Since I’m one of those people who believes spirits are around us always, I also put a great deal of credence in the idea that they often telegraph their presence. Sometimes a series of noises, certain specific changes in the immediate environment, or frequent movement visible from the corner of my eye will pique my interest enough to start recording for EVP. I’ve found that these indications usually result in productive sessions. I’m convinced that being a good observer is my most reliable tool, so I frequently try to hone those skills – i think practice improves the odds.
I also practice at listening. My wife’s sleep apnea machine serves as an unexpected blessing in that regard, since it sounds so similar to the noise I frequently hear when listening to digital recording files. I lay awake for awhile and try to listen through that noise in an attempt to sharpen the skill of separating and identifying natural sounds. I try to listen as deeply as possible and with as much focus as I can for twenty minutes every night, which I often follow with another ten minutes of concentrated CEV (closed eye visualization) exercises. Likewise, I appreciate moments of silence during an investigation because it provides an opportunity to familiarize myself with whatever the audible norm might be for the location. I try to hear more than the specific sound. I try to hear from where it may have originated.
I’ve been told that this seems silly to some people – overkill, with very little potential for increased results. Obviously, I disagree. As a researcher and investigator, I consider it compulsory to develop and improve my observational proficiency whenever I can, and in whatever way possible. I believe this practice has contributed significantly to whatever ability I might have gained over the years. It’s easy to hear a noise or a voice that’s in your face and obvious, but the paranormal is rarely obvious and demands we change the paradigm of our efforts constantly. Our observational skills must be up to that challenge, but an added value comes in the confidence you feel in what you see and hear. Observation isn’t simply concentration and focus. Reliable observation is “obiter dictum” – an expression of fact.