An interview with Karl Pfeiffer, the multitalented photographer, novelist, and ghost hunter. We cover his time on Syfy’s Ghost Hunters Academy, as well as his thoughts on paranormal TV. We bravely tackle the polarizing topic of orbs! Plus his experiences from leading ghost tours at the Stanley Hotel, and the inspiration for his photography!
Are you fascinated by the EVP examples you hear on your favorite paranormal television shows? Have you ever wanted to learn just how to conduct an EVP session? Or maybe you’re already actively involved in an area of spirit communication, but you’d like to learn about someone else’s process and hear a new perspective on EVP. In this episode, I share the techniques that I’ve learned and use in my research on Electronic Voice Phenomena.
There are many many ways of recording for and capturing EVP. For decades, people all over the world have successfully recorded spirit voices in their own individual way. There are basic techniques and there are techniques that are rather complicated, some requiring more equipment and more explanation. There are also techniques that due to times changing and new technology, are just outdated.
My experiences with EVP began as a paranormal investigator, but more recently it comes from research and conducting various experiments and seances, mostly in my home.
I want to make it clear that my intention for this episode is to share how I typically go about recording for EVP during experiments in my own home, specifically. The process might be a bit different during a paranormal investigation, especially if you are investigating with a group.
And before I really get into my process, I have to give some credit to the following researchers/authors who have influenced me in recent years: the late Sarah Estep, one of America’s great EVP pioneers; Tom and Lisa Butler, directors of Association TransCommunication; and Randall Keller, a wise and experienced researcher who has been a great mentor. And he’s also a former guest of the podcast, fromEpisode #8 from August 14, 2014. A lot of what I know and the “how to” came directly from these folks in one way or another.
My technique for recording EVP
Determine your location/recording environment
Quiet and comfortable
Avoid bad energy/pick a feel good place
Be familiar with your surroundings (noises and sounds)
Ideally, you will want to record when you are alone in the house or location
Document the location and details of others in the house if you’re not alone.
Pick a time of day where the neighborhood (if that is an issue for you) is at its quietest.
Document specific equipment you’re using (if it’s out of the ordinary).
Document anything you may be trying or changing as far as technique goes.
Document anything odd in your surroundings for a session.
Recorders and their placement
Use a digital audio recorder with USB capabilities
I use the Sony ICD PX-820 and Sony ICD PX-720, and they’re nearly identical. They’re also old models, so don’t go looking for them on Amazon, unless you’re wanting a used one. I also use a nicer and techier Tascam DR-07 with an external Tascam microphone.
In my opinion, it is important to use two recorders at the same time for sessions. These recorders should be different models or brands. This may help you to rule out questionable sounds that could be picked up or more easily explained in another recorder.
EVP are not often recorded in multiple recorders at one time. If I hear something or a voice out-of-place in one recorder, but not in the other, I’m more likely to believe it is truly paranormal and possibly an EVP.
Place your recorders near you, probably on opposite sides of the room, but far enough away where you won’t hear your every breath.
Using headphones or ear buds? Maybe. Maybe not.
Advice for saving time and frustration later
Starting both recorders at the same time (or close to it) will be very helpful when comparing time stamps during analysis.
Get in the habit of “tagging” while investigating or during an EVP session.
Just before the session
Brief meditation or prayer.
State intentions. I invite spirits/guides/loved ones to help in sending or inviting appropriate spirits to help with research and to learn about life on the other side.
Sometimes before a session I’ll simply play relaxation or meditation music lightly in the background to help me chill out.
Be in a good place or frame of mind when practicing any form of spirit communication.
The Actual EVP Session
Click record and allow for at least 30 seconds of silence.
Re-state verbal request for protection/invitation
State the date and time
Briefly describe the equipment used and where it is placed
Document anything unusual in the environment
Once again state intentions
Begin by asking some basic identifying questions.
Give 100% respect
Don’t assume you’re smarter because you’re alive.
Don’t assume they want or need your help.
