Introducing the first installment of a “Ghost Hunting 201” series! A few years ago I was asked to give a lecture at Long Beach, CA’s Midsummer Scream event about ghost hunting. Assuming that those attending that speech would already be familiar with ghost hunting shows and have a general knowledge about gear and their use (not to say all investigation shows should be considered educational), I decided to dig a little deeper and present some lesser-known concepts and ways to use conventional devices in new ways. So, I decided to continue on the concept of a deeper look at ghost hunting here.
It was several years ago that I was investigating a pioneer cemetery in Napa, California (video above) when my friend, co-host of the Fantastic Story Society, and frequent investigation partner, Max Timm, innocently asked me…
It was an innocent, yet profound question and one that made me, in the moment, respond, “Probably not.”
However, I believe the answer is Yes and for two very different reasons. Please do bear in my that these are my opinions and as well thought out as I believe they are, they are just how I feel about things. Anyone that speaks in ‘definites’ when it comes to the word of the unknown is full of it. That too is an opinion, but I’m standing by it.
I should note that this question was recently posed by the great John E.L. Tenney recently during the Sage Paracon. He went so far to detail the method of hearing, pointing out that, nope, ghosts don’t have conventional ears, funneling sound waves into an ear canal filled with tiny receptors. The question was brought up during the Duluth ParaUnity Convention as well. For some reason, concepts or questions start to get more en vogue from time to time and this appears to be a flavor of the month in 2021. Fortunately, I’ve had a good 10 years to come to my own conclusions on this one.
Also, if we believe consciousness can continue after death, a disembodied spirit, connecting with our energy to communicate or otherwise make its presence known. Also, if these entities exist in the psychic realm… well, who’d be more psychic than a ghost, right?
Reason 1 – the Very straight-forward, logical reason
Simply put, asking the questions out loud isn’t for the spirit, it’s for us.
When we review our footage later and if there is a ghostly response, at least we’ll know what question was being answered because we’ll also have our own voices on it, providing a sort of stamp of which question was asked at what point. It also simplifies things if we were to play our evidence to a third party. Yes, we can observe the timecode of the recorder and write down what thought-questions were happening when, but simply talking is a simplier process.
Reason 2 – Speaking allows us to emote
This is the biggest reason we need to speak out loud when conducting an EVP session. There’s the phrase that actions speak louder than words… which is a little confusing in this situation because I’m considering speaking to be the action. When you are speaking out loud you have the ability to play a role, in a way. You can more fully realize the emotion you are trying to connect with, be it empathy, understanding, sorrow or anger.
I believe that some paranormal experiences, usually residual, are totally random, can happen to anyone and there is little to no connection between the observer and the paranormal incident. Just a right place, right time occurrence. If a consciousness is involved, it is important for the investigator and the entity to connect on an emotional level. In some cases, it can be as simple as not having your guard up. My first paranormal experience happened at a known haunted location, the Willowbrook Ballroom in Justice, IL, but only after I got over my fears. The moment I relaxed and was just hanging out with my friends, that’s when something happened.
Allow the timbre of your voice to and your knowledge of the location lead your emotions. Lean into it, let your emotions amplify as the EVP session continues. Be playful, joyful when trying to make contact with child spirits, let your heart break a little when trying to make contact at the site of a tragedy. I took a firm, straight-forward, but still kind approach when trying to make contact at the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Yes, this story would be more profound if I got an amazing EVP out of it, but I still think it was the right approach. One time it really worked was at the Hollywood Sign, trying to make contact with Peg Entwhistle, the actress who famously committed suicide there. I treated the EVP session like a networking mixer, the most common type of interaction just about anyone has in Hollywood. In talking shop, that’s where I got the clearest EVP I’ve ever captureA
So, while it is a fun thought experiment, no, I don’t think you have to ask your EVP questions out loud, but yes, I think you should.