Get the best voice recorder you can afford. Good quality digital recorders cost less than £40. Most researchers prefer digital recorders over cassette recorders because cassette recorders, with their moving parts, create their own noise. You’ll also want good quality earphones or headphones to listen to your recording. Some researchers also recommend an external omnidirectional microphone to connect to your recorder as it might be more sensitive and produce better quality recordings, but this isn’t mandatory.
*Set up the recorder. Many digital recorders have a selection for quality. Always choose the high quality (HQ) or extra high quality (XHQ), setting. (See your recorder’s manual.) Make sure you put in fresh alkaline batteries.
*Choose a location. EVP can and have been recorded virtually everywhere. You don’t need to be in a reputedly haunted location (although this might be more fun). You can even try it in your own home. But consider how you’ll feel if you succeed in getting EVP voices in your home. Will that bother you or others that you live with?
*Keep it quiet. You are trying to pick up voices that can often be soft, subtle and hard to hear, so keeping the environment as quiet as possible is of utmost importance. Turn of the radios, TVs and computers, and any other sources of extraneous noise. Avoid moving around to eliminate the sounds of footsteps and the rustling of clothing. Take a seat.
*Turn on the recorder. With the recorder on the HQ setting, put it in RECORD mode. Begin by stating out loud who you are, where you are, and what time it is. Don’t whisper; talk in a normal tone of voice.
*Ask questions. Again, in a normal tone of voice, ask questions. Leave adequate space between your questions to allow the recorder to pick up any possible responses. Researchers often ask such questions as, “Are there any spirits here? Can you tell me your name? Can you tell me something about yourself? Why are you here?” Surprisingly, EVP voices sometimes respond to direct questions.
*Have a conversation. If someone is with you during your recording session, you can talk with each other. Just don’t be too talkative; you want to give the EVP voices a chance! A conversation is okay because many researchers have found that the EVP voices actually comment on what you’re saying.
*Be aware of ambient noise. As you are recording, try to be very aware of noises both inside and outside of your environment. In everyday life, we have trained our brains to filter out a lot of background noise, but your recorder will pick up everything. So when you are making your recording, be aware of those noises and remark about them so they are not mistaken for EVP. For example, “That was my brother talking in the other room.” “That was a dog barking outside.” “… a car passing on the street.” “…my neighbor yelling at his wife.”
*Give it some time. You don’t need to spend hours recording, but give your sessions a good 10 to 20 minutes. You don’t have to be asking questions or talking the whole time. Absolute quiet is okay, too. (Just remark about those ambient noises.)
*Listen to the recording. Now you can play back the recording to hear what you got, if anything. Listening to the recording on the recorder’s little speaker is usually inadequate. Plug in your earphones and listen carefully to the recording. You can also connect the recorder to external speakers, but earphones are better in that they are also blocking out external noise. Did you hear any voices that you can’t explain? If so, you might have captured an EVP!
*Download the recording. A better method of listening to an analyzing your recording is to download it to a computer. (Many digital recorders come with software for doing this; see your manual.) Once you have it on your computer, it then becomes easier to turn up the volume, pause, go back and listen to specific segments of the recording. Again, it’s best to listen through your computer via a set of earphones.
*Keep a log. When you download the recording to your computer, give the audio file a name that reflects the place, date and time, such as “asylum-1-23-11-10pm.wav”. Create a written log of your recordings and any results you might have heard so that you can easily find the recordings again when you need to. If you do hear a possible EVP on your recording, be sure to note the time on the recording and put that in the log. For example, if you hear a voice say “I’m cold” at 05:12 on the recording, put that in your log for that recording as “05:12 – I’m cold.” This makes it easier to find that EVP later.
*Have others listen. EVP vary greatly in quality. Some are very clear while others are very hard to hear or understand. For low-quality EVP especially, understanding or interpreting what the EVP is saying is a very subjective thing. So have others listen to the EVP and ask them to tell you they think it is saying. Important: Don’t tell them what you think it is saying before you have them listen to it as this can influence their opinions. If other people think it is saying something different than what you hear, note that in your log, too.
*Be honest. As with all aspects of paranormal research, honesty is of prime importance. Do not fake EVP to impress or scare your friends. Be honest about what you are hearing. Try to be as objective as possible. Eliminate the possibilities that the sound was just the dog barking or the neighbor yelling. You want good quality data.
