Sunday, March 18, 2012

EVP with PRG: An Interview with Cindy Heinen, EVP Specialist

By Robin Strom-Mackey

 “There are a lot of ideas that haven’t been put to the test. A lot of things are put out as common knowledge just because they’ve been repeated so many times. But I want to do the testing for it, and I want to put them through the paces. And that’s kind of what we do.”

 Cindy Heinen is the Electronic Voice Phenomenon (E.V.P.) Specialist for the Paranormal Research Group (P.R.G.), formerly the Southern Wisconsin Paranormal Research Group (S.W.P.R.G.). The group recently expanded to include Wisconsin and Pennsylvania..  Heinen granted me an interview when I was in Wisconsin and is a wealth of information on E.V.P. She and Jennifer Lauer (P.R.G. Director) are members of the AA-EVP and have been guest speakers at the organization’s yearly conference.  Heinen also wrote the chapter on E.V.P. for the book co-authored by Lauer and Schumacher entitled Investigating the Haunted: Ghost Hunting Taken to the Next Level (see the Resources section).  In this interview, Heinen discusses the rigid protocols that her group uses for investigating E.V.P.’s

Robin: First of all, how does one become an EVP specialist?

Cindy: I came into the group five years ago already having four years experience doing EVP. When I came into the group, they didn’t really have anyone specializing in EVP. I was in the group for a year, and what I did was try to keep advancing it. Basically it was Jenn [Director of P.R.G.] who said, “Hey, we need an EVP specialist.” And I said, “Oh….ok!”

Robin: So I’m guessing you had some experience or…interest in the area EVP?

Cindy: I did.  I had read a book called “True Hauntings” It was written by Dennings, a psychologist out of California. It was her psychological approach to ghost hauntings. So, I read her book, and in the foreword of her book was a little paragraph about Constantine Raudive who had done EVP back in the 60’s and 70’s, and that intrigued me. And so from that little paragraph I started researching. I actually didn’t record any EVP for the first year; I just studied it, sort of the theory of it.

Then after that I went to Gettysburg to record my first EVP. Where else would anyone go? I went there. I took a little class there. And then I went out in the field, and I got nothing. Or I thought I got nothing. I’m sitting in the airport in Pittsburgh listening and listening to these recordings and finally…I was at Devil’s Den. So I’m there in the middle of the night, my team is way ahead at the rocks. So it’s me standing by this water and you hear a little voice on the recorder asking for somebody. And that was the first EVP that I got. It was just a little, ity bity recorder, and not the kind I would use nowadays, but it was enough to make me say, “Hmm, I think I want to study this some more.” That was my beginning.

Robin: Yes, well the first one you get is like a heart attack. Its like, “Oh my God, how did that get there?”

Cindy: Yeah, you can’t believe it. Its like, “How did that happen?”

Robin: So, you said you were there. You took a class on it. What is it about EVP that most people don’t know?

Cindy: Well, what I study today and what I studied at the beginning is totally different. It was very rudimentary, although I didn’t know that at the beginning. Listening to people and what sort of recorders they use, what sort of audio editors they would use. It’s the same thing that any EVP 101 course would teach you. Back then, nine years ago, there weren’t as many people doing it. I mean the AA-EVP, the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomenon wasn’t even as developed as it is now. But I still got a lot of information from them as to how to record.

 So, I read that and listened to people’s thoughts about things. That was still when people were thinking that EVP’s were imprinted on audio – on analog cassette tape – different theories and ideas were floating around out there. And so I just took that all in. But as I got involved in this group so many years later, especially in my association with Dave [Schumacher, Director of Anomalous Studies] I started researching other things, like what makes sound. What about acoustics? What do we know about digital recorders? There’s the quantization of the recording process, and about psychology and how we perceive things.

 The study of EVP can entail much about acoustics and much about equipment, but also does go into psychology, and how we perceive sound. So there are lots of avenues you can actually study to make good judgments…to understanding hearing and how it works....

 Robin: Well, you’ve intrigued me know. The psychology of how we perceive sounds, meaning what?

