I think it's valuable to not only discuss the equipment TAPS currently uses in paranormal investigations, but to talk about the equipment that, for one reason or another, didn't make the cut.
The white noise generator is widely employed by many paranormal investigators and is believed by many to be an excellent catalyst for drawing out EVP activity. According to some theorists, it does this by providing a pure, constant level of noise that spiritual entities can draw from to generate a sound or voice.
We initially employed the white noise generator as a catalyst in our own investigations to improve our ability to capture EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). However, using the white noise generator in this capacity did not improve our rate of EVP captures or enhance our ability to identify EVPs when they occurred. In fact, we tended to capture as many or more EVPs without the device.
So I instead began using the white noise generator as a baseline sound in our EVP sessions, using the white noise to drown out all the normal background sounds we were hearing: Water dripping, the slight chatter of building walls, ambient noise, etc.
Surprisingly, it worked quite well in this capacity. You tended to hear only voices coming over the white noise. It effectively drowned out all ambient noise. The downside was that the sound from the generator was hard to bear, especially in residential cases. After two or three years, we retired the white noise generator from TAPS investigations.
However, you may want to try out the white noise generator in your own investigations and, since this device has many proponents who are convinced of its value, I think it's prudent you know how to use this piece of equipment. In ghost hunting, it's imperative you figure out what works best for you.
Make sure you're using a 100% pure white noise generator
There are many investigators who think they can get good results by using a radio or television as their white noise source. This just isn't the case. You should use a one hundred percent pure white noise generator. It has to be properly shielded so it's insulated from roaming signals and frequencies. If it's not a 100% clean white noise generator, then you risk the chance of capturing a rogue radio / television transmission or even-according to some experts-cell phone conversations. When purchasing a white noise generator make sure you compare different brands, read online product reviews and listen to testimonials from people you trust.
Turn on the white noise generator and place it close to your Digital Recorder
Find a spot for your white noise generator that's close to the audio recorder but not so close that the white noise generator overpowers the recorder and blocks out all other noises.
Adjust the volume to the appropriate level
The white noise generator typically has a simple “ON/OFF” switch that also acts as the volume dial. The white noise generator should be at a volume at which, if someone enters the room, you can clearly hear them talking and understand what they are saying. The last thing you want to do is drown out voices. Remember, the white noise is meant to provide an undifferentiated background noise that enhances your ability to detect EVPs when they occur, so it's counterproductive to turn it up too high. To test your volume, turn on your digital recorder and then switch on your white noise generator. Have someone come in the room and talk. When you play back the recording you should be able to hear the speaker clearly and comprehensibly.
Use white noise generator in intervals during an EVP session
For the first year we used the white noise generator I would run it for an hour and then turn it off, leaving only the digital recorder running. This would help me hear if we were getting different results with the white noise generator. I did the same thing during our Q&A sessions, turning the generator on for 20 minutes then turning it off for twenty minutes.
After using the white noise generator for over two years, I found that there was no significant difference using or not using the white noise generator. Either we caught an EVP, or we didn't. I didn't see evidence that the white noise generator created better conditions for an EVP session, in fact looking back I think we may have had less results when using it.
Listening to a recording where you've used the white noise generator
I mentioned that the white noise generator does work to filter out ambient and background noise, so if you properly set the volume on your generator, you should have a nice, constant stream of background noise from which you might be able to distinguish a voice or sound. This does not mean turning on the white noise generator has summoned spirits, or has created the perfect environment for communication. In our investigations, the white noise generator produced no evidence that it was a successful catalyst for paranormal activity. However, if you can handle the incessant “ssssshhhh” sound the generator produces, and don't find it distracting to your investigation, especially in a residential location where the space may be limited and other people present, the white noise generator may provide a regulated audio source from which you can identify other noises.
In my own experience, I've found that the theoretical applications of this device, while intriguing, were unsupported by TAPS field use. Remember, that when deciding to use any piece of equipment, your experience is your best guide. Good hunting!
Check out the introduction to Britt's Gear Guide as he takes you on a tour of the TAPS gear room.
Adam Berry answers your questions from Facebook!
Britt and KJ get a funny look at what they find while investigating.