Don’t assume they’re miserable.
Don’t assume they’re “earthbound”, troubled, or in need of help.
Do not jump to the conclusion that because you’ve captured an EVP, your home is haunted. Some very impressive and historic examples of spirit communication have come from spirits reporting to be communicating from a kind of station used for communicating from the other side.
Further questions might be more specific, possibly relate to a specific spirit, or be no different than elements of a conversation you’d have with a living person.
Allow plenty of time (20 to 30 seconds) in between questions.
If you have a complicated or deep question in mind, consider breaking it up into smaller chunks.
If you experience activity during the session
I don’t always instigate it, but as you may know from a previous episode of the podcast, often I get spirits who like to let me know of their presence by knocks or “rapping”. I guess it’s just the best way for some spirits to communicate with me. When this happens, I roll with it, and I try to continue the communication through the rapping. In my opinion, this kind of communication is just as fascinating and noteworthy as EVP.
Sometimes at the end of a session I’ll ask for some kind of validation through touch or the moving of an object. If you’re comfortable with it, why not ask? I know that when I get two or three loud knocks or raps when I ask for it, or if I ever capture a recorder being moved across the table, I’ll be way more likely to be confident about any EVP captured in that session.
To hear examples from my sessions where I communicate with spirits through rapping and knocking, be sure to listen toEpisode #6 from July 30, 2014.
Before ending a session
Give any spirits present the opportunity to give feedback or suggestions to make the research, or the communication in general, more successful.
Thank those present for their energy and presence and invite them to return for future sessions.
I think my sessions are longer than most people prefer. A typical session for me is 15 to 20 minutes. Just remember that depending on how thorough you are during the analysis of your audio recordings, it will take at the very least twice as long to listen and analyze as it took to record. Some of my more complicated and longer sessions can take a day or more to get through. And that’s just with one recorder. You get the picture.
Other techniques and tools that you can combine with your EVP session
The use of background noise, such as “white” or “pink noise”, or even taking advantage of explainable noises in the environment. Many believe, and some are convinced, that using background noise during EVP sessions may help entities to communicate.
I will sometimes use a “spirit box” or any device that will help me practice the “radio sweep” method of capturing what is an example of “opportunistic EVP”. Avoid falling for pareidolia.
One last tool that I tend to use now, won’t surprise most of you at all. But I will also spend some time in my session, often by myself, but sometimes with a partner, using the Ouija board. As of this date, after around 3 years of occasional use of the Ouija, I’ve yet to experience or capture movement on the board. With that being said, I have captured a possible EVP that I’ve shared with listeners in a past episode. This communication seems to say “Ouijee… board” after I asked “what am I touching” during a Ouija session. Pretty cool, if you ask me. That was inEpisode #5 from July 23rd, 2014, and was my first interview with Karen A. Dahlman.
So as you can see… there are so many things you can do with an EVP session. You can have a very basic session, or you can be very detailed, go crazy with it, and pretty much make a full-time study of it. But as I always say, as long as you’re being respectful and have good positive intentions, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just be smart and have fun.
Perhaps in a future episode, I’ll get into how you can listen to and analyze your recordings, in search of those possible spirit voices.
Sneak Peak at next week’s episode with returning guest, Karen A. Dahlman!
The Big Séance Podcast can be found right here, oniTunes, and onStitcher. Please subscribe, submit a rating, or share with a fellow paranerd! Do you have any comments or feedback? Please contact me atPatrick@BigSeance.com. Consider recording your voice feedback directly from your device on mySpeakPipe page! You can also call the show and leave feedback at (775) 583-5563 (or 7755-TELL-ME). I would love to include your voice feedback in a future show. The candles are already lit, so come on in and join the séance!
