deepest thoughts.

Frank’s Box in action

RIP Frank Sumption (2014)

‘Approximately 5 days before Frank crossed the veil to the other side, he received this message… It says, “In fact, you must leave this month”. .. ponder that one. Lots of people thought that Frank was crazy for believing in the messages he was getting. I’m speaking of the nay sayers anyway. Looks like he was right, and the doubters were in fact, WRONG! In this message, his own passing was predicted, & just a few short days before receiving this transmission.’ — Wes King, Ghosts Inc.




p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, I agree. ** _Black_Acrylic, Oh, man. Okay, all my best wishes to your dad and to you. Love, me. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. That does sound kind of ideal, collaboration-wise. Any idea when you guys will be finished? Yeah, amorality, nihilism, etc. are utterly uninteresting to me. To me that outlook is a matter of ‘too little’ rather than ‘too much.’ It sounds ‘wild’, but it actually requires lack of thought. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Oh, cool, thank you about the post. My lower back has been strangely chill for a strangely long time, actually, knock on wood and all of that. Love always gets a second chance if not a million of them. Wow, quite a dream you had there based on that curious sentence. As I’m sure I’ve said, my dreams, on the rare occasions that I remember them, always involve me trying to escape from someone who’s trying to kill me, but I had one the other night where, in the middle of my terror and running away, Tobey McGuire suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and I asked him, ‘How come you’re never in movies anymore’, and he said, ‘It’s all Leo’s fault’, and I knew he meant DiCaprio since I knew they had been friends at some point, but before I could ask him to explain, the person trying to kill me appeared again, and I had to run off. So multiple choice love: (1) Love sitting Leo and Tobey down somewhere and helping them work out their issues, or (2) Love chasing Leo and trying to kill him, or (3) Love shrugging and not giving a shit, G. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. I so agree. I hope you’re doing as well as you can be, my friend. Lots of love, me. ** David, Hi. Thanks. I think that kind of show would need corporate sponsor. There must be one corporation with a DC fan as its CEO out there somewhere. No, I never met Lionel Dahmer. I don’t think he and I moved in the same circles. Maybe someone should have organised a reading with him and me on a double bill. He would have headlined, of course. I’ll invade my ears with ‘Hi Red’ as soon as I get out of here, thanks! ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. It and ‘What’s For Dinner’ are both lovely ways to spend your time. No, I haven’t read ‘Book of Franza’, and, like you, I’m very curious to. Obviously, I’m happy about you getting back to fiction. Covid is nuts here, and yet the government announced last night that it’s lifting most restrictions. I’m not sure what the logic is there other than Macron hoping it’ll help get him reelected. On the film, there’s one possible big donation that, if it comes through, will put us close to being able to start working on the film. So we’re waiting to see if that happens and trying to round up some small donations. So, we’re a bit on pins and needles and hopeful but trying not to get too hopeful. On the novella, I’m still waiting for Zac’s final round of edits. I told him if he doesn’t do that soon, I’m going to just do a last polish myself and think about what presses to submit it to, which may be what happens. Thank you for asking, bud! ** Steve Erickson, I don’t know if it would be huge but it would be very welcome and prescient and probably successful enough to cover the the base costs, at least if it included an emo brothel or two. Great about the podcast. I look forward to the pleasure! ** Right. I’m supposing that I don’t really need to explain why I chose to restore today’s post, do I? See you tomorrow.

