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Stephen Wagner

PARANORMAL ANSWER MAN: Is recording EVP dangerous?

By January 5, 2013

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EVP recorder"I have question about EVP," writes Lukas. "I just saw film about a man who tried to record EVP of his dead girlfriend. Is recording of EVP and talking with 'spirits' dangerous? There are a lot of things in the world that we cannot solve or that we don't have logical answers for. I am programmer and physicist; I am studying for a nuclear physics PhD. Also, I am living in area where a cemetery once was and is now a block of flats, so recording of EVP here could be interesting. On the other hand, I am living here, and that could be little stressful."

Thank you for your question, Lukas. Recording EVP (electronic voice phenomena) is not in itself dangerous. People have been recording them for many years without incident. There are those who might be frightened by what the voices might say in an EVP -- especially if they perceive it as something threatening -- but perhaps those who are easily frightened should not be experimenting with it. And usually any "danger" in the investigation of anything in the paranormal realm comes from our fear of it, not from the thing itself.... Read the rest of my answer.


January 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm
(1) I Disagree says:

Any attempt to initiate two-way communications with the dead is necromancy, which is condemned by (at least) Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. It really makes no particular difference if the tools used for the ritual are Tarot cards, a Ouija board, a pendulum, a basin of water, or a modern tape recorder.

Saying that people appear to do this with no apparent ill effect other than getting scared is like saying that people appear to take no worse harm from starting to smoke other than coughing. Some cough, some don’t, but they all do damage, whether or not this eventually manifests itself as lung cancer. With EVPs, some are frightened, some are not, but in all cases spiritual damage is done, even though the effect may well be delayed (as is lung cancer) and may lead to worse effects in some than in others.

January 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm
(2) paranormal says:

Howard — I don’t think your analogy to smoking works. It has been medically proved that smoking harms your health. It has not been proved — nor is there any evidence — that EVP is dangerous, physically or spiritually.

January 6, 2013 at 2:44 am
(3) Ashley says:

I’ve always been curious in EVP’s and how they work. But in the back of my mind I have always had this little voice asking, is trying to communicate through EVP really safe? How can anyone say it’s not dangerous or completely safe when no one has been able to prove where the heck these voices are coming from? All we can go by for now, is that past situations involving people on ghost hunts receiving EVPS seem to show it as not dangerous. Me? That’s not enough evidence to prove safety in a world that I believe are reeked with unreliable answers, especially about the paranormal, which I do believe exists.

January 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm
(4) paranormal says:

Ashley — I really think that is a fear-based response. I choose to approach these things not from a position of fear, but from the standpoint of rational curiosity. If we don’t, we’ll never understand it.

January 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm
(5) Howard says:


Actually, the analogy works much better than you think.

For one thing, centuries ago smoking was not an everyday thing, and it was bound up with ceremony and ritual. The thing was true, to a much greater extent, of necromancy. Today, on the other hand, smoking is something that is typically started by teenagers because they think it is cool. the same is true of “ghost hunting” in general.

Do you know of any studies on the dangers of smoking from a corncob pipe? There probably are none. That’s because researchers see no reason to differentiate a corncob pipe from a pipe made of any other material, though they may distinguish smoking pipes from smoking cigars or cigarettes. Armed with this lack of a particular study, you can merrily dispense advice that there is “no evidence” that smoking from a corncob pipe is dangerous.

The analogy would be that EVPs are necessarily recent, since the technology for them did not exist a century ago, but that other forms of necromancy have been observed to be problematic. You might investigate why the religious beliefs held (at least nominally) by more than 50% of the world’s population condemn necromancy before claiming that there is “no evidence” against it. You might particularly look at The Church and Spiritualism by Herbert Thurston, S.J., which (1) was willing to accept that Spiritualism involved real paranormal phenomena, (2) did not claim that Spiritualists were (knowingly or deliberately) in league with the Devil, but still (3) documented the spiritually corrosive effects of Spiritualism on the mediums who practiced it.

January 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm
(6) paranormal says:

Howard — I’m pretty sure the studies show that smoking tobacco is dangerous to your health, whether it is smoked in a cigarette or a corncob pipe, so I don’t really get the point you’re trying to make there.

And just because “50% of the world’s population” condemns necromancy due to their beliefs that necromancy is dangerous is not evidence that it IS dangerous — it’s just part of their belief system. It does not mean that it is empirically true. Belief, by a majority or not, is not evidence.

And I’m not sure what you mean by “spiritually corrosive.” Could science be considered “spiritually corrosive” because it disproves a lot of religious dogma believed in by millions of people for thousands of years?

January 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm
(7) paranormal says:

Howard — Also, you are assuming the EVP is necromancy when we do not really know if can be considered that or not.

January 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm
(8) Frank W. says:

If you look at this from a religious point of view then yes it can be dangerous. Anything outside the little square that you have been told to stand in is dangerous. Any view outside the “teachings” are to be avoided at all cost -lest it condemns your soul to Hell.

If you look at this with a scientific point of view then no it is not dangerous. You are merely researching a field of interest hoping to find answers to a question that has been asked since the dawn of cuvilized man- Is there anything beyond this life?

Science is not dangerous. Religion is not dangerous. Neither one has all the answers.


January 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm
(9) Howard says:

Frank, if you had actually read the book I mentioned you would have seen that the bit about “standing outside the little square” you referred to actually meant such things as becoming an alcoholic, having disastrous family relationships, and being publicly exposed as a fraud. These were the spiritually corrosive aspects that Fr. Thurston wrote about. He said nothing about the Fox sisters or other Spiritualistic mediums going to Hell, both because he did not know whether or not they did and because such a statement would have been casually dismissed by people like yourself. You should really, really read some of his books rather than depending solely on stereotypes for your information.

By the way, Frank, what kind of science degree do you have? Mine is a Ph.D. in physics, though I just added a master’s in software engineering. I teach at Marshall University, where I have been running a Research Experience for Undergraduates for the past 3 years and am now waiting to find out whether the grant will be extended. All this is a part of the public record. So if you’re going to claim to be more scientifically literate, substantiate your claims.

January 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm
(10) Frank W. says:

Howard, let me first point out that my comment was not, repeat was not directed at you. It was my opinion and yes I am entitled to my opinion. So you have a Ph. D. in Physics and a Master’s in software engineering and teach at Marshall University, I am happy for you, you worked hard to earn them but it doesn’t make your opinion any better than mine .

I have looked over my comment and I can not find anywhere where I claim to be “more scientifically literate”- I merely made the statement that neither Science nor Religion have all the answers and that we should keep looking until we find them. How do you substantiate a statement?

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