Backmasking

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Backmasking

  1. 1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking Backmasking Hidden messages prominent rock musicians, leading to record- burning protests and proposed anti-back- Subliminal messages masking legislation by state and federal gov- Audio ernments. Whether backmasked messages exist is in debate, as is whether backmasking • Backmasking can be used subliminally to affect listeners. • Reverse speech • Spectrogram Numeric History • Numerology • Theomatics Development • Bible code In 1877 Thomas Edison invented the phono- • Cryptography graph, a device that allowed sound to be re- Visual corded and reproduced on a rotating cylinder with a stylus (or "needle") attached to a dia- • Fnord phragm mounted at the narrow end of a • Paranoiac-critical method • Pareidolia horn. Emile Berliner invented the familiar • Psychorama lateral-cut disc phonograph record in 1888. • Sacred geometry His design overtook the Edison phonograph • Steganography in the 1920s, since Berliner’s patent expired See also: in 1918, and others were then free to utilize his invention. • Anagram In addition to recreating recorded sounds • Apophenia • Easter egg (media) by placing the stylus on the cylinder or disc • Clustering illusion and rotating it in the same direction as dur- • Observer-expectancy effect ing the recording, one could hear different • Pattern recognition (psychology) sounds by rotating the cylinder or disc back- • Paradox wards.[3] In 1878 Edison noted that, when • Palindrome • Unconscious mind played backwards, "the song is still melodi- ous in many cases, and some of the strains are sweet and novel, but altogether different Backmasking (also known as backward from the song reproduced in the right masking)[1] is a recording technique in which way".[4] The backwards playing of records a sound or message is recorded backward was advised as training for magicians by oc- onto a track that is meant to be played for- cultist Aleister Crowley, who suggested in his ward. Backmasking is a deliberate process, 1913 book Magick (Book 4) that an adept whereas a message found through phonetic "train himself to think backwards by external reversal may be unintentional. means", one of which was to "listen to phono- Backmasking was popularized by The graph records, reversed."[5] Beatles, who used backward vocals and in- The 1950s saw the development of mu- strumentation on their 1966 album Re- sique concrète, an avant-garde form of elec- volver.[2] Artists have since used backmask- tronic music which involves editing together ing for artistic, comedic, and satiric effect, on fragments of natural and industrial sounds, both analog and digital recordings. The tech- and the concurrent spread of the use of tape nique has also been used to censor words or recorders in recording studios.[6] These two phrases for "clean" releases of songs. trends led to tape music compositions, com- Backmasking has been a controversial top- posed on tape using techniques including re- ic in the United States since the 1980s, when verse tape effects.[7] allegations from Christian groups of its use The Beatles, who incorporated the tech- for Satanic purposes were made against niques of concrète into their recordings, 1
  2. 2. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking call from a student at Eastern Michigan University who identified himself as "Tom". The caller asked Gibb about a rumor that Beatle Paul McCartney had died, and claimed that the Beatles song "Revolution 9" con- tained a backward message confirming the rumor. Gibb played the song backwards on his turntable, and heard "Turn me on, dead man … turn me on, dead man … turn me on, dead man…" (listen ).[14] Gibb began telling his listeners about what he called "The Great Cover-up",[15] and to the original clue were added various others, including the alleged backmasked message "Paul is a dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him", in "I’m So Tired".[14] The "Paul is dead" rumor popular- ized the idea of backmasking in popular mu- sic.[2] Tape recorders allowed backward recording Following Gibb’s show, many more songs in recording studios. were found to contain audible phrases when reversed. Initially, the search was done were responsible for popularizing the mostly by fans of rock music, but in the late concept of backmasking.[2] Singer John Len- 1970s,[16] during the rise of the Christian non and producer George Martin both claim right in the United States,[17] fundamentalist they discovered the backward recording Christian groups began to claim that back- technique during the recording of 1966’s Re- masked messages could bypass the conscious volver; specifically the album tracks "Tomor- mind and reach the subconscious, where they row Never Knows" and "I’m Only Sleeping," would be unknowingly accepted by the listen- and the single "Rain".[8] Lennon stated that, er.[18] In 1981, Christian DJ Michael Mills while under the influence of marijuana, he began stating on Christian radio programs accidentally played the tapes for "Rain" in re- that Led Zeppelin’s "Stairway to Heaven" verse, and enjoyed the sound. The following contained hidden messages that were heard day he shared the results with the other by the subconscious.[19] In early 1982, the Beatles, and the effect was used first in the Praise the Lord Network’s Paul Crouch hos- guitar solo for "Tomorrow Never Knows", and ted a show with self-described neuroscientist later in the coda of "Rain".[9][10] According to William Yarroll, who argued that rock stars Martin, the band had been experimenting were cooperating with the Church of Satan to with changing the speeds of and reversing place hidden subliminal messages on re- the "Tomorrow Never Knows" tapes, and cords.[20] Also in 1982, fundamentalist Chris- Martin got the idea of reversing Lennon’s vo- tian pastor Gary Greenwald held public lec- cals and guitar, which he did with a clip from tures on dangers of backmasking, along with "Rain". Lennon then liked the effect and kept at least one mass record-smashing.[21] Dur- it.[11][12] Regardless, "Rain" was the first ing the same year, thirty North Carolina song to feature a backmasked message: teenagers, led by their pastor, claimed that "Sunshine … Rain … When the rain comes, singers had been possessed by Satan, who they run and hide their heads" (listen ; the used their voices to create backward mes- last line is the reversed first verse of the sages, and held a record-burning at their song).[13] church.[22] Allegations of demonic backmasking were Rumors also made by social psychologists, parents, and critics of rock music,[23] as well as the The Beatles were involved in the spread of Parents Music Resource Center (formed in backmasking both as a recording technique 1985),[24] which accused Led Zeppelin of us- and as the center of a controversy. The latter ing backmasking to promote Satanism.[25] On has its roots in an event in 1969, when the April 28, 1982 edition of the CBS Evening WKNR-FM DJ Russ Gibb received a phone News, Dan Rather discussed the finding of 2