Cindy: Well, one of the things we did in the P.R.G., I’d say it was two years ago now, we started to upgrade the equipment. But we still had the old equipment. We still had the integrated circuit hand-held recorders everyone else is using. But we started using an analog backup.  So every time I would do a digital recording we would have an analog recorder right by it. If I thought I got an EVP on the digital recorder I would compare it to the analog.  And I have to tell you that 99% of the time the sound was so distorted because of the poor recording quality that I thought it was an EVP. If I hadn’t had the analog I would have said it was an EVP, the analog was a superior piece of equipment and it would reveal things.

 Someone could hear this vague sound and they would perceive it as an EVP if they don’t have the backup. We’re also looking for confirmation. When we’re in an investigation we have to think past that and figure out what the sound is, and where it came from, and whether we can validate it in any number of ways.

 Another thing we do, besides doing backup recordings is to look at what is happening on the D.E.A.D. system (Direct Environmental Acquisition Data-Logging System developed and used by P.R.G.).   Does something happen at the time when this supposed EVP happen? And sometimes it’s yes and sometimes no.

Considerations for EVP Recordings - Acoustics of a Room

Robin: You were talking earlier about determining where the sounds came from.  What do you mean by that?

 Cindy: Well, when you’re in a building –and I learned this when I was learning how to build a soundproof room for doing experiments in…I actually learn more these days, not in the paranormal community, but more from stepping outside of it. If I say I want to learn about acoustics I’m not necessarily going to go to the paranormal community, but look into the regular science of it. And that’s what happened.

 I wanted to soundproof a lab.  I found out how sound travels in a building. They call it structural borne sound. Sometimes it can be a low vibration, say a truck going by. That sound can travel as a low frequency through a building.  It can travel through the walls, it can travel through the joists, and it can travel through the floors and then come as a sound that you can hear. In apartment buildings we find that a lot. Certainly we’ve had experiences with it in duplexes. There are also impact sounds which are just people dropping things. And there are normal airborne sounds like talking, like we’re doing right now. Looking at all those different [types of] sounds, we started going into buildings and saying, “Ok, what are the acoustics of this room that we’re going to do this recording in?  One of the things we do now is to take a base line audio reading. So, with no one in the room, I will take a baseline audio reading of that room.  And I can go back to that and find out what are the normal acoustics of that room, what are the normal sounds of that room really like. And it’s been really interesting.

 We did one restaurant in particular, where I could hear sounds in the room from two floors down, of somebody in the basement.  They were doing something with the pipes, whether there was water running or whatever. But I could hear that throughout that building, and I could hear investigators from several rooms away.  So that is all really important when you’re going to claim that that sound is paranormal. Have you checked all your bases? EVP is not simply a matter for us of listening to a recording and saying, “Ah, I got something.” It’s a much more laborious process actually, to go through all these checks that we have to prove whether an EVP is actually that or just a false positive.

 Backup Necessary to Determine an EVP

 Robin: So, I’m an investigator, let’s say [laugh] for the P.R.G.  And say, I’m sitting with one other investigator in a room.  And I record an EVP session, and I’m going over my tape, and I find something, and I bring it to you. And I say, “Listen to this Cindy, this is rockin!” And you say?

Cindy: And I say, “Did you have your backup?

 Robin: So, in other words you have to have two recorders at least?
Cindy: Yes. And this has happened more than once, because, let’s admit it, everyone loves it, everyone loves to have a recorder and go out and do stuff. So this happens to me a lot. And they say, “Listen to what I got!” And I have to say, “Listen, what were you doing?”
Robin: So, for your group if there’s one EVP and there’s no backup you throw it out?
Cindy: Yes.  I know that’s harsh, but we do.  Unless…let’s say something happens and the data logging system goes wacky at the same time.  I actually look at that, because now I have the data logging system that says that your radiation dropped and your EMF spiked at that precise moment.

