Friday, May 15, 2015

Our best EVP evidence - 12 months, 20 paranormal investigations

This is the second in a four-part series featuring some of the past year's best evidence from our paranormal investigations. This week we share our most intriguing EVPs -- what some investigators and researchers refer to as "voices of the dead."

(Our focus last time was anomalous photos we captured during our investigations. If you missed that article, click here.)

EVPs -- Electronic Voice Phenomena, or voices captured by electronic means. It's not "unheard of" (forgive the pun!) to hear ghostly voices with the unaided ear, but it's only by recording such sounds that they move from hearsay and anecdote to documented evidence.

These days, two common methods of capturing EVPs are audio-only digital recording and so-called spirit boxes.(More on the latter in a moment.)

We used both methods, and with startling results.

Audio-Only EVP Recordings

We used a digital audio recorder during portions of all our investigations, conducting interviews and pausing to see if we captured any responses that that might not have been audible except when amplified later. This final necessary step was, at times, frustrating because we sometimes discovered responses that were missed opportunities for further dialog. Even more dismaying were the several occasions where we captured "Help me," which we only discovered during later analysis.
The Forest Queen Hotel

The recorded voices are sometimes so soft it's not always certain what the words are. We tended to set those aside if we both couldn't agree on the meaning. One notable exception occurred at the Forest Queen Hotel in Crested Butte, Colorado, where we conducted a session in the room where a distraught prostitute reportedly hurled herself from the window and to her death in Coal Creek in the 1880s.

The voice we captured as a digital recording sounded like three syllables -- all in the same woman's voice -- but we couldn't make out her words. They may have even been Slavic. (The mining town included several different immigrant worker pools). See what you think she might be saying:

The voice of suicide prostitute "Liz-Liz" or "Thelma"?

Another audio-only recording we captured was the single word, "Yes," but what made it memorable to us was that it came in immediate response to a question we asked about the investigative procedures we used at the time. Ironically, this event occurred in the room of another suicide, this time a woman who had taken her life in 1906 at the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte, Colorado.
The Windsor Hotel

We were uncertain at the time whether we had accidentally disrupted our flashlight or the incident was a manipulation by an unseen presence.

The EVP we later heard under amplification settled the question unequivocally for us. (You can compare this separate EVP with the video YouTube clip of the same event, called "Windsor Flashlight Experiment.")

Here's the EVP, along with the context:

 Suicide Maud Heinz clarifies her role in the investigation

Even though we captured several other audio-only EVPs during our investigations, the above two instances
intrigued us the most.

Fariplay Hotel
Still, we have to mention just one more, an EVP we captured at the Fairplay Hotel of a prostitute named "Julia" (yet another suicide), reported to dance in the hallways at night. We conducted an audio-only session in her former room, where Mark asked her to interact with us. A very faint woman's voice told him, "I don't want to f**k with you." Guess Mark wasn't her type! The EVP is so low you need headphones and it doesn't compress well to video, so we haven't uploaded it to share. But it remains one of our favorites.

But it was through our spirit box-generated EVPs that we obtained more reliable auditory volume as well as more frequent recordings. Read on!

Spirit Box EVPs
Many spirit boxes are electronic devices configured to scan random radio frequencies (RF). The theory is that  spirits can pick out and share RF words appropriate for the conversation at hand. But many of the hotels we visited have limited -- and in one instance, no -- radio reception.

Although we tested a number of spirit boxes, the EchoVox provided the best results we obtained during our investigations. We really liked this device because it doesn't use RF at all, instead generating random sounds rather than words, which makes intelligible responses all the more remarkable. We received not only words from this spirit box but also the occasional sentence!

All EVP links we share below were generated with the EchoVox.

On later analysis of our various recordings, we noticed two recurring patterns that interested us:
  1. EVPs that named individuals
  2. EVPs that participated in contextual conversations
We became accustomed to spirit box voices calling us out by name -- even before we started introducing ourselves at the beginning of EVP sessions for unseen presences. For example, during our investigation at the Windsor (but across the hall from Maud Heinz's room), we recorded the following request from spirits to give them more time to answer:

Not always a need for introductions, it seems

At many of the other hotels, we captured the names of individuals present during the investigation -- or else the names of individuals we were trying to contact. For example, when we visited the Spruce Lodge in South Fork, we received an EVP of "Dee," and at the Linda Goodman Miracle Inn in Cripple Creek an EVP of "Sofia" -- the names of the two respective owners of those inns. And when we investigated the Creede Hotel in Creede, Colorado, we recorded EVPs of both "Alice" (in Poker Alice's former room) and "Bob"
Creede Hotel
(possibly Bob Ford, Jesse James's killer, who was later gunned down in a saloon while still living at the hotel). You can visit our YouTube Channel to listen to those clips.

One recurring EVP theme we noticed in retrospect to the year's investigations was the number of actual interactive conversations we recorded. A good example occurred, again, at the Creede Hotel. For this session, we used a mode of the EchoVox that boosts random sound generation, creating a burst of sounds that takes later manipulation to slow down and separate into distinct voices. Listen to the logical flow of the following conversation which includes a burst:

One of our conversations with EVPs

Hotel St. Nicholas
We wonder, as we reviewed some of our findings, why we weren't more unnerved at the time by some of the conversations we recorded.

For example, the Hotel St. Nichlas in Cripple Creek was a former Sisters of Mercy hospital and where we conducted one session in the operating-room-turned-guestroom.

A number of EVPs in that room almost sounded like conversations taking place as though we only eavesdropped. One somewhat chilling exchange involved discussion of some unnamed killing:

EVP from former hospital's operating room, now a guestroom

So far as our collective EVPs are concerned, we suppose it might be a bit misleading to call the above samplings our "Best Evidence." Perhaps better to call them "Representative Evidence" since we captured several of similar quality at the various establishments.

Nonetheless, we became increasingly impressed with spirit box EVPs because they so often provided voices that seemed spot on for context and specifics.

* * *
Next week, we'll share the evidence that impressed us most of all -- the experiments we conducted where unseen presences multiple times responded not only by voice but also by physical deeds.

WILD WEST GHOSTS: an amateur ghost hunting guide to southwest Colorado is available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book.

We also invite you to LIKE our new Facebook page for the book, where we're inviting other paranormal colleagues to also share their own experiences and evidence each week.

Happy hauntings, all!