Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or EVP, is an occurrence during a paranormal investigation whereupon a disembodied voice is captured on a voice recorder, either analog (cassette required) or digital (no cassette required). The voices are not audible during the investigation and are only revealed when the EVP sessions are reviewed.
The phenomenon is greatly debated by the scientific community and written off as ambient noise captured by the sensitive microphones on the recording devices.
Within the community of paranormal investigators, EVPs are the most abundant of evidence of a haunting.
According to the ATransC (Association TransCommunication ) formerly AA-EVP(American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena) there is a distinct classification and level system for EVP’s captured during an investigation as created by Konstantin Raudive in his book “Breakthrough”:
Class “A” voices can be heard and identified by anyone with normal hearing and knowledge of the language spoken; no special training of the ear is needed to detect them.
Class “B” voices speak more rapidly and more softly, but are still quite plainly audible to a trained and attentive ear.
Class “C” consists of the most interesting voices; voices that give us a great deal of information and much paranormal data. Unfortunately, these can be heard only in fragments, even by a trained ear, but with improved technical aids, it may eventually become possible to hear and demonstrate these voices, which lie beyond our range of hearing, without trouble.
Other groups have expanded upon the initial classification system:
Classification A EVP:
“A clear and distinct voice or sound that is universally accepted and undisputed, because it must be understood by anyone with normal hearing and without being told or prompted to what is being said or heard. It can be heard without the use of headphones.”
Classification B EVP: “A voice or sound that is distinct and fairly loud. This class of voice is more common and can be heard by most people after being told what to listen for. It is usually audible to experienced persons who have learned the skill of listening to EVP. It can sometimes be heard without the use of headphones.”
Classification C EVP: “A faint and whispery voice or sound that can barely be heard and is sometimes indecipherable and unintelligible. It may have paranormal characteristics, such as a mechanical sound. Most investigators would apply objectivity and disregard it, but may save it for reference purposes.”
In addition to the classification system currently employed by most groups, many break the EVPs into levels based on the distinct characteristics of the EVP captured. The original concept of assigning levels to EVP classifications is the brainchild of Strange Happenings Ghost and Haunting Research Society.
Level 1: Loud, clear and easy to understand…sounds like natural speech (including whispers and fast speech).
Level 2: Lower volume and the voice is warped, but still discernible.
Level 3: Very low volume, hard to understand and excessively warped.
Lastly, a category is assigned to the EVP type by some groups as well:
Morph: The voice and/or words of someone who is speaking is changed into something else in the playback of the recording. Words that are different from the person who spoke, or one voice changing to another, etc.
ERV (event related voices): Events such as someone talking, coughing, or the sounds of a passing train or car, etc. seems to trigger the EVP.
TR (thread related): One utterance is a comment on, or a response to, an utterance just before. They are related by contextual thread. Examples would be hearing two or more voices talking to each other, as well as a voice responding to something previously said by itself and/or someone or something else.
How does one capture EVP’s? The process is simple but varies depending on personal preference. One simply has to find a quiet space in an alleged haunted location (or you can see if spirits are willing to communicate with you by performing an EVP session anywhere.) Once you have found the ideal location, simply turn on your digital voice recorder and start asking questions.
Always announce the date, time and location of your session along with the names of anyone else present. Have the people present state their names loudly enough to be captured on the recording, that way if you hear the voice later in the recording upon review you know that it is from someone in your group and not from an otherworldly source.
“This is Tony, this is EVP session 1 at a private residence in Little Rock, Arkansas, the date and time is (insert date and time) and with me are (state name of each member of your team and have them say their name out loud).”
During your questioning make sure that you tag any natural sounds so that you do not mistake them for EVPs when you review your session. Examples of tags would be:
1) A car just passed by
2) Someone in the group coughed
3) My stomach just rumbled, etc…
Any natural environmental noise needs to be tagged.
Do not whisper if you must talk to other group members. Conversation should be at a normal volume so as not to misinterpret the whisper as a voice of a spirit when reviewing your session.
Keep sessions short and do not provoke the spirits. If they want to talk to you they will. Keep in mind, you are trying to make contact with people who have passed on and choose to stick around for one reason or another. Treat them with respect, be conversational and approachable.
Some common questions to ask are:
1) Is there anyone here who wishes to communicate with us
2) What is your name
3) How old are you
4) Do you know what year it is
5) Who is the President of the United States
6) Why do you stay here
7) Do you know anyone’s name in this room
8) Are you aware that you are dead
9) What year did you die
10) How did you die
You can ask any questions you want as long as you remain personable. If you think you know the name of the ghost haunting the location you can call them by their name keeping in mind
When you review your evidence do so in a quiet area free of distractions. Have a pen and notepad nearby. It is during this crucial review process that you will be glad you kept the sessions short. Listen carefully using headphones/earphones and if you think you found a response to a question or an EVP write down the time within the recording the response happened so that you can go back to it later.
If you are using audio editing software, refrain from excessive filtering and editing as too many modifications can take a natural sound or ambient noise and morph it into a false positive. Spirit Seekers, as an organization, does not believe in excessive modifications to the source material. Increasing the volume is as far as many of us will go. If we have to add filters, remove background noise, increase bass and flip a bunch of switches to produce something that sounds remotely like a response then we write the EVP off as non-existent.
When having others listen to your EVPs do not tell them what you think the EVP says, the power of suggestion can lead to a person hearing what you suggested and could result in a false positive. Let others listening know at what point the EVP happens and get their feedback. If they hear what you thought was being said without being prompted then chances are you have a legitimate EVP.
This is a capsule view at the world of EVP. There are many websites out there with great information about Electronic Voice Phenomena. Google the search term “EVP” and read as much as you can about the process, listen to real-life examples, and prepare to be mystified at this amazing glimpse into the afterlife and the spirits that occupy it who are constantly reaching out to us.