  3. 3. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking possible backmasked messages, and played reversed sections of songs by Led Zeppelin, Electric Light Orchestra and Styx.[26] Legislation One result of the furor was the firing of five radio DJs who had encouraged listeners to search for backward messages in their re- cord collections.[16] A more serious con- sequence was legislation by the state govern- ments of Arkansas and California. The 1983 California bill was introduced to prevent backmasking that "can manipulate our beha- vior without our knowledge or consent and turn us into disciples of the Antichrist".[27] Involved in the discussion on the bill was a California State Assembly Consumer Protec- tion and Toxic Materials Committee hearing, during which "Stairway to Heaven" was The compact disc made finding backward played backwards, and William Yaroll testi- messages difficult, causing interest in back- fied.[28] The successful bill made the distribu- masking to decline. tion of records with undeclared backmasking an invasion of privacy for which the distribut- or could be sued.[21] The Arkansas law passed unanimously in 1983, referenced al- bums by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen and Styx,[17] and mandated that records with backmasking in- clude a warning sticker: "Warning: This re- cord contains backward masking which may be perceptible at a subliminal level when the record is played forward." However, the bill was returned to the state senate by Governor Bill Clinton and defeated.[21] House Resolu- The switch to digital audio made recording tion 6363, introduced in 1982 by Represent- backmasked messages quicker and easier. ative Bob Dornan (R-California), proposed mandating a similar label;[29] the bill was re- ferred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, required that the source reel-to-reel tape ac- Transportation and Tourism and was never tually be played backwards, which was passed.[30] Government action was also achieved by first being wound onto the ori- called for in the legislatures of Texas and ginal takeup reel, then reversing the reels so Canada.[21] as to use that reel as the source (this would With the advent of compact discs in the reverse the stereo channels as well). Digital 1980s, but prior to the advent of sound edit- audio recording has greatly simplified the ing technology for personal computers in the process.[31] 1990s, it became more difficult to listen to re- Backmasked words are unintelligible noise cordings backwards, and the controversy when played forward, but when played back- died down.[23] wards are clear speech.[22] Listening to back- masked audio with most turntables requires disengaging the drive and rotating the album Use by hand in reverse[32] (though some can play See also: List of backmasked messages records backwards[18]). With magnetic tape, Backmasking has been used as a recording the tape must be reversed and spliced back technique since the 1960s. In the era of mag- in to the cassette.[32] Compact discs were dif- netic tape sound recording, backmasking ficult to reverse when first introduced, but di- gital audio editors, which were first 3
  4. 4. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking introduced in the late 1980s and became track "Love Bites", from the 1984 album De- popular during the next decade,[33] allow fenders of the Faith. Asked why he recorded easy reversal of audio from digital the message, Halford stated that "When sources.[23] you’re composing songs, you’re always look- ing for new ideas, new sounds."[41] Satanic backmasking A well-known example of a hidden mes- Although the Satanic backmasking contro- sage is recorded backwards into Pink Floyd’s versy involved mainly classic rock songs 1979 song "Empty Spaces": "…congratula- whose authors denied any intent to promote tions. You’ve just discovered the secret mes- Satanism, backmasking has been used by sage. Please send your answer to Old Pink, heavy metal bands to deliberately insert mes- care of the funny farm, Chalfont." (voice in sages in their lyrics or imagery. Bands have background) "Roger! Carolyn is on the utilized Satanic imagery for commercial reas- phone!"[42] This line may refer to former lead ons. One of the most famous alleged uses of singer Syd Barrett, who is thought to have backmasking is found in the song by Led Zep- suffered a nervous breakdown years earli- pelin, Stairway to Heaven. If played back- er.[42] wards during the section in the lyrics that One backmasking technique is to reverse goes, "If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, an earlier part of a song. Missy Elliott used don’t be alarmed now. It’s just a spring clean this technique in one of her songs, "Work for the may queen. Yes there are two paths It",[43] as did Jay Chou ("You Can Hear", from you can go by; but in the long run, there’s Ye Hui Mei),[44] At the Drive-In ("300 MHz", still time to change the road you’re on," some from Vaya),[45] and Lacuna Coil ("Self Decep- listeners claim to hear, "Here’s to my sweet tion", from Comalies).[46] A related technique Satan. The one whose little path would make is to reverse an entire instrumental track. me sad, whose power is Satan. He’ll give John Lennon originally wanted to do so with those with him 666. There was a little "Rain", but objections by producer George toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Martin and bandmate Paul McCartney cut Satan." However this argument is still doubt- the backward section to 30 seconds.