ParaXplorer Project is a quorum of independent investigators based in Southern California that applies tech-based environmental monitoring, objective observation and intuitive disciplines to an ongoing field study of the paranormal. Founded as a true project, PXP welcomes collaboration with the ghost hunting community in pursuit of knowledge and understanding of what awaits beyond our mortal realm.
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EVP specialist Todd BatesTodd Bates want to give you an earful

Guest article by Todd Bates, Associate ParaXplorer

ParaXplorer Project is proud to include paranormal investigator, Electronic Voice Phenomenon [EVP] specialist and Haunted Voices Radio talk show host, Todd Bates, on its roster of associate members. His years of in-depth study of anomalous recordings and the public exposure he gives it is an asset to the paranormal community.

SINCE ITS DISCOVERY in the early 1950s, Electronic Voice Phenomenon [EVP] has been widely studied by paranormal researchers around the globe. Fascinated as well as confused by their findings, researchers are constantly searching for answers with only more questions waiting in the aftermath. Add in rapidly growing technology and one can miss the big picture of how this study actually began without the use of sophisticated equipment.

Sarah Estep Interview Sarah Estep Audio Interview
Join Todd Bates as he interviews
his mentor & First Lady of EVP
research and development.
Sure, being on the cutting edge has its advantages, but we must ask ourselves: Did past researchers need current technology to capture the phenomenon? The answer is simply, no, they did not. Some of the best EVP I have ever heard came from old school recording devices such as reel-to-reel or analog recorders. These devices are what the phenomenon was discovered with, so why do we not use them now? With the digital revolution, they simply have become obsolete and not easily accessible. Some younger investigators have never heard of an analog recording device. Along with equipment considerations, we need to look at how we work as a community. We need to work as a whole. There are far too many territorial individuals who proclaim it's my way or no way and demand to single-handedly solve the mystery of this phenomenon. In reality, this should a community-wide effort, not a single endeavor.

In the next few pages, I will provide a bit of commentary, history, recording protocol and the EVP classification system as created by my personal mentor, Sarah Estep.



[ next: commentary | return to top ]
Recording protocol
Try not to mistake background noise or talking as this is one of the biggest traps for false positives. While in a recording session, be aware of your surroundings and try to note as many natural sounds as you can. As a rule, if you can hear it, note it! This will eliminate many of us scratching our heads later. Once all of this has been eliminated and you can identify the voice as authentic and not background, then and only then should you begin your classification process. I have captured the majority of my better EVP using the common Stationary Method where you simply set the recorder in a desired area and leave it to do its job.

I have also captured them by using the Question & Answer method and this is a great way to help prove human and spirit interaction. You decide which method is best for you. Make this decision on your own and do not be influenced by others. As long as you are aware of each method available, you are more than ready to make your own judgment and build your own recording foundation depending on each recording situation.

Among the parents of EVP: Thomas Edison, Friedrich Jurgenson, William O'Neil and Sarah Estep.
Among the parents of EVP: Thomas Edison, Friedrich Jurgenson, William O'Neil and Sarah Estep.

Quality
With higher quality EVP comes not only reassurance of life after death, but its existence at all. I have processed thousands of so called EVP and have heard everything from the recording of a television program to a screaming coffee maker. Now, how do you think the general public sees this? I promise you, they are laughing in our faces. Unfortunately, these spurious EVP recordings are not hidden away somewhere, but are everywhere on the Internet. As researchers, we take this situation seriously and can't discard such recordings thinking, "Well I didn't record it so it doesn't affect me". Oh, it most certainly does. So, as a whole, let's prevent this debilitating virus from spreading.

Quantity
EVP quantity seems to be the goal and focus for many research groups and web sites out there. It's gotten way out of hand and needs to be addressed. With aggravation, I often hear people say, "Well, we have more EVP on our site than they do". Is there some kind of award given for this that I'm not aware of? Some appear to look at paranormal research as a competition of sorts. Peers and critics do not judge you by how many EVP you have captured, but instead, by the quality of those you have obtained. Quality is the key word here, people, and to realize a high level, one must be educated.

Education
There are several organizations which are devoted to EVP education: Haunted Voices, American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AAEVP) and the International Ghost Hunters Society just to name a few. So, take the time to look them up, find one that best suits you, and by all means, educate yourself. These groups have already made and learned from research mistakes so you don't have to. We all have our own theories and methods for capturing EVP. None of them are "set in stone", but are opinions gathered from experience, results, and overall communication with others. Be your own judge and before you step out and start recording, don't simply hit the record button and tap your foot, prepare with education. In this field, knowledge is power and power is the key to unlock the answers we are all looking for. And please, remember the pioneers that made this fantastic phenomenon known to us.


[ next: classification system | return to top ]
Todd Bates recommends Adobe Audition 
for EVP analysis, but also suggests free 
audio editing applications found here.
Todd Bates recommends Adobe Audition
for EVP analysis and editing, but also suggests free digital audio editing applications as found here.
DEVELOPED BY my very close friend and mentor, Sarah Estep, the A, B, and C filing system is the easy, universal method for analysis. It is the standard within the EVP community.

Class A EVP | Very audible and can be clearly understood without the use of computer software intervention. I like to have our EVP files confirmed by 2 or more individuals before classifying them as an A. This helps to ensure their authenticity and quality. Class A EVP are very rare, and although I have captured the majority of them on analog recorders, I have captured a few on digital. A Class A EVP is unmistakable. You should be able to clearly understand the vocalization / sound straight from the recording device itself without the use of headphones.