Robin: So, I go into this same investigation with one other person and we both have voice recorders on us and we’re in different parts of the room. He’s [hypothetically speaking] over by the window and I’m by the back wall. Ok?  I pick up an EVP and he does not. And I come to you and say, “Cindy, this is rockin, you’ve got to hear this, and you say?”

 Cindy: Well that’s pretty interesting. Because, I would have to say – well, when we set up our microphones you’d have to see them, they’re in a grouping together….

Robin: So, you put all your microphones together?

Cindy: Pretty much, because we’re trying to find out a lot of different things when we’re trying to do experiments. But in your case I’d want to know where he was, what sort of microphone he had, was it uni-directional or omni-directional. You know, there are a lot of different factors. I’d want to know where was he pointing [the microphone] and where were you pointing? But it wasn’t a true backup recording, because backup recordings should be right by the other recorder.

 But, there’s been times that - and a lot of people claim that - it is not a true EVP if you hear it on two or more recorders.  An EVP should only be on the one recorder because it’s the manipulation of that one particular recorder.  That means it’s not an audio but an electrical effect.  It’s a theory, a hypothesis; I’m not even going to say it’s a theory.

 Robin: Ok, have you found that to be true?

Cindy: [sigh]

 Robin: I mean you’ve got all your equipment set up right there in the room. You’ve got two or three recorders and all the microphones set up.  I don’t know what kinds of microphones you’re using, but I’m guessing you’re never going to use a recorder without a [external] microphone and probably a sensitive one.  I know that we all have budgetary concerns [regarding cost of microphones].

 Cindy: Right.

 Robin: So, you set them up and you’re doing your EVP and you get something. Is it likely to be on all of them or is it likely just to get picked up on one?  And, if it only got picked up on one, why wouldn’t you throw it out?

 Cindy: I have to be completely honest with you, since we started the backup regiment and also were using higher end professional equipment; we get almost no EVP’s. [chuckles] Because when we get them we realize that they were false positives.  Now, I have had in the past where I have had the incidence where we have gotten only a voice on one recorder and not on the other recorder. So I’m thinking, well that wasn’t an acoustical effect and but an electrical effect – that’s all I can figure. Do you understand what I’m saying?

 Using White Noise

Robin: Yes, I understand what you’re saying now, yes.  You’re saying that it was an EVP, because it was on only one recorder, because if both recorders picked it up then it would be something in the room [or building].

 Cindy: Then it would be an acoustical effect.  It would be a sound wave that we could hear.  Now there are a lot of ideas on how that would work. We won’t go into all of them here [laughs] it would be long.  But that’s an idea that some people have put forward, that that is an electrical effect. Now, you’re going to have people on the other end saying, “No, that’s an acoustical effect, but it’s so faint signal that it needs a boost through another sound source.”  That’s why people use these little IC recorders, they are, or they used to be very internally noisy.  Some people will say that that’s why you’re getting so few EVP’s now, because you’re using extremely clean equipment – because you’ve no longer got that sound source [white noise] anymore to work with. That’s actually an experiment we’re working with at the moment.

 Robin: So this is a white noise theory, in other words?

 Cindy: Yes, it provides resonance. You have your weak signal here, and you’ve got your sound source and that actually amplifies that sound into the microphone, for example.

 Robin: What are your thoughts on white noise?

 Cindy: I don’t know. That’s one we’re actually working on with this higher-end equipment. We’re actually set up to do some experiments with a stereo system so that we can have one mic that does have that background sound source and another mic doesn’t have it.

 They’re recording at exactly the same time on different tracks. That should be interesting. Let’s see which one gets more EVP’s, if we get any EVP’s. There are a lot of ideas that haven’t been put to the test.  A lot of things are put out as common knowledge just because they’ve been repeated so many times. But I want to do the testing for it, and I want to put them through the paces. And that’s kind of what we do.

 Robin: So you buy all this expensive equipment.

 Cindy: [laughs] When I have the money!

 Robin: And you buy expensive microphones for a pristine, clean sound, and then you’ll have to go buy a white noise generator to create noise.

 Cindy: [laughing] On just the one mic though.

