It’s inevitable. A paranormal investigator finally reaches the end of their long journey. After a few trips down the abandoned hallways of a long deserted and reportedly haunted building you set down your gear and break out the tape recorder. Holding out the recorder you hope to catch some EVP, so you ask the most obvious question, “If there are any entities here, I’d like to ask you a few questions.” You fumble for the play button and play back a voice that unmistakably says, “Go on…” But what do you ask next? Be sure to keep these in mind next time you set out to record EVP.
First, remember that even if they’re not going anywhere, ghosts don’t seem to like to waste their time. Investigators have reported that often entities will simply pack up and leave in the middle of a session if you ask them questions they’re not interested in answering. If you’re the 500th investigator at a famous haunted house, and you ask the inevitable question “How did you die?” The sound you hear playing back just might be the entity sighing and rolling its eyes as it drifts away in an attempt to scare up the tv remote. In addition, asking a few expertly decided questions will be a way to help impress your fellow investigators to show you’re not just another investigator. You’re someone trying to put the psychology back into parapsychology.
“What sort of question should I ask you?” Ghosts are entities of few words. You’re likely to get a single word or maybe two. You’re not going to get a long soliloquy about what the afterlife is like. But you will likely get a cryptic and almost certainly eerie response ranging from a little girl singing and laughing to a gravelly voice telling you something about how cold it is. These are fairly archetypal responses. When you let your interred interviewees pick the topic, you just might hit on EVP gold. Elaborate on the topic they give and be creative.
“Do you like being left alone?” The thing about this question is, no matter what the response is, it’s generally pretty creepy. Though it is asked often, if you’re looking for something chilling think about it this way – whatever it is, they’re going to feel pretty strongly about it. If they want to be left alone, they’ll make it known. But it may be almost as creepy to hear them say they want you to stay with them.
“Where should we take our investigation next?” Depending on where it is, this might not be a good one to ask. Or it could be a great one. Take anything the entity says in response to this question under your own judgment and don’t ignore the warnings and suggestions of your fellow hunters. The entity could be steering you toward a place where it has more power, or just trying to steer you to that place under the quickly deteriorating chandelier so it can snap and fall on someone. Be sure to follow the number one rule of ghost hunting first, which is the safety of everyone involved. But also consider that an entity may suggest you go somewhere some strange evidence has been left behind, or there may be a literal skeleton in the closet somewhere.
Another important point that may be made is to speak in the dialect or language the entity haunting the building would be in. In the French quarter of Louisiana, for example, it may be handy to have someone who speaks French. You don’t have to adopt a fake accent, but keep in mind people of the Revolutionary War spoke very differently from how we do today. Brush up on your dialect and try to avoid scandal by showing an appropriate level of modesty and reverence around them. Some paranormal investigators have even taking to wearing period clothes of the places they investigate. Just be sure if you do, it doesn’t inhibit your mobility.