Quite often, and especially in the paranormal field, we tend to tout our achievements and beat on our chests, “Look where we’re going! Guess what we caught?” It’s a common theme, just check out the NPS Facebook posts with proud investigators displaying their “proof” on a daily basis. These acts are just as common in the workplace as everyone has degrees and achievements plastered up on their wall (I’m a guilty one) or reveling in their latest project’s success. While there is some natural tendency to proclaim ones achievements perhaps it’s time to start taking a different approach with the paranormal. Instead of proclaiming our accolades let’s start sharing our mistakes! This is something I started doing years ago while working in Law Enforcement and discovered it’s a much better learning tool than a classroom environment with someone proclaiming to be a teacher. Most people assimilate, accept and remember someone else’s mistakes with detail and even more so if it is from a friend or equal peer.
So, my upcoming monthly articles will detail some of my biggest mistakes. Hopefully, if you’re reading this you can avoid the pitfalls I stumbled into. This month, I’m going to start with Audio Recorders.
In March of 2009 we were visiting Waverly Hills for the first time and found a quiet section on the second floor for some EVP work. My team co-founder David staked out the North end of the Children’s Auditorium with me on the South end with about 80 feet between us. Each of us had our own audio recorder nearby and it was during this time frame when we caught our best EVP of the night proclaiming “We are here!” When we discovered this EVP we were floored with the sound level, clarity and response to a direst question: Can you give us a sign of your presence?
The mistake: only having one Audio Recorder for each investigator in an oversized room and not syncing the audio recorders at the same time. Instead of “we are here!” It was actually David’s voice from the far side of the room stating “let me grab a chair” on our 2nd audio recorder. Is it possible David’s words could have been manipulated for a different response captured on my audio recorder 80 ft. away? Absolutely! But without a third Audio recorder there was not another source of data to compare and, it took quite a while sifting through the second audio recorder to find that statement for comparison.
Our solution: At this time, my group has agreed to several small requirements for Audio Recording at an investigation site. First, every member present is required to have at least one audio recorder for the duration of the investigation. Second, all Audio recorders are sync’d at the beginning of the investigation and we let them run for the entire investigation, even during breaks and down time. What’s the benefit? Every Audio Recorder has the exact same time. This allows any evidence review to quickly locate a suspected EVP on another’s audio recorder for reclassification, confirmation or even triangulation of where the voice originated from. Also, by leaving the Audio Recorders on and never turning those off you are ALWAYS collecting evidence. It’s amazing how many EVP’s we have found during break time on an investigation and on some cases they are the best EVP’s of the day. If you’re on the property, let the audio keep recording! After all your Audio Recorders (with the same Time) are worked through for evidence collection over lay these Audio logs. Not only will you be able to account for every investigator’s location (which is extremely helpful if you’re running multiple teams in a large haunt venue like Waverly hills) but you’ll be able to trend hot spots and compare EVP’s. If you’d like more info check the Resources Tab for the Documentation Spreadsheet. Finally, once we’re done reviewing, comparing and reclassifying possible evidence we’ll ask a team member who did not participate in the investigation to review the summarized evidence for a clear perspective. They can cue up and review all audio logs for comparison and weigh in on the possible evidence collected from the investigation.
Now, one of the best things about a mistake is discovering a way not to repeat it. While you may avoid the same pitfall your (or in this case my) solution still may not be the best. Recognize there is always a better way to do something. If someone has a better idea or evolved a similar yet superior solution always explore and refine your own. Remember, if we don’t continue to change with the times we become extinct. Then someone might be trying to coax an EVP out of you….