[9] The ful and is supposedly a making up from en- Stone Roses have made heavy use of this thusiastic fans passionate of esoteric ideolo- technique in songs including "Don’t Stop",[47] gies. [34] For example, thrash metal band "Guernica", and "Simone",[48] which are all Slayer included at the start of the band’s backwards versions of other Stone Roses 1985 album Hell Awaits a deep backmasked tracks, sometimes overdubbed with new voice chanting "Join Us" over and over at in- vocals. creasing volumes for 1 minute and 2 seconds Artists often use backmasking of sounds until a deep voice says "Welcome or instrumental audio to produce interesting Back."(listen ).[35][36][37] However, Slayer vo- sound effects.[31][49] One such sound effect is calist Tom Araya states that the band’s use of the reverse echo. When done on tape, such Satanic imagery was "solely for effect".[38] use of backmasking is known as reverse tape Cradle of Filth, another band that has em- effects. One example is Matthew Sweet’s ployed Satanic imagery, released a song en- 1999 album In Reverse, which includes re- titled "Dinner at Deviant’s Palace", consisting versed guitar parts which were played dir- almost entirely of ambient sounds and a re- ectly onto a tape running in reverse.[50] For versed reading of the Lord’s Prayer[39] (a live concerts, the guitar parts were played backwards reading of the Lord’s Prayer is re- live on stage using a backward emulator.[51] portedly a major part of the Black The Canadian band Klaatu used the vocal Mass).[19][40] track, reversed, from their song "Anus From Uranus" as the vocal track to the song "Silly Aesthetic use Boys", and even included a lyrics sheet that attempted to translate the backwards vocal Backmasking is often used for aesthetics, i.e., sounds into actual words, however the result to enhance the meaning or sound of a was mostly nonsensical non sequiturs or ima- track.[16] During the Judas Priest subliminal ginative license.[52] message trial, lead singer Rob Halford admit- ted to recording the words "In the dead of the night, love bites" backwards into the Humorous and parody messages 4
  5. 5. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking The manual for the popular sound program SoX pokes fun at subliminal messages. The description of the "reverse" option says "In- cluded for finding Satanic subliminals." A common use of backmasking is hiding a comedic or parodical message backwards in Styx, after being accused of Satanic back- a song. The B-side of the 1966 Napoleon XIV masking, included an actual backmasked message in Kilroy Was Here: "Annuit Cœptis, single "They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha- Novus Ordo Seclorum". Haaa!" is a reversed version of the entire for- wards record, entitled "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er’yehT". It reached #3 in Among the many backmasked messages on the US charts, and #4 in the UK.[53]. Tena- the album are: "Welcome to the show" cious D include the backmasked message (2x);[18] "Thank you for listening"; "Look out "Donkey Crap" at the end of "Karate" from there’s danger ahead"; "Hup two three four"; their self-titled first album. "Time After Time"; and "You’re playing me In "Weird Al" Yankovic’s "Nature Trail to backwards".[55] Styx also released an album Hell", from 1984’s "Weird Al" Yankovic in in response to allegations of Satanic back- 3-D, Yankovic’s backmasked voice declares masking:[58] 1983’s Kilroy Was Here, which that "Satan eats Cheez Whiz" (listen ).[23]. deals with an allegorical group called the Another early example can be found on the J. "Majority for Musical Morality" that outlaws Geils Band track "No Anchovies, Please", rock music.[17] A sticker on the album cover from 1980s album Love Stinks. The message, contains the message, "By order of the Ma- disguised as a foreign-sounding language jority for Musical Morality, this album con- spoken under the narration, is, "It doesn’t tains secret backward messages", and the take a genius to tell the difference between song "Heavy Metal Poisoning" does in fact chicken shit and chicken salad."[18] contain the backmasked Latin words "Annuit Electric Light Orchestra and Styx, follow- Cœptis, Novus Ordo Seclorum" ("God has ing their involvement in the 1980s backmask- favored our undertakings; a new order for ing controversy, released songs that parody the ages")—part of the Great Seal which en- the allegations made against them. ELO, circles the pyramid on the back of the Amer- after being accused of Satanic backmasking ican dollar bill.[29] on their 1974 album Eldorado, included back- Iron Maiden’s 1983 album Piece of Mind masked messages in two songs on their next features a short backwards message, in- album, 1975’s Face The Music.[54] "Down cluded by the band in response to allegations Home Town" begins with a voice twice re- of Satanism that were surrounding them at peating (in reverse) "Face the mighty water- the time.[59] Between the songs "The Troop- fall".[55] And the opening instrumental "Fire er" and "Still Life" is inebriated drummer On High" contains the backmasked message Nicko McBrain doing an impression of Idi "The music is reversible, but time is not. Turn Amin Dada: "’What ho’, sed de t’ing wid de back! Turn back! Turn back!" (listen ).[56] In t’ree bonce [said the thing with the three 1983 ELO released an entire album, Secret heads]. Don’t meddle wid t’ings you don’t un- Messages, in response to the controversy.[57] derstand," followed by a belch.[60] 5
