1. The most important step is to make sure that the digital voice recorders have fresh batteries and plenty of room for recording before the investigation. Having the recorder fail to function properly during a paranormal investigation puts the investigator at risk of missing possible evidence.
2. An investigator should begin by stating their name, the date, time, location, moon phase, base temperature and electromagnetic field (EMF) readings of the area on their recorder. This should be done as soon as the recorder is turned on and if the recorder is going to be moved to several locations on the property; it should be updated when moved from one spot to another.
3. Identify every person whose voice may be captured on the recorder. It is best to have each individual introduce themselves in their own voice; this helps the investigator reviewing the evidence to distinguish different voices that are present in the room. Again, be sure to update the recorder should someone join or leave and when changing to a different space.
4. Questions should be clear and concise and it is a good idea to include a few leading questions during the session. Yes or no answers are good but can sometimes be missed or mistaken during the review.
5. Anyone in the area needs to speak clearly when talking or asking questions. Whispering, humming, singing, laughing, and even yawning can be mistaken as possible evidence during review. The rule with most investigators is, “when in doubt, throw it out,” and contamination could cause evidence to be ruled out if not properly tagged.
6. Investigators should note on the recorder any noises they make or hear including sounds of equipment turning on or off, bumping into furniture, and bodily functions such as yawning, sniffles, belching. It would be embarrassing to report to a client that growling was captured only to later find that one of the team members had not tagged the recorder when their stomach growled.
7. Never, hold the recorder close to equipment that may cause interference or static. Whenever possible place the recorder on a flat surface that does not vibrate or echo. Holding the recorder during the session can cause muffling and scratching sounds on the recording and lead to missed or contaminated evidence.
8. Do not turn off the recording device during the investigation, even if the team decides to take a break. Evidence may be captured at anytime while on the property.
“Some of our best EVP’s have been captured while we were stuffing our faces on break,” said Brenda Mason, founder of Kansas Paranormal Research Society (KPRS) during a previous interview.
9. When reviewing the recorder use a nice set of headphones for listening. Ear buds are not recommended, as they do not allow some of the lower level sounds to be heard and some EVP’s may be very quiet. Since there may be several hours of recording, it is important that the reviewer be wide-awake and take a break as needed. When taking a break one should note where they stop listening so they will know where to start listening upon returning.
10. Always, keep an open mind and get a second or third opinion on things that sound as though they may be evidence. It is better to be sure than to rule out something that could possibly prove or disprove paranormal activity.