Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Backwards speech… Groovy, baby!


Believe it… or not! Jon Kelly, who earns his money by exploring the questionable subject of Reverse Speech is venturing into porn. Backwards.

“The Naughty American” asked Kelly to analyze porn flicks (no pun intended), “hoping that Kelly would discover that when, say, Roxy Deville is screaming and moaning like a banshee, that she would be saying, ‘Go to church every Sunday’ in reverse”.

He did, sort of. As they report:

Kelly selected a scene from NaughtyFlipside.com featuring Deville, and, apparently, when her phrase, “Is that f****** p**** in tune now?” is played backwards, DeVille really says, “Porn movies play something good for the soul.”

Check the article (many NSFW links). There are some other examples, with audio files to download and hear for yourself — in the comfort of your own home.

Unbelievable as it may seem, this is not a parody. I checked it and the tunes, reversed again, do sound like the originals. All suggests Kelly actually did that “analysis”.

“The backwards messages tell us the union of male with female may be essential to a deeper understanding of humanity’s role in the universe,” he said to the Naughty American.

Skeptics would think such cases would be a very entertaining evidence that “reverse speech” is based upon apophenia, pareidolia, i.e., that if you look for a message upon a sufficiently large and reasonably random base, you can hear almost anything that you want. That there’s nothing intentional, sinister or otherwise about it. Such “finds” are statistically bound to happen.

But how can you beat the argument that says porn movies play something good for the soul?

I want to believe.

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Posted in Paranormal,Skepticism | 5 comments

5 Comments so far

  1. D February 22nd, 2008 11:38 pm

    I’ve recently been listening to some reverse speech examples, and some of them are a stretch, but some of them really do sound exactly like what you are hearing

    Despite what skeptics may say about those examples, it is no more a matter of hearing what you want, in those examples, than when you hear and understand a simple sentence in a conversation. The you-hear-what-you-want-to explanation can only go so far, and in some cases it doesn’t go far enough.

    In addition, I see nothing impossible to believe about the notion that our minds may be capable of encoding backwards messages in forward speech, which other minds may hear and decode subconsciously.

    Some people just have a knee jerk reaction to dismissing anything that sounds strange. And then comes the patented response that if there’s no hard evidence then it must not be real. Which is of course an argument from ignorance response that does not mean it’s not real anyway. It’s the sound of the snooze button being hit again.

  2. Mori February 23rd, 2008 1:40 am

    D, the clarity of a “reverse encoded” phrase is not by itself evidence of a deliberate “encoding”. If you look for something like it on a sufficiently large and varied sample, you are bound to find an arbitrarily “good” reverse encoded phrase.

    It’s upon those who claim a backward speech was deliberately encoded, and more, that it can be noted and perceived, consciously or not, that it influences people, etc, to prove all those claims.

    One must understand that simply pointing a “clear” backward message is just the first step in that direction. No matter how “clear” it may sound. There are many other arguments and evidence that should be offered to prove all the other claims.


  3. D February 23rd, 2008 4:56 am

    I disagree. The “burden” is on whoever wants to know what’s really going on. It’s an individual burden a person places on himself if he really wants to know. You (not you personally) don’t make others jump through impossible hoops to convince you, and hit the trap door button if they fail to do so.

    Now that CAN be your attitude, and that seems to be the prevailing attitude of skeptics, but it is reasonable for that to NOT be your attitude as well.

    Now I understand what you mean about clarity and a “sufficiently large and varied sample.” And I would find that argument more convincing if some of the messages I am hearing (and at this point I admit I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the finders of these things because I haven’t had the time to try to reproduce their results yet) were of a type such as “baloney sky farts in glass hello Madge is your crawfish delerious?”

    But some of the actual results (see parenthesis above) do appear to be relevant either to the context or to the suspected character of the speaker, AND to make sense. It isn’t just a string of words that you can clearly hear. It’s not just that one thing. In addition, some of these apparent meaningful ones are found in relatively short speeches. We’re not talking about “War and Peace” length diatribes. So when you have a short speech that produces a clear example that is relevant to the context of the speech, AND meaningful, then I think it’s much more interesting, and the counterargument you make above is less powerful.

    Not having solid “proof” doesn’t mean it isn’t real anyway. Every day of our lives we act on beliefs and assumptions that are less than solid. We have no choice because we are not omniscient and our knowledge is not perfect. We do not have the option of standing still, only taking the next step when our knowledge of its outcome is absolutely certain. Going out into the world each morning is more like jumping out of an airplane and hoping your chute opens that day too.

    I like your site, by the way.



  4. Mori February 23rd, 2008 6:24 am

    D, when you refer to results involving context and meaning, I think you may be well aware that the exact same arguments are advanced for EVP-related phenomena.

    Now, EVP shouldn’t have anything to do with “reverse speech”, “backward masking”. EVP is allegedly caused by paranomal means, reverse speech is allegedly something a little more mundane.

    But there’s one explanation that would link these two allegedly different phenomena together. And that is the prosaic, skeptical, “knee-jerk” idea that both are simply auditory pareidolia, simulacra arising from randomness and our amazing but fallible brain. So, I emphasize that no matter what the “clarity” or even the alleged “context” of a message, that in itself is not satisfactory evidence. The message could still be just coincidence.

    In any event, I see no problem with anyone researching this subject, specially if trying to find solid, reasonable, scientific evidence for their claims. There are no stupid questions, really. And if you find there’s indeed no convincing evidence of any of this, time wouldn’t be wasted, because you would have a very solid result in that direction, contrary to our “default” and superficial dismissal of it.

    The problem are those who make wild claims, without anything close to a convincing proof of them. And making money from it — taking it from the gullible, as this is a zero, or even negative sum game.

    Contrary to real science, where everyone gains, as “a mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions”.


  5. BlackRaiser January 7th, 2009 11:28 pm

    In medieval traditions, the Black Mass first became known as a parody of certain religious festivities (called Feasts of Asses), with the reverse reading of biblical scriptures. Just for the record, “Jesus Christ” pronounced backwards is:

    ts’irk sa-syge (jerk sausage)

    Psycholgists have observed that elements of reverse speech sometimes become subconscious expressions. The reverse of Jesus Christ (and other important names) may somehow affect everyone, whether we believe it or not.

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