  6. 6. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking British band Act of Faith included in their track Angels in Exile (1988) the reversed phrase "Satan is bored", parodying the repet- itive reports from the United States that "Satan is Lord" and similar phrases were backmasked into recordings. The message was recorded out of phase so that it is not heard if played on monophonic equipment. Some messages chastise or poke fun at the listener who is playing the song back- wards. One such message was included by "Weird Al" Yankovic in "I Remember Larry", from the 1996 album Bad Hair Day, on which Yankovic lightly chastises the listener with the backmasked remark, "Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands" (listen ).[61] Similarly, the B-52’s song "De- tour Through your Mind", from the 1986 LP Bouncing off the Satellites, contains the mes- sage, "I buried my parakeet in the backyard. Oh no, you’re playing the record backwards. Watch out, you might ruin your needle."[62] Meanwhile, Christian rock group Petra in- cluded in their song "Judas Kiss", from the 1982 album More Power To Ya, the message, "What are you looking for the devil for, when you ought to be looking for the Lord?"[18] The Frank Zappa used backmasking to avoid band Mindless Self Indulgence released a censorship. song titled "Backmask", which contains the forward lyrics "Play that record backwards / Waters’ 1991 album Amused to Death, on Here’s a message yo for the suckas / Play which Waters recorded a backward message, that record backwards / And go fuck your- possibly critical of film director Stanley self". The backwards messages in the song Kubrick, who had refused to let Waters include, "respect your parents", "clean your sample a breathing sound from 2001: A room", and "do your homework".[45] Space Odyssey.[64] The message appears in the song "Perfect Sense Part 1", in which Critical or explicit messages Waters’ backmasked voice says, "Julia, Backmasking has also been used to record however, in light and visions of the issues of statements perhaps too critical or explicit to Stanley, we have changed our minds. We be used forwards. Frank Zappa used back- have decided to include a backward message, masking to avoid censorship of the track "Hot Stanley, for you and all the other book Poop", from We’re only in it for the Money burners." (1968). The released version contains at the end of its side "A" the backmasked message Censorship "Better look around before you say you don’t A further use of backmasking is to censor care. / Shut your f...ing mouth ’bout the words and phrases deemed inappropriate on length of my hair. / How would you survive / radio edits and "clean" album releases.[65] If you were alive / shitty little person?" . This For example, The Fugees’ clean version of profanity-laced verse, originally from the the album The Score contains various back- song "Mother People", was censored by masked profanities;[65] thus, when playing Verve Records, so Zappa edited the verse the album backwards, the censored words out, reversed it, and inserted it elsewhere in are clearly audible among the backward gib- the album as "Hot Poop" (though even in the berish.[66] When used with the word "shit", backward message the word "fucking" is cen- this type of backmasking results in a sound sored).[63] Another example is found in Roger 6
  7. 7. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking similar to "ish". As a result, "ish" became a marijuana", in Queen’s song "Another One euphemism for "shit". [67] Bites the Dust", is similarly disclaimed by the group’s spokesperson.[23] Accusations Subliminal persuasion Artists who have been accused of backmask- Further information: Subliminal message ing include Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Accusations have been made by various Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, Styx, groups that backmasking can be used to cre- AC/DC, Judas Priest, The Eagles,[68] The ate subliminal messages. Rolling Stones,[68] Jefferson Starship,[29] Black Oak Arkansas,[29] Rush,[69] Britney Fundamentalist Christian groups Spears,[70],t.A.T.u. and Eminem.[23] Various fundamentalist Christian groups Electric Light Orchestra was accused of have declared that Satan—or Satan-influ- hiding a backward Satanic message in their enced musicians—use backmasked messages 1974 album Eldorado. The title track, to subliminally alter behavior. Pastor Gary "Eldorado", was said to contain the message Greenwald claimed that subliminal messages "He is the nasty one / Christ, you’re infernal / backmasked into rock music induce listeners It is said we’re dead men / Everyone who has towards sex and drug use.[74] Minister Jacob the mark will live."[29] ELO singer and song- Aranza wrote in his 1982 book Backward writer Jeff Lynne responded by calling this Masking Unmasked that rock groups "are us- accusation (and the related charge of being ing backmasking to convey satanic and drug "devil-worshippers") "skcollob",[57] and stat- related messages to the subconscious."[16] ing that the message "is absolutely manufac- Christian DJ Michael Mills argued in 1981 tured by whoever said, ’That’s what it said.’ that "the subconscious mind is being success- It doesn’t say anything of the sort."[62] The fully affected by the repetition of beat and group included several backward messages lyrics—being affected through a subliminal in later albums in response to the message."[75] Mills has toured America warn- accusations. ing Christian parents about subliminal mes- In 1981, Styx was accused of putting the sages in rock music.[21] backward message "Satan move through our Some Christian websites have claimed voices" (listen ) on the song "Snowblind", that backmasking is widely used for Satanic from Paradise Theatre.[17] Guitarist James purposes.[22] The web page for Alabama Young called these charges "rubbish",[71] and group Dial-the-Truth Ministries argues for responded, "If we want to make a statement, the existence of Satanic backmasking in we’ll do it in a way that people can under- "Stairway to Heaven", saying that the song stand us and not in a way where you have to contains the backward message, "It’s my go out and buy a $400 tape player to under- sweet Satan … Oh I will sing because I live stand us."[58] In 1983, the band released a with Satan."[76] The website of Australian concept album, Kilroy Was Here, satirizing group Bible Believers quotes from Jacob the Moral Majority. Aranza’s Backward Masking Unmasked re- A well-known alleged message is found in garding William Yarroll’s proposed rock group Led Zeppelin’s 1971 song "Stair- physiology of the mechanism by which mes- way to Heaven". The backwards playing of a sages in music reach the subconscious: portion of the song purportedly results in words beginning with "Here’s to my sweet [A]t the base of the brain there is a Satan" (listen ).[72] But Swan Song Records "check valve", the Reticular Activat- issued a statement to the contrary: "Our ing System. Based on prior pro- turntables only play in one direction—for- grammed values, emotional re- wards".[19] And Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert sponses, and our conditioning, a Plant denied the accusations in an interview: message will be accepted or rejec- "To me it’s very sad, because ’Stairway To ted … If this interpretive process Heaven’ was written with every best inten- fails to match the message to the lo- tion, and as far as reversing tapes and put- gical, conscious brain hemisphere, it ting messages on the end, that’s not my idea is passed on into the next hemi- of making music."[73] Another widely-known sphere for further evaluation. If the alleged message, "It’s fun to smoke 7