Spotlight on … John Ashbery & James Schuyler A Nest of Ninnies (1969)


‘The style of arch ventriloquism that Ashbery and Schuyler adopted in A Nest of Ninnies had the virtue of allowing each of the two to escape from his personality, to lose himself in his work, in the sense commended by T.S. Eliot, who had argued that “poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion” and that “only those who have personality and emotions will know what it means to want to escape from these things.” Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about A Nest of Ninnies is that the two poets have dissolved their own personalities and merged so entirely into a common style that it can be said that the book’s author is neither Ashbery nor Schuyler but a third entity fashioned in the process of collaboration.’ — David Lehman

‘In light of the considerable scholarship devoted to John Ashbery’s and James Schuyler’s poetry, it may seem odd that little ink has been spilled over their novel. Then again, A Nest of Ninnies, which is made from the stuff of novels ― characters, settings, episodes ― but not the stuffing ― the characters are stick figures, the settings interchangeable, the episodes without dramatic significance ― is itself an oddity, if a well-known one. Composed on Ashbery’s and Schuyler’s visits over seventeen years and originally published in 1969, it has been through three American and two British editions and is still in print. Though not uncommonly owned however it may be uncommonly read.

‘Its impish title and studied prosaicness give A Nest of Ninnies the look of a conventional social satire; to encounter Ashbery’s famously difficult work in apparently accessible form may strike many readers as their best entrée to it. Indeed the opening prospective readers may glance at has an almost it-was-a-dark-and-stormy-nightlike familiarity: “Alice was tired. Languid, fretful, she turned to stare into her own eyes in the mirror above the mantelpiece before she spoke.”

‘We may think of the first line of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (“Alice was beginning to get very tired”) or of Emma Bovary looking at herself in the mirror and wondering why she married, though chances are we think of neither because we’re too busy doing what we do at the beginning of novels, gathering the information we think we’ll need to follow the plot: that Alice and Marshall live in a suburb fifty miles from New York which Alice longs for to the point of unhappiness, that she suspects Marshall is unhappy too but can’t interest him in this topic, that his preoccupation is with the leftovers they’re about to have for dinner and with a mislaid bread basket in particular. “The bread will be too dry to eat if we don’t find that basket soon,” he says. “Who knows, maybe I threw it out with the leftover Korn Kurls,” Alice replies. This seemed to wound Marshall, we are told.

‘The wound is a figure of speech, as everything in A Nest of Ninnies is, though we don’t yet know it. Nor do we know yet that Alice and Marshall aren’t husband and wife as we’ve assumed from the situation, so that when “suddenly there [comes] a gentle tapping at the kitchen door” and Alice, instead of responding to it, descends to the cellar to shake the furnace ― it is on the fritz ― and “Marshall glide[s] across the room with careful steps to admit their visitor . . . a small, very pretty young woman,” we are alive to prospects of intrigue. It’s a matter of time before we see that the information we’ve been gathering is irrelevant, the intriguing prospects false.

‘How this recognition strikes us depends on our particular attitude towards the genre that A Nest of Ninnies is mimicking. Some readers will fly for the exits, others wonder along with Marshall ― and with the character Norris in James Schuyler’s next novel after A Nest of Ninnies ― what’s for dinner. But even for open-minded readers ― whether weary or wary of realism, receptive to comic experimentation, devoted to Ashbery’s or Schuyler’s poetics, or all of these ― the recognition of A Nest of Ninnies’ unconventionality, when it comes, comes by no means as an illumination. To see what a thing is not may be far from seeing what it is, and those who are determined to see it Ashbery-and-Schuylerwise have had enough to do with the poetry, which for all its slipperiness is aesthetically ambitious and so invites a serious critical response.’ — James Wallenstein



‘A Nest of Ninnies’ @ goodreads
‘ANoN’ reviewed by W.H. Auden
‘In early August among the spruce’: Reading Schuyler’s Memoirs on Great Spruce Head Island
Notebook (A Nest of Ninnies, The Crying of Lot 49)
Semantic Scholar extracted view of “A Nest of Ninnies”
‘ANoN’ @ Internet Archive
Reality Show: Ninnies and the Critics
The Books Interview John Ashbery: A blue rinse for the language
Buy ‘A Nest of Ninnies’



An old interview with John Ashbery

James Schuyler 5 Poems

75 at 75: James Schuyler Reads “Salute” and other poems

John Ashbery accepts lifetime achievement award at 2011 National Book Awards


Raymond Foye Interviews James Schuyler

Fairfield Porter, “John Ashbery and James Schuyler Writing ‘Nest of Ninnies’” (1967)


Q: At what point did you begin to feel there was a scene in New York among writers—the New York School.
A: It wasn’t until I met John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara that I had a kind of kinship in a writing way, which I never really had with Chester, who was more interested in art, or listening to and attending the opera. Then I met John and Frank, who were at Harvard, along with Kenneth Koch and Kenward Elmslie. And that was marvelous.

