Various Techniques to capture Paranormal EVPs on a ghost investigation.

My favorite part of ghost hunting is collecting evidence for a possible haunting of the location. When someone asks me what my favorite piece of equipment for a ghost investigation my answer is always an audio recorder.  When I capture EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon) I feel that this evidence is vital in attempting to prove that the location is possibly haunted. I make sure to set up the EVP session by controlling the possible contamination during the recording in hopes of getting a clean EVP.  I check and eliminate the possibility of someone in the room talking or whispering, check to make sure all talking devices are turned off, and check for local sounds (factor steam releases, etc.) and weird animal sounds (cats or squeaky mice, etc.)  Sometimes we might capture voices coming through radio waves from live voices on the radio.  We still have the lack of absolute proof of a haunting even when we capture these EVPs under these conditions.

For me, I like asking questions to see if I can get a response in the form of an EVP and most important that the answer to the questions has some relevance.  When I go into a place and the history tells me that a person by the name of Henry hanged himself in the attic then I ask for a name during the recording of an EVP session.  When I play the recording back and indeed, we get the name Henry I will eliminate the possibility of picking up the regular radio waves.   It is hard to imagine a local radio station announcer would say the exact name that was relevant, and it says it at the time of the question. 

This method of an EVP session is not to be confused with the spirit box getting EVPs coming through. The spirit boxes that I have used are set up to sweep through the AM or FM channels at different scanning speeds.  As I use the spirit box, I listen for messages that stand out by speaking slower than the rapid voices that are coming through the millisecond intervals from the radio waves.  If you are interested in using a spirit box, I recommend the P-SB7 or P-SB11.  I have had good results from both instruments.

When I play back my recordings from a 30 second EVP session, I hope to get direct answers to the questions I have asked.  Of course, when that happens, I am convinced that we are on the right path of connecting with the ghosts/spirit we were intending to reach. 

Other times during an EVP session I might get names or messages that does not resonate with the history or the folklore that is connected to this location.  When I get this type of information, I do the research and sometimes I find another person in the history that we did not consider to be active in the haunted location.  I like returning to these places to see if we can continue to communicate to see why this spirit decided to come through to us.  Returning to any haunted location over and over makes for a great case study. 

Over many years of EVP research there has been a development in rating the EVP quality.

  1. An “A” rating is a clear message that most will agree upon translation.
  2. A “B” rating is a message that when heard by others can also translate into other sayings or messages. This type makes it hard to agree on what is being said.
  3. A “C” rating is a message that is unclear or contains too much static that will make it too difficult to understand by all that hears it. You can hear the voices and the syllables of the words or the rhythm of a sentence, but you cannot make out what is being said.

I feel more comfortable getting a name or message at a location when I do not have the history or knowledge of who or what haunts the place.  Once I get the EVP I can research to see if in fact the name or message is relevant to the history of the location.  It can be overly exciting to validate the EVP through the research.  I think this type of EVP is more reliable and credible for good solid evidence.  

If I go into a haunted location where I have the knowledge of the history, my mind is already set in what I hope we capture as we do the EVP sessions.  While reviewing these EVPs and I get names or messages that I have knowledge of I must ask myself if this is a case of pareidolia.  For example, because I am hoping for the name Bobby the EVP could be Tommy so pareidolia sets in and I’m convinced it says Bobby because of the stories I’ve heard about him.

Pareidolia (/pɛraɪˈdoʊliə/, /pɛriː-/) is the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.

Now the link below is a fun link about misheard lyrics in some of the most popular songs in these times. I included this in hopes you will have a good laugh.   Misheard Lyrics | Peter Kay

During most of my ghost investigations I like to do a variety of EVP sessions.  I set up my digital audio recorder in my vest pocket and attach my mic to the shoulder epaulet to record the entire investigation. I find I will get more unexpected EVP messages and comments when I do this.  In one recording I got a warning from a spirit.  Someone in the group asked me if there was a basement.  As I was listening to my recorder, I heard a little girl say, “Go away” as if she did not want us to go into the basement. 

I take another audio recorder and I do a session that I call an absolute.  I ask that everyone become absolutely still and silent while I ask the spirit a question.  I will ask, “Sweet Spirits will you speak with us?  Do you have a message, or can you tell us your name?”  After my question, I wait 30 seconds as I hold the recording in my hand before completing the session, giving the spirit plenty of time to speak.  On playback I hope to get an answer to my question.  Sometimes, instead of a voice, I might get heavy footsteps, a whistle, labored breathing, or crying. I don’t’ get a response every time but when I do it’s awesome to feel that I am communicating with the spirit.  I refer to this as an intelligent haunting.

If I have several ghost hunters with me, I like to sit in a circle and have everyone turn on their recorders and I will ask 3 -5 questions.  I wait 30 seconds between each question.  Once the session is complete everyone goes into separate areas to listen to our recorders to see if you received any EVPs.  I like doing this one because of the variety of EVP we might get.  It is so rare to get the same EVP on multiple recorders, but it does happen. Sometimes the EVPs are different, and we can put the words together to figure out what the message is.

Another EVP session that I like to do is have my group sit at a table.  I take one audio recorder and place it in the middle of the table, and I take a second audio recorder in my hand.  I ask 3-5 question while waiting 30 seconds between each question.  Then I play back my recorder while the recorder in the middle of the table is still recording.  Once I have reviewed the recorder in my hand, I will make note of any EVPs I get.  I then gather the other recorder that has been recording the questions I asked, and it was recording the playback from my recorder. The reason I like to record my play back is if I did not get any EVPs on my recorder sometimes, they will answer the questions that came from the playback and that gets captured by the recorder in the middle of the table.  This is so exciting for me.


I have included below one of my favorite EVPs.  I captured this EVP while I was hosting the Bardstown Ghost Trek and we were in the conference room upstairs in the Talbott Tavern.  Over the years I’ve been getting EVPs from previous owners from the 1800’s and other guests that have checked in but never checked out. When I do these type of EVP sessions, I use the absolute method where I ask that no one move, speak, or make a sound for 30 seconds.  At the beginning of my recording I always ask, “Sweet Spirits do you have a message for us tonight.  Then after 30 seconds of silence, I stop the recorder and hit play back hoping for a response to my question.  I was so pleased to hear this message when I played the recorder back.  It said, “Sometimes I miss seeing you.” Since I have been doing this ghost walk for 23 years, I feel like I’ve make friends with the spirits that sometimes comes through and talks to us in the form of EVPs.