Personally, my viewpoint is that I am open in a philosophical manner to the possibility of life after death in some form. However, I do not believe that anything I have heard or seen (and that includes apparitions on more than one occasion) supports the assumption that ghosts, channelling and other related phenomena are linked to survival beyond the grave. Even so, if I am to accept the possibility that EVP recordings could represent another stage of human existence I must therefore give the survival hypothesis a fair shot, as well as other ideas proposed by spiritualists.
So, if I really could be conversing with the dead I feel it reasonable to treat them like I would any living person I don't know: with caution. And perhaps the spiritualists have been right all along and 'negative' energies/entities/spirits [delete as appropriate] can attach themselves to the unwary. If all of the tales are true then there is potential for some psychic backlash (that's a term for the alleged ill fortune perceived to fall upon people who mess with Fortean phenomena they are not meant to understand) that could manifest itself in different means from bad luck through to depression and unwelcome accidents. Maybe something will come through and attach itself to my home and cause some hassle along the way by moving a few objects, tampering with electronic equipment and doing anything else it can to cause bother. Knowing my luck I'd be the one who attracts some lower form of elemental demon; like the Minotaur on the Covonia cough medicine adverts, only with a stinking attitude. If she wasn't worried before then my wife will certainly be terrified now.
Fortunately I expect the reality will be a lot different. AAEVP even possess an article on their bulging website that addresses the issues of EVP safety. It offers both a warning and some accompanying reassurance:
'We believe that working with EVP and ITC is fundamentally safe. It is difficult to find a single example in which an individual has been harmed because of their communication across the veil. Yes, people have occasionally been “bothered" ... We want to make sure that people do not feel that something is wrong with them if they do encounter one of these less spiritually educated entities. Many researchers have had this happen. If you are one of them, you are not alone. Discarnate entities are attracted to people in the flesh who seem to be supportive of them in some way; someone who might be sympathetic about their plight. So, if you have attracted an angry entity, you are not necessarily an angry person. For example, if the angry entity is afraid to go on because of some dastardly deed committed in a past lifetime, and you are knowledgeable about why the entity should not be afraid, then it may very well be attracted to you as a potential source of guidance.'
Most notably though. the article teaches a fundamental lesson about attitude in relationship to recording EVP, the need to maintain a positive outlook and to stay in control, for it seems that bad spirit apples are drawn to negativity:
'If you, at anytime, think you are in contact with low level entities, leave your tape recorder. Remain in control at all times. Anyone can sit down to tape. It takes much more inner strength to pull the plug and walk away.” Negative thoughts, such as fear or hate, are powerful forms of energy, and this energy can accumulate and do harm. It is as if this negative energy is an anti-particle that neutralizes positive energy and dissipates it from our use. We also believe that negative energy is not as sustainable as is positive energy because it is not consistent with the fundamentally positive nature of reality. Thus, as entities gain in spiritual maturity, they become less able to sustain fear or hate.
'We advise people who are fearful of the unknown or who might have trouble keeping the voices in perspective, to pass on EVP. Our concern is that a person's fear might tend to be amplified by a close encounter with an entity. The entity could be perfectly friendly, but because of fear and because the encounter is so fleeting, a fearful person might see the encounter as a reason to be more fearful.
'Experimenters are responsible for creating a positive contact field for the other side. This includes expectations. You are responsible for your own life, and who and what you let into your environment and consciousness. Protect your personal environment and maintain a field of positive energy around your home and all that you do.'
So, lesson one has been learned. Stay positive in my experimentation and chances are that nothing will be looking to make my life a misery, if indeed I will actually be communicating with the dead and they do have the ability to physically interact. So, that's the reassurance for my wife, although I have a sneaking feeling that we will return to the survival hypothesis and methods of EVP safety at another time.
Enough philosophical asides, what do I need to get my hands on to start the recording process?