Class B EVP | Class B recordings are somewhat similar to a Class A but are not clearly understood by all. They are usually mixed messages or jumbled words that can not clearly make out. They are not necessarily at a lower capture volume and can be as audible or even more so than a Class A. They seem to be the second most common EVP captures and although some can be cleaned or enhanced with software intervention, if captured as a Class B, the recording will always be a Class B no matter how clear the results. You can not simply change the classification because you worked your way into making it clear through artificial means. The original capture value needs to be respected. It's fine to post Class B captures that needed to be cleaned or enhanced, just be sure to note it required assistance. Don't change classifications to suit your needs or reputation.

Class B captures can be some of the most frustrating little files you have ever encountered, but then again, everyone enjoys a good challenge don't they? No one clearly knows or understands why some of the words are jumbled or inaudible, but this could be due to background interference, dimensional barriers, recorder or microphone quality, or just plain signal interruption. Personally, I have captured the majority of my Class B files using the digital recorder during the Question & Answer method. Although I really enjoy the challenge of these files, and hope you do as well, please feel free to contact Haunted Voices' EVP Analysis Department should you become frustrated or want some simple clarification. We will be more then happy to assist you in any way possible.

Class C EVP | Class C captures are, by far, the most common. These files are mostly inaudible or can be low whispers and usually require software intervention. Many researchers simply "toss" these aside, or even delete them entirely which I like to call "Spirit Prejudice". These files are just as important as the rest and should be treated with just as much respect. If you were talking to an audience and opened the floor for questions, but couldn't hear the question from the person in the back of the room, what would you do? You would either ask them to speak louder or go to that person directly. You wouldn't just ignore them, would you? Well this is the same concept. Some Class C EVP can be enhanced enough to make sense, others can’t be helped. These files should be archived for as we mentioned earlier, technology is advancing fast and who knows what the road ahead will bring.

Class X EVP | Class X is a new classification created by Haunted Voices and means Reverse or "Unknown". "Reverse" audio contained in EVP have been around since the discovery of EVP but not grasped until 1983 when hypnotherapist David John Oates researched reverse meanings in human speech. This seems to apply with EVP as well. For example, you may have captured a Class A EVP with a forward meaning of, "Can you help me?", but when this is reversed using software, you may hear a hidden meaning such as, "Cross over", or "To the light".

Basically, the spirit is using a double statement somehow and actually saying two separate messages in one EVP. These meanings although rare, have occurred, and I was quite skeptical about them myself until it happened to me personally. Some of these Class X reversals do sound like "gibberish" or "garbled". Could it be a dimensional flip, possible frequency change or just timing? No one knows why this occurs and that is what makes it so intriguing. So, do not judge a person by their beliefs, as this is not the answer. In fact, all you will find in doing so is the loss of a possible friendship or colleague.

Reverse meanings in an EVP are not demonic, backmasking, or subliminal occurrences, but simply something that can not be explained. I am a firm believer in its existence and to this day, I continue to research it further.

Enhancing EVP Recordings
There are several programs out there with a wide variety of features to help you enhance or process EVP files, but please don’t overuse them or use them as a crutch. These are tools and should be treated as such. Use them wisely. Haunted Voices offers advanced lessons specifically for this purpose. And although we use and recommend Adobe Audition, this is not for everyone; it is expensive and not in every person’s budget. I have also used programs like Wavepad and Gold Wave that can be great tools. Through available demos you will find what works best for you and your budget.


[ next: evp samples | return to top ]
TODD BATES PROVIDES EVP samples from his personal library representing grades within Sarah Estep's classification system.


Todd Bates EVP: Class A Example EVP | Class A

Class A Example
This EVP was captured on an abandoned bridge at an undisclosed Illinois location. A General Electric "shoe box" recorder with Sony High-Bias cassette tapes was used.


Todd Bates EVP: Class B Example EVP | Class B

Class B Example
This voice was captured at a well know location in Atchison, Kansas, using the same General Electric recorder and cassette style as above. You can clearly here a few words, but the balance is hard to make out.


Todd Bates EVP: Class C Example EVP | Class C

Class C Example
Recorded in an old Illinois school house, this voice was also captured using and same recording equipment. You can hear me ask a question followed by a very faint response. This type of capture is not to be discredited, but demonstrates lower EVP evidence standards.


Todd Bates EVP: Class Residual Example EVP | Residual

Residual Example
Residual evidence is perhaps one of the most widely captured in this field. It is simply time repeating itself within an area. It is believed energy is stored over a period of time and then released during peak conditions (e.g. solar storms, geomagnetic storms, and other cosmic activities). This EVP was captured on the front porch of a known murder location. This tells you the power of these energies and how you do not necessarily need to enter a building to capture evidence.


Todd Bates EVP: Class Intelligent Example
EVP | Intelligent

Intelligent Example
This is the type of capture that investigators dream of. It's one of the main reasons we are in this field: Answers! We all want answers to our questions and this is an nice example. The voice you heard prior to the capture is one of my investigators saying, “Yeah, were back”. You will then hear the voice of a little girl stating what is believed to be, “That’s my Daddy”. I discovered after sharing this capture, one of our investigators had lost her five-year-old daughter and instantly recognized her voice. Her father was there with us the night of the recording and the little girl seemed to see her daddy walk through the door with us. Amazing!


[ introduction | return to top ]

Submissions References

:: Email Todd Bates

:: Listen to Todd Bates


More Submissions

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