The Fight to Save America from Backmasking

Just in time for Halloween, a fantastic article by Bryan Gardiner on the history and belief in backmasking, The Fight to Save America From Satan’s Subliminal Rock Messages.

After circulating pamphlets with the “backward masked” declarations spelled out, that’s precisely what Assemblyman Phillip Wyman and panel witness William H. Yarroll II did. The relevant portion of the eight-minute classic was first played forward for committee members and then reversed. Here’s what Wyman claimed could be heard: “I sing because I live with Satan. The Lord turns me off. There’s no escaping it. Here’s to my sweet Satan.” Yarroll, who identified himself as a “neuroscientist,” noted that a teenager need only listen to “Stairway to Heaven” three times before these backward messages were “stored as truth.”

Stairway to Heaven Backwards in HTML 5

I’m in the process of updating my backmasking page into HTML 5. That means I’m (trying to) use your browser’s built in audio playing abilities using the <audio> tag.

So far I’ve only updated the Stairway to Heaven clip, but I plan to go through them all.
Update: I’ve finished creating HTML 5 versions for each song. See the bottom of this post for individual links.

Unfortunately not all modern browsers support the proposed specifications (I’m looking at you Internet Explorer). I’ve tried to fix this by using an embedded Flash audio player for those that have out of date or non-future proof browsers. The irony of switching out of Flash and still being forced to keep Flash is not lost on me.

Please do me a favour by letting me know in the comments if the audio doesn’t work on the browser you’re using. It now works on the iPhone!

Here are the individual links (for permalink / bookmarking purposes):

Backmasking in Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi

By popular request, from Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame, comes a little clip of reversed music out of track number three, Paparazzi.

Personally, I can’t hear it even with the “reverse lyrics” showing. To me, Lucifer sounds more like moose-em-mouw, but the emails keep coming. For the record, I’m a complete skeptic.

(More backmasking clips)

Backmasking Reference in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

After watching The L Magazine’s The Evolution of the Modern Blockbuster Movie (via) I got thinking that I had never actually read the famous Batman – The Dark Knight Returns comic series (wikipedia entry) from 1986 that was used as a rough basis for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).

I remember hearing about Frank Miller’s, soon to be a collector’s item, The Dark Knight Returns and had always wanted to read it, but I was a bit young for its graphic content and besides, I didn’t exactly have any disposable income for comics when I was 7.

However, as I read it this evening, I came across a page that I found pretty interesting. On page 89 of book two, the comic makes a reference to backmasking in Stairway to Heaven. I’m posting it here to show just one more way the legend crept into popular culture. The relevant panels after the jump.

Continue reading “Backmasking Reference in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”

Pareidolia

The Best of Wikipedia is a continually updated collection of some of the most interesting Wikipedia articles. Here’s one from yesterday:

Pareidolia – Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon, and hearing hidden messages on records played in reverse. There have been many instances of perceptions of religious imagery and themes—in 1978, a New Mexican woman found that the burn marks on a tortilla she had made appeared similar to the traditional western depiction of Jesus Christ’s face. Thousands of people came to see the framed tortilla. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia.

(via Best of Wikipedia)

Backmasking in Michael Jackson’s Beat It

Despite the continued media frenzy surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, I have to admit I’m kind of over it.

However, I felt inspired to look for the “backmasking” message known to be in the song “Beat It”. So I now present, for your skeptical analysis, a new addition to my backmasking page, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”:

First Moon Landing 1969

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon and he did it forty-years ago today. He spoke the now legenday words “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Played backwards, “small step for man”, sounds like wait, I won’t ruin it for you, give it a try below:

Not that it means anything, I just thought someone might find that an interesting coincidence.

Teaching of Psychology

Tom Stafford, a member of the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group in the Department of Psychology at University of Sheffield, recently presented the keynote speech at the annual conference of the Association for the Teaching of Psychology at Lincoln in the UK. He talked a little bit about the priming that can occur when you load up my backmasking site. He was kind to present the topic using this slide.

Thanks Tom… you made my day.

Research Digest wrote up an interesting summary of Tom’s keynote talk.