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What exactly are EVPs anyway?

I believe in Ghosts, obviously! However, I remain skeptical when it comes to EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). I have heard a lot of recordings, and the vast majority sound like they could be anything. There have been a few cases where the recordings sounded incredibly haunting, and quite real. EVP's remain a tool in investigating the paranormal, and you don't need to be a pro to conduct your own experiments.

Defintion provided by The Skeptics Dictionary

electronic voice phenomenon (EVP)
Electronic voice phenomenon refers to the alleged communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices. The belief in EVP seems to have begun with Sarah Estep, who claims that in the 1970s she started picking up voices on her husband's Teac reel-to-reel recorder. Estep is sure that the voices are those of spirits and prove that there is life after death. In short, no one every really gives up the ghost.

The Basics
All that EVPs are, are the recordings of ghosts speaking. I know I am simplifying it a bit, but that's pretty much all it is. When dealing with the paranormal, you can't always trust your eyes and ears to catch everything. You can almost count on things not being revealed to you in an obvious way. That's where recording devices come in handy, they will pick up all sounds indiscriminantly, and usually more efficiently then the human ear can.

You really don't need a high-tech recording device to capture EVPs. A simple portable, battery opperated recorder will do just fine. I say battery opperated because occasionaly the electrical cord will produce static when the connections are not good, and you may find yourself in places without electricity or conventient outlets.Also, try to use an external microphone placed a distance away from the recording device. Internal microphones tend to pick up sounds of the device recording.

How It's Done
EVPs can be made several different ways. Your best bet in getting results is to put the recorder in a specific place that has had some paranormal activity before. Just leave it there for a couple hours. You don't need to be present, unless from your experiences the activity usually occurs when people are around.
You can also remain during the recording, and try to ask questions. I have read about people doing this, only to play back the tape and find that some of their questions have been answered. *if you are curious about this, and don't know where to begin, you can always try your local cemetery.*

Playing Back Your Recording
The best way to listen to your recording is to use headphones. The sounds may be very faint or difficult to distinguish. Toy with the volume. Loading your recording into your computer can give you many more options. You can slow down areas with questionable sounds,and perhaps most importantly you can filter out static to increase understandablility. It can be boring work to listen to hours of quiet/static filled recordings, but patience and focus could reveal something very interesting and worthwhile.

The Trained Ear
On the technical side, it does take a lot of practice to distinguish paranormal sounds, from other sounds you may have recorded. It might be a good idea to submit your findings to places that study EVPs.