  8. 8. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking left conscious brain can find no conscious mind is absorbing the for- known matching information, the ward lyric, the subconscious is work- creative right takes over the decod- ing overtime to decipher the back- ing process. As the right hemisphere wards message.[78] mirrors the strange message … the message is acknowledged and Court cases stored. Serial killer Richard Ramirez, on trial in 1988, stated that AC/DC’s music, and spe- This claim, though, of a "left conscious brain" cifically the song "Night Prowler" on High- and a "creative right" which literally mirrors way to Hell, inspired him to commit information coming from the left has abso- murder.[76] Reverse speech advocate David lutely no basis in modern neuroscience. The John Oates claimed that Highway to Hell, on Bible Believers website also quotes from a the same album, contains backmasked mes- 1983 Psychology Today issue in which a Dr. sages including "I’m the law", "my name is Silverman writes that "the perception of stim- Lucifer", and "she belongs in hell".[79] AC/ uli too weak to be consciously recognized … DC’s Angus Young responded that "you didn’t is a real phenomenon that has been demon- need to play [the album] backwards, because strated beyond any reasonable doubt."[77] we never hid [the messages]. We’d call an al- This refers, however, to stimuli that would bum Highway To Hell, there it was right in otherwise be intelligible, but are simply too front of them."[80] weak to be noticed consciously (e.g. a single In 1990, British heavy metal band Judas frame of a Coca-Cola ad within a movie), not Priest was sued over a suicide pact made by to stimuli which must first be manipulated two Nevada schoolboys. The lawsuit by their just to be intelligible, such as deliberately families claimed that the 1978 Judas Priest backmasked audio. album Stained Class contained hidden mes- sages, including the forward subliminal PMRC words "Do it" in the song "Better By You, Bet- In 1985, Dr. Joe Stuessy testified to the Un- ter Than Me" , and various backward sublim- ited States Congress at the Parents Music inal messages. The case was dismissed by the Resource Center hearings that: judge for insufficient evidence of Judas Pri- est’s placement of subliminal messages on The message [of a piece of heavy the record,[81] and the judge’s ruling stated metal music] may also be covert or that "The scientific research presented does subliminal. Sometimes subaudible not establish that subliminal stimuli, even if tracks are mixed in underneath oth- perceived, may precipitate conduct of this er, louder tracks. These are heard magnitude. There exist other factors which by the subconscious but not the con- explain the conduct of the deceased inde- scious mind. Sometimes the mes- pendent of the subliminal stimuli."[82] Judas sages are audible but are backward, Priest members commented that if they called backmasking. There is dis- wanted to insert subliminal commands in agreement among experts regarding their music, messages leading to the deaths the effectiveness of subliminals. We of their fans would be counterproductive, and need more research on that.[78] they would prefer to insert the command Stuessy’s written testimony stated that: "Buy more of our records."[83] Some messages are presented to the Skepticism listener backwards. While listening Skeptic Michael Shermer claims that the to a normal forward message (often emergence of the Paul is dead phenomenon, somewhat nonsensical), one is simul- including the alleged message at the end of taneously being treated to a back- "I’m So Tired", was caused by faulty percep- wards message (in other words, the tion of a pattern. Shermer argues that the hu- lyric sounds like one set of words man brain evolved with a strong pattern re- going forward, and a different set of cognition ability that was necessary to pro- words going backwards). Some ex- cess the large amount of noise in man’s en- perts believe that while the vironment, but that today this ability leads to 8
  9. 9. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking false positives.[84] Stanford University psy- influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by chology professor Brian Wandell postulates the content of the backward messages."[90] that the observance of backward messages is In 1992, an experiment found that exposure a mistake arising from this pattern recogni- to backward messages did not lead to signi- tion facility, and argues that subliminal per- ficant changes in attitude.[91] Psychology suasion theories are "bizarre" and "implaus- professor Mark D. Allen says that "delivering ible."[32] Rumors of backmasking in popular subliminal messages via backward masking is music have been described as auditory par- totally and ridiculously impossible".[92] eidolia.[85] James Walker, president of Chris- The finding of backward Satanic messages tian research group Watchman Fellowship, has been explained as caused by the states that "You could take a Christian hymn, observer-expectancy effect. The Skeptic’s and if you played it backwards long enough Dictionary states that "you probably won’t at different speeds, you could make that hear [backmasked] messages until somebody hymn say anything you want to"; Led Zep- first points them out to you. Perception is in- pelin publicist BP Fallon concurs, saying that fluenced by expectation and expectation is af- "Play anything backwards, and you’ll find fected by what others prime you for."