At the very beginning of an EVP session recorded at my home, before I even opened my mouth to ask a question or make a comment, before I even put the recorder down on the table, there was a voice that said. “Set the thing. Sit down.” I guess the voice was itching to get started, although what followed wasn’t a particularly interesting conversation. Perhaps he was simply wanting to engage in some kind of interaction, or maybe he liked the idea of having a conversation regardless of his own level of involvement. When I heard that EVP so early in the process, I had such hopes for the rest of the session, but you can’t predict how these things will go.

The way I usually handle sessions at my home is to record for 5 or 6 minutes, stop the machine and then listen for results. If there is a willingness to interact, or if I capture a series of responses, I will continue for a second 5 minute session – hopefully building on the subjects breached in the previous session. And then, possibly, I’ll do it all for a third time.

I thought that if I only appeared interested when I received awareness from them, I might be able to encourage them to become more involved. Occasionally this works – at least that’s how it seems to me (you never really know), but most of the time, the voices have their own agenda, and nothing I do or say seems to serve as a catalyst. I don’t think the spirits I have dealt with are trying to be contrary or exert any kind of control, but I do think they behave in a manner that’s natural for them. I’ve thought a lot about ways to coerce them into conversing, but I decided to take a page from their playbook. I decided my best tactic is to simply be myself. I figured in the long run, it is better to be as open and honest about my wishes as I can be, and hopefully they will afford me the same deference. And I think, for the most part, that’s what usually happens, but they speak when they want and say what they please.

I think as investigators we tend to feel “in charge.” We’re all big and bad with our IR cameras, digital recorders, DVRs and K2s. Lord knows we sashay around like it’s our show. Even when I’m totally alone and it’s just me and one little digital recorder, there’s preparation and stuff to do, and I sometimes catch myself becoming rather assertive – like it’s my project and my EVP experiment, so do what you’re told. It never occurs to me that I’m really not the one in charge – the voices have that job cornered. They set the tone. They decide whether to be heard. They make the choice to participate, and without them there’s nothing, is there?