 Robin: And I bet you don’t want me to go and explain that to your husband! [both laughing]

 Cindy: Actually I run all my experiments past my husband. He’s a PhD, a Physicist. And that’s part of the deal. I am in crazy land, in the paranormal, but I have a very smart Doctor of Physics in my house. So I was asking him, if I was going to set up this experiment, what you would think of this experiment and its flaws? And he looked at the experiment and said, “Yeah, this one will be ok.” And that’s really important to me. We try, as best as we can to use the scientific method, to use critical thinking, to use very clean experiments. Because that’s the only way we are going to get the particular answers that our group is looking for.

 Debate over Analog versus Digital

 Robin: OK. I was working with a investigator not too long ago. Now, he’s old school, but he says that digital is crap and that analog is better. Especially tape, because it has in particular a magnetic tape that is controlled by the entity. Or that because of its magnetic tape it is more easily imprinted. Thoughts on that, is analog better?

 Cindy: We use both.  We use a high-end Marantz set recorder – it’s another field recorder. I’ve got some interesting things on it, by itself. The only thing I don’t like about cassette is the hiss of it.  There are also some questions about tape type and bulk erasing your tapes so that you can get your original artifacts off. There’s a whole other world about cassette tapes you can get into the pros and cons of that.

I have a new digital system. I wanted the new digital system because it was going to eliminate the tape hiss that I found very annoying, and that is such a high quality system that it will be very clean – it is better than CD quality. It will actually reproduce a sound that is top quality. With the frequency and the bit rate it should be pretty good and that’s what we’re going to look at.

 Robin: So your theory is that analog isn’t better simply because it’s analog, because of the tape?

Cindy: I don’t think that’s ever been proven out.

Robin: So is digital better? Or do you not know?

 Cindy: I’ve seen no one do an experiment with magnetic tape.

Robin: So you’re going to take both of them to an investigation?

Cindy: We take both of them, yes we do. Why I went to analog first it was for monetary [reasons]. We all get things [equipment], as we can get them. I could afford the analog first, and I kept upgrading that until I got the one that I wanted. Basically that was better quality; the analog was better quality – even with the hiss – than any of the 24 little recorders I have. Because I wanted to try…all of them. I wanted to try the old-school, first-generations ones, the second generation ones. I wanted to try the new ones.  I want to try them in slow play, fast play; I wanted to do a lot with them.

And I finally concluded, they’re just not very good for voice reproduction.  I wanted fidelity. I wanted a good sound.  Yeah, I’m not getting my white noise, crackly sort of thing that the voices are in. But what I did find out from the cassette was that they are probably not paranormal voices anyhow.  It’s just that – a bad recording. What can I say? So, I did like the analog for that. But now I’ve decided I wanted to look some more, and so this particular recorder, it’s a Fostex FR-2 Field Recorder, it just seemed to have everything I wanted at a price I could afford. So, we’ll see. It’s brand new for me, it’s my new toy. [chuckles] I’ll let you know in a year what I think about it. Either that or you may find it on EBay in a year [laughs].

And I do have several cassette decks that we’ve used in home experiments, and those are fine.  But I’m looking for something different even in cassette now.  I’m looking for a stereo system in cassette, because I just have a mono system right now. So I’m even looking to upgrade that a little bit.

 How does a Ghost make an EVP?

 Robin: You’ve been at this for a while now, so do you have a theory? Do you have a theory because ghosts don’t have voice boxes?  So how can there possibly be a sound coming off onto your [recording equipment]?

 Cindy: That’s why it may be more…I don’t know. It’s so difficult. Is it an electrical effect or is it an acoustical effect from a weak signal? My money is riding on that one right now. But until I get through a whole series of experiments I can’t say to put my money on that for sure. But that’s just it; you have to pick one thing. If you’re going to do a long term experiment you have to pick one thing and say, “This is what I’m going to look at.” So that is what I am going to look at now within the Anomalous Research Department. So maybe within a year, maybe within two years, I will have more data to tell you for sure that, “Yeah, I’m getting more EVP’s when I’m using this sound source, and that I think the weak signal is getting boosted within  the microphone.”  Well, that’s what I’m going to try [laughs].


