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Electronic Voice Phenomena

January 21, 2010 , Posted by byu at 11:51 PM

Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, is the process or result of recording a ghost's voice on tape. In the past few years the technique has very much come into favor with those who search for the existence of ghosts or disembodied entities, possibly as a result of the preponderance of inexpensive hand-held recorders as well as software for enhancing (and manipulating) recorded audio.

Electonic Voice Phenomena The idea behind EVP's is that one may go to an area that ostensibly hosts spiritual entities, and then literally have a conversation with the ghosts. One generally asks them a question, waits a few seconds, then asks another question. It's apparently not important to actually hear the ghost's response to the questions, as most EVP's are found after the fact, when the recorder is sitting alone in his mom's basement listening to hours of electronic hiss. If one does hear a response that resembles speech to any degree, then presumably the hunt has just found gold. One to listen closely, however: the answers are not always clear, and may even be in a different language.

Many people have had success with this method; however, there are some serious concerns about the phenomenon that need to be addressed. One key characteristic important with EVP's is the ghost hunter's own listening process. The tapes have to be reviewed and listened to carefully several times. The problem with that is that if one listens to anything long enough, one will indeed begin to 'hear' things, real or imagined. One also have to be able to weed out all the background noises such as passing cars, barking dogs, the wind, etc.

A trustworthy, impartial listener may be required to give the tapes an unbiased opinion, although finding someone to actually sit through hours of this stuff may be difficult. [We at the Weird Encyclopedia suggest recruiting childhood bullies, DMV workers, people who park in the handicapped spot when they aren't supposed to, etc.]. Ghost hunters have the tendency to hear what they want to hear from the tapes. They know what questions were asked and have an idea of what answers to expect. Because the technique's authenticity is impossible to prove no tape, regardless of what's recorded on it, can be considered hard evidence. Critics have a valid point when they say that the sounds or voices recorded are either natural noises or hoaxes. There's no way to prove that they're wrong.

Tips for making good EVP Recordings:

Use a full size tape recorder, not the handheld models. The small tape recorders are fine for witness interviews but not for EVP recordings.

Use an external, static-free microphone. Maybe one of those big, heavy metallic ones that tilt one side, like the kind that old- fashioned broadcasters used to use. Pretend you're Walter Winchell.

Always use brand new, high-quality tapes. Never record over old tapes. There's always a chance that the overlapping recordings will mix and you'll hear things that shouldn't be there.

Don't bump the microphone and if you do, make a verbal note of it on the tape. You may also want to note any other nature sounds such as gusting winds, creaking doors, breaking of wind, etc.

Record in 20- to 30-minute sessions. You can record longer, but keep in mind that you have to listen to the tape later. If you record two hours of tape then you have to listen to two hours of tape. (Or someone else does. See above.)

Ask clear and precise questions.

Don't whisper during the recordings' you're not going to scare the ghosts away, and they may be hard of hearing.

After each question wait at least 10 to 15 seconds before asking the next question - you don't want to piss off the ghosts by talking while they're trying to give their answers.

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