Back to the Basics – How to Record EVP

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Paranormal Related
Tags: , , , , , ,

Electronic Voice Phenomenon

The Past is Calling… Should we Answer?

by Todd Bates for Haunted Voices & Unearthly Paranormal

Since paranormal research pioneers such as, Jeurgenson, Estep, and Cass introduced many of us to the world of recorded disembodied spirit communication, we have been baffled as to their origin.  How does a ghostly voice, become captured in time and recorded onto our devices?  Unfortunately, that question cannot be answered accurately. However, there are many theories to how this may be possible.  We will not discuss these theories until future articles, so you can put back your bottle of aspirin until then.  Instead, we will cover the basics of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (commonly called EVP in the paranormal field) such as, protocol, equipment, and capturing your evidence of the ghostly phenomenon.  The study of Electronic Voice Phenomenon is illusive, time-consuming, and yields little results, but also, can be classified.

We begin our brief lesson with equipment needed to capture these disembodied voices, or “Haunted Voices” as I chose to call them.  You may have an array of recording devices at your disposal, but do you really understand how to use them?  Have we become so engulfed on what technology has to offer, that we have forgotten the basics of past recording methods?  One does not need to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on technical recording mediums in order to capture a ghostly voice and achieve good results.  Your evidence solution may be deep inside your closet or perhaps sitting in your attic covered with years of dust and neglect.  This ancient device is called a tape recorder and has been used for decades in capture voices from beyond the grave.  Have you ever used one before?  Perhaps you wanted too, but were afraid of the cost involved?  The answer may surprise you!

Thankfully, there are several paranormal researchers still using these “old school” recording devices in conjunction with digital media.  After all, every theory has a hypothesis, and every hypothesis has variable right?  Although the digital media (dictation devices, smartphones, and computers) may turn out to be the more cost-effective and convenient solution, it may deprive you of quality.  The magnetic tape (reel-to-reel, cassette, and microcassette) devices may produce less results and be more costly, but will provide a more quality based EVP.

With over a decade of research behind me, I have yet to prove this statement incorrect, however, you may see it differently.  For without these recording devices and the breakthroughs created by them, we would be unaware that ghosts could even speak.  Therefore, why have we forsaken these old methods?  Is it due to cost of the near obsolete cassette tapes?  Perhaps it is the tedious efforts to set one up or process them on your computer.  It cannot be that these devices do not produce results, as we have already proven that.  So, what could it possibly be?  The answer is personal preference and what you feel is more effective.

There are several researchers strongly against the use of digital equipment, but I am not one of them.  I feel the two work side by side to create possible solutions to our ghostly problems, but I do feel the basic methods have become tossed aside recently.  The old adage of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” comes into play here, so we must not lose sight of where we came from.  Sure, todays devices are cool and “As Seen on TV”, but does these mean we forget about how this phenomenon was founded?  I wanted to rant a little on our past before exposing some common tricks and tips of capturing such voices, but will now leap off the soapbox and into the goodies.  The following are basic tips as well as classification suggestions that most of you probably use already, but we could all use a refresher course. Right?  Perhaps this may spark an interest for the new comer, and we all love fresh minds in this confusing field of paranormal research.  Shall we begin?

Basic Recording Equipment


Recording Medium – Analog (magnetic tapes can be purchased on the internet), Digital (Dictation recorder, smart phone, laptop or desktop computer)

Internal Microphone: These are found on both digital and cassette recorders. I would not recommend using the internal microphone on the cassette recorder, due to the internal wheel noise of the machine creating false positives. However, I find internal microphones on most digital recorders are sufficient.

External Microphone: These may be purchased separately or included with your recorder. External microphones should be used with all cassette recorders. In addition, place the microphone as far from the recorder as possible. This will help eliminate mechanical noise.  An omnidirectional microphone is preferred, as it captures sounds from all sides of the recording area.  However, dynamic, uni-directional, parabolic, or pre-amp microphones, are not recommend due to the possibility of false positives, or lower quality recording.  After all, we only wish to hear those spirits around our research area and not the couple arguing four blocks away. The acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Stupid), goes a very long way in this field and is a cousin to common sense.

