Recording EVPs can be surprisingly easy and with a little luck and the right equipment you should be able to record them many places. Recording them can certaily be a hit and miss proposition, but if you follow these instructions you should be able to get some good ones without having to do a lot of experimenting.
What is an EVP
EVP stands for electronic voice phenomenia. It refers to any recordings which apprear to come from spirits. It may be voices, or in some cases singing, humming, or music. They are normally fairly short snippets, and may at times be almost bizzare in what they appear to say, but at other times can be very easy to understand, and apply to what is happening, or even provide answers to questions posed to them. Sometimes you get conversations between spirits which are not directed toward you at all, such as the hide-n-seek game on the Rogersville Haunted House page and the conversation between 3 young girl spirits at the Bijou Theater.
Although noone really knows just how spirits are able to affect an audible recorder and leave behind messages, in different voices, accents, and sometimes languages, there is evidence that there are two different ways that a recorder can pick them up. The easiest to understand is a audible voice that the microphone picks up, and is often heard by the person as well. These are fairly rare, and there is only one example of this (the I'm waiting EVP) on the page given above. Any microphone that can pick up normal speech can pick up such an EVP. The second type of EVP is the actual electronic phenomonea and are very common. They appear to be the modulation of a scalar, or unknown field, and different types of microphones have different sensitivites to these. ( Recent research by the author has determined that the field is most likely a scalar field, since it interacts with scalar detectors, and penetrates Faraday shielding easily, and has no orientation.) There are 3 primary types of microphones in use today, the dynamic (also known as moving coil or ribbon), condenser, and electret, and only the electret appears to have a high sensitivity to EVPs. The electret is a form of a condenser microphone, but differs in that it uses a film for the pickup that has an electric field frozen within the plastic. A normal condenser microphone has an external supply which supplies the bias voltage, which an electret does not need. It is also unique in that it is the only technology used by microphones that has a significant sensitivity to scalar fields. Thus the electret microphone is generally less expensive than a condensor microphone, yet will work much better for EVP work.
Pick a Place
Obviously to record any spirit voices requires you to be where there are spirits. Some places are obvious, such as cemetaries. But there are lots of other places where you can successfully find them as well. Old homes, old hotels and theaters, old ships, churches, lighthouses all are good possibiities. If you try to get EVPs and are unsuccessful for several trips, then try somewhere else. Note that it does not matter when you record, they are as easy to get during the day as at night. High electrical fields seem to enhance them, so recording immediately after a thunderstorm my improve the volume.
Realize that spirits are people, and if you treat them with respect, and are friendly you are much more likely to get them to interact with you. Do not insult them, or threaten them, many are already confused and scared, so they will simply leave, hide, or get quiet. Try to ask questions you think they might want to answer, who they are, if they want to say anything and so forth. Also be aware that spirits can see your aura, and the aura of anyone who is with you. An aura of anger, hatefulness and so forth can all but make any attempts at capturing an EVP futile, so you have to be careful of who you bring with you.
Use The Right Equipment
The correct equipment is very important. Some believe that the use of a noise source will improve the frequency or quality of an EVP. This may improve the volume of some EVPs, but since the noise will also be louder the signal to noise ratio will be reduced, and the possibility of aubible pareidolia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia ) becomes a very real possibility. Pereidolia is one of the primary arguments that debunkers use to attempt to discredit the phenomenia. Therefore it is recommended to use a recorder with low noise, and pick a place that has little ambient noise. If there is little or no noise, then there is no possibiity of mistaking random sounds in the noise as voices.
There are two types of recorders. Tape, and digital. Tape is noisier due both the the tape noise that is inherent in this method of recording, and due to the noise of the tape transport mechanism and motor. Also tape presents the possibility of print through (resulting in pre and post echos), and archival noise and bleedthru. If you use a brand new tape each time you can eliminate the archival noise and bleedthru from previous recordings, but the problem of print through, tape noise, and transport noise still exists. Thus it is very difficult to ever say that anything unexpected on a tape recorder is truely an EVP. Tape recorders also make it very easy to insert a fake EVP into the middle of the recording, by someone wanting to play a joke on you. Fortunately digital recorders have none of these problems. They are relatively inexpensive, can have excellent signal to noise ratios, completely eliminate the possibility of tape print through, bleedbhru, and of someone tampering with your recording and inserting something in the middle of it. Also many of these digital recorders have internal electret microphones, and are made of plastic (a metal housing can shield the mike element from the EVP field), both of which are important for EVP work. I use a Sony ICD-B16 recorder, but there are other brands that also work well.
The very best microphone for EVPs is a new development of a scalar/gravity wave trasducer and preamp, with appropriate shielding. This microphone is now available at http://www.friendly-ghosts.com/spiritmike. These can used with a normal mike to record to a stereo recorder or two channel computer, so that one channel has the people's voices with no or reduced spirit voices at all, and the other channel has the spirit voices with the people's voices significantly attenuated. Use of such a setup can often give 100% certainty as to just what is normal talking or sounds in the environment and what is from a spirit.
Post Analysis and Processing
Once you have the recording you will need to transfer it to a computer. The small speaker in these recorders does not reproduce lower frequencies well, and sometimes an EVP will be a deep voice, or will be unintelligible without good frequency response of the speaker. Listen to the recording with the volume set as high as you can without distortion. EVPs are often much lower than normal talking, and can be easily missed, although occasionally they can come blasting through so loud you may almost jump out of your chair. If possible use a good set of headphones, but if you don't have any, just use the speakers. If you have any EVPs that are loud and clear, then you can cut them out and make them into their own seperate file. If the EVP is answering a question, or in response to something that was said, then be sure to transfer both the normal talking as well as the EVP to the snippet. Also if the EVP is much lower volume, you can boast the volume on the EVP part, but if you do be sure to note it in your description. If the EVP is too near the noise level then run some noise reduction software on it, such as Clear Voice Denoiser (www.speechpro.com). Always keep a copy of the original recording to go back to if need be. It is recommended that EVPs be saved as a .wav file, a .mp3 file will often reduce the intelligibility of an EVP significantly.
Note that many computers, even high end ones, will contain an audio board that is far below par in design. For instance, I use a top of the line Compaq, and found that the built in audio was almost completely unusable. Besides it putting the line into the mic input, and piping all sounds that go to the speaker into the audio stream going to the analysis software, it has terrible dynamic range, lacks volume, has high distortion, easily clips and a terrible S/N ratio. I had to use a USB audio adapter (Byterunner Model UA580 audio adapter) to get good transfers.
It is very important that you keep records. Record when and where the recording was made, and under what circumstances. For each snippet record which raw recording file it came from, what processing was done, and the time index into the original recording.
Once you have recorded some EVPs post them on a forum such as http://groups.msn.com/GhostsHauntingsSpiritsandtheParanormal/general.msn, http://www.ghostvillage.com/ghostcommunity, and http://ghost2ghost.org.
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