[93] In something." Eric Borgos of audio reversal 1984, S. B. Thorne and P. Himelstein found website talkbackwards.com[86] states that that "when vague and unfamiliar stimuli are "Mathematically, if you listen long enough, presented, [test subjects] are highly likely to eventually you’ll find a pattern",[23] while Jeff accept suggestions, particularly when the Milner of popular backmasking site jeffmil- suggestions are presented by someone with ner.com[72] recounts, "Most people, when I prestige and authority."[94] Vokey and Read show them the site, say that they’re not able concluded from their 1985 experiment that to hear anything, until, of course, I show "the apparent presence of backward mes- them the reverse lyrics."[87] sages in popular music is a function more of Audio engineer Evan Olcott claims that active construction on the part of the perceiv- messages by artists including Queen and Led er than of the existence of the messages Zeppelin are coincidental phonetic reversals, themselves."[21] in which the spoken or sung phonemes form new combinations of words when listened to backwards.[11] Olcott states that "Actually See also engineering or planning a phonetic reversal • List of backmasked messages is next to impossible, and even more difficult • Phonetic reversal when trying to design it with words that fit • Reverse speech into a song."[24] • Subliminal message In 1985, University of Lethbridge psycho- logists John Vokey and J. Don Read conduc- ted a study using Psalm 23 from the Bible, References Queen’s "Another One Bites the Dust", and other sound passages made up for the experi- Notes ment. Vokey and Read concluded that if [1] Backward(s) masking has two other backmasking does exist, it is ineffective. Par- meanings; see backward masking. See ticipants had trouble noticing backmasked also Crispen, Bob. "Backward Masking … phrases when the samples were played for- another pious fraud". The Crispen wards, were unable to judge the types of Family. http://www.crispen.org/rants/ messages (Christian, Satanic, or commer- backward.html. Retrieved on cial), and were not led to behave in a certain 2006-09-01. way as a result of being exposed to the back- [2] ^ Sullivan, Mark (October 1987). "’More masked phrases. Vokey concluded that "we Popular Than Jesus’: The Beatles and the could find no effect of the meaning of engin- Religious Far Right". Popular Music 6 eered, backward messages on listeners’ be- (3): 313–326. doi:10.1017/ haviour, either consciously or uncon- S0261143000002348. sciously."[88] Similar results to Vokey and [3] Kittler, Friedrick. "The Gramaphone". Read’s were obtained by D. Averill in Adventures in CyberSound. Australian 1982.[89] A 1988 experiment by T.E. Moore Centre for the Moving Image. found "no evidence that listeners were http://www.acmi.net.au/AIC/ 9
  10. 10. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking PHONO_KITTLER.html. Retrieved on Record. iUniverse. pp. 425. ISBN 2007-03-01. 0595346634. [4] Blecha, 48 [14] ^ Reeve, Andru J. Turn Me On, Dead [5] Crowley, Aleister (1997) [1913]. Magick Man: The Beatles And The "Paul-Is-Dead" (Book 4). Weiser. pp. 648. ISBN Hoax. AuthorHouse. pp. 11–13. 0877289190. [15] Yoakum, Jim (May/June 2000). "The Man [6] White, Ray. "Musique Concrète". Who Killed Paul McCartney". The Gadfly. whitefiles.org. http://whitefiles.org/rws/ http://www.gadflyonline.com/archive/ rx01.htm. Retrieved on 2007-11-05. MayJune00/archive-mccartney.html. [7] Peters, Michael. "The Birth of Loop: A Retrieved on 2007-10-12. Short History of Looping Music". [16] ^ Blecha, 49 loopers-delight.com. http://www.loopers- [17] ^ Holden, Stephen (1983-03-27). delight.com/history/Loophist.html. "Serious Issues Underlie a New Album Retrieved on 2007-03-10. from Styx". New York Times. [8] Mugan, Chris (2006-10-13). "Subliminal http://query.nytimes.com/gst/ advertising: The voice within". The fullpage.html?res=9506E5DF1339F934A15750C0A9 Independent. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. http://arts.independent.co.uk/music/ [18] ^ Poundstone (1986), 227–232 features/article1847509.ece. Retrieved [19] ^ Davis, Erik (2007). "Led Zeppelin IV". on 2007-03-10. in David Barker. 33 1/3 Greatest Hits, [9] ^ Stevens, John (2002). The Songs of Volume One. Continuum. pp. 212–214. John Lennon: The Beatles Years. Berklee ISBN 0826419038. Press. pp. 149, 155–156. ISBN [20] Denisoff, 289 0634017950. [21] ^ Vokey, John R.; J. Don Read [10] Aldridge, Alan (1991). The Beatles (November 1985). "Subliminal messages: Illustrated Lyrics. Houghton Mifflin. Between the devil and the media". pp. 135. ISBN 039559426X. "On the end American Psychologist 40: 1231–1239. of ’Rain’ you hear me singing it doi:10.1037/0003-066X.40.11.1231. backwards. We’d done the main thing at [22] ^ Robinson, B. A. "Backmasking on EMI and the habit was then to take the records: Real, or hoax?". Ontario song home and see what you thought a Consultants on Religious Tolerance. little extra gimmick or what the guitar http://www.religioustolerance.org/ piece would be. So I got home about five chr_cul5.htm. Retrieved on 2006-07-04. in the morning, stoned out of my head, I [23] ^ Searcey, Dionne (2006-01-09). "Behind staggered up to my tape recorder and I the Music: Sleuths Seek Messages In put it on, but it came out backwards, and Lyrical Backspin". The Wall Street I was in a trance in the earphones, what Journal. http://online.wsj.com/ is it, what is it. It’s too much, you know, article_email/ and I really wanted the whole song SB113677367081541303-lMyQjAxMDE2MzA2OTcwN backwards almost, and that was it. So we Retrieved on 2007-02-28. tagged it on the end." [24] ^ Olcott, Evan. "Backwards Messages". [11] ^ Olcott, Evan. "Audio Reversal In Music and Technology (Triplo Press). Popular Culture". Triplo Press. http://www.triplo.com/ev/column/ http://www.triplo.com/ev/reversal/. 04.html. Retrieved on 2007-03-13. Retrieved on 2006-08-26. [25] Cox, Edward. "Popular music restrictions [12] Giuliano, Geoffrey; Vrnda Devi (1999). in America in the late 1980s/early 90s". Glass Onion: The Beatles in their own edcox.net. http://www.edcox.net/ words. Da Capo Press. pp. 265. ISBN research/pre/rockmusic.asp. Retrieved 0306808951. "I’d introduced John to on 2007-06-21. backwards music on ’Rain’ when I took [26] Patterson, 173 his voice and turned it ’round when he [27] Blecha, 51 was out on a coffee break. When I played [28] Denisoff, 290 it for him, he flipped." [29] ^ Poundstone (1983), 200–214 [13] Cross, Craig (2005-05-14). The Beatles: [30] H.R. 6363 from THOMAS Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by- [31] ^ Molitorisz, Sacha (2004-06-23). "Out of the box". Radar Blog. Sidney Morning 10
