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EVP or Electronic Voice Phenomena is a fascinating and somewhat controversial field involving the capture of what are apparently spirit voices onto magnetic tape or in a digital recorder. Some hunters focus almost exclusively on this technology, while others for one reason or another rarely or never pay much attention. Nearly everyone has tried it at one time or another with varied results. Is EVP an appropriate research tool, and if so, what are the pitfalls?


  1. Equipment can be relatively cheap - costing at little as $35 for an inexpensive microcassette recorder with a few tapes. Serves double duty for recording interviews as well.

    2.   Setup is not difficult and can be done in many environments as it is small and unobtrusive.

    3.   Results can be startling and eerie - investigators may even get direct answers to questions.

    4.   Easy to replay for others on a computer or over the Internet. Can have a lot of "Wow" power.



  1. It is extremely difficult to verify the authenticity of the data collected as anyone can purposely or accidentally whisper nearby and contaminate the recording. Using a video camera simultaneously with audio pickup is about the only way to validate this approach.

   2.   EVP voices can be very indistinct or garbled and subject to misinterpretation.

   3.   Finding and purchasing a high grade setup can take a lot of research and cost a substantial amount.

   4.   Going through the data to find something that is anomalous may be time consuming and adds to the workload of an investigation.

   5.   Pulling the data to a computer for analysis from microcassette through an audio cable can be a challenge. (digital transfer recommended)

   6.   While generally easier to pull data from, most digital recorders use "lossy" compression schemes which will degrade audio quality.

   7.   Most software for audio analysis can have a steep learning curve - you may want to hire on a specialist.

   8.   Even if the voice is that of a spirit, how do you know that it is the one that you are currently investigating?

   9.   You can inadvertently record or pick up on private conversations that you did not intend to listen to.

   10.   I have seen people (even investigators) get seriously creeped out by the phenomena and refuse to work with it.


Despite the longer second list, I am not against EVP, but have remained very mindful of the cons listed above and found it easier to focus on other detection technologies rather than take the time to overcome the technical issues.


I took much of the following information from a now defunct webpage at what was http://www.nursehealer.com/EVP.htm   though I have cleaned up some of the formatting and removed personal comments not my own. Credit goes to Mary C. Miller.  I will gradually start reorganizing the page better and rewording/adding my own info.


Tips for recording EVP

When you begin to record, state the location, time of investigation, weather conditions, and investigators names (those present). You will be glad later when you are trying to figure out which recording went with which investigation/room/date.

When recording investigators names it is wise to have each individual present state his or her own name. This aids in distinguishing one voice from another during tape review.

Voice activation mode should be deactivated on tape recorders during use when electronic voice phenomena is trying to be achieved due to the fact that it usually cuts off beginnings of words, sentences, and phrases.

If the recorder comes equipped with a tape counter record the locations on the tape where any audible phenomena is being heard during review.

Always use an external microphone with tape recorders instead of an internal one. Otherwise, you may record the gears of the recorder.

Do NOT whisper while on location. This may produce a sound that could be mistaken for an EVP.

As you are recording, be sure to make note of any sounds or noises so as to not confuse it with something paranormal during playback.


Rating system for EVP:

Class A - The voices are understood by all that listen. The words are actually somewhat loud and clear (rare).
Class B - Voices cannot be deciphered clearly and tones are very low and hard to understand
Class C - Voices are extremely faint and almost completely incomprehensible (most common but unacceptable).

Rating system from How to capture ghost voices on tape! - GhostStudy.com


The sounds that are discovered on audio tapes are in the ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) range, below the usual range for normal voice. These ghostly voices are thought to be the recordings of spirit voices. Some researchers offer up their EVP as definitive proof of spirit communication. There are other possible explanations for the sounds heard on tape that should be considered by the serious researcher or investigator.







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"Well I'll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that's not unusual
It's just that the moon is full
And you happened to call
And here I sit
Hand on the telephone
Hearing a voice I'd known
A couple of light years ago
Heading straight for a fall

As I remember your eyes
Were bluer than robin's eggs
My poetry was lousy you said
Where are you calling from?
A booth in the Midwest
Ten years ago
I bought you some cufflinks
You brought me something
We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

Well you burst on the scene
Already a legend
The unwashed phenomenon
The original vagabond
You strayed into my arms
And there you stayed
Temporarily lost at sea
The Madonna was yours for free
Yes the girl on the half-shell
Would keep you unharmed

Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there

Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid"

Joan Baez

"Diamonds & Rust"