Q: Do you ever wonder what kind of a poet Frank O’Hara would have been had he lived, because I always wonder about that.
A: Oh, I don’t know. What I wondered about was what would happen with Frank’s drinking. His alcoholism was so far advanced, the last few times I saw him I couldn’t believe it. He was red-eyed and looked awful. Frank used to be very handsome. And his health was deteriorating, which also had to do with his having been shot.

Q: Frank O’Hara was shot?
A: Yes, he was shot in the hip on West Forty-ninth Street in a mugging by some young kids. The bullet couldn’t be taken out, and it moved around in him. It was a situation of great concern.

Q: Some people consider his accidental death a result of his drinking.
A: I don’t know, I wasn’t there. It was a terrific shock for many, many people. I didn’t see much of Frank from the time I began living in Southampton. Our paths rarely crossed, except at parties. Frank had this terrific social life—he went to hundreds of parties.

Q: Do find yourself thinking about Frank, or the past, very much, or do you seldom give it a thought?
A: I give it a thought but not a great deal. Whenever people are writing about Frank they interview me, and I’m aware that I remember much less than I did a few years ago. Ten or more years ago I made some tapes for Peter Schjeldahl and I know I had much more information then than I could dig up now.

Q: You never had the desire to write a memoir of that period?
A: I don’t think so. I’ve thought of it but . . . A certain kind of diary would have been more interesting, but it would never have been the sort of diary that I would have kept.

Q: How did you feel about the Beats when they came along?
A: I didn’t think anything much.

Q: Did you read “Howl” at the time?
A: I wanted to, but I was having a nervous breakdown and Frank wouldn’t let me.

Q: Did you read On the Road?
A: Yes, I reviewed it at the time.

Q: What did you say?
A: I said it was like a boy’s book.

Q: Would you say John Ashbery is the writer whom you’ve felt closest to through the years?
A: Yes, much.

Q: Has John always been pretty much the same person he is now?
A: Oh, I think he’s ripened a bit . . .

Q: Was he always so charismatic? People are so deferring to John, even his closest friends.
A: No, I don’t think he had any charisma at all when I first knew him. He would usually eat dinner then head for the nearest sofa and fall asleep with his back to the room. Not a very charismatic way to behave. He was charismatic for the few of us who knew who John was, from the beginning—he was for me, actually, yes. Frank O’Hara had much more charisma. He had so much social flourish he could talk to anyone.

Q: How did your collaboration with John Ashbery on the novel A Nest of Ninnies come about?
A: We started that in the backseat of a car, driving in from Southampton one afternoon. We didn’t care for the people we were riding with. We didn’t want to be rude, so we wrote a novel.

Q: You began by swapping sentences?
A: Yes, then paragraphs, and finally chapters, I think.

Q: What year was that?
A: 1961, I think. John had come out to visit for a weekend. We were walking along the beach at sunset, heading for a cocktail party. The sun was casting those extraordinary technicolor effects on the sea and sky. John turned to me and said, “I always feel so embarrassed by these gaudy displays of nature.” I didn’t feel embarrassed at all.