  11. 11. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking Herald. http://blogs.smh.com.au/radar/ [43] Corbin, Dean. "Rap/Hip Hop". Backmask archives/2004/06/out_of_the_box.html. Online. http://www.backmaskonline.com/ Retrieved on 2007-04-15. rap.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-06. [32] ^ Holguin, Jaime (2006-02-27). [44] "Jay Chou FAQ". Jay-Chou.net. "Backmasking unmasked! Music site’s in http://www.jay-chou.net/forums/ heavy rotation". Seattle Times. faq.php?faq=new_faq_item2. Retrieved http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ on 2006-06-21. artsentertainment/ [45] ^ Corbin, Dean. "Modern Rock". 2002828774_backmasking27.html. Backmask Online. Retrieved on 2007-02-28. http://www.backmaskonline.com/ [33] "Portable Digital Audio Workstations modernrock.html. Retrieved on (Buyer’s Guide)". Theatre Crafts 2006-08-06. International. 1997-02-01. [46] "Lacuna Coil—Frequently Asked http://www.accessmylibrary.com/ Questions". Emptyspiral.net—The premium/0286/0286-9303362.html. Lacuna Coil Community. 2006-12-10. Retrieved on 2007-06-05. http://emptyspiral.net/ [34] Blecha, 52 modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=69 [35] Fortes, Michael (2007-03-20). "The Retrieved on 2006-08-23. Complete Idiot’s Guide to Slayer". [47] Pomroy, Matt (2002-10-22). "The Stone jefitoblog. http://jefitoblog.com/blog/ Roses: self-titled". PopMatters. ?p=1118. Retrieved on 2007-03-21. http://www.popmatters.com/music/ [36] "Did You Know?". Slayerized. reviews/s/stoneroses-st.shtml. Retrieved http://www.slayerized.com/band/ on 2007-03-17. didyouknow.html. Retrieved on [48] Brown, Ian. Interview with Adam Walton. 2006-06-11. 1999-02-02. (Interview). Retrieved on [37] Davis, Jonathan. "The Greatest Metal 2007-03-17. Bands Of All Time:Slayer". MTV News. [49] Federlein, David (2005-04-01). "Reader http://www.mtv.com/bands/m/metal/ comments: backwards satanic greatest_metal_bands/071406/ messages". The Skeptic’s Dictionary. index7.jhtml. Retrieved on 2007-03-21. http://skepdic.com/comments/ [38] Hellqvist, Janek (1998-12-03). "Slayer backcom.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-26. FAQ". Slyer: The Abyss. slaytonic.com. [50] Simons, David (January 2000). "Matthew http://www.slaytanic.com/faq.html. Sweet: Rebuilding the Wall of Sound". Retrieved on 2007-04-16. "Interview Guitar Player. question: ’Did you adopt the satanic [51] Simons, David (January 2000). "Back on image solely for effect?’ Tom: ’Yeah…’" the Bus". Onstage. [39] Corbin, Dean. "Hard Rock/Metal/Punk". [52] Klaatu audio samples Backmask Online. [53] "They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha- http://www.backmaskonline.com/ haaa by Napoleon XIV". Songfacts. hardrock.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-06. http://www.songfacts.com/ [40] Fuller, Thomas (1863). Good Thoughts in detail.php?id=675. Retrieved on Bad Times, and Other Papers. Ticknor 2007-08-13. and Fields. p. 157. [54] Michel, Rob (August 2002). "1974: http://www.books.google.com/ Electric Light Orchestra: Eldorado". books?vid=OCLC05821745. Retrieved on Counting Out Time. Dutch Progressive 2007-03-21. "Witches are reported Rock Page. http://www.dprp.net/ (amongst many other hellish proghistory/index.php?i=1974_03. observations, whereby they oblige Retrieved on 2007-03-17. themselves to Satan) to say the Lord’s [55] ^ "Secret Messages". My Electric Light prayer backwards." Orchestra Fan Site. FutureBright. [41] "Judas Priest’s Lead Singer Testifies". http://elo.futurebright.com/Secrets.htm. New York Times. 1990-08-01. Retrieved on 2006-07-27. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/ [56] Patterson, 173–174 fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9C0CE1DA143FF932A3575BC0A966958260. [57] ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Biogs". Face Retrieved on 2007-04-20. The Music. http://www.ftmusic.com/ [42] ^ Patterson, 186 11
  12. 12. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking biogs/elo/elo_biog.html. Retrieved on story.html?id=ae8bde82-144e-414f-84b8-4f96fc0dd7 2007-03-14. Retrieved on 2007-04-20. [58] ^ Hoekstra, Dave (1983-04-01). "Styx [71] Arar, Yardena (1982-05-26). "Satanic makes a statement". Suburban Sun- records or balderdash: Just what the Times. devil’s going on?". The Daily Herald [59] Narinian, Vartan. "The Iron Maiden FAQ (Arlington Heights). Part 1". http://www.faqs.org/faqs/music/ [72] ^ Milner, Jeff. "Jeff Milner’s iron-maiden-faq/part1/. Backmasking Site". jeffmilner.com. [60] "The Iron Maiden Commentary". http://jeffmilner.com/backmasking.htm. http://www.maidenfans.com/imc/ Retrieved on 2007-03-14. ?url=backward&lang=eng&link=features. [73] Plant, Robert. Interview with J.D. Retrieved on 2006-08-19. Considine. Life In A Lighter Zeppelin. [61] Lick, Marty "Gumby"; "Happy Steve" December 1983. Retrieved on Chai. ""Weird Al" Yankovic Frequently 2007-03-14. Asked Questions". Al-oholics Anonymous. [74] Vokey, 248 http://www.al-oholicsanonymous.com/ [75] Mills, Michael. Hidden and Satanic faq/index.html. Retrieved on Messages In Rock Music. Radio 2007-03-17. interview, 1981, blog.wfmu.org. [62] ^ Patterson, 174 Introduction, at 1:22 [63] Pacholski, Luke. "We’re Only In It for the [76] ^ Watkins, Terry. "Rock Music: The Money". lukpac.org. Devil’s Advocate". Dial-the-Truth http://www.lukpac.org/~handmade/patio/ Ministries. http://www.av1611.org/ vinylvscds/money.html. Retrieved on rock.html. Retrieved on 2007-03-17. 