Wow! It has been so long since I’ve uploaded audio to this site, that I nearly forgot how to do it. It definitely took longer than it used to! In this post, and what will probably be the last of the Belvoir Winery T.A.P.S. Event series of posts, I wanted to share some highlights from two of the spirit box sessions, and one of the flashlight communication sessions. Obviously, video highlights would have been more entertaining, but if you’ve been following this series, you know about the frustrating, yet very paranormal disappearance of my video. I’ve not decided if I’m blaming aliens, the spirits of Belvoir, or a great conspiracy by Amy and Adam (so that their cute pose on my NightShot camera wouldn’t go public). Oh I’m only kidding, you two… kind of…
As an investigator and researcher, I tend to be very careful when declaring or classifying something as “paranormal”, and in these highlights, you won’t see any of that. So here’s my disclaimer. The highlights below are simply a collection of interesting clips from my evening at Belvoir Winery. I’ve not combed through the audio completely, and since the environment was not controlled, and since the group was large and meant to be just for fun, I probably won’t. When it comes to the Spirit Box (sometimes referred to as a “ghost box” or “Frank’s Box”), which uses a somewhat controversial technique called “radio sweep”, I remain fascinated, but openly skeptic about certain responses, specifically those that are short or one-syllable. Along with standard EVP, radio sweep falls under the category of ITC or Instrumental TransCommunication. For more on radio sweep or the spirit box, simply type “spirit box” into the search field above and to the right.
When it comes to flashlight communication, I’ve tried in my own investigating several times and got no results. I felt like many of the flashlight responses seemed more than coincidence, and could very well have been paranormal. With that being said, I don’t have a lot of experience in this area.
Spirit Box Highlights
These highlights are taken from two different spirit box sessions in two different locations on the Belvoir Winery property. Together they lasted about 40 minutes. The P-SB7 spirit box we’re using is one that I got secondhand from Stephen Hill. In the first short clip in the highlights, you’ll hear Britt Griffith demonstrating it. Other voices you hear are of myself, Adam Berry, and other guests in our group for the evening. Toward the end of these highlights, you’ll hear the group laugh as the box froze on a few radio stations as I was adjusting. I thought they were funny. The “thank you” that just about everyone in the group heard at the very end was kind of a powerful moment. There are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced.
Flashlight Communication Highlights
Though it’s hard to imagine exactly what’s happening, you’ll hear that the group is clearly impressed or moved by several of the responses. You’ll hear myself, our group’s wonderful guide, as well as other guests from our group. You’ll also hear some of the super creepy wind that we were hearing at this location. There were actually two flashlight communication sessions, but only one of them was captured in my audio recorder. The session that wasn’t captured was probably more impressive. I really wish the video of these moments could have been saved. Again, there are a few cuts in the audio, either to save time or because of unnecessary noise, otherwise these clips are unenhanced.
Previous posts from the Belvoir Winery/Odd Fellows Home series:
Mom and I sat down for our 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Ouija Session. We hit record, sat in silence for a quick prayer/meditation, and then began.
“We would like to request assistance from angels, guides… to guide us in communicating with any spirits or entities from the light that would like to communicate with us tonight, through the Ouija board, or the recorder, or through the spirit box. We’d like to learn from the Other Side, learn about the Other Side, or to receive any messages from loved ones, or spirits who would like to help us… from the light.”
We asked all of the typical questions for initiating spirit contact and gave plenty of time for response. We also encouraged communication through sounds, knocks, speaking, etc. Mom suggested blowing out a candle.
“I want you to be able to communicate in the best way that you can, so if that’s not moving this planchette on the Ouija board, then you can knock, or speak, or make a noise. Can you let us know somehow that you’re here and willing to communicate?”
We kept the session light and even started up some general conversation while we were waiting. I encouraged spirit to give us suggestions or advice to make communication easier or more successful.
No activity. No responses.
After fifteen minutes, I turned on a “new” spirit box, formerly owned byStephen Hill, investigator and author ofSomething Unseen. Many of the same questions were asked again, including requests to say our names, before and after saying them aloud.
Our spirit box session lasted approximately 17 minutes.
