How do you get so many EVPs?
Some might be tempted to be skeptical about the number of alleged EVP's a group posts. However, with COPS, you'll see it's a simple matter of math and tools. Let me explain...
First off, the amount of EVPs we have can be contributed 3 ways. First, we do a lot of cases. Second we use a lot of equipment, and third, we try to invest in decent recording gear. The reason we use so many recording devices (nearly 20 analog and digital) is the concept that the more hooks you have in the water, the better the odds that you will catch a fish. We try to use the best quality analog tapes we can find as well as relying mostly on battery-powered microphones, which will produce a better recording.
When it comes to processing the raw recordings and looking for the potential EVPs, we have even more gear. Good software, Sound cards (both internal and external), good 2.1/5.1 speaker systems for the PC's, In-line headphone amplifiers, etc, etc... we try and use every tool at out disposal to give ourselves the best possible chance of finding possible paranormal audio recordings. Our outlook on the necessity of equipment is simple - the more we invest in the gear, the better return we get with the evidence.
Why do you have so much equipment?
The answer is very much the same as the above question. The more devices we have collecting evidence (audio/video/photo), the better the odds are that we will capture something. Also, since we have many different kinds of the same thing, (ex: microphones and recorders) we have begun a tracking project to see which devices and combinations of devices turn out more evidence. We feel you really can't have too much stuff. Although we rarely would use everything at a given case, it affords use great flexibility in meeting the needs of a given location, as well as being able to deal with challenges we can't foresee until we get there.
How do afford all of that stuff?
Most of the members of COPS are in their late twenties to mid-thirties and have decent paying jobs. That being said, we don't spend as much as you would think on what we have. We've pretty much made a science out of finding good deals on equipment. And not everything is what you would call "top-shelf." For instance, we have 4 full-size audio tape recorders that were only $20.00 a piece, but they work just fine. When combined with higher quality microphones and such, they produce a lot of good evidence. I've seen many of these items we have being sold for as much as 3X more than what we paid. Amazon.com, eBay, Froogle.com all play a big role in getting outfitted well for less. Knowing where to find what items for less in stores helps too.
Even with all the deals and tricks we have, we do spend a lot of money on our team, and that is because we are very passionate about what we do and want to have everything we need to do what we do that much better than the next guy. We're more than willing to spend money on our gear because we're not just doing this as a thrill-seeking adventure.e.
What exactly IS your experience?
A big concern of some potential clients is the paranormal groups experience level. Few and far between are the sites admitting to having little or no experience. Sometimes websites can be misleading, both intentionally and not intentionally. Here's the skinny on COPS:
COPS (in its current form) has been around and actively investigating for a little over 4 years. Some members of the group have been at it longer, but we're judging this as a team. Now, while two years may not seem like much to some, one must consider how much field time is in there.
Most of the time COPS will run investigations (new or follow-up) every weekend for 3 weeks straight, then take two or three weekends off. The "on" weekends consist of investigations running from around 8:30 pm to 2:30-3:00 a.m. the following day and evenings throughout the following week are spent reviewing evidence. "Off" weekends usually have at least some time set aside for planning upcoming trips. When you look at the investigations page of our site, consider that we have been to many of them throughout several trips, as well as many dead-end trips that we felt were not even worth mentioning. Rarely a day passes where COPS business isn't being discussed amongst ourselves. We've never tried to count up exact statistics about our experience, but needless to say, we stay busy and do at least one new trip per month.
One more important thing to consider in the "experience" area is the maturity factor that comes with a group whose average age of its members is over 30.
The fact of the matter is we DON'T always get something. There have been many investigations that turned up absolutely nothing... and that's with 10 recorders going. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is. However, as I mentioned earlier, when we do get a lot of stuff, it comes down to simple math.
Let's say someone thinks it 'odd' that we got 5 EVPs (the easiest evidence to get) out of a place that perhaps they got nothing at. When you consider 10 recorders recording an average of at least 3 to 4 hours each, you have 30 to 40 hours of audio to listen to. The 5 EVPS we got may consist of 60 seconds of the 40 hours. That's a lot of review work, but it just goes to show that the more you use, the better the odds are you'll get lucky.
Also, a non-investigator friend of mine was looking at our EVP page and asked questions about several of them. Some of them sounded to good/too real to be true. I agree, I would think the same thing if I were him. Some of them even fall within the human range of voice, and therefore, we can't prove to a skeptic beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are indeed paranormal. However, the key comes in the investigation notes. Knowing who was where when recordings were being done. Hearing a female voice on a recording when there were no females present is another obvious indicator.
There have been times when the audio screener believes he has a possible EVP. Our first step is to email the clip to everyone present to double check if anyone recognizes themselves in it. This simple check has been very helpful in ruling out many alleged EVPs. Another good check is looking at the potential EVP on the spectral display of Adobe Audition and seeing how it compares to the sounds/voices around it, as well as its frequency. A lot goes into checking EVPs, but as it is true throughout the paranormal community, where there is a believer, there is a critic waiting to dispute it.