I'm Hearing Spirit Voices!
EVPs and the Human brain.
Date: 11th May 2018
"So can I really hear words spoken by ghosts and spirits?"
This is where we delve into the audio world of Electronic Voice Phenomena – or using it's general term: EVP. In fact the term EVP is not entirely correct. It clearly defines "Electronic Voice..." so this really does mean an electronic voice.
EVP? Really SVP...
So in reality it ought really be called 'Spirit Voice Phenomena' if one is trying to communicate with the afterlife.
So in the realm of 'electronic voice' we can conclude it means any transmitted voices from a source of electronic means like radio, mobile phone, TV or other frequencies. That said, the medium of radio frequencies uses microphones and speakers to first capture and then deliver spoken voices... so yes it is electronic in form, but not in origin.
But for the sake of the paranormal field I will not go into details of how sound is converted into electric energy, yada yada yada... and will keep it EVP.
How to record...
Many paranormal investigators will use digital voice recorders to capture spirit voices from within the so-called 'white noise' of what is determined as the frequencies that humans can't hear... but can be heard upon playback. Sometimes this playback can only be heard 'clearly' after some form of audio cleaning from software. Although this is okay to do it must not be relied upon heavily as sometimes the cleaning process can cause other issues.
That said, it is not wrong to use audio software to clean up a recording, but it is an entirely different concept to 'enhance' a recording to try and fit the possibility to the real. Remember that the human brain is a fantastic organ that can discern several noises all at the same time... as well as isolating a certain sound from all those others!
Class A, B or C?
Now EVPs in the paranormal world usually fall under the quality categories of Class A, B or C. This categorisation can lead to many discussions and heated debates over clarity and quality of captured voices... and this is where I can hopefully bring all to this one fact:
Unless a captured EVP is not of the clarity that you cannot clearly discern full vocal tone to decipher what is actually being spoken, then delete it and move on! There is no reason to keep on debating what is heard and what is not.
Bottom line: if a captured EVP does not fall into the Class A category then it is not prudent to keep trying to decipher it to make any sense of it.
And speaking of clarity and quality...
Always ensure your recording device is set at its top quality setting and that you only record in WAV format. MP3 format captures the sound and compresses it into a lossy format. Why do you think a WAV file of 80mb can be converted to an MP3 but only uses 30mb.
Check out the Ouija Brothers on you tube. Take heed on what they have found out with regards to low-quality recording devices... and change those settings to optimal.
It is not uncommon in the paranormal world to hear the term 'pareidolia'. This is the term given to that interesting factual concept that as humans we are always trying to learn and to understand things that are alien to us... and so our brains try to make sense of what we don't understand and it naturally fills in the blanks like a jigsaw puzzle missing its pieces to complete a picture of what we think the outcome should be.
Pareidolia is not just on a visual stimulus it is also in what we hear too. The human brain is quite literally a fantastic organ that can make computations to a degree where we as humans can filter out those things we don't want and focus in on those things we do want. Selective hearing is a term often quoted.
The same goes for EVPs. Upon playback of an EVP it is only human nature to listen attentively and then try to fit words or phrases to what is captured and make up something. This is almost certain to happen when a paranormal investigator asks questions and at that point in time captures an EVP then tries to claim an intelligent response.
It's not being fake... it's just being human!
Induced Hearing Loss
This is a condition caused by sudden loud noises like a gunshot or an explosion. It can also be cumulative over several years as is with children and young adults who listen to music via earphones... which in today's modern world is an issue with all the mobile phone craze. Just go out and count how many people you see wearing earphones be they out walking, running, etc.
Another link to this is what is known as 'Music Ear Syndrome' which is caused by any form of hearing loss or another condition known as 'tinnitus'... that causes a ringing in the ear and other high-pitched whistling noises to be constantly heard although no external source is audible. This is the condition that can cause our brains to “fill in the gaps” in our sound input due to any hearing impairment. It has been known that people experiencing MES can suffer with 'musical hallucinations'... similar to tinnitus but one can hear music playing when there is actually none heard.
Even with people who do not have any form of evident hearing loss, when you place yourself in a silent environment your brain will start to search for any noise possible... and when there is none it will play tricks on you and then you start to think you can actually hear something.
Can you remember back to when you were listening to the radio and the presenter is talking just before they play the next track... then all of a sudden they play a track that you have just started to think about or hum to yourself and then you think “I was just thinking about that song!”.
Whilst the presenter was talking they had cued up the track and in the background the track has started to play... your brain can just make it out, which in turn starts you humming along or thinking of it... then when the presenter stops talking and finally plays the track... presto!
Most people have heard of the term 'Subliminal suggestion' where companies some years ago inserted images of things in an attempt to influence the public to buy their merchandise. One concept was in cinemas where split second images of drinks, snacks, etc. were cut into the reels of films which worked on the subconscious mind to make people think they were thirsty or hungry... and therefore got them to go and buy something.
This was a visual stimulus that was not openly realised by the people as they can not remember actually seeing these images.
Consider in-store music. When researchers played music in a liquor store, they found a startling result. On days when German music was played, German wine outsold French wine. However, the reverse happened when French music was played.
(North, Hargreaves, & McKendrick, 1999).
However the 'music' test was not considered subliminal but 'supraliminal'. This means that the shoppers in the liquor store did hear and remembered hearing the German or French music being played...
It is at this juncture where we must emphasise the importance of objectivity when playing back EVPs. A paranormal investigator must never induce what they claim is being said to another person as this will indeed influence the other person and most likely claim they too can hear what is being said.
There are too many people on social media pages that will upload an EVP and quite literally shout out “Can you hear what this is saying? I can clearly hear someone or something say...” and blatantly state what it is!
This will and does lead to the masses to all claim they can hear the same thing.
Always be objective and if you wish to seek a second, third... or even forth opinions on what you have captured in an EVP then always remain silent on what you think you hear until all other opinions have come in. Then and only then might you find it is actually nothing.
So when you hear the claim “99% of all 'alleged' paranormal evidence can be debunked” then please try to remember that it might be true and will fall into the 'nothing paranormal' category... but it's that 1% that remains unexplainable that keeps us paranormal investigators on our toes.
It's that 1% that will forever keep us thinking “it might be...”!