Basic Interview Tips


Verbal skills and effective communication are hallmarks of successful relationships, whether business or personal. Applying these same skills in your Paranormal Interview/EVP Sessions can elevate the chance of capturing a response to your questions. As a former Crisis Intervention Team member and trainer for Law Enforcement I spent a tremendous amount of time speaking with individuals in crisis. These included individuals threatening harm to themselves and others and a successful interview could literally mean the difference between life and death. Using some of those same learned verbal skills I’ve put together a few suggestions to increase your chances during Interview/EVP attempts.

Rule of 5:

The rule of 5 means the maximum words in your question shouldn’t exceed 5 words when possible. Think of it this way, if the best EVP/Disembodied voice you have ever caught is 2-3 words what are the chances they are going to hear more than 2-3 words of your question? Keep it simple! Asking long winded questions is problematic at best. Your questions should be short and to the point.


I suggest removing questions with the word WHY in them. As mentioned previously, most responses are 1-3 words at best. Asking a why questions invites a long response that you are less likely to capture in full and can be a waste of energy on an attempted response. Focus on answers that can be answered in 1-3 words.

Open Ended Questions:

Cater your questions to as many possible responders as possible. For example, if you’re investigating a location that is allegedly haunted by Dr. Arnold Stevens you would not want to begin with this line of questioning:

“Dr. Stevens are you here?”

It’s certainly a question worth asking (maybe towards the end of your evp session) but you’ll have better chances of a response by catering to any entity/spirit present?

Who’s here with us?    &    What was your occupation?

The first example question has limited the response to ONLY Dr. Stevens.  While the second and third example questions have opened the responders up to anyone present. Which do you think has a better chance of yielding a result?

In 2009, while working a repeat investigation with another group in TN we found ourselves back in the Master bedroom of the allegedly haunted location. The homeowner believed the “man” she, and other family members, had been seeing around the house was the original homeowner and she was able to find (verified) property documents with his full name.  Instead of asking: Peter are you here? I and another investigator chose a line of questioning which added a level of confirmation to the homeowner claims. In our best southern accent we very slowly and respectfully stated:

Like a couple of good Southern gentlemen we’re going to introduce ourselves and hope you’ll do the same. My name’s Will. My names Trey………….…(10 second pause)………………….  What’s your name?

Within 10 seconds we captured, on two separate Audio Recorders, an EVP male voice reply: I’m Peter…


Researchers have determined that only 7% of your statements/questions are actually interpreted by the choice of words spoken aloud. Successful interviewers understand it’s not the word chosen; it’s how you say them. Tone (defined as the quality of a person’s voice) can be the difference in any conversation. Time and time again I have witnessed Investigators attempting to ask questions in the same loud monotone voice. People don’t respond positively to such speakers why would anything else?

The best example to convey this is if you ever had a book read to you as a child or if you read to your own children at bedtime can you recall how your voice changes during the story line? Find that voice of connection and utilize it in your questions along with a lower voice. Speaking with a loud voice may allow everyone on the same floor to hear you. But sometimes, speaking softer will actually draw a listener in and force them to focus on your words and not ignore boisterous questions.

Verification of Possible Experiences:

In the event you or any of your team witness a possible manifestation, manipulation of your environment or believe you were touched immediately ask the question regarding the event.

Did you just touch my arm?   Or    Was that you I saw by the fireplace?    Or     Are you making it cold?

If you capture an EVP response verifying your own Personal Experience it lends credibility to the event.

I’ve had two events (in 2009 &2010) where I thought I witnessed a very brief female apparition out of the corner of my eye. The events were so quick I almost waved them off as my imagination. But by quickly asking the questions:  Was that you on the stairs?    Was that you I saw by the pillar?

And capturing two feminine replies stating:   Sure was…. And Yes…. I can now add a small level of credibility to those personal experiences.


Now, the above suggestions are basic tips. Essentially they’re Tools in the toolbox! Like a good carpenter is takes time to develop and use your tools effectively. Practice is always a benefit and cannot be stressed enough. Having attended numerous trainings on Interview Techniques the one constant, despite the technique or teacher, was the need to practice. I can still remember repeating Interview techniques over and over again on my long drive to work until I had them as second nature.

Yes, there may be some exceptions to the basic tips, there always are.  But the basics listed above are suggestions worth considering. Try implementing a few into your next investigation and see if you have better results?

Ruth Boynton

Ruth Boynton

Asst Director / Asst Webmaster at WI Paranormal Group
Hi, my name is Ruth Boynton. I come from the crazy mid-west (Wisconsin) and found I have always had an interest in the paranormal. It was a night class that I attended at a community technical college a few years ago that gave me the direction I needed. Three years later, I now am co-founder of my own group, WI Paranormal Group. Oh, yes…the instructor has become a consultant with my group!Most nights you can find me cruising through the many images and stories about the paranormal and the world in which we reside. NPS is one of the many places I found myself doing this. I hope I can add to the group with some knowledge and insight; while learning from everyone here.
Ruth Boynton

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