Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) is an anomalous vocalization recorded onto an electronic device that was not heard by the ear when generated. This possible evidence of spirit existence and the techniques to capture it is available to everyone with little financial investment.
One organization providing massive information and education is the Haunted Voices Radio Network. Spearheaded by researcher, instructor and EVP guru Todd Bates, HVRN offers articles, capturing instruction, forums, product reviews, and daily radio shows interviewing prominent paranormal community members. Site membership is free and the variety of complimentary services offered by Mr. Bates and his associates is generous.
For a complete discussion of EVP’s history, capturing techniques and classification system by Todd Bates, follow us here.
Whaley House Museum dog bark: San Diego, California
As told to Whaley House Museum visitors by head docent, Victor Santana, during his tour introduction, “You may feel something brushing up against your pant leg or licking your toes. It would be the spirit of Dolly the dog. If it wasn’t, we would charge you more.”
sdGH has been able to capture spirit images of several family dogs Thomas Whaley and family owned during their occupation of the house. One of the more well known pooches is Dolly, a black and white fox terrier who still makes her presence known by interacting with museum visitors. She is seen sprinting across the house’s hardwood floors including those of the master bedroom, considered to be her favorite haunt. As Victor stated above, physical contact is a reality, too. Visiting young children have also been known to ask about the dog they just played with but can no longer find.
The above recording was captured during a late night private investigation. By definition, EVP is the capture of a human voice — Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Since Dolly is canine, the recording is classified as Electronic NoisePhenomenon or ENP.
EVP and its classification system
Guest Writer | Todd Bates
:: Haunted Voices Radio Network
Since its discovery in the early 1950’s, Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) has been widely studied by paranormal researchers around the globe. We have been fascinated as well as confused by our findings and are constantly searching for more answers. Add in modern technology, which is growing at rapidly and in many directions, and one can miss the “big picture”.
Sure, being “on the cutting edge” has its advantages, but we must ask ourselves: “Did past researchers need our new technology to capture the phenomenon?” The answer is simply, no, they did not. Some of the best EVP I have ever heard came from what we call “Old School” recording devices such as Reel to Reel or analog recorders. These devices are what the phenomenon was discovered with, so why do we not use them now? With the digital revolution, it simply has become obsolete and not easily accessible. Some have never heard of an “analog recording device”.
As researchers, we need to work as a whole. There are far too many “territorial” individuals who proclaim it’s “my way or no way” and they will single-handedly solve the mystery of this phenomenon. In reality, this should and will be a community effort, not a single endeavor.
With higher quality EVP comes not only reassurance of life after death, but its existence at all. I have processed thousands of “so called” EVP and have heard everything from the recording of a television program to a screaming coffee maker. Now, how do you think the general public sees this? I promise you, they are laughing in our faces. Unfortunately, these spurious EVP recordings are not hidden away somewhere, but are everywhere on the internet. As researchers, we take this situation seriously and can’t discard such recordings thinking, “Well I didn’t record it so it doesn’t affect me”. Oh, it most certainly does. So, as a whole, let’s prevent this debilitating virus from spreading.
EVP quantity seems to be the goal and focus for many research groups and web sites out there. It’s gotten way out of hand and needs to be addressed. With aggravation, I often hear people say, “Well, we have more EVP on our site than they do”. Is there some kind of award given for this that I’m not aware of? Some appear to look at paranormal research as a competition of sorts. Peers and critics do not judge you by how many EVP you have captured, but instead, by the quality of those you have obtained. Quality is the key word here, people, and to realize a high level, one must be educated.
Try not to mistake background noise or talking as this is one of the biggest traps for “false positives”. While in a recording session, be aware of your surroundings and try to note as many natural sounds as you can. As a rule, if you can hear it, note it! This will eliminate many of us scratching our heads later. Once all of this has been eliminated and you can identify the voice as authentic and not background, then and only then should you begin your classification process.
I have captured the majority of my better EVP using the common Stationary Method where you simply set the recorder in a desired area and leave it to do its job. I have also captured them by using the Question & Answer method and this is a great way to help prove human and spirit interaction. You decide which method is best for you. Make this decision on your own and do not be influenced by others. As long as you are aware of each method available, you are more than ready to make your own judgment and build your own recording foundation depending on each recording situation.
Developed by my very close friend and mentor, Sarah Estep, the A, B, and C filing system is the easy, universal method for analysis. It is the standard within the EVP community.
