A “ghost archaeology” of the senses is critical to unearth and document a manifesting intelligent past cultural presence. We must incorporate the concept of memory with the study of past senses. This is a necessary procedure to reconstruct past sensory experiences. It leads to an integrated process of experienced space, material past culture (“ghost culture”), shaped memories, and contextual identities.
The use of general EVP sweeps, a common practice in “ghost hunting” (“Is anyone here….?, “Show us a sign…..! Do Something!!) is creating a different soundscape at haunted locations. It identifies the individual (as investigator) as an outsider, thus limiting the sensuality (and sensory awareness) of a haunted location.
In contrast, I use “contextual EVP”, as part of the “P.O.P.” process. If my participatory acts cause a contextual manifestation, I immediately ask: “Did you like that….”? or something relevant to that manifesting form. This resonates with the entity, and does not isolate (and identify) me as an “outsider”.
Another problem of a general EVP sweep is that we do not know what we may have just recorded. There is no socio-cultural contextual context. We are not sensually aware of the implications (if any) of our EVP sweep until much later in the analysis phase.
Sometimes, architectural features at a site may actually have been prompted by a specific desire to manipulate sound effects, such as in a ritual context. This has shown to be the case at many archaeological sites. Perhaps, the same is true in some haunted, multi-layered historic locations. Was that EVP actually an “echo effect” or a purposeful architectural resonance that was previously imprinted on the wall or another physical feature in the environment? Without a processual context (participatory resonating cultural act/manifesting contextual response), we just don’t know!
New investigative avenues open as we change our attitude and approach at haunted locations. I believe this attitude change will greatly alter our understanding of past interactive presence. It also underscores the profound value of a broader cultural investigative participatory approach to ghost research!