Data Transfer Cable – Audio Patch Cable (old school and still widely used for cassette recorders) or USB (commonly used with digital recorders) and lastly, Wi-Fi if you are a tech junkie.

Audio Processing Software – Free software (Wave Pad, Audacity) or premium (Adobe Audition, Sound Forge, Logic pro)

Headphones – Devices that cover entire ear and contain noise cancellation, are highly recommend, however, ear bud styles can be used.

Now that we have the proper equipment needed in order to capture our ghostly friends, how do we do it?  The tips and methods below may help increase your captures depending on your personal preference.

There are two different recording methods in our field of research, the stationary and Question method.  Let us begin with the stationary style of recording and how it may benefit your next investigation.

Question & Answer Method

This is one of the most popular methods used by investigators and it is a great way to interact with the ghost or spirit you are trying to contact. Normally, this is done in what are called “sessions.” Sessions consist of recording in 3 to 5 minute segments and then listening (I suggest bringing a set of headphones to the site with you for better listening) to what you have recorded to see if your questions have been answered. Sometimes a spirit will give a brief response to your question, while others may choose not to speak at all. I perform my sessions by designating an investigator to do the majority of the speaking. Additionally, others may ask a question as directed by the main investigator.

Furthermore, it is a good idea to have all members of the group talk at some point during the recording. This ensures their voices are on the recording for possible comparison later. You can truly interact with the spirits using this method and be able to find some great information once you learn how to listen. The main point to remember when using this method is respect. Do not demand anything from the spirits as this will damper your results.  Remain as courteous as possible while performing these sessions, in order to get the most out of your experience with the other world. Please, do not use the word “dead.”  Ghosts or spirits may not be aware they are no longer living and this may upset or shock them. Speak to them as you would speak to a friend or stranger, whom meet for the first time. I have found this to yield the best results. Additionally, be sure to always thank them for their time before ending the recording session.  After all, you get more with honey than vinegar right?

Stationary Method

This method also has been around for decades, and has proven itself effective. Stationary recording is ideal for picking up residual activity in a presumably haunted location. The process is quite simple and allows you to perform other tasks while the recorder is doing its job. I would recommend using a cassette recorder for this method, due to the external microphone being able to capture a broader area of sound. Additionally, most of your cassette recorders come with a power adapter and save those costly battery prices. Please be sure to ask the client/owner if you may use their electricity before investigating, it is common courtesy.

To begin, you simply place your recorder in the central area of the room and press record. Make it a habit to start each recording session stating the date, time, and location. Here is a tip I learned from experience. If you are recording amongst large groups of strangers, you can place baby powder around the area of your recorder, in order to let you know has tampered with your equipment. I know this may appear absurd, however, trust me, this has been done in the past. It is your duty as a paranormal investigator to secure your evidence, in order to report it as authentic. You can leave the recorder running for whichever amount of time you desire. Also, keep in mind that the more you record, the more you have to process later. I would recommend stopping every 10 minutes and restarting the recording device, in order to cut down on your segment processing time.

Lastly, I hope you enjoyed getting back to the basics of electronic voice phenomenon and walked away with a few ideas.  For some, this may have been redundant or repetitive.  However, no matter how much you think you know, there is always some smarter, faster, and stronger in this field and you must remain on top of your game. Capturing Haunted Voices is no easy task, but these tips may very well help you on your next investigation.  I welcome each of you to contact me with questions or feedback regarding EVP using the information below.  Also, be sure to read this newsletter next month as we learn about classifying your evidence, communication tips, and audio software techniques!  Feel free to contact me via the information below, should you have questions, comments, or feedback.

See you next month and stay safe out there!

Contact & Website Information

All Feedback Welcome!


EmailFacebookThe Haunted Voice Blog Website and Past Radio Shows


  1. […] Back to the Basics – How to Record EVP ( […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s