You can keep your video games, your knitting, your gardening. Eric Vogel has a hobby that's not your everyday pastime. He records the voices of the dead.
Within the realm of ghost hunting or parapsychology, Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, are the sounds or voices potentially caused by voices from beyond the grave. These sounds are not caught by the ear, appearing only on the digital recordings made by those trying to contact ghosts.
Long fascinated with the paranormal, Vogel is also a history buff, and he combines the two interests in his pursuit of ghostly voices.
"I lucked upon a tour group in town that used to do spirit investigations of the Mid City Hotel, which is right next to the Bistro," said Vogel. "I used to do some investigations with them using a digital recorder and was able to capture some EVPs."
"It was a little crowded. There was a group of about 20 people, so there's some background noise of people chatting and stuff. But I captured a female voice humming, almost like she was holding a baby and kind of comforting it."
"And I also captured a gentleman whistling. The person leading the tour said she was psychic and said there was a gentleman who had once lived at the hotel, and he was a musician."
"There's a misconception (where) when people think of ghosts, they think of something evil. And that isn't necessarily the case. I think there might still be this energy that might still be left in some of these locations, and it could be happy energy."
Vogel concedes it can be tricky to capture EVP when recording devices can also pick up signals from radio stations, CB radios, even baby monitors.
"I look at everything with an eye that it's fake," said Vogel. "I've gone into places that people claim are haunted, and sometimes the spirits aren't active. I'll listen to six hours of audio and get nothing. It could be a car door slamming that you hear. It could be somebody walking up the stairs. You try to debunk because a lot of people scrutinize to the point of saying you're a kook or something for believing in something like this."
"Everybody's got an opinion. If you're not open minded enough to believe there's a possibility of something else being out there, that's your opinion. I'm not going to be able to change that," he added.
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