After an initial review of all audio, no EVP were heard. During the spirit box session, a few possible “hello” responses could be considered, and several unimpressive quick snippet responses that didn’t last longer than one or two clicks or stations.
We gave the Ouija board one more try for just a few minutes before once again asking for feedback and suggestions on making communication easier or more successful.
No activity. No responses.
“Thank you for your energy and your presence. Thank you to any spirits who were here trying to communicate with us. And thank you to our guides for protecting us and helping.”
Hope you weren’t disappointed. Better luck next time? At least we got some pretty pictures out of the session, right? For last year’s Thanksgiving session, check outA Very Ouija Thanksgiving.
Hey paranerds! I haven’t done any experimenting with EVP, or any spirit communication for that matter, in a few months. That may disappoint some of you, but I have to be honest. Life gets going and then sometimes you like the idea of having a bit of true free/lazy time when you can get it… and it’s also possible that I was a little burned out with evidence review and analysis. It is now officially summer for me and lazy is exactly what I’ve been for a week and a half, but I’ve enjoyed every snore of it. In the next few weeks I’m likely to be out of town once or twice for several days at a time, but I do plan on getting started on some more Ouija/EVP/Spirit Box sessions soon, and I hope to be able to share results with you. I’m also excited to be jumping into several new books.
Since most of you tend to be more interested in the “spirit communication” posts, I think that maybe it’s time I shared just a few EVP with you. These will all be from MOSS’s Papa Jack’s Pizza investigation from January. Anyone interested in viewing and hearing all artifacts from that investigation should visit a previous post entitledPapa Jack’s Pizza: Final Investigation Report.
Papa Jack’s Pizza Investigation. “Can you repeat that?”
Artifacts from MOSS’s Papa Jack’s Pizza Investigation
This first artifact is one that our friend and EVP researcher, Randall Keller, has already given me feedback on. He’s excellent at digging into them and really cleaning them up. I’ll let him determine if he’d like to share that here. I personally don’t hear it clearly enough to take a stab at what is being said. What do you think?
(From the Final Report) 11:58pm – While we’re in the back room behind the restaurant kitchen on the main level, from the PX-720 on the 2nd floor landing there appears to be a voice that responds when I ask the question “Is this not a place you like to be?” You can also hear a short snippet of the same noise or voice a few seconds later as I’m talking (which is hard to enhance or single out). Comparing this to the audio that was with us in that room, I can’t hear those noises or anything that would have created them. From the NightShot video I can’t tell either. This seems like a good EVP catch!
The next artifact was captured from the 2nd floor landing where we had a stationary digital audio recorder planted for a majority of the investigation. At this point in time, other than Linda who was at command central a floor below (and on the opposite side of the building), all other investigators were in the basement (two floors below). As you can see, in the final report I indicated that this was a “distant and very soft voice or shout” and “possibly someone outside.” I’ve since decided that this isn’t a shout, making it unlikely that it would have come from outside. If you listen several times very carefully, it sounds more to me like a short melody being sung or hummed. Enhancing this moment in the audio didn’t help to bring out the voice. It is important to note that whistling and singing are just a few of the claims of activity reported at Papa Jack’s Pizza. We did capture evidence of what sounds like whistling, and in those cases they were usually 2 or 3 short pitches, similar to below.
(From the Final Report) 12:12am – From the 2nd floor landing, a distant and very soft voice or shout was picked up in the PX-720. Possibly someone outside.
The last artifact came from the spirit box during an investigation of the basement. I go back and forth with whether I’m hearing “messages to us” or not, and I’m not exactly sure how early the communication starts. There are several interesting sputters before “messages to us”.
12:27am – Toward the end of the sweep cycle that begins at 4:25:30 in PX-820 Track 1, in the audio I hear something that ends with “messages to us”. After analysis I no longer hear “messages to us”, but there seems to be a phrase there… just not sure what it is.
