posted on Jun, 15 2006 @ 08:32 PM
Since the discovery of voice like sound anomalies recorded in 1959 by a man researching bird songs, the sound anomalies remain unexplained to this
day. Most skeptics will attribute the effect to auditory hallucination, or people picking up random radio/TV or citizen band radio signals. While
random communication signal interference may account for a small percentage, the excuse cannot account for the many voices that have been recorded
over the years. Audio hallucination is a more likely culprit for a lot of the recorded voices, because the human brain will try to make a pattern out
of random static, similar to the visual Rorschach test in which people see patterns in random inkblots. But of all the voice anomalies recorded over
the years, there remain quite a few that defy a logical explanation of their origin.
Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP for short, has fascinated people for decades now. Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, it is still a fast
growing hobby. Unfortunately, the original concept of EVP is becoming muddled with another hobby, that of paranormal research in respect to trying to
prove the existence of ghosts or spirits. Assuming that EVP’s are caused by deceased entities is not a correct assumption. No one currently knows
what causes EVP’s and there are many different theories. They range from audio hallucinatory effects, to a person’s subconscious somehow
implanting the sounds on the recording device.
EVP’s can be recorded anywhere, anytime by anyone who is willing to invest the time into the hobby. You do not have to go to a supposedly
haunted location to record, you can do it in your own house if you want to, which I highly recommend. While going out to cemeteries and buildings that
have a reported history of strange events can be fun, they make it extremely difficult for you to maintain any kind of quality control over your
recordings. By the term quality control, I am referring to the amount of control that you have over outside noises. By recording in your own home, you
can choose the place that is the most quite, which makes it easier to hear any EVP when listening to a playback of your recordings.
Collecting EVP’s is a great hobby that can quickly become a passion. It is not recommended for those with mental instabilities, but they are
usually able to hear voices without equipment (pun intended). All you need is: (assuming you have a PC):
1. A recording device (I recommend a digital recorder, tapes can become expensive)
2. A set of headphones (doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it needs to be a type that cup the ears and fully seal them from outside noises)
3. An external microphone, omni directional, (a $5.00 radio shack one will work just fine)
4. An audio enhancement program for your PC (Audacity is a great free program you can use).
You can get a full setup for recording for less than $100.00.
One thing I do highly recommend is that you make sure that the digital recorder that you buy is PC compatible and able to convert recordings to
.wav format, or else you will be wasting a lot of time. I use a Panasonic Digital Recorder ($69.00) that records for 2 hours at high quality, 4 hours
at medium and 8 hours at regular. The software that came with the recorder gives you the option to convert the recording to .wav format when you
transfer it from the device to your PC via USB port. For a 10-minute recording it takes about 30 seconds to convert the file.
All recorders regardless of brand usually have a proprietary file system for storing audio files. It is extremely important that you be able to
easily convert them to a standard (.wav or .mp3) that all people can utilize.
There are many different methods that people have tried over the years with varying amounts of success. You can simply turn on the recorder and
let it run in an empty room and you will eventually hear voices on your recording. You can also ask questions and see if you can get an answer. After
many hours of recordings and trying different methods, I have found that using a background noise will generate more EVP than recording without.
Good source of background noise (white noise) can be almost anything. I do not advocate using a radio or TV tuned to an off station for static
because of the chance of picking up random signals from either device. The best method I have found so far is using running water as a white noise.
You will have to experiment to get it right, but a slow steady stream is the best for results. Too much background noise will make it difficult to
filter out any EVP’s you may capture.
The one thing you need to concentrate on while recording is being as quiet as absolutely possible. This means do not touch the recorder once it is
started, do not move around unnecessarily, try not to breathe heavy, etc. You will be shocked to found out exactly how loud your stomach can gurgle on
a recording! Also, anytime you make an inadvertent sound, note it on the recording so you wont mistake it for something else at a later date.
While it is possible to record EVP’s in an empty room, I have had better success by asking questions. The format I follow is to ask a question
and wait approximately 60 seconds to get a reply. Since I position the recorder so that I can see the digital display that shows the running time of
the recording, I know when to ask the questions without relying on looking at my watch.
I use a format of asking about 10 questions in a session. I have found after a lot of experimentation that you are mostly likely to capture your
best EVPs early in the session and they start to taper off after 10 minutes or so. Plus it takes a long time to go through recordings and short ones
are easier to manage.
Here are some example questions I use:
I start off by always saying the following as the first thing: I can hear you, I can record you and I can talk to you. I mean no harm or trespass.
If there is anyone who can hear my voice, can you please try to tell me your name?
I will then follow every 90 seconds with a different question that only requires a short answer. Some sample questions are:
My favorite color is____. Can you tell me your favorite color?
I was born in the year ____, Can you tell me the year you were born in?
If there are any Ladies present, can you try to tell me your name?
If any children can hear my voice, can you please tell me your name?
Talking in the first person will get better results. I used to say, “can someone” when using questions, but now I say, “can you”? For some
reason, this generates much better responses.
The biggest problem with the asking questions method is that you are subconsciously programming your brain even more to try and recognize an
anticipated answer out of the static on the recording. This will contribute even more to the audio hallucinatory effect when listening for EVP’s.
EVP’s are classified many different ways, but the most common standard is the ABC method.
Class A: is one that is loud, clear, and easily understood by almost everyone who hears it. These are very rare and it make takes literally hundreds
of hours of recordings to get just one.
Class B: is one that is distinguishable as a voice, most people will hear it but almost none will agree on exactly what it says. These are fairly
common and a lot are due to apophenia or pareidolia.
Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena.
Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.
Class C: are the most common by far. These are ones that sound like a voice, but are unintelligible. Not everyone can even hear it; those that do
cannot make out what, if anything is being said. These are fairly common and most are due to apophenia or pareidolia.
Using an audio program such as Audacity or Cool Edit is perfectly acceptable to enhance EVP recordings. But care must be taken when altering a
recording. Given enough time and enough playing around with an audio editor, you can make a burp sound like the antichrist. Remember this, audio
editing is similar to Photoshop editing; you can make something convincing out of something that wasn’t really there. Also keep an unedited version
on any EVP you record.
You will never be able to convince a non-believer that you are able to record voices that weren’t made by normal people. But once you get your
first voice, that one that you think is so clear… you are so excited, you will be hooked for life. You may suffer temporary set backs, especially
when you are initially so excited by what you perceive as a clear voice only to find out that almost no one else can hear it. But in the end, remember
you are doing this for yourself.