How is an EVP session different from a Séance?

Article by: Eilfie Music

I’ve noticed a big debate that comes up often in the paranormal world is spirit communication. Not only the general practice of trying to communicate with the afterlife, but the methods used to try and accomplish this. This also opens up a whole other can of worms of what we are even actually communicating with – which I won’t go into for this article. So for the sake of argument, lets stick to the idea that we are communicating with “human” spirits.

In our electronic age of gadgets and gizmos galore, for the average paranormal investigator, there is a wide variety of items now at our disposal to supposedly tap into the other side. We have the classic digital audio recorder that took the place of the analog recorder (though some groups occasionally use the analog as well for comparisons) used to record EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) either during a session with a series of questions being asked, or by leaving the recorder in an empty room rumored to be haunted. The outcome is potentially spirit voices that the human ear cannot pick up at the time, but the recorder possibly can. We then have the K2 meter, a simple EMF detector that is used by asking a question and waiting for the red light to flash in response. Then there is the Frank’s box and the Shack Hack. Both are radios that have been cobbled together or manipulated to allow the radio to do a constant sweep of the airwaves. From this, bits of sound are picked up to form words of, potentially, spirits communicating. Other versions of these two have been coming out lately as well. The Ovilus, which works on EMF, temperature, and pressure change, will throw out a word from its vocabulary bank based on sensor readings. All of these devices are not foolproof, and can be manipulated or break down. They are the updated and electronically rigged versions of the old-school methods of spirit communication.

Before audio recorders and Frank’s box, we had the Ouija board or a pendulum with a circle of letters. Before huddling around a recorder and speaking out into thin air asking for a sign or saying ‘don’t be afraid, just talk into this device with a glowing light,’ we had people sitting around a table in a darkened room asking for knocks and bangs to show signs of a presence. In some ways, people were much closer to the dead. They wanted the spirit to guide their fingers on the planchet or brush a translucent hand along their shoulder. To feel the dead moving these items (such as tipping a table) gave the assurance that they weren’t just talking to thin air. Before EVP sessions, people participating in communication had to rely on the idea that the spirit would vocalize its answers in the air or even channel through someone. People wanted to truly feel the dead and have that connection with them once more. When paranormal investigators started incorporating more electronic devices, it made the capturing of evidence much more possible, but in some ways distanced people from the human connection.

For some people, doing an EVP session feels much safer than using a Ouija board or even being in a séance. A possible reason for this is the mass concludes that it is alright to do an EVP session with a little audio recorder rather than to pull out a Ouija board. People see many paranormal shows where it is a normal part of an investigation. Meet clients, do history, set up tech, do an EVP session – light on or off optional. So when people see this being done by their favorite investigators, it gives that stamp of approval to use an audio recorder and ask the spirits questions. Plus it is such a part of the norm in the paranormal world, not many look at anyone sideways if they see someone whip out an audio recorder in the middle of an investigation and start asking questions.

My question is this though: how is this different from a Ouija board or a séance? Is it that closeness again – the idea that a disembodied spirit is guiding your hands on the board, or potentially talking through someone? Does the audio recorder and shack hack give people that safe distance from experiencing the paranormal without having to put both feet in the water?

In PRS, this is where the difference of opinion comes in. I don’t believe a device to communicate with spirits can be dangerous in and of itself; I think how it is used or misused will determine the outcome. An audio recorder for an EVP session is not any safer than a Ouija board. You may not be using a planchet, but you are still speaking to something you hope is a human spirit. If you become aggressive with it during a session or the spirit becomes angry, the same things can happen. People can be touched, hurt, or have something follow a person home because they opened the channel of communication without properly closing it. The reason there are so many horror stories of people using a spirit board and something bad happening, is because they went in not believing and goofed around, probably didn’t close it right and just let something in. Or they went in afraid, expecting the worst and setting themselves up mentally for something bad to happen.

People should not be afraid to communicate with spirits. That’s the reason they got interested in the paranormal in the first place, I hope. To make that connection. When doing any kind of communication, approach the session with respect. State that you are starting this session and any rules such as (‘no touching’). When communicating, thank the spirit if you do get a response – and there is a difference between getting stern and getting vulgar. Once done, state that the session is over, thank the spirits for communicating, and tell them that they must remain where they are and cannot follow.

It’s one thing to handle the paranormal with fear and put Plexiglass between us and whatever is beyond our front yard. It’s another to approach it with respect and understand this is all theory and we are still just groping around in the dark.


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