In Part 1 - The Introduction of this Essay we covered the basics of getting Less Evidence. In Part 2 we will consider Audio and how it applies to EVP work and getting Less. Yes you read the title correctly; this article will outline ways you can gather less evidence on your investigations. But what you do collect will be much more credible, and isn't that really the goal of any research? This part will deal with Audio as it relates to EVPs. It will cover both the collection and analysis of data and ways you can debunk your own work before cluttering up the field with still more poor quality evidence. It also makes the assumption you are working with your own data, consequently the possibility of hoaxing will not be considered here. That is a topic for another essay!
Now, on to the report. When it comes to collecting the data there are a few rules to follow. The first deals with the recorder itself. It is beyond the scope of this report to give all the reasons why these apply, that can be found elsewhere. But the requirements for a recorder used in EVP work are as follows:
- 1. Must record at a sample rate of 96 KBPS or greater
- 2. Must use a 24 Bit A to D conversion process.
- 3. Must use a non-lossy format in its processing (PCM, not CELP)
- 4. Must save files in a non-lossy form (non-compressed WAV, not MP3 or other similar files)
- 5. Should record in stereo, preferably using external mics.
- 1. .1% or better weighted wow and flutter
- 2. Frequency Response of 40 Hz- 10 kHz or greater.
- 3. Should record in stereo, external mics are required due to mechanical noise.
And all recorders, whether digital or analog must include internal shielding against stray EM Fields. You would need to verify this with a technician prior to considering the use of the recorder for EVP work. Qualification tests can be run if the data is not readily available in the service manuals.
Assuming the above conditions are met for your recorder the next issue relates to placement. Recorders should never be carried while a session is being done. Instead a target area is established and microphones placed appropriately to cover it. The make and model of all equipment must be logged. A map is made showing placement of microphones and recorders as well as the target area itself. Logs must be kept of any anomalies noted during the session.
Recording is begun and everyone should leave the target area unless the protocol calls for someone to remain behind to attempt communication. That person should stay some distance from the microphones during that phase of the project. If the equipment supports, real time monitoring of the recording using over the ear headphones may be done from a remote location. And one more thing, any time communication is attempted and any investigator is to be in the target area, always use a video camera trained on the investigator. This is not only to validate any activity the investigator might cause which inadvertently creates noise, it may also pick up any visual activity near him while attempting communication.
Once the session is done and review of the data is begun it is time to start reducing the amount of data. First, review your logs and eliminate anything accounted for there. An investigator may have inadvertently created a sound, something may have fallen nearby, a truck may have gone by outside. That is why we keep logs while the session is underway.
Next, consider any nearby equipment that may have turned on. Furnace blowers or refrigerators are often captured on tape! Any activation of an EMF monitor would be grounds to suspect that area of the recording.
So you have tossed out everything that does not meet the above requirements and you still have what might be an EVP. It's time to apply the "Rule of Three". That requires three people who are unfamiliar with your investigation, and who have not heard the recording yet. Without any prompting each of them listens to the recording apart from the other two. They should write down their interpretation of the voice. If any one of them fails to hear a voice in three attempts, then toss the recording out.
If all three hear a voice then compare what each has written down. If they all hear the same thing there is a good chance you have captured something worthy of more intense study. In other words a possible EVP. If two of the three hear the same thing, and the third hears something substantially similar, that is, just a word inflection or phrasing slightly different, it also may be a possible EVP. If the third person hears something totally different though, toss the recording out. And of course if nobody hears the same thing, toss it out.
Notice too that nowhere is any form of filtering or processing of the recording mentioned. That is because any audio processing can alter the basic structure of a recording and create "words" where no words exist. All speech is a form of noise, and intelligence is simply arranging this noise into speech patterns. And considering that all processing is simply altering the sound, it is clear that using any form of audio processing can simply create speech where none exists.
Once you have applied all the above criteria to your evidence likely very little will survive. But that is a good thing, because what does will be much more difficult for the naysayers to discount. Even at this point it is not necessarily an EVP. But at least you won't be wasting your time trying to study something that is not worth keeping. Now you can begin your analysis concentrating on that which may be valid.
In Part 3 we will be considering visual evidence and how to screen it to eliminate that which is not worth even a second look. Get your camera set up! On To Part 3 - or - Back To Part 1