John Ashbery & James Schuyler A Nest of Ninnies
Dalkey Archive Press

‘”James Schuyler and I began writing A Nest of Ninnies purely by chance,” writes John Ashbery in his new introduction to this classic of American comic fiction. “We were in a car being driven by the young cameraman, Harrison Starr, with his father as a passenger in the front seat… Jimmy said, ‘Why don’t we write a novel?’ And how do we do that, I asked. ‘It’s easy–you write the first line, ‘ was his reply.” The result is one of the strangest and most exuberant experiments in American literary history, a verbal tour de force of suburban Americana. First published in 1969, A Nest of Ninnies is a true gem-in-the-rough, the decades-long collaborative project from two of the great poetic minds of the twentieth century.’ — Dalkey Archive





p.s. Hey. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B. Yes, indeed. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope it’s something simple to sort out. Is he home and doing okay now? ** Dominik, Hi!!! Yeah, it just acts up out of the blue, sort of seizes up, and I just have to hobble around and feel like shit and ice it for a few days or a week until it gets tired of bugging me again. Bleah. I hereby accept your Love’s offer of those exciting dates even though they weren’t to the Burnt Food Museum. I forgive him. Love opening a Museum of the Emo that’s the size of the Louvre and has a shopping mall-sized gift shop and five on-site sex brothels in your neighborhood, G. ** Bob, Hi, Bob.Thank you for correcting that misinformation that I inadvertently passed on. I’ve removed it from the post, and great news! ** cal, Hi, Cal. Sorry to be slow in writing back to you, I will today. Apparently the Museum of Bad Art is still open and I had bad information, so you can still go. Whoop! ** David Ehrenstein, Ah, but, very thankfully, The Museum of Jurassic Technology is not defunct. That would be a loss too terrible to think about. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Oh, Callum Leckie is the guy doing the illustrations? I was FB friends with him for a while, but he went bizarro obnoxious on me. But he seems quite talented. Great! I’m excited! Do keep me/us informed. I can’t and won’t watch those kinds of real murder videos. They make me physically ill. I went to the Museum of Death in Hollywood once, but I had to leave quickly because the cold amorality of it made me nauseous. ** Bill, I think there’s still a holography museum in LA, although I haven’t checked since Covid and all of that. Zac just turned me onto this French site packed with free viewable documentary films, and I’m about to go nuts there. ** David, Aruba seems like it would be quite pleasant. No, I would never do a Dennis Cooper Museum, and I think it’s safe to say that no one else will ever do one either. But thank you. There was a show of my stuff that traveled in Europe at different kunsthalles some years ago though. Well, I’m glad you’re only biting if you feel the you have to mess up your surface. Ouch = the photo, but interesting, thank you. I’ve never watched ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. I really just don’t watch TV shows other than the news sometimes. I do intend to at least peek at it and demystify the hype, etc. one of these days. ** T, I’m way down with that theme park idea, of course. Oh, right self-care and its products, I totally forgot about that stuff. I don’t know that whole idea seems so gross to me. I guess it’s mostly the word, the concept, the self-consciousness involved or something. You have a French grandmother, okay, now I understand. Sweet. Um, on the Haunt project, we’re not entirely sure. If we get the funding, it will be used to make the ‘game’ playable and add in a lot more interactive stuff and detailing, but we’re not sure what the ultimate venue for it will be. If we get this particular funding, the org will get to host it on their site for a month, and then we can do whatever we want with it. No, it’s not a VR thing. It’s like a very old fashioned video game in looks and design, sort of like in the early 00s when games were on CD-roms and stuff. Your wish for my day was simultaneously fun and terrifying. Nice one. I hope your day shrinks Paris to the size of a toy train set and plunks it down your dinner table. xo. ** Steve Erickson, That’s a lot of GB. I try to stick to streaming myself. Mylaptop is pretty packed what with all the stuff I have to gather for the blog posts and all the animated gifs I have in my gif book storage tank. Very cool about the podcast. Relax and have big fun with that, and I look forward to overhearing. ** Okay. Today I spotlight a super delightful novel written by possibly the two greatest poets that the United States has ever birthed. It’s a weird joy, and enjoy giving its evidence your all. See you tomorrow.

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