It makes sense to me that if any part of the paranormal were to be deemed believable, it would be EVP – initially, because of the amount of available evidence. Every paranormal investigator participates in EVP sessions – it’s standard, and in all probability, every investigator can offer some amount of EVP results, so there’s an army out there. That’s a lot of voices. Everyone in the field does it, and everyone has opinions about how to do it.
So, it’s understood that paranormal investigation almost always provides some EVP evidence, but there’s another reason why EVP might be the standard bearer for paranormal substantiation. There is also the ample truth that it makes sense to us. EVP easily fit the expectations of what our own “spirithood” ought to be like. Most of us hope there will be a way to make contact from beyond the grave, and many of us are counting on it. In that light, EVP make perfect sense because they speak so well to our own self-awareness.
The idea of being presented with an apparition is much more unsettling – for anyone, even the most experienced among us. It’s exciting – even exhilarating, but suddenly the world in which we live comfortably and securely, becomes a less familiar place. Seeing a spirit is an intensely unusual proposition, and instantly life-altering. I’m not talking about a shadow figure, a mist, or a light-emitting orb, but an honest to goodness apparition. A ghost. And seeing one first-hand explodes into a game-changing piece of memory that will always haunt us in some way.
Not so with a voice. A voice is almost always less spectacular, and easily absorbed as part of life. Who hasn’t been faced with hearing an unusual voice from time to time – alone in a field, while driving – in just about any place or circumstance? “Must have been my imagination…” Sometimes we’re not even certain an unidentifiable, unexplainable voice isn’t something we’ve said ourselves, or something we were thinking. The idea that there could be an actual spirit voice to hear simply by going out of our way to record it, is electrifying, not terrifying. EVP offer us the choice to hear or not to hear, so they play to our expectations, and more often than not, they become friendly evidence.
There’s almost never any palpable danger associated with an EVP. It can be creepy, sure, and unexpected, and cause you to question the wisdom of being where you are, but there’s still a strong sense that you can evade it if need be. It has no form, no evident power over you, and offers no threat to your well-being. If you hear a voice you don’t like, you can always leave and vow to never come back, but if a spirit is strong enough and inclined to make itself visible, well then anything is possible. It is an immediate threat, whether accurate or not. By recording for spirit voices, we know what we’re in for and have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
The idea that spirit voices are the easiest aspect of paranormal evidence in which to believe, may also have something to do with the fact that there’s always the possibility of a credible, real-life explanation. Once you’ve unsuccessfully attempted to discredit one, it’s unproblematic to have confidence in what passes the tests. But there’s a more universal reason we hold EVP in such high evidentiary esteem – because they represent a form of communication we innately practice every day of our lives. EVP speak to us. They talk, and it’s as simple as that, I think, because there’s an intimacy associated with talking to someone. When something is wrong, “we need to talk.” When everything is wonderful and exciting, we channel those manic feelings and tell anyone within earshot. We talk about dinner, the NFL, property values, UFOs, and our favorite color. We discuss politics, religion, sexuality, and stuff no one really wants to hear.
You can’t talk to a menacing apparition, and if you could, I doubt it would be a very engaging conversation. But EVP? They sound like you or I; say what we would; speak as we do. They are the sound of life everlasting, and they stand as a testament that the hereafter we all hope is real, probably really is. We identify with spirit voices because we understand who they are. We may not know them personally, or understand a single motivation or life experience they’ve traversed, but we know who they are. And we know, admit it or not, who we will become.