EVP’s and Digital Recorders: What You Should Know

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Many consider the holy grail of paranormal investigation a full-bodied apparition captured on video or even in a nice clear photo. Now don’t get me wrong, that would be cool, I would love to get evidence like that myself one day. But for me a nice clear E.V.P. gets me excited every time. There is something about knowing that you are in actual communication with someone from the other side that is just more satisfying to me as a paranormal investigator.  Even if it’s just a residual voice from some long gone era that is echoing through time and space I can’t help but think that when it comes to the paranormal, a picture isn’t worth a thousand words.

What are E.V.P’s? E.V.P. stands for “electronic voice phenomena.” Basically it is unexplained sounds, noises and, more often than not, words that are thought to be a recording of a “ghost voice.”  Usually at the time the E.V.P. is recorded the person doing the recording does not hear the voice until later when they review it. The subject of E.V.P.’s is an article unto itself so I will save that discussion for a later time as this is more a nuts and bolts piece.

Really, E.V.P’s are the bread and butter of paranormal investigation. There’s a lot of equipment that can come in handy but none more than a digital recorder. And despite what you see on TV, you don’t need the fancy, multi-directional micro-phoned $300 recorders being toted around. Let me give you the low down on the basics of what you need and what you can expect to spend–it’s less painful than you think.

My Grand Dad used to tell me you get what you pay for, and that’s still true, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive recorder there is to get one that will do a good job. Here are some things to consider when you go shopping for a recorder:

1. Choose a digital recorder over an analog recorder. Analog recorders often pick up the sounds of their own internal workings, which can easily be mistaken for EVPs. Some may disagree with this as they believe the internal noise aids in getting E.V.P.’s. I disagree. In my opinion there’s no substitution for a good clean recording.

2. Avoid voice-activated recorders, as they begin recording when sound is detected, they may clip off the first few seconds of sound, which may alter an E.V.P. or cut it off altogether. How frustrating would that be?

3.  The recorder should be equipped with a USB port to make uploading of sound files to your computer easy and painless. This will make listening to the E.V.P.’s easier, and will allow you to import or export your files as needed.

4. While you most likely won’t ever do 1200 hours of recording, having plenty of storage space can be handy, just in case. Many recorders these days have upwards o f 2 to 4 gigs of memory which is way more than even the most zealous investigator will ever use.

Olympus and Sony both make good recorders that can be had for less than $50.00. And if you’re   patient and like to play around with auctions you can get great deals on Ebay. Amazon is another great place to shop for a digital recorder.  And yes, even that Mecca of all things red neck, Wal-Mart, has great deals on the afore-mentioned brands. There are those who say you need stereo microphones,  high-sampling rates,  24 bit conversions, and on and on and on.  Not true.

Let’s remember we are dealing with theories here. This is the paranormal. Electronic Voice Phenomenon works on the principle of EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) so it is not the actual recording or sensitivity of the device that matters, but rather the ability for any magnetic influences present that are not related to the sound to imprint themselves on the device. In fact, it has nothing to do with sound, as nearly all E.V.P.’s can’t be heard audibly at the time of recording.  E.V.P.’s are not created in the same manner as a standard human voice recording.

I have seen good simple recorders get incredible E.V.P.’s too many times to be discounted as a solid tool. The digital recorder is by far the best bang for the buck when it comes to evidence collection. So don’t worry about laying down a lot of money for all the bells and whistles. Set a budget, read reviews, and happy hunting.

“If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, other faculties, and knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore … if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something”  Thomas Edison – to a reporter from American Magazine, 1920.

~Contributed by Roy Branson

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