or "Why do ghosts only speak English?"
Most readers should know by now that I am not too keen on the notion of EVPs. I mean, I like the idea behind them, and I'd like for them to be true, it's just getting harder and harder for me to accept them (especially when used in conjecture with a spirit box, see this post
as to why). At some point I'll go a bit more in depth to my reluctance to the use of EVPs, but for now I want to concentrate on something specific.
Do ghosts, supernatural entities, or other related beings naturally speak and understand English?
From old burial grounds to ruined castles, we've seen paranormal groups go in, recorders and microphones at the ready, asking the entities various questions in the hopes of getting a reply. Should there be a response, the group easily identifies the words, and it is played back a few times, with the word(s) spelled out at the bottom of the screen for all of us to hear.
There's a couple things wrong with this. The first is with the text itself: if the word or phrase is identifiable, then it doesn't need a visual to reinforce what is being said. By displaying the word for us to see, our minds automatically make the assumption that that is exactly what is being said. The second deals with the question I asked above: do they speak English?
While in the Navy, I had the privilege to go to various countries throughout the world (Pacific Fleet, 1990 through 1994). If I had gone up to someone in any of those countries and started asking them questions, I would have been answered with either blank stares, a shrug and shake of the head, the waving of hands, or just enough of an understanding to hear "no english".
It should stand to reason that the same can be said with EVPs. If you know the area and history of the site you are conducting the investigation, English may not be the language to use. Using the example with the Navy, whenever we would visit a country, I made an effort to learn a little of their language to help me get by, or in the very least enough so I wouldn't get lost or seem impolite.
This summer, NLPRS is going to Devils Lake
, for both a vacation and an investigation. Yes, I will be trying to conduct EVP sessions, but some of them will not be in English, but rather spoken in Lakota. Not only was the Lakota language the most wide-spread language among the native American Indians, but it was also spoken by the Nakota, and would be understandable by the Ho-Chunk, two tribes which inhabited the area. It is their legends, stories, and accounts that are being investigated, so it would only stand to reason that, as far as EVPs are concerned, greetings and questions be posed as such.
One could make a successful argument that when conducting EVP sessions, one should try to ask questions in the language of that which is being investigated. Sure, you might pronounce the words wrong, but then as a response you might get a correction, or something along those lines. That might be a lot better for the investigator than getting a sound which, in the native language, would mean "no". We might not be able to hear or understand something that is spoken in their natural tongue.
Others might argue the validity of speaking English. They might say that they don't want to offend the entity by screwing up, or they might believe that the entity is psychically channeling an understanding of the spoken language. With the first, let me say that I have never come across someone who got irritated by another making an attempt to speak their language; they might find it amusing, but they have been helpful, and respect the fact that you made an effort. I believe that same behavior would carry over to the paranormal. With the second, I ask this: if the entity is channeling its understanding of the language, would it not also be easier to respond psychically?
Another fine example is taken from when I was going to college a couple years back. I went to school to get a degree in law enforcement, and one of the courses I had to take involved roadside interactions. In one of the hand's on events, we had to pull a car over and instruct the driver to exit, all from within our squad car. In one scenario, the driver had been instructed to not exit.
To mix things up, I started questioning the driver in various languages, to either step out or to see if he understood my commands. Most of my fellow classmates chuckled and laughed over this, to which the instructor applauded my efforts and asked the rest of the class why they thought it was funny. He asked them "How do you know the driver speaks English? Are you going to pull your weapon and drag him out because he doesn't understand you?"
So. when conducting an EVP, know your target. Do your research. And at least try to meet the entity as an equal. After all, how do you know that it understands you?