EVP Survey Results

For over six months, I’ve been collecting EVP results from a wide range of paranormal teams and individual ghost researchers. My goal was to see if there are patterns we can use to improve our EVP research techniques.

After studying hundreds of cases, here are my suggestions for the best EVP results:

1. Ask questions. Ask each question once or twice. Repeating the question doesn’t seem to help. Also, your results won’t improve if you rephrase the question. Phrase it clearly — not using modern slang — and ask it just once or twice.

Remaining silent won’t improve your results. At least 90% of the successful EVP recordings were responses to statements or questions. Allow breaks for the spirit to reply, but don’t just sit in silence. If you’re quiet, the ghost is likely to be quiet, too.

2. Assume that the ghost is male. If you’re using contextual cues, talk about things that will interest a man. (Unless you’re sure the ghost is female, don’t ask about kitchen chores or things classically assigned to women.)

If you have a name for the male ghost, use it. If not, it’s okay to use general references such as, “Sir, we’d like to talk with you.” Or, “Hey, guy, I want some answers.”

3. Expect anger. For the most intense responses, investigators should sound as if they are angry, antagonistic, or afraid. These emotions — even if portrayed in theatrical ways — are likely to resonate with the spirits and evoke a reply.

If anyone on your team is genuinely frightened, or good at venting anger, he or she should be included in your EVP research. The ghosts may be more responsive to real emotions in someone’s voice and demeanor.

(This is not a license to taunt or “provoke” ghosts in cruel ways.)

4. Adjust your recorder for quiet voices. Most voices were recorded at normal or quiet levels. Set your recorder at a high sensitivity level, and — if it’s an option — choose an omni-directional microphone.

(Some microphones only record directly in front of where they’re pointed. Others record anything in the general area, in front of the microphone, in back of it, or on any side. You want the latter, so you’ll record voices and sounds from anywhere around you.)

5. Stay with your recorder. Hardly any EVPs were reported when recorders were set up, and left running while the investigators explored another room or area.

Survey statistics

Over 90% of the EVPs were recorded in response to an investigator speaking or asking questions. Fewer than 10% were recorded when the investigator was quiet, or when the recorder was left running while the team went to another room.

More than 80% sounded like the voices of male adults. The remainder were mostly female adults. Very few sounded like female children. Only one researcher reported recording male children’s voices, and his results seemed like an anomaly; most of his recordings included male children.

An equal number of EVP voices replied in normal or quiet tones. Slightly less than 15% shouted at the investigators, even when the ghost was clearly angry.

In other words, the anger was conveyed with the words used or the tone of voice (including hissing sounds and obvious sneers), not in volume.

Most of the EVPs were clearly related to the comment or question by the investigator (or investigators) recording the EVP session. However, when asked to repeat something (or if a question was repeated with the same or different phrasing), most ghosts did not reply a second time.

About 1/3 of the recordings seemed to include random words and phrases, apparently unrelated to the questions asked. (This ratio seems consistent with results from Ovilus, Puck, and other real-time communication devices.)

When a mood was evident in what was said, the responses were almost equally distributed among the following emotional levels: Apathy, anger, pain, grief, fear, or boredom. Only anger seemed more prevalent, and that was only slightly.

In the future, I’ll be conducting additional surveys related to ghost hunting techniques and practices. I hope you’ll participate, so we can pool our information to improve our research results.

[Thanks to Joanne W. for helping us restore this “lost” article.]


5 thoughts on “EVP Survey Results”

  1. I googled “EVP” and read an article on about.com about a ghost hunting group in central New York that investigated a hotel in upstate New York. They claim to have the most horrifying EVP ever. In the article the author (whom I think is part of the group) describes the story around the EVP and terms it the most terrifying EVP ever recorded. They even provide a disclaimer saying that it is not for the faint of heart. They offer a link to listen to it. I listened to it and I have to say that it is TRULY terrifying if it is an EVP but the clarity and high volume of the voices and sounds leads me to believe that it is a hoax. Have you heard this? What do you think of it?

    1. Lydia,

      I haven’t heard the EVP you’re describing. Like many other things used as “proof” of a haunting, EVP can be faked. Frankly, unless I was there myself and supervised the filtering of the recording, I don’t trust any EVP.

      The only exception is when I’ve worked with the researcher for years and know that he or she would never attempt a hoax.

      Even then, watching several friends on TV shows, I’m a skeptic. More than once, I’ve seen them (or their teams) process a recording and the EVP is startling. To me, it seems too clear. Were my friends conned? Maybe. Especially when financial gain is involved (haunted businesses, or homes of people who’ll then write books about their “ghosts”), I can see a very good reason for EVP to be faked by the business owner or homeowner.

      I’m always on alert when anyone uses superlatives to describe a haunted place or any evidence from an investigation. Unless the person making the claim has heard every EVP ever recorded, he or she can’t say that one of them is the most terrifying. The more hyped-up warnings and disclaimers, the more skeptical I am.

      An honest researcher is more likely to say, “This sounds completely weird. If I hadn’t been there, I’d say it’s a fake. Listen and decide for yourself.”

      Though I’m not sure what EVP you’re describing, it’s smart to take exaggerated claims with a grain of salt.


  2. i have been conducting evps for many years and all investigators say to never do evps when walking or moving around. i have found out over the years that when we move around and use the natural noises as foot steps rustling in dried leaves or out side noises as a loud car going by. the spirits will manipulate the sounds and take advantage of altering there voices though these noises. we have learned that spirits can easily interfere with these noises and produce sounds as words and setences or even numbers. try this and listen to the evps in the back ground sounds.

  3. My daughter and I are new to investigating haunted cemeteries and recorded whispering. We bought the sony recorder in the article and would appreciate feedback on an audio program. The unit does download its own program and we were wondering if this is enough. We are on our own as the teams in our areas are not accepting new members.

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