The Wizard of Oz and the Dark Side of the Moon

Fans of my backmasking page will probably want to check this out.

A few years ago my friend Megan dropped by the house sporting a copy of The Wizard of Oz in one hand, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in the other, and a giant grin on her face. We played them both simultaneously and watched/listened as the two synchronized. I am not completely sure it’s intentional, but there are some interesting coincidences.

I recall reading that when asked about this, Pink Floyd has neither admitted or denied intentionally creating their album to go along with The Wizard of Oz.

To set this up at home, you needed to start the album just as the MGM lion roared for the third time, but thanks to Google Video you can see the combined video and audio: Dark Side of the Rainbow.

It’s a little easier to make connections if you know the name of each track:

  1. “Speak to Me”
  2. “Breathe”
  3. “On the Run”
  4. “Time”/”Breathe (Reprise)”
  5. “The Great Gig in the Sky”
  6. “Money”
  7. “Us and Them”
  8. “Any Colour You Like”
  9. “Brain Damage”
  10. “Eclipse”

So what do you think, intentional syncronization or just our minds making connections where none exist?

Subliminal Messages in “On The Way Home”

I’ve always possessed a fascination with optical illusions, subliminal messages, the unconscious mind, and cognitive psychology in general. I think that’s why I found the idea of messages in music when played backwards so fascinating.

Back in 1998 I went on a mission for the LDS church. I was serving in the most unlikely place of Salt Lake City, Utah. Using the line, “we were just in the neighbourhood” seemed a little disingenuous when the temple marked the skyline behind you. There are a lot of Mormons there so we had to be a little more creative.

There are, however, a lot of people that are not members of the church. One of my favorite things about my mission was meeting people from all walks of life and from every imaginable social and economic backgrounds. The diversity of people I met ranged from those that were on the verge of being homeless, to literal billionaires.

Regardless of background, we (as missionaries) wanted to get our message out and influence people in as positive a fashion as we could. One of the methods of sharing our beliefs was the use of cheesy promotional videos that protreyed value of the family/church/good morals, etc.
On The Way Home Movie
One specific movie that I showed to investigators of the church was the movie, “On The Way Home”.

It’s a quaint little movie about a family who goes through the pain of the loss of their daughter/sister and meet some sister missionaries who teach them about God’s plan, The Plan of Salvation™.

The interesting thing about this movie is a rumour that I heard from another missionary about it containing subliminal messages. I was pretty sure it was just one of those missionary urban legends, because OBVIOUSLY the church wouldn’t buy into subliminal messages, not to mention the fact that even if they are “positive” messages, it sure leaves a bad taste in ones mouth to think I was being used as a pawn to subconsciously brainwash people. (Not me! I was there to help people.)

“What kind of subliminal messages?” I probed. The other missionary explained to me that near the start of the movie, when one of the main characters is jogging home for his baptism there is a bike race and someone watching the race holds up a big cardboard sign that says, “don’t do drugs” which flashes across the screen too quickly to be noticed on a conscious level—unless you are specifically looking for it. So while that message didn’t seem like something you would expect, I still wasn’t convinced.

The message I remember him telling me about most was (and there may be more, but it’s this one that I remember) during the sister missionaries discussion, as they are teaching the family a lesson, the soft lighting and relaxing music which are in themselves creating a very serene and peaceful environment suddenly appear bubbles floating around behind them.

What?

“Bubbles? What? Why?” I couldn’t imagine that this was actually true. Surely I would have noticed bubbles. What would be the point of bubbles anyway?

Well the explanation went something along the lines of, “bubbles are supposed to induce feelings of peace and tranquility. They remind people of their youth and are relaxing. People subconsciously see the bubbles and it makes them feel good. When they feel good about your message they are more likely to act on it.”

I had to see it to believe it. I will always remember the next house I showed that video to. They were a super family that had just moved in to Utah and seemed quite interested in learning more about the church. As we sat there watching the movie I could hardly believe my eyes as tiny little bubbles started floating up in the background. I looked over at the others watching the movie intently. They didn’t notice.

They did however decide to get baptized. I wouldn’t try to say that the movie was the reason for it, I mean come on, bubbles? But nevertheless there you have it. Subliminal messages in “On The Way Home”.

Stairway to Heaven Subliminal Messages

Some time ago I received an email from a professor at York University. He asked if he could use part of my Stairway to Heaven backwards site / idea for a class. Here is the conclusion of his experiment.

Jeff-

I have now given my lecture on perception, and the Stairway to Heaven was a real hit. Before I played it backwards, (and after they had listened forwards a few times), I distributed sheets of paper with the “words”. Half the class got the Satan stuff, and the other half got my own words, which have nothing to do with Satan or religion. I realized at the outset that my words did not fit quite as well as the Satan ones, but some lines fit very well. The demo went perfectly – those who had the Satan words could “hear” the backwards lines very well, and those who got my words, could hear at least some of my lines well. Interestingly, those who “heard” my words had a very difficult time hearing the Satanic words later on when I played it again.

Thanks again so much for your [help]. It has really helped me make a very important point about the nature of perception and how we actually construct our percepts.

Cheers
Jim