Here are 20 brief comments regarding EVP. They are not all inclusive responses, only a brief concise answer to certain beliefs and fallacies regarding the study of EVP. They will serve as a starting point for you do do additional research into the field.
Q – What is EVP?
A – Electronic Voice Phenomena is the capture of voices, allegedly paranormal, on an electronic device.Usually these are heard when an audio recording is played back.
Q – Where do EVP originate?
A – Many believe falsely that they are spirits. In reality most have perfectly natural sources. There are very few that cannot be explained.
Q – Can EVP be heard with the unaided ear?
A- No. By definition Electronic Voice Phenomena is detected by an electronic device. However there are some who claim to hear them directly. The proper term for this is AVP, Acoustic Voice Phenomena. These are voices that may be too faint to be heard without amplification, but originate as sound, not electronic sources. Both types are captured on recorders in a similar manner.
Q – How can I determine whether the source is EVP or AVP?.
A- The method of detection is the key. EVP is a form of electronic field which is picked up directly by a microphone or its wiring. AVP is a sound wave detected only by a diaphragm in a microphone. Wiring or electrical pickup is not possible. So to determine which is present you need two methods of detection; a conventional microphone and an inductive sensor. If the microphone detects a voice, it could be either EVP or AVP. But if the inductive sensor detects the voice it MUST be electronic in nature since an inductive pickup cannot detect sound in any form. So if the microphone picks it up and the inductive sensor does not, you have AVP, not EVP.
Q – Is there a way to hear EVP or AVP in real time? Why do I have to record it first?
A- Answer is, you do not have to record it. But you do have to have some electronic means of amplifying or detecting the signal. Recorders have amplifiers built in, which is why many use the traditional method. But if you have a high gain amplifier with headphones you can do a session in real time by simply using your microphones / sensors with the amplifier just as you would with your recorder. In fact I do my sessions in that manner; real time. I also use a recorder not no much for capturing EVP but rather to simply keep a log of any activity I may encounter.
Q – Analog Tape or Digital recorder? Which is best?
A-Either can be used. However the important thing to keep in mind when choosing is the quality of the recorder. You should use a machine which has low noise and wide bandwidth.capability. Since you are trying to capture something which may be hard to hear you want the best possible platform to record it.
Q – Which brand of digital recorder is best?
A – Rather than name brands I prefer to give a list of specifications to be met. Any recorder which meets these is satisfactory. Personal preference between them is up to you, the user. The requirements of your digital recorder are as follows:
1 – Records in Stereo
2 – Uses a 24 Bit A to D conversion process
3 – Sample Rate of 96 KBPS or higher
4 – Records in a non-lossy format (WAV, not MP3 or similarly compressed form.)
5 – While not a requirement, it is highly desirable to have provisions for an external microphone or line input. This allows you to use an external high gain amplifier or inductive sensor in conjunction with your project.
Q – What about using White Noise with my recordings?
A – This is a fallacy. Why would you want to create noise which only serves to cover up any faint voices you may get?
Q – But don’t spirits need outside energy to be heard?
A – There is no proof of this. (In fact we don’t even have proof spirits are in any way connected with EVP). But even if this assumption is true it would require much more energy to over power a bunch of noise than to be heard in a quiet environment. Have you ever tried to be heard by your neighbor at a rock concert? It is much easier to speak in a quiet room.
Q – What program is best to clean up my recordings?
A – Answer is NONE. Recordings should never be altered in any way. If you have to alter it in order to hear it , you have a case of paredolia.
Q – Is there a test for paredolia?
A – Yes, it is called the Rule Of Three. You do this test by getting three independent witnesses and separating them from each other. Play back the recording one time only and ask each witness to write down what, if anything, they hear. If they are unsure or if the recording is lengthy, you can replay it only once more. ( Two Times total). After all three have done their evaluation, take their comments and compare them. If all three hear substantially the same thing, it likely is not paredolia. Any major discrepancies indicate probable paredolia.
Q- My recording passes the Rule Of three. What’s the next step?
A – This is where serious analysis begins. There are still many possible explanations that must be ruled out before calling it EVP or AVP. The goal here is to identify any natural causes for the voice. Rule out any natural sounds, interference, or outside contamination.
Q – This is where I use my computer, right?
A – NO! The process is extensive and this is where a lot of mistakes are made. First of all, NEVER TRY TO CLEAN IT UP USING A COMPUTER PROGRAM. These all apply various methods which introduce artifacts into the recording.
Q – So how do you recommend I evaluate my recording?
A – The proper method is to break the audio into segments and inspect it for voice patterns. This is done by first determining the frequencies present in the voice using a spectrum analyzer. Next you remove frequencies not a part of the speech (noise and extraneous sounds) using bandpass / blocking filters, then view the results on an oscilloscope. Examine each phoneme in the voice to determine its voice pattern, (rise, decay and blending) then see if this matches human speech patterns. This is done several times as needed using different filtering points. Also room ambience (echos, etc.) are considered This can identify other possible sources for the voice. Only after all these tests are validated can a recording be considered possible EVP.
Q – I was told that only some people ever develop the ability to hear EVP. Why is that?
A – This is another fallacy. The reason is paredolia and conditioning. If a recording is not perfectly clear paredolia will work its way in as the brain tries to make sense of it. The common practice of “looping” a recording only adds to this problem. You hear the same thing and eventually you will think you begin to make sense of it. You become conditioned to listen for what you think you hear. Go back up to Question 11 and note that I emphasize the recording only be played twice for the Rule Of Three test. This prevents conditioning of the test subjects.
16 – Can I use a Ghost Box for EVP?
A – No. Besides being a useless device these boxes work by taking external sources of voice and playing them back. Such is not true communication, rather just a response from either a canned speech memory or radio transmission. both have perfectly natural explanations as to their source, none of which is communication from any spirit.
Q – Does walking around improve communication potential?
A – No, but it does serve to create more opportunity for external noise to contaminate your recording. Instead, when doing a session place your recorder and microphones in the target area, step back and sit down. Then begin your session while remaining seated and motionless.
Q – Why do they always do EVP sessions in the dark?
A – No real reason at all. In fact I often do sessions with lights on. An advantage of lights on is that you can see potential sources of interference that may cause issues. Going dark only serves to handicap you by taking away your sense of sight. And if there is a spirit present that desires to communicate it can do so lights on or off.
Q – Some get EVP every time they go out but I haven’t gotten anything in numerous sessions. What am I doing wrong?
A – Answer is, you’re doing things RIGHT.. True EVP is very rare. Paredolia is not. These guys who always seem to get activity also don’t use intense screening to validate their work. So they get tons of false positives and other misleading data. At the time of this writing, i have processed over 9,000 hours of claimed EVP / AVP audio. To date I have exactly 12 seconds ( Seven clips) that I have been unable to debunk. Not saying they are paranormal, only that they have been subjected to numerous attempts to debunk by myself and others and so far have held up to testing.
Q – What about language? Why do EVP always come in English?
A – In fact they don’t. EVP can be heard in any language. Two things would be in play here. First applies to paredolia and you. Since paredolia is a matter of something created by your mind, you will hear it in whatever language you are most familiar. The second factor, assuming the EVP is actual communication, it will be in whatever language the one doing the communicating is able to speak. Thus if one is in Russia, one would expect to hear Russian. Same for any other country. One would expect the EVP to be in whatever the native language is. That is not a certainty of course, one could be communicating with a visitor to the country!
So there you have 20 Questions answered. Hopefully this has put to rest some of the fallacies and made you more aware of what is required to cut through a lot of the garbage being promoted online and on TV these days. Now let’s get some solid evidence in the field.