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Is The Dictophone Mightier Than The Pen?


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Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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The suggestion was recently made that using pen and paper to record an experience after you had it is not good enough.  They suggested that it could take a few minutes to write an account of the experience in any detail and by then the event would have been processed and annalysed too much to make it a good record of the event.  They suggested a dictophone should be employed so that the event could be recorded faster and hence be a more accurate account.  Any thoughts?

Mysteryshopper
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z

I assume we're talking vigil experiences here? A dictaphone would certainly be quicker and easier though I'm not convinced it would increase accuracy  of observation. You need to organise your thoughts whether talking or writing and both can affect your memory of an event.

A dictaphone would allow you to give your thoughts DURING an experience, while you are still observing it. That could definitely be more accurate than describing it afterwards.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Yes I was referring to vigil

Yes I was referring to vigil experiences Mysteryshopper and though I agree a dictophone would be quicker, how much more accurate would it really be and with the additional cost  would it justify retiring the trusty pencil case.

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Daniel Parkinson
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They are invaluable for

They are invaluable for interviews, and I imagine they would be useful on vigils too if balanced with other methods such as notes. Would everybody in a group have one? I just imagine 5 investigators all talking into their hand held machines at the same time would be a bit odd :-) Not everybody is comfortable using them either.

Mysteryshopper
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Ups and downsides

An upsides is that commentary beats recall so describing something being observed would be more accurate than recalling it later. It would also mean you could remain observing instead of looking down to write and maybe missing something.

A downside is that talking into a dictaphone disturbs others and could even be mistaken for a phenomenon (if out of sight of another observer, for instance). Worse, it may influence how other people experience things if they can hear your interpretation.

If you can eliminate the downsides and keep the upsides it would be worth doing.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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I think that is the sensible

I think that is the sensible way to approach it, do the pros outweigh the cons.  Isn't there a certain amount of annalysis of an experience done before deciding to document it though.  For instance, you hear a rattle up the chimney, your thinking in your own mind where you think the noise has come from, what it could be, is it the wind, did anyone else hear it, all before grabbing your pen/dictophone.

Agricola's picture
Agricola
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Slightly off topic, but has

Slightly off topic, but has anyone doing an investigation and using a dictaphone, ever recorded EVP?

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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I think a lot of the EVP

I think a lot of the EVP related claims have been made with equipment featuring internall microphones and is possibly caused by the internal workings of the machine.  This could actually be a good reason not to use a dictophone......unless you have one with an external microphone. 

Mysteryshopper
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Agricola wrote: Slightly
Agricola wrote:

Slightly off topic, but has anyone doing an investigation and using a dictaphone, ever recorded EVP?

Most EVP is recorded just like that these days.

Lee Waterhouse
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I'll just chuck this in the

I'll just chuck this in the mix, if you had a solid state recorder there would be no moving parts. Would EVP still appear ?

Mysteryshopper
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Lee Waterhouse wrote: I'll
Lee Waterhouse wrote:

I'll just chuck this in the mix, if you had a solid state recorder there would be no moving parts. Would EVP still appear ?

Absolutely! Most EVP originates from ambient sound not heard at the time of recording.



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