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backmasking

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.

Categories
backmasking psychology

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)

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backmasking

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”.

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backmasking

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:

Play forwards

Forward:’a small step for a man’

Play in Reverse

Reverse: ‘Man will spacewalk.’

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

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backmasking psychology

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.

Categories
backmasking humor

Chris Farley Interviews Paul McCartney

A classic SNL moment: Chris Farley interviews Paul McCartney.

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backmasking history

Backmasking Text File

Here’s an interesting little text file from 1983 that Jason Scott has in this vast archive of BBS files, backmask.txt, that delves into the history, technology, and social aspects of backmasking.

From the text file by William Poundstone:

TV programs such as PRAISE THE LORD and THE 700 CLUB have propagated rumors of a satanic plot in the recording industry, no less, in which various albums conceal “backward-masked” demonic murmurings. If THAT sounds too spacey to be taken seriously, consider that it was the fundamentalist groups who were behind House Resolution 6363, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Robert K. Dornan (R., Calif.) in 1982 to label all suspect records: “WARNING: THIS RECORD CONTAINS BACKWARD MASKING THAT MAKES A VERBAL STATEMENT WHICH IS AUDIBLE WHEN THIS RECORD IS PLAYED BACKWARD AND WHICH MAY BE PERCEPTIBLE AT A SUBLIMINAL LEVEL WHEN THIS RECORD IS PLAYED FORWARD.”

Many of the original rumours I heard about backmasking when I was a kid are in this file. It’s interesting to note that the claims of what exactly each songs says when played backwards has continued to evolve over the years.

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backmasking

In the Boston Globe

An article in the Boston Globe published today highlighted my backmasking page.

Remember that guy in high school who was always trying to tell you about the satanic messages hidden in “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin (below) if you played it backward? Turns out he was right. Or so says Jeff Milner, a graphic designer from Alberta, Canada, who has not only posted snippets of the song, and several others, in reverse, but also transcribed the alleged backward lyrics. His findings: “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow don’t be alarmed now, it’s just a spring clean for the May queen” translates to “Oh here’s to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan.” The message is surprisingly clear on “Stairway,” but less so on songs like “Baby One More Time.”

See the full article.

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backmasking

Reverse Speech on WireTap

Lately I’ve been enjoying the Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein podcast (official podcast). Today I listened to the November 25, 2007 episode: The New Josh, in which host Jonathan Goldstein interviews David John Oates, the world leader in Reverse Speech studies.

I’ve never been a believer in Freudian slips or subconscious communication, but it’s interesting to listen to Mr. Oates speculate that these kinds of behaviour happen all the time. It’s true that reverse speech sounds like a foreign language and can often even sound like English, but it would take an awful lot of research to convince me his results are anything more than a combination of coincidence and wishful thinking—nevertheless, listen to the interview and form your own opinion.

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backmasking

Backmasking on The Hour

Back in February 2006, CBC’s The Hour made a road trip through Alberta. They interviewed me for a short segment about backmasking in which they featured my website.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the clip. (Just bear with me getting through the first 15 seconds).


[The Hour: Backmasking – YouTube]

The producer that arranged the interview gave me a DVD with this clip. She said she didn’t have any problem with me putting it on YouTube so please enjoy!