I initially trialled using a digital dictaphone to document physical phenomena and the proceedings of sittings, and to avoid disagreements post sitting; there was no intention or expectation of capturing EVP on the first recording. I was mindful of our flawed confidence in recollecting multiple detailed events over the period of two hours. Sitters were initially sympathetic to my reasons for recording and were excited to hear the voices of those who communicated with us through other means.
I began uploading recordings to multiple computers, running the same software, and discovered the soundcard to be a critical variable in the creation of EVP from digital recordings. There are minor differences in the amplitudes of EVP between identical Toshiba laptops with the same card, but using different computers such as an iMac, results are dramatically reduced. The version of Audacity and its settings have a minor effect on EVP reproduction, in comparison.
In my experience, the method of how recordings are transferred also has a direct bearing on how many EVP are recognised and reported, this was incidentally discovered in early experiments; the Olympus VN2100 is a basic device requiring real time transfers from the earphone socket to the computer, the Olympus LS10 has direct USB functionality. When the same recording on the Olympus LS10 was transferred via a standard 3.5mm cable, rather than by USB, the capture rate on Audacity was greater. Why the use of a copper conductor should positively amplify the production of EVP from pre-existing digital recordings, remains unknown.
After the analysis of a recording has been completed, and before the next sitting, group members are played EVP clips from the previous session; this has two functions, to agree a common interpretation of words and phrases, and to personally acquaint members with the speakers, thereby forming a stronger link with our communicators. Hearing the voices, provides a more vivid sense of their reality and enables sitters to be less inhibited during seances; they are more likely to play an active part in the recording, than attending without a review.
Because the nature of EVP has not been fully explained, members still question their experiences of paranormal phenomena, regardless of our body of evidence and mentally, it can be challenging to deduce whether the phenomena are actual or unconscious self-deception. When Tracey reported seeing a flash of white light, it was a confirmational EVP, stating “big flash” (19), that affirmed the phenomena as being witnessed.