Robin: Microphones, what types of microphones do you recommend?

Cindy: Well, I was using electrical condenser microphones, and I started using those because back in 2000 that was what I read to use. I never questioned it, because I had never read much on microphones back then. So I started with them, and I liked them because I felt they had a nice, clean, high-end sound. I liked them, but then I started reading that people liked these dynamic microphones because they have the magnet with the coil and the coil is attached to the diaphragm, and we’re working with a magnet here and a magnetic-electrical effect. That’s really intriguing, because more and more groups are saying that EVP is EMF related.  

 I figured the only way I’d know is if I tried it. So I have actually been comparing the two for a couple of years now and I haven’t seen a lot of difference. But now I’m going to go strictly with the stereo and the dynamic mics, and the computer system is going to use with electro-condenser mics. My background isn’t audio and technology, but I’ve been forced into audio and technology. You do what you have to.

Protocols for Running an EVP Session

Robin: Yes, it can be quite an education. So, what are the proper procedures for running an EVP session?

Cindy: Let me see, the protocol is like two pages long [laughs] when we teach sessions.  Right now we’re starting with a sound-scape of the room.

Robin: How long do you run it?

Cindy: Well I’ve run it for up to a half hour, sometimes as little as 10 minutes. I’m just trying to get a taste of the [natural sound] room. I want to know what it is like right before I do a session. I will have the people come into the session. We videotape all of our sessions. We have multiple recorders plus the D.E.A.D. system set up. So you can imagine we’ve got a lot of equipment. It’s not intimidating at all [chuckles].

 Robin: Do you also have the tinfoil hats [both laugh]?

Cindy: But then those who want to come into the session are allowed in. I don’t like my session to be too big because people move. And you’re listening for an EVP and it could be just someone shuffling their feet.  But then people come in. I have everyone introduce themselves because I want to get a voice print of everyone who is in the room. And then the session is timed to the DEAD system. So we start.

We usually do a question and answer sort of thing. Sometimes I know what’s going on, but sometimes I don’t know what is going on in the place because, especially when you’re going back to review you don’t want to be biased.  It’s much better if I don’t know what is going on, and say on review I pick up on the word Mary. Maybe that’s relevant to the homeowner, that holds a little more credence than me trying to make the sound into something like that. Anyway, I will go through with my spiel. I will ask those in the room if they have something to say.

If anything happens during the session, say we start hearing something off to the side, as has happened before we will direct the EVP session to what is happening at that time. I ask people to be still and do voice marking for every little thing like if a car goes by, or a dog barks, if you sneeze, whatever. That’s really important to us. Sometimes we’ll take notes.

The new thing we’re going to do, which I talked about in the protocol, we are going to be hooking someone up to headphones so they can be monitoring what is being said in the headphones as we’re running the sessions.  And that’s pretty much it. That’s, I think, the easy part of EVP.  And they last for 10 to 15 minutes, and we may do, depending on the location, three to four sessions a night. That’s enough to keep me busy for a couple of weeks.

Evidence Review

 Robin: Do you do all of the review of the tapes.

Cindy: I am one of the persons that do the review. We’re splitting up the reviews now, so that there are two people reviewing the same things. The new idea is that hopefully the second person will not have been at the investigation, because we want to see, if two people hear something do they hear the same thing. So there’s paperwork that we do with the review.  We don’t do any sound editing until we can confirm that a suspected EVP is not a false positive from another recorder. And so I will mark that.  If I heard something on one of the digitals then I have to go back to all the other recorders and check those recorders and also check it on the video so it’s quite time consuming. But I can get rid of probably 99% of my stuff that way.  I think EVP is actually a very rare phenomenon.  I don’t think it is as prevalent as people think it is. That’s just from my experience.

Robin: So most of the time when someone picks up an EVP what do you think it is?