*Keep trying. You may not get EVP the first time you try it… or the first five times you try it. The strange thing is, some people are luckier (if it is luck) at getting EVP than others, using the exact same equipment. So keep trying. Researchers have noted that the more you experiment with EVP, the more EVP you’ll get and with greater frequency. Persistence often pays off.
Work at night. One reason ghost researchers often seek EVP at night is not only for the spooky ambiance, it also quieter.
Leaving the room option. Step 6 above says to ask questions, but another method is to start recording, state your name, place and time, and then set the recorder down and leave the room or area. After some time — 15 or 20 minutes to an hour — come back and listen to what your recorder has captured. The disadvantage to this method is that you aren’t present to hear and discount any ambient noises.
*Set it down. Even if you stay in the room with your recorder, it’s best to set the recorder and microphone down on something — a chair or table — to eliminate the possible noise of your hands on the devices.
*Editing software. Aside from the the software that came with your recorder for listening to your recordings, you also can use audio editing software such as Audacity (it’s free!) to better analyze the EVP. The software lets you boost low volume, eliminate some background noise, and other tasks. Most helpful, it will allow you to cut out the specific EVP sections of the recording, duplicate them and save them separately.
Share your EVP. If you’ve captured what you consider good quality EVP, consider sharing them. Join a local ghost investigation group so you can share what you’ve got. Send them to websites, such as this one, that feature EVP from their readers. If you have an EVP that you’d like to share with me then send it to Spiritandsoulghosttours.co.uk
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I FIND MY HOME HAUNTED?
If you suspect that your house is haunted, here’s what you can do to find out, then take some action
IF THERE ARE weird, unexplained things going on in your house — unexplained sounds, sights, movements, or other signs of a haunting — here are the steps you should take.
RULE OUT RATIONAL EXPLANATIONS
A person who has experienced some of these phenomena might have cause to believe that his or her house is haunted. But maybe not. In fact, according to most experts, probably not. The human mind and human senses (as any magician will tell you) are easily fooled. And people can often mistake explainable (if unusual) occurrences in their homes for the paranormal.
Before you decide there’s a ghost in your house or move out from fear, do your best to find rational explanations for what you are experiencing. Virtually all of the phenomena listed in “16 Signs That Your House is Haunted” could have perfectly natural causes:
Noises could be house settling, plumbing or even vermin such as mice and squirrels
Opening and closing doors could be faulty hinges or caused by drafts
Disappearing objects (DOPler phenomena) could just be carelessness and forgetfulness.
Shadows could be just that – shadows caused, perhaps, by a passing car’s headlights.
As real as some of these things might seem to you, they really could be just products of your imagination.
Of course, the more extreme the phenomena, the harder they are to dismiss. And if multiple witnesses experience the same phenomena, they are likely to be taken more seriously.
Get help in finding rational explanations for the phenomena. A plumber might help you find the cause of that banging. A carpenter can fix that door from closing on its own. A friend or neighbor might be able to look at your particular experience in a different way and offer a reasonable explanation for your “haunting” that you might not have thought of. In short, make every possible effort to prove that your house is not haunted.
KEEP A JOURNAL
If you feel you have ruled out rational explanations for the phenomena that are taking place in your house, and they are still occurring on a more or less regular basis, document them. Keep a journal of the phenomena as they happen. For example:
June 2, 2011; 10:30 p.m. – Was sitting watch TV when the bathroom light switched on by itself. Went in and turned it off again.
June 10, 2011; 9:14 p.m. – Was in the kitchen and heard the footsteps crossing the upstairs hallway again. No one was up there. Went up to investigate and could find no cause. A journal such as this could help with any formal investigation of the phenomena by experts.
If you hear unexplained noises, attempt to record them with a portable tape recorder. If there are physical phenomena of any kind, photograph or videotape them. Keep your journal, recording and camera equipment readily available so you can document the phenomena as it happens.
CALL THE EXPERTS
When should you call a paranormal investigator? Only when you have ruled out any rational explanations for the phenomena you are experiencing and are thoroughly convinced that your house is truly haunted should you contact the experts. Of course, if the phenomena are extreme and you feel that you and your family are in any kind of physical or psychological danger, you should call for help right away.
Who are the experts? There are hundreds of paranormal investigation organizations across the U.S. and Canada. You can find a state-by-state listing of many of them here, although I cannot vouch for the expertise of any of them. Most certainly, they vary in expertise and in the degree of their practical experience, so you should be careful in your choice.
Despite whatever strangeness you are experiencing, your house probably is not haunted. But if it is, perhaps it is a benign spirit or phenomenon that you can live with. Usually, it is something you need not fear.
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