A simple question .....

27th April 2024. Reading Time: 7 minutes General, EVP, Paranormal Investigation. 1261 page views. 0 comments.

EVP sessions are probably one of the most common techniques used by paranormal investigators. Let's look into the types of questions we ask and why we ask them.

Using a digital recorder during a paranormal investigation is probably one of the most common techniques used today.  In fact, you don't even need a digital recorder, you can use the voice recorder on your mobile phone.  The aim is to hopefully catch the elusive EVP.

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomenon.  It happens when a person uses a recording device such as a digital recorder to record audio.  Upon playback, people hear voices or sounds they didn't hear with their ears.  While there are a few explanations and possibilities as to what it could be, many people believe these voices are spirits who are trying to communicate with us.  

There are a lot of discussions surrounding how EVP sessions should be conducted, what questions we should be asking and how we should be analysing the recordings.  That is not what we are talking about today.  I want to go a little deeper and look at the questions we are asking and then ask ourselves, why are we asking the questions we do?

Are we mirroring what we see on television?  

Let's be honest and I fall in this category as well.  A lot of us had our first exposure to conducting EVP sessions from watching paranormal reality television.  Over time of course you develop your own techniques and theories, but when starting out most people are either mirroring what they have seen on TV, or by observing someone else on a paranormal investigation.  What all these different techniques have in common is that the general premise for the majority of EVP sessions uses a question-and-answer format where the type of questions are based on the notion that a spirit is a person.  Many questions seem to centre around a person's name.  It is understandable.  If we can get a name that links back to a location historically then not only does it help with your own research, but for some it is their version of proof. 

When doing this work, some like to use what is called a control question.

Control Questions

A control question is commonly used by officials when conducting a polygraph lie detector test.  These are questions where the responses are designed to be compared to responses to relevant questions.  For me in the realm of EVP, I like to ask a question where I tend to get the same response (if I get a response which of course doesn't happen every time).  When doing EVP work in general, I personally like to ask questions more about the how and the why and not so much about the person.  I figure if I can communicate with the other side, I want to know more about how it works as that is more in line with my kind of research - understanding the how and the why.  So in the 'spirit' of this, my usual control question is "How do you see us?".  Why do I ask this question?  This is all pure speculation and based on my own thoughts.  Spirits don't have a physical voice box yet we can seemingly hear their voices.  They do not have ears, yet if we ask a question we sometimes get what seems like an intelligent response so in some way they are hearing us.  They do not have physical eyes but they know we are there, so how would they see us?  I believe that they don't necessarily see us as we see each other.  I don't believe they hear us as we hear each other.  I believe it is all a form of energy.  We see, hear, and feel on some sort of energetic or even telepathic level.  Often when I ask this question, I have received the response "light" - that they see us as light.  Hence I guess why I call it my control question.  Now there are a few ways that we can interpret why I would receive this answer.

a) This is how they see us - as light so they are answering my question

b) As this is my belief, I am making myself hear this response 

c) I am psychically projecting the answer so by thinking that this is the response I am going to receive

d) Maybe a little bit of everything or something we haven't thought of yet!

In 2017, we were lucky in Australia to have a visit from paranormal investigator Brian Cano known for Haunted Collector and Paranormal Caught on Camera.  I hit it off right away with Brian as he had some really interesting insights into the paranormal and what I liked the most is that he wasn't the run-of-the-mill investigator that was on television at the time asking the same old EVP questions.  He leaned into the psychic projection angle and showed us an exercise he likes to run where he tries to get a group to focus and psychically project a word onto a recording.  Not only did he have a theory, he was using his time and techniques to investigate that theory so that really resonated with me.  You can read more about the experience here in my article Telepathy Tests investigators can try

Now of course we can sit and argue all day on what we think the voices might be, but that wasn't the point of this article.  It was to get you thinking about the how and the why we ask the questions we do.  Of course, it varies from person to person so I recently put the call out on social media for people to tell me what their go-to questions were.  The responses varied which you would expect based on the type of research people are doing and how they work. Here are some of the responses:

Coldspot Paranormal: What was your favorite food?  What do you miss the most?

Mariah Kunau:  “What are you made of?”

Melissa Fabian:  I always ask them if they’re happy ????????‍♀️

Dan McMath:  What is your name? constantly after every other question.

Michelle Westmorland:  It depends on the circumstances, my question would always be tailored around that. It might be something I pick up psychically

Kenda Elise:  Couple of my “go to” questions during recording sessions - (1) “If you can, describe one thing about the Afterlife - something you think we’d really find interesting” — (2) “If you have a message of importance for ME, for a LOVED ONE, for MANKIND . Please go ahead and give it . Really push through, use ALL the energy” — and (3) “If you would, say ONE CLEAR WORD that EVERYONE will understand - Just ONE CLEAR WORD”

Natalie Vujovich:  I think it would depend where I am and the history of the place as would not necessarily want to ask "are you happy" if it was a jail or asylum.'

Hopefully this post has you a little inspired to look at your EVP sessions and think about what it is that you really want to get out of them and maybe what it is you want to get out of your research in general.  There is no right or wrong answer here, remember you are seeking your own answers, so you need to make sure you are doing so in a way that it is true to you.

If you want to get more out of your EVP research check out some of the book recommendations below.  

I have also compiled a comprehensive guide to EVP called The LLIFS Guide to EVP which is available Worldwide via Amazon and Book Depository and the LLIFS Shop


Book recommendations -  EVP

If you want to delve more into EVP, here are some great books I highly recommend. 

‘Voices of Eternity’ Sarah Estep (1988)

‘Breakthrough an Amazing Experiment In Electronic Communication With The Dead’ Konstantin Raudive (1971)

‘Speak with the dead: Seven Methods for Spirit communication’ Konstantinos (2004)

‘Voice transmissions with the dead’ Friedrich Jürgenson (1967)

‘Voices from space’ Friedrich Jürgenson (1964)

‘Voices from the tapes: recordings from the other world’ Peter Bander (1973)

‘Parapsychology: A handbook for the 21st Century’ Etzel Cardena, John Palmer & David Marcusson-Clavertz (2015)

If you enjoy LLIFS, consider buying me a book (otherwise known as buy me a coffee but I don't drink coffee and I LOVE books). Your donation helps to fund the LLIFS website so everyone can continue to access great paranormal content and resources for FREE!

Follow LLIFS on Facebook

Don't forget to follow the Facebook page for regular updates 

Mailing List

Join the mailing list to receive weekly updates of NEW articles.  Never miss an article again!

Haunted Magazine

Buy the latest and past issues Haunted Magazine

Books by LLIFS

Check out the books written by LLIFS