Cindy: Well it depends. I have to ask a lot of questions. What sort of a recorder did you use, where was the recorder? I very rarely hear very clear voices on a recorder. Sometimes when I do it might sound like the person in the room. People forget what they do all the time.  They don’t realize they whisper, they don’t realize they’re talking to themselves. We’re forgetful creatures; we don’t remember these simple things. So it’s hard for me to say without a backup what it is.

Robin: So for an EVP to actually make it into your…hall of fame [chuckles] what are the filters?

Cindy: It would pass the backup recording test. We’d make sure on the better recorder that we can’t identify that voice.  Chances are that it’s on only one recorder.  That would be a plus.

Robin: I’ve noticed that that happens a lot in investigations. The sound will only be on one recorder when there were three or four recorders in the room.

Cindy: Which suggests that it was just that one recorder affected?  And then we’ll look at the DEAD system data at the same time.  That may or may not tell me much.  Sometimes we do get interesting data at the same time as we get an EVP. So we’re kind of looking at all that. It’s a lot to look at actually. What else do I do? Well just that takes forever.

 If I do get a voice and it has passed the backup recorder test then we have to decide are we going to filter it or not.  Are we going to do any cleanup on it or not? We do very little, because I really don’t want to mess around with the frequencies we have there. I want to be able to tell where this was and what it was originally and keep that data on hand too.  What was the top frequency, what was the amplitude of that particular sound and just try to keep track of all that over time.  Maybe it will tell me something some day.

Robin: Well, and I’ve always been worried about taking what I think is an EVP and putting it into an editing system and tweaking it and then trying to present it to the paranormal community. I can only imagine what the skeptics would say about that.

Cindy: Well, exactly because you can give me any sound and I could make it sound like an EVP with enough tweaking. And I’m hoping, honestly, with this new recording system that I’m not going to have that much trouble anymore because I’m hoping not to have to deal with bad recorders.  We’ll see what happens.  And if I do use a sound source [white noise generator] that it will be a very controlled sound source and I’ll have a record of that sound source and I’ll be able to take that out. That will still mess with my frequencies, but just for my own knowledge it would be interesting to see what happens when I take that out. I’m speculating here.

Asking Questions at an EVP Session

Robin: More on the emotional side of EVP work here, I’ve heard people say that they look into the history of the place and try to find something to say, even going to the point of scripting up questions.  You’ve already said that you don’t believe that…

Cindy: Well let’s say I went to West Virginia State Penitentiary and I knew all the history of that. So when I did do an EVP session there I would probably direct my questions to who I thought I might be speaking to. And interestingly enough, some of the better responses and activity we’ve generated has been when I’ve started asking about family members.

Robin: Yes, I’ve found that to be true too.

 Cindy: “So, tell me about your mother,” or “is there a loved one…” And you get an emotional response and you wonder was I projecting it or is that the entity out there projecting it back to me. And I don’t know. But sometimes we have had some interesting things happen, not EVP’s but interesting activity happen around those questions. I’ve been in this long enough where I’ve done it all, scripted things out to the nth degree. I feel like I’m a little more stifled when I do it that way, it’s not so free flowing. I’ve also done round robin with people. I’ve done all sorts of different ways. Right now I’m a little more laid back on it, just as long as I can control my environment.

 What I’m actually doing now is stepping back as the session leader and letting other people do the sessions. I’m doing more monitoring because we had a huge drop off of EVP. Now is it me? Let’s see what happens when other people control the session, and I’ll just monitor the equipment – so there’s another question to look at here. So let them run the session as they see fit, just as long as I can monitor the environmental control, and my sound is controlled, I’m a happy camper.

 Robin: Well, I’ve found too that after a strenuous EVP session that I’m kind of empty emotionally inside. I’ve had some very emotional EVP sessions.

Cindy: Hmm, I can’t say that’s ever happened to me. I think I’m probably too analytical in my thinking and how I approach that. And, who knows, that’s why I’m trying to get other people involved in the sessions, because maybe that is an important element. And maybe I’m too analytical about it, too skeptical about it, whatever, but too distanced. And maybe you do need that person that does have that glimmer.