Class A EVP | Very audible and can be clearly understood without the use of computer software intervention. I like to have our EVP files confirmed by 2 or more individuals before classifying them as an A. This helps to ensure their authenticity as well as their quality. Class A EVP are very rare, and although I have captured the majority of them on analog recorders, I have captured a few on digital as well. A Class A EVP is unmistakable. You should be able to clearly understand the vocalization / sound straight from the recording device itself without the use of headphones.
Class B EVP | Class B recordings are somewhat similar to a Class A but are not clearly heard by all. They are usually mixed messages or jumbled words that the researcher can not clearly make out. They are not necessarily at a lower capture volume and can be as audible or even more so than a Class A. They seem to be the second most common EVP captures and although some can be cleaned or enhanced with software intervention, if captured as a Class B, the recording will always be a Class B — no matter how clear the results. You can not simply change the classification because you worked your way into making it clear through artificial means. The original capture value needs to be respected. It’s fine to post Class B captures that needed to be cleaned or enhanced. Just be sure to note it required assistance. Don’t change classifications to suit your needs or reputation.
Class B captures can be some of the most frustrating little files you have ever encountered, but then again, everyone enjoys a good challenge don’t they? No one clearly knows or understands why some of the words are jumbled or inaudible, but this could be due to background interference, dimensional barriers, recorder or microphone quality, or just plain signal interruption. Personally, I have captured the majority of my Class B files using the digital recorder during the Question & Answer method. Although I really enjoy the challenge of these files, and hope you do as well, please feel free to contact Haunted Voices’ EVP Analysis Department should you become frustrated or want some simple clarification. We will be more then happy to assist you in any way possible.
Class C EVP | Class C captures are, by far, the most common. These files are mostly inaudible or can be low whispers and usually require software intervention. Many researchers simply “toss” these aside, or even delete them entirely which I like to call “Spirit Prejudice”. These files are just as important as the rest and should be treated with just as much respect. If you were talking to an audience and opened the floor for questions, but couldn’t hear the question from the person in the back of the room, what would you do? You would either ask them to speak louder or go to that person directly. You wouldn’t just ignore them, would you? Well this is the same concept. Some Class C EVP can be enhanced enough to make sense, others can’t be helped. These files should be archived for as we mentioned earlier, technology is advancing fast and who knows what the road ahead will bring.
Class X EVP | Class X is a new classification created by Haunted Voices and means Reverse or “Unknown”. “Reverse” audio contained in EVP have been around since the discovery of EVP but not grasped until 1983 when hypnotherapist David John Oates researched reverse meanings in human speech. This seems to apply with EVP as well. For example, you may have captured a Class A EVP with a forward meaning of, “Can you help me?”, but when this is reversed using software, you may hear a hidden meaning such as, “Cross over”, or “To the light”.
Basically, the spirit is using a double statement somehow and actually saying two separate messages in one EVP. These meanings although rare, have occurred, and I was quite skeptical about them myself until it happened to me personally. Some of these Class X reversals do sound like “gibberish” or “garbled”. Could it be a dimensional flip, possible frequency change or just timing? No one knows why this occurs and that is what makes it so intriguing. So, do not judge a person by their beliefs, as this is not the answer. In fact, all you will find in doing so is the loss of a possible friendship or colleague.
Reverse meanings in an EVP are not demonic, backmasking, or subliminal occurrences, but simply something that can not be explained. I am a firm believer in its existence and to this day, I continue to research it further.
Enhancing EVP Recordings
There are several programs out there with a wide variety of features to help you enhance or process EVP files, but please don’t overuse them or use them as a crutch. These are tools and should be treated as such. Use them wisely. Haunted Voices offers advanced lessons specifically for this purpose. And although we use and recommend Adobe Audition, this is not for everyone; it is expensive and not in every person’s budget. I have also used programs like Wavepad and Gold Wave that can be great tools. Through available demos you will find what works best for you and your budget.
There are several organizations which are devoted to EVP education: Haunted Voices,American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AAEVP) and the International Ghost Hunters Society just to name a few. So, take the time to look them up, find one that best suits you, and by all means, educate yourself. These groups have already made and learned from research mistakes so you don’t have to.
We all have our own theories and methods for capturing EVP. None of them are “set in stone”, but are opinions gathered from experience, results, and overall communication with others. Be your own judge and before you step out and start recording, don’t simply hit the record button and tap your foot, prepare with education. In this field, knowledge is power and power is the key to unlock the answers we are all looking for. And please, remember the pioneers that made this fantastic phenomenon known to us all. Respect their research and findings, and use them, as they are not broke, but possibly just forgotten and lost with today’s fast growing technology. As the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — simple words for a powerful meaning.
Finally, we ask you to please help us and help others in the education of Electronic Voice Phenomenon; share this article with someone you know.