2006-07-29. [77] "Singing Death". Bible Believers. [64] Simon, Michael. "Amused To Death http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/ Trivia". Roger Waters International Fan aonc04.htm. Retrieved on 2007-04-21. Club. http://www.rogerwaters.org/ [78] ^ United States Senate (1985). Record atdtrivia.html. Retrieved on 2007-03-17. Labeling: Hearing before the Committee [65] ^ Nelson, Chris (1998-09-08). "Sticker on Commerce, Science, and Ban Policy: Family Values Or Consumer Transportation. United States Senate, Fraud?". VH1. http://www.vh1.com/news/ Ninety-ninth Congress, First Session on articles/501064/19980908/story.jhtml. Contents of Music and the Lyrics of Retrieved on 2007-02-03. Records (September 19, 1985). [66] mcc. "Music that sounds better Washington, DC: U.S. Government backward than forward". Everything2. Printing Office. Pages 118–125. Available http://everything2.com/ at Joesapt.net, Retrieved on 2007-06-09. index.pl?node_id=677630. Retrieved on [79] Von Ulrich, Meyerratken (June 1997). 2006-08-26. Untitled. Esotera. Translated from [67] Rader, Walter; David (2002-12-22). "The German by Evan Galbraith. Edited by Online Slang Dictionary". University of Michael George. Available at California at Berkeley. reversespeech.com, Retrieved on http://onlineslangdictionary.com/ 2007-03-17. definition+of/ish. Retrieved on [80] Young, Angus & Malcolm Young. 2007-04-16. Interview with Sylvie Simmons. AC/DC [68] ^ Blecha, 50 Celebrate Their Quarter Century. Mojo. [69] Deusner, Stephen M (2005-12-12). "For December 2004. Whom Hell’s Bells Toll". Pitchfork Media. [81] Vokey, 250 http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/ [82] Sophia, Cassiel. "Subliminal Suicide?". feature/10252/ Metareligion. http://www.meta- For_Whom_Hells_Bells_Toll. Retrieved on religion.com/Secret_societies/ 2007-03-13. Conspiracies/Mind_Control/ [70] Tetley, Deborah (2006-01-10). "Albertan subliminal_suicide.htm. Retrieved on finds Satan in music downloads". Calgary 2007-03-17. Herald. http://www.canada.com/ [83] Van Taylor, David. KNPB Channel 5 calgaryherald/news/ Public Broadcasting, 1982: Dream 12
  13. 13. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking Deceivers: The Story Behind James The Police And the Occult. Prometheus. Vance Vs. Judas Priest. pp. 306. ISBN 1591022193. [84] Shermer, Michael (May 2005). "Turn Me On, Dead Man". Scientific American. Bibliography http://www.sciam.com/ • Blecha, Peter (2004). Taboo Tunes: A article.cfm?articleID=000EB977-12BE-1264-8F9683414B7FFE9F.Bands and Censored History of Banned Retrieved on 2007-02-28. Songs. Backbeat Books. ISBN [85] Zusne, 77 0879307297. [86] Backmasking and Reverse Speech. • Denisoff, R. Serge (1988). Inside MTV. TalkBackwards.com. Retrieved on Transaction. ISBN 0887388647. 2007-06-05. • Patterson, R. Gary (2004). Take a Walk on [87] Hopper, Tristin (2006-01-26). "Student the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths, sets up "backmasking" website". The Legends, and Curses. Fireside. ISBN Charlatan. http://www.charlatan.ca/ 0743244230. index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16842&Itemid=27. (1983). "Secret • Poundstone, William Retrieved on 2007-04-20. Messages on Records". Big Secrets. New [88] Vokey, 249 York City: William Morrow and Company. [89] Averill, D. (1982-09-12). "Did the Devil ISBN 0-688-04830-7. Chapter also make you do it?". Tulsa World. p. 17. available with commentary by Malinda Cited in Zusne, 79 McCall. [90] Brannon, Laura A., and Timothy C. • Poundstone, William (1986). "Backward Brock. "The Subliminal Persuasion Messages on Records". Bigger Secrets. Controversy: Reality, Enduring Fable, Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0395453976. and Polonius’s Weasel". In Shavitt, • Vokey, John R. (2002). "Subliminal Sharon; Timothy C. Brock (1994-04-26). Messages" (PDF). Psychological Sketches Persuasion: Psychological Insights and (6th ed.). Lethbridge, Alberta: Psyence Perspectives. Allyn & Bacon. Available Ink. pp. 223–246. http://people.uleth.ca/ at http://courses.umass.edu/psyc392a/ ~vokey/pdf/Submess.pdf. Retrieved on pdf/brannon&brock.1994.pdf 2006-07-05. [91] Swart, L.C.; C.L. Morgan (December • Zusne, Leonard; Warren H. Jones (1989). 1992). "Effects of subliminal backward- Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of recorded messages on attitudes". Magical Thinking. Lawrence Erlbaum Perceptual & Motor Skills 75: Associates. pp. 78. ISBN 0805805087. 1107–1113. doi:10.2466/ PMS.75.8.1107-1113. PMID 1484773. [92] Glover, Melanie. "Backmasking: Satan, External links marijuana and Cheez Whiz". The • Backmask Online—clips and analysis of California Aggie. possible backmasked messages http://media.www.californiaaggie.com/ • Jeff Milner’s Backmasking Page—a Flash media/storage/paper981/news/2006/01/ player with forward and backward 19/ArtsEntertainment/ versions of songs claimed to contain Backmasking.Satan.Marijuana.And.Cheez.Whiz-1477952-page2.shtml. of the Wall Street backmasking; the focus Retrieved on 2007-03-01. Journal article [93] Carroll, Robert Todd (2006-12-28). • Backmask Flash—flash clips of possible "backwards satanic messages backmasked messages from Albino (backmasking)". The Skeptic’s Blacksheep Dictionary. http://www.skepdic.com/ • TalkBackwards.com—allows uploaded backward.html. Retrieved on music to be reversed 2007-04-18. • Hidden and Satanic Messages In Rock [94] Thorne, Stephen B.; Philip Himelstein Music—1981 radio interview with Michael (1984). "The role of suggestion in the Mills perception of Satanic messages on rock- • Excerpt with alleged backward and-role recordings". Journal of messages by Led Zeppelin, The Psychology: 245–248. Cited in Hicks, Beatles, Queen Robert D. (1991). In Pursuit of Satan: 13
  14. 14. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Backmasking • "Backwards Messages in Rock Orchestra, Prince, and Information Music—Revealed!" podcast featuring The Society Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Rush, • Radio program exploring backmasking by Jefferson Starship, Wings, Queen, Phil announcer Joe Kleon, broadcast on WRQK- Collins, Britney Spears, Judas Priest, Pink FM, with audio samples from Britney Floyd, Iron Maiden, Electric Light Spears, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Styx,Cheap Trick, and others Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backmasking" Categories: Audio engineering, Perception, Urban legends, Popular music, Mind control This page was last modified on 17 May 2009, at 14:48 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax- deductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers 14

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