Robin: Yes, because don’t you think if there is an entity out there and you’re trying to entice it to speak with you, don’t you think you’d have to make an emotional connection with them in order for them to respond?

Cindy: Well, and that is what I try to do, especially when I get into the more psychological questions. I try to draw emotions that are triggers for me, personally, or for someone who had a troubled background. But that’s why I’d like to see more people in our group step forward in the process just to see what happens.  But no, I can’t say I’ve experienced what you’ve experienced because I don’t know what happens really, unless we start to have activity start to happen during an EVP session, I don’t know what it is until I get home. Because we won’t and don’t at this time analyze onsite.

Thoughts on Provoking an Entity

Robin: How about provoking?

Cindy: I don’t. We do have some people in the group that do. On the cases I’ve been on, I can’t say that I’ve seen anything happen with it. I have heard from other investigations before I was in the group where they’ve done provoking and it’s not that they got EVP’s but they did get activity. And we had instances where we’ve had audible voices but they don’t show up on the recorder. I don’t know what that’s about!  Now that seems like more of a mind connection, but that’s a whole other topic.  And they got that through acts of provoking.  I’m just not personally comfortable with it; it’s just not my personality. But I generally don’t stop somebody if they want to.

Favorite EVP’s

Robin: So, favorite EVP?

Cindy:  Oh, yeah, but I can’t back it up. It was in the early days. I was doing a session for a gentleman who – well, I used to go to people’s houses in the early days and do sessions – so I went to a house for a gentleman whose wife had died. I was using one of the first, early edition recorders from Radio Shack. It literally looks like a Bic lighter! I still have it [laughs].

Robin: Let me guess it’s in the box with the other hundred recorders you bought.

Cindy, Yes, but it’s still my favorite because it was my first one. I used no external mic, just the one that is in there. But very, very clearly, you hear…sometimes you get interesting things when you’re just having conversations with people and you’re not careful about it and you get that third voice.  And we got that third voice, and it’s in a lull between when I’m speaking and he’s speaking – you hear a whispery voice that is extremely clear that seems to say, “Do you want this person?”

And yes, he does want that person; he’s looking for that person.  Other people have heard it, and as you know you’re best loved EVP’s nobody else can hear what you hear! [Laughs] They don’t necessarily hear what I hear. But that was pre-group, and that one has always stuck with me. I have no data to back it up, it was one little recorder. But it was one of those little things that has kept me going, especially when I was doing this pretty much by myself.

Within the group, some of the interesting ones…

Robin: I really love the one of the ghostly PA system.

Cindy: Yes, that one’s cool. But that’s not so much an EVP as a Direct Voice Phenomenon, because they could hear it. So it wasn’t an Electronic Voice Phenomenon because it was through a PA – but the PA system wasn’t plugged in!  It was wild. But it’s things like that that keep us going, because once you shift through all the data there’s not a lot out there that we can validate.  We’re looking for that 1% that’s showing something. If we come up with nothing maybe that’s showing us something too.  What we need is for other groups to step up and buy this similar equipment, and to have some really stringent protocol, not just waving recorders around because that doesn’t prove anything. That just gives us a lot of questionable sounds. We need other groups to step up so that we can get some answers.

Resources mentioned in this Article:

AA-EVP The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena

Dr. Dennings, Hazel M. (1966) True Hauntings: Spirits with a Purpose
Llewellyn Publications.

Fostex FR-2LE Compact Flash Field Recorder B&H Photo, Video, Pro Audio Catalog Summer 2011 Catalog.

Lauer, J., Schumacher D. (2007) Investigating the Haunted: Ghost Hunting Taken to the Next Level. Xlibris Corporation. Additional Copies of the Book can be ordered at
 Marantz  2-Channel Portable Recorder. B&H Photo, Video, Pro Audio Catalog Summer 2011 Catalog.

Paranormal Research Group (P.R.G.) incorporates Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and was formerly known as the Southern Wisconsin Paranormal Research Group (S.W.P.R.G.)

Strom-Mackey, R. (2012) “Interview with Dave Schumacher of the P.R.G..”  January 23, 2012

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