Today was already an unusual day. Due to being a single father for a week, and because my schedule was going to keep me at school late today, I had to skip my lunch and my planning period to come home to walk my 4-legged son, Meril. Because of the time it takes to get to work, I usually don’t drive to and from work more than once in a day, and I’ve never attempted a trip home and back during the school day. I knew I was going to have just the right amount of time to make it all happen.
One of the greatest parts about the drive to and from our neighborhood is a stretch of black top road with several winding hills and lots of trees, a small bridge over a creek, and it’s not uncommon to see an occasional deer just relaxing and enjoying the same setting as your drive by. It’s the part of the drive that creates the illusion that you’re not in strip mall and parking lot filled suburbia. It reminds me of growing up in small town country. I was about halfway through this stretch of road, on the way home, and was busy listening to MSNBC on my SiriusXM radio. I was very tired. I wasn’t nodding off, but I was definitely tired and relaxed, one of those times you’re on auto pilot and suddenly you’re at your destination but don’t remember the drive. I also remember that around this time I was thinking of someone who recently lost their mother. All of a sudden, mixed in with the drone of the female news reporter, I heard my name, “Patrick”, clearly and almost sternly. It seemed to come through the radio, or at least from the speakers in my car. I felt that familiar charge over my body and I’m sure I had goosebumps. Whatever happened just instantly got my attention.
This kind of experience has only happened to me once before. It was an average day while I was going about my normal routine. I was walking into the front door from an early walk with Meril before leaving the house. I heard my father’s voice say my name like he does when he’s trying to get my attention. The first weird thing about that was my father is very much alive and lives three hours away. I called my parents on the way to work to find my mother had a similar experience a few hours earlier when she woke up in the middle of the night to find my father not in the room. Very strange.
Anyway… back to the voice in the car. Within seconds of hearing this voice I was alert and waiting for a sign or another voice, and I asked out loud if someone was trying to get my attention. Nothing. Was this pareidolia (matrixing)? Did the consonants and fricatives in of this woman’s voice in between words just magically fall into place to form my name? Is it possible that the report really did just say “Patrick” for some reason and it grabbed my focus? Or was this a completely separate entity using my car’s radio or speakers to get my attention? Or perhaps I’m just simply crazy. I found myself comparing this experience to spirit box sessions and how easily you can force yourself to hear something. But in this situation I wasn’t forcing myself at all. I wasn’t even actively listening, and other thoughts were in my head during this time as well. But it was sharp and clear and got my attention. Was this a spirit guide waking me up? Was it the crossed over parent of the person that was in my thoughts?
Our group photo from the investigation of Fort Chaffee Prison.
I canNOT believe that it is possible for this to be my 200th post… but it IS! I’m not going to give a tear-filled Oscar speech or anything. I just want to thank you, my readers for making me feel like someone is there and interested in my blabbering. 🙂 Now I’ll move on to the actual post.
Dar, founder ofJoplin Paranormal Research Society(JPRS) has put together several amazing videos from the two joint investigations that I have been lucky enough to be a part of. The first of these investigations was at Fort Chaffee Prison in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
The video below is her most recent and highlights our spirit box session (Dar calls it a “Ghost Box” and we’ll still like her for that 🙂 ) from the latrine at the prison. Her video is a compilation of video and audio from several of our devices. Our visit to the latrine was actually a spur of the moment session at the end of our investigation that ended up giving us some of the more fascinating moments from the whole night. I wish we would have had the chance to spend more time there.
Dar during our spirit box session in the latrine of Fort Chaffee Prison.
Dar was actually the first person to really introduce me to the spirit box (or radio sweep) and I’ve learned a lot from her. Since then I’ve researched it a bit, and I now have my own box that has been used on investigations and for experiments quite a bit. Unfortunately, I’ve not had the wealth of success with my spirit box that JPRS tends to get on their investigations. Though I think there is clearly something to this radio sweep stuff, my regular readers know that I am very cautious to claim any radio sweep responses are solid pieces of paranormal evidence. With that being said, it’s a regular and fascinating tool in my paranormal toolbox.