Buy a standard tape recorder with an external microphone. Internal microphones have a tendency to pick up the motorized mechanisms that drive the tape. Small hand-held tape recorders (i.e. pocket recorders) all have added background noise due to the close proximity of the magnetic recording implement to the motors and electrical fields within the recorder. So, for the best results, try to purchase a standard, full size tape recorder.
You may also want to invest in a digital recorder; however, the major drawback of digital recorders is that they compress sounds into a format that is supported by media players. Cursory research on this has revealed that standard tape recording is more successful. The rationale behind it is that unlike digital recorders, the magnetic field that is generated to record a tape proliferates the EVP. Again, since digital recording devices are still somewhat new, more research needs to be done with “side by side” comparisons. (The same goes for digital video recorders.)
Next, take the tape recorder to your location and be sure to make hand-written notes of the weather, nearby power lines or telephone lines, and any other sounds like cars, birds, crickets, wind, etc. Power lines create an enormous electromagnetic field that could seriously alter your findings especially if they help carry any transmissions in a phone line. It’s sometimes possible to have “bleed through” from a phone line if the electromagnetic field from a power line carries the phone signal to your recorder thus giving you strange sounds or “ghostly” phrases.
Place the recorder in the location you want to record and place the external microphone at least 3 feet away. (You may want to build a “cone” from heavy paper or poster board and place the microphone inside to help amplify any sounds.) Once your microphone is in place, speak aloud and state the date, time, location and any of the elements on your hand written notes about sounds, weather, etc.
Also, make sure you use a brand new tape. If you’re recording over an old tape, some of the magnetic signature may still be present from the previous session. This could alter your findings by making you interpret a natural sound previously recorded as something supernatural. Next, never use the second side of a brand new tape. Anyone who’s used tapes knows that you can sometimes hear light “bleed through” of the music on the other side of the tape. This occurs when the tape shifts slightly off-center of it’s rollers and melds with the edge of the magnetic stripe of recording on the other side. Again, this might make you interpret a mechanical deficiency as something supernatural.
Anyway, now that your recording devices are set up, you’re ready to record. There are two ways that you can record. First, you can leave the area and let the recorder capture anything and everything. Second, you can stay near the recorder and ask questions out loud. Be sure to make your questions short, clear, and to-the-point. Then wait 30-60 seconds before asking another question so the spirit has ample time to answer. I recently found a technique where you ask if the ghost wants to ask you questions or make any other statements. Then, just let the tape run for awhile and give the spirit time to speak freely if he wants to.
Also, while asking questions, make sure you don’t move around too much because your movement may change the results especially if you hear something you don’t remember doing (i.e. footsteps, keys jingling, etc.). Your movement may also make it harder to understand something a spirit says (i.e. a shuffling of feet in the middle of a sentence from a spirit).
Sometimes you may be able to hear responses and sometimes you may not hear anything until you play back the tape. One of the biggest misinterpretations comes from movement while recording. Never walk around and hold a tape recorder or microphone while conducting an EVP recording session. Remember, the less background noise there is, the easier it will be for you to analyze the tape and understand what you may hear.
When you finish recording, state the date and time again. Make sure you only record as much tape as you’re willing to listen to. Don’t go recording 40 hours of tape if you don’t have the time or patience to listen to 40 hours of tape that will mostly be silence or natural sounds unless you get lucky and have a really talkative ghost.
Now, if you capture anything on tape, make sure you have others listen to it. Don’t tell them what to listen for or when to listen for it. If there’s an anomaly, they should be able to find it on their own. If they believe they’re hearing something too, then you should have each person make their own interpretation without telling each other. Someone’s opinion may taint someone else’s. If you hear, “I’m dead but I’m here,” someone else might hear “I was deaf but I hear.” However, if you tell them what you heard before they listen to it, they will most likely agree because you’ve told them what they’re listening for.
Once everyone’s interpreted it in their own way, then discuss what may have been said and try to isolate the proper phrase that was spoken. Make sure to type out a transcript of the entire recording, noting everything you can about the site. If possible, also note the time each anomaly occurs on the tape so that you can find them more easily.
Make sure to put this documentation with each tape. Of course, if you transfer the recording to computer, then you can just make short clips of the anomalies, but it’s always good to have the tape and transcript on-hand in case something happens to the converted file or a ghost researcher wants to listen to your original recording.
Always remember that no matter what field of paranormal research you’re dealing with, no single piece of evidence can stand on it`s own. That seems to be the biggest point of contention in this newsgroup. With very few exceptions, I don’t believe any of us are skeptical of spirits or the supernatural. However, as we should be, I think we’re all very skeptical of unilateral evidence. Therefore, I would suggest multiple types of media when recording EVP or conducting any ghost-hunt. If possible, try to get more evidence by using a video camera to record the site where you’re recording EVP. This can yield many positive results. If a ghost is present and talking, it may also show itself on the camera. The audio on the videotape might yield more EVP. It might just serve as a secondary form of proof. In any case, it’s a measure that can’t hurt your findings. In fact, it may give visual proof of something to support your EVP recordings or it may give you visual proof of something that you misinterpreted (i.e. thinking footsteps were “ghostly,” but then the video shows someone you didn’t notice before riding horseback on a trail in the distance at the time you heard the footsteps).
Armed with this information, you should be able to conduct a very good study with minimal background noise and hopefully be able to successfully document some dialogue from the spirit world.
I hope this has helped and now you know exactly how to record ghosts on tape. Good luck and “Happy Hunting!”