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EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomena

As paranormal researchers many of us have heard recordings that we feel might be voices or sounds of ghosts or spirits that have been caught on tape.  However, we often ask ourselves if what we are hearing is real.  Are these accidental recordings made because an investigator “spoke too softly” near the microphone?  Are these just sounds or do these sounds and voices have real meaning?  As humans, we have an innate nature to project meaning into otherwise innocent phenomena.  The recording of these sounds or voices that are said to be from the spirit realm is known as an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), recording.              

An EVP is said to be the actual recording of disembodied voices or sounds that are not heard by the naked ear at the time of recording.  Many paranormal groups are using this practice today in an attempt to record ghosts, spirits, or other anomalies.  The sounds that make up an EVP are thought to be sonic events of an unknown nature.  These sounds are sometimes captured in recordings on different types of electronic equipment.  Some of the most popular devices used to attempt to record EVP activity are analog tape recorders, digital tape recorders, DVR equipment, radio equipment, and even some telephones. 

The voices or sounds that are captured on these tapes or other pieces of equipment may take on diverse and unusual forms.  Sometimes, the “voices” may even appear to be speaking in tongues, singing, or just speaking in what we term as “gibberish.”  The messages that are recorded are often hard to decipher, almost as if this type of communication is very difficult for the ghost/spirit to produce and they are straining to be heard.  However, many paranormal researchers have had great success asking direct questions and receiving what appear to be direct answers (in EVP form) to these questions.  When this takes place, most investigators agree that some spirits are capable of engaging in dialogue, supplying information, and answering personal questions.  Therefore, many researchers have concluded that these strange voices and bizarre sounds are an attempt at communication from the spirit world. 

Attempting to record EVP activity while in suspected haunted areas is not a new practice.  This form of paranormal evidence has been around since the late 1960’s but still remains a controversial subject.  EVP is easy to learn but somewhat difficult to master.  In order to obtain an EVP you must have the proper equipment.  Most investigators use either basic analog recorders or the more modern digital voice recorders.  Both recorders have advantages and disadvantages.  If you chose to use the analog recorder, you must always use a power source or fresh batteries or else you will hear a dragging noise within the tape that might interfere with the EVP itself.  Also, you must always use fresh tapes so that you are not recording over other sounds that could be confused as EVP recordings.  Another important detail with analog recorders is to use an extended mic.  The extended mic must be used so that you don’t hear the mechanical parts within the recorder during your recording session.  On the other hand, if you decide to use the digital recorder, always be sure to use fresh batteries on every investigation.  Another important rule regarding digital taping is that these types of recorders are extremely sensitive to all sounds.  Be sure that you speak clearly when asking questions during your EVP sessions, because if you whisper, your own voice could be mistaken for an EVP recording.  Also, placing this type of recorder on a solid surface is best.  You can hold it, but placing it in your pocket during an EVP session is not advised because the movement of the microphone on your clothing will cause a scraping type of noise.  Try to always stick to a question and answer type of format.  After an investigator asks a question, be sure to allow a pause time for an answer.  Most people will pause at least 25 seconds to allow a good response, but you can wait longer if you feel it helps and are not in a hurry.  Remember to continue to document the things happening during the investigation even though you are taping the session.  This can give you valuable evidence to back up any possible EVP recordings that you may acquire. 

EVP recordings have different classifications that help identify their type and strength.  There are three classes of EVP recordings.  The best recordings are considered to be “Class A” EVP recordings.  This is where the voices or noises can be heard clearly without any enhancements to the recording.  The next would be a “Class B” EVP recording.  These recordings are the most common type of capture.  This is usually heard as a faint whisper, not as loud or audible as a Class A EVP.  Normally, you will have to listen to this type of EVP several times in order to understand what is being said.  The last type of EVP is the “Class C” recording.  These are very hard to be determined from other noises at the investigation site.  Most of these are hard to understand regardless of the enhancements done to them.

When listening to your recordings, always listen to them several times before you make a judgment as to what you feel is being said.  Sometimes, you may miss something important by not listening several times.  Also, using a headset is the best way to capture the sound.  You will need to have the volume close to its maximum level to ensure that you don’t miss important evidence.  Listening to EVP recordings is sometimes a long and tedious job.  Remember, it takes almost as long to listen to these recordings as it did to do the investigation.  Be sure to set aside a time to do this when you are not tired.  It is also a great idea to have a second person review the evidence that you feel you have captured.  You may have to sit and listen to the same recording several times in order to decide what the spirit is saying.  Other recordings are very audible the first time around.  Using an EVP software program is very helpful when trying to edit these recordings.  By using these types of software, you will be able to cut out small pieces of your investigation tapes and loop them for other listeners to hear.  This way, you can listen to the same recording several times in order to detect what the voices or sounds may be.  Be sure your Digital Voice Record has some simple means of transferring your recording to your computer.  The most typical means is via a USB port that connects directly to your computer through a USB cable.

Your question and answer process is very important to the process.  When asking questions, think about the time period, area and other special situations that the apparitions may be in.  Don’t use terms they wouldn’t understand, such as “Talk into the microphone” when at a civil war battleground because they probably won’t know what a microphone is.  Instead, say something like “This object I’m holding allows me to hear your words when I listen to it later.”  It’s also important not to ask questions that they won’t understand:  “How did you die?” “Where is your family?” “Why don’t you move on?”  Not everyone on the other side understands that they’re dead, and asking questions that don’t make sense to them, or upsets them, may only cause them to disconnect and leave.  Physical contact should never be requested, as you are inviting the apparition into your space – into your protective bubble – into your life.  Never ask them to touch any part of your body, because they may not let go.  Tormenting, intimidating, threatening, or pushing should only be performed in extreme situations and with the proper precautions in place, and should only be practiced by experienced researchers.  Remember, this is THEIR place, and you are simply VISITING.  Be respectful, as you’re more likely to get a response.

Sample EVP Questions

  1. What is your name?
  2. What is your family name?
  3. Do you live here?
  4. How old are you?
  5. What year is it?
  6. Do you close the door? 
  7. Do you walk upstairs at night?
  8. Is there anything I can do for you?

Many times, it’s best to activate the recorder and just set it down.  A quiet area where there will be no researchers or other “living” creatures will provide a much clearer EVP without the possibility of contamination.  When the recording is later reviewed, you’ll know that there was no one in the area that could have caused the EVP.  You may also want to use a video camera or motion detector to ensure the area was not compromised while you were away from the recorder.

Once your EVP session has completed, be sure to thank them for their time.  It’s also important to ask them not to follow you, as you really don’t want them to go home with you.

EVP recordings are fantastic tools to validate paranormal experiences.    Please remember to record and listen to these EVP sessions with great care.  Use your best judgment and common sense when listening, and take into account your feelings and the environment the recordings were taken from.  If you feel that it was a hostile place, you may want to review your recordings with another person.  The sounds and voices you hear may be disturbing, so it’s best to have someone else there.


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