Abstract Because the nasopharyngeal electrode provides non-invasive access to the ventral brain-stem at the medullo-pontine level we used it for recording somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) to median nerve stimulation (non-cephalic reference). After the P9 and P11 far-fields, the nasopharyngeal SEPs disclosed a negative-going component which was interpreted as the near-field equivalent of the P14 scalp far-field generated in the caudal part of the medial lemniscus. Nasopharyngeal SEPs also revealed a large N18 with voltage and features strikingly similar to those of the scalp-recorded N18 far-field. These results suggest that N18 is generated in the medulla and not more rostrally in the brain-stem. The use of a nasopharyngeal electrode as reference for topographic brain mapping is discussed. The paper documents the feasibility and relevance of nasopharyngeal recordings for non-invasive analysis of short-latency SEPs.