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Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): A Definition and How to Record Ghost Voices!

Learn about Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP), and the secrets behind this method of communicating with the dead

Electronic Voice Phenomenon
Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP): A Definition and How to Record Ghost Voices! | iSTOCK

Human beings have always wanted to be able to communicate with the world of the dead.  Electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) is a way of hearing the voices of those no longer alive in our world (or those who have never been here), and consists of paying close attention to recordings which pick up sounds and voices from objects and people that simply aren't there.

What is an EVP?

A possible definition of an EVP is a sound, it could be an utterance, a noise and sometimes even music! The sounds are picked up in a voice recorder and for them to be considered an EVP, their source must be unknown.

Most people believe that as a physical element is what captures the sound, then the origin of the sound must also be physical.  However,  there is an argument which claims that the origins of these sounds are in a different yet parallel dimension to ours  in which there are spirits of people that haven't yet gone with God nor with the Devil, or that are waiting to be reincarnated, and these are the beings which send us these messages.

For now, we don't have an understanding of the laws that govern these paranormal phenomena, although we do know that they sometimes go against our understanding of the physical laws governing our dimension.

However, there is a belief which claims that an EVP isn't a voice from another dimension, but a projection from a human being's subconscious which attempts to manifest itself into our reality and gets recorded.

Electronic Voice Phenomena from a parapsychological perspective

Parapsychology tells us that when capturing an EVP, we can never be sure of who or what is on the other side, just like with other methods of communicating with the beyond such as a Ouija board.

Although we hear voices of people who aren't physically there with us, we must take into account that what they are saying may not be important to us or even relevant to the questions we asked. It's believed that  mankind wasn't trying to communicate with the beyond but instead came across the voices by paying attention to the findings of the first recorders able to capture sounds.

We mustn't forget that we are talking about a parascience, that is, a field of research which studies subjects outside the scope of social and natural sciences, and can't be explained by conventional theories or tested by conventional methods.

How to record an EVP

Electronic voice phenomena were traditionally recorded with tape recorders, and it was advisable to use good quality tape which hadn't been previously used, so there wouldn't be any residue from other tapes. Nowadays, investigators use digital recorders to capture the sounds, and when possible, they also use an external microphone to reduce the sounds from the internal mechanisms of the recording device. They must also remember to keep the microphone away from the device when recording for the same reason.

If we were to record in a house, it's a good idea to leave the device on a cushion or a pillow so as to muffle any unwanted noises or vibrations. We can leave the recorder running and wait to see what happens, or we can ask questions about topics we'd like answered. That said, if you are planning on being the one to lead the questioning, try to dominate at all times and be alpha. If you don't believe yourself to be able to do so, then I would abstain from recording.

While recording an EVP, it's important to take notes of any sounds or noises you hear to ensure you don't confuse background noises with something paranormal when listening to the tape.

If we want to ask a question hoping for a reply from the beyond that we can capture, many experts in this field recommend stating the time and place we are in, formulating the question, waiting for a few seconds to give the spirit enough time to answer and then saying something like "end of the test"  so we know when we finished.

Afterwards, we must listen to the recording carefully, as the voices or sounds we are looking for are practically inaudible. Luckily for us, we are in the digital age; and with computers and some basic knowledge of how audio editing programs work, we are able to amplify these sounds in the moments when we believe to hear something peculiar.

When formulating the questions you want to ask, try to avoid the classic "is anyone there?". Act as if you know someone is listening. It's better to ask "what is your name?" or "is there anything I can do for you?" or any question you'd like to know the answer to. Keeping the dialogue natural and spontaneous creates the perfect environment for these phenomena to occur. When you are done, make sure to thank the ghosts, as they seem to like these kinds of gestures.

We previously explained  that an EVP isn't always the voice of a ghost.  For example, in places which were targeted for bombing in periods of war, we can hear explosions which evidently aren't happening when we are recording. Another example that pops into mind is that in some alcazabas in Spain, we can hear the sounds of swords clashing.

The sounds we can hear in an EVP are very subjective, and they are hardly ever clear, they always have this metallic echo to them, and while one person hears a specific word, another may hear a completely different one.

It goes without saying that in order to record an EVP, we must be persistent and patient, as it's unlikely that you'll hear any sound that could be catalogued as paranormal in your first sessions.

    The most famous Electronic Voice Phenomena

    In Spain, the journalist Íker Jiménez is considered to be an expert in everything relating to the paranormal world. On his radio program Milenio 3 and his television program Cuarto Milenio, he has discussed the topic of EVPs many times,  focusing on places such as Belchite, which was heavily bombed in Spain's civil war, or in the 'Hospital del Tórax' in Barcelona.

    He has also encountered recordings in which an EVP seemingly wanted to communicate with him and with his wife, Carmen Porter, who is also a journalist. This has even happened while filming live programmes. For example, In November 2018, everyone heard a voice say "Carlos" while speaking to an audience through a live YouTube video.

    Germán de Argumosa, Sinesio Darnel and Pedro Amorós are other investigators  which have studied the complex world of EVPs throughout their career, especially from recordings taken in places believed to be enchanted, such as palaces or cemeteries.

    Lastly, a fun fact about EVPs. It is believed that the first one ever recorded was by a French film producer called Friedrich Jürgenson, who recorded some birds singing for a documentary. When revising the audio he could hear the voice of his deceased progenitor saying "Friedel, can you hear me? It's mum".