I’ve been thinking recently about how we talk while we are on an investigation. Not just to each other but how we talk to those who are rumored to still reside in a location after they have passed. Over the course of the last decade, I have participated in countless EVP (electronic voice phenomena) sessions and have noted a variety of techniques. One seems to be utilized far more than others and I’m not so sure that it is the best method. The method I’m speaking of is the “interrogation.”
I don’t think most investigators even realize they are doing it, they just go into a situation and start firing off questions because they are trying to gather information. There is a common pattern of questions that are asked. “Is there someone here that would like to communicate with us?” “Can you tell us your name?” “Can you light up this device?” “What year is it?” I understand that the goal is to gather information that can help us identify the source of any anomalous phenomena that may occur and be able to attribute it to someone in particular. But I’m going to offer an alternative idea, why not just chat with them? “Hi, how are you doing today? I know I’ve set down some strange items, let me tell you about what they are and why I did that.” “I hope I’m not interrupting what you were doing. Would you like to talk for a moment?” “I was reading about the house recently and was fascinated by the people who resided here.” Be sure to leave plenty of time between your comments for someone to respond to you.
You may be saying, “yeah, but how are you collecting any information?” I’m not saying don’t introduce yourself and state “may I ask who I’m speaking with?” It would be great to get a name but honestly, most EVPs I have captured have not been direct responses to questions asked but instead responses to conversations that are occurring. Almost as if whoever is present wants to add an extra detail or clarify a point. Think back to the last time you encountered a new person and the type of conversation you had. Did you rapid fire questions at them or find something you have in common and attempt to have a conversation? If you have been on the receiving end of a rapid fire question situation, how did that feel? Was it uncomfortable? In my experience, no one really wants to do 20 questions every time they meet someone new. Now let’s step into the field and consider that if we are potentially communicating with people who are encountering new individuals every day of the week, they are bound to be tired of being asked to light up the device and state the year.
I recognize that most people will feel strange having what appears to be a one sided conversation but I encourage you to set that aside and try it. Also, don’t be afraid to state the obvious “I know this is a weird way to communicate but we are trying to learn the best way to interact. If you would be willing to help us, that would be great and if I say anything wrong or offensive please correct me because I in no way aim to offend you.” In this approach you recognize the situation, briefly describe your goal, and offer the option for communication. As I always say, approaching the situation with respect is not going to negatively affect your research and could ultimately help you have a positive experience while in the field or even later during evidence review.
The other thing we want to consider is how we talk to each other during an investigation. If someone from another time were to listen to your conversation, what would they think? Would they be offended by your language? Do you discuss topics that would be considered rude or inappropriate? This one is harder to limit because you generally want to have a good time with your team and in my experience, paranormal investigators tend to be a bit crude. (No judgment, I am very guilty of this.) We may just want to consider whether or not our side conversations are off-putting for the individuals we are hoping to communicate with. Of course, this could potentially trigger phenomena to yell at you or tell you to leave. This is typically not the type of response most of us are looking for but it is always a possibility when we are rude while inside someone else’s house.
Ultimately, we want to be respectful and purposeful during our investigations. This means considering how we talk to each other and the people who may still reside within a location. These are just a couple ways in which we can improve our communication skills in the field. Let me know what has worked for you in the past in the comments or on my Facebook page.
Until next time, Happy Hunting!