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Author Topic: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking  (Read 736 times)

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Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« on: October 03, 2008, 05:29:12 AM »
An anecdote:

On Wednesday evening I took a nap.  Immediately before I woke up, I heard the following words sung very distinctly:

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now


Just that.  The lines, of course, are from "Stairway to Heaven"; the singer is Robert Plant; the band is Led Zeppelin.  Even after I'd woken up fully the words resounded through my mind.  I was rather bemused.  Why did I dream those lines?  Why only those lines?  Why right then?  Granted, I don't dislike Led Zeppelin; I actually like a lot of their stuff.  I don't have any of their albums, however; more importantly, I don't have a copy of "Stairway to Heaven" and I can't remember when I last heard it.  For various reasons I doubt that I heard the song playing while I slept.  In addition, if you'd asked me before I went to sleep to sing "Stairway to Heaven," I wouldn't have remembered half of the lyrics; heck, I probably wouldn't have remembered a tenth of the lyrics.  In particular, I doubt that I would have remembered the two lines in question so perfectly.

Since then I've tried to imagine why I dreamed the lines.  Was there a reason that I could trace down?  Was it instead simply one of those strange events?  Even now I can hear the words and the tune:

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now


Though it's a bit of a reach, I was compelled to wonder whether this was the result of my recent perusing of the Internet for spooky stories to add to my hyakumonogatari kaidankai thread.  While I was looking through stories I came across several references to Satanists; Led Zeppelin, as you'll recall, were one of the first bands to be accused of incorporating Satanic messages into their music.  And you know how the subconscious mind words.  I don't know: Maybe that's the reason, maybe not.  I'm not coming to any conclusions; I just consider the possibility an interesting one.

All of this reminded me that a couple of years ago -- yeah, years -- I considered starting a thread on Elliquiy about possible subliminal messages in backmasking in music.  You're familiar with backmasking: recording something in one direction for play in the other direction.  I declined to start the thread because I didn't want it to become contentious.  I mean, yeah, some people did accuse some musicians of hiding evil messages in their music; that's true.  I didn't want a debate about whether the musicians or their accusers were really the evil ones to consume the thread, however, because I was only interested in the possible subliminal messages in the backmasking itself.  Was any given "message" intentional, whether consciously or subconsciously?  Were listeners instead experiencing pareidolia?

It seemed to me to be a fascinating topic.  It still does, in fact.  Therefore, I've decided to change my mind, to trust in the maturity level of the members of Elliquiy, to start the damned thread.

Ladies and gentlemen, maidens and monsters, what do you think about the purported "messages" that musicians seem to have incorporated into their songs through backmasking?  Which messages do you think are genuine?  Which of those do you think were consciously intentional and which of those do you think were subconsciously intentional?  Which "messages" do you think aren't there at all -- that is, which "messages" do you think we create out of a coincidental collection of sounds?  Do you yourself have any interesting examples of backmasking?

For some well-known examples, please check out the following sites:

Reverse Speech
Backmask Online
Jeff Milner's Backmasking Site
Albino Blacksheep

So, what about "Stairway to Heaven"?  Well, it contains the most famous example of what is perceived to be a Satanic message incorporated into a song through backmasking.  When reversed, this

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on


becomes something like this

O here's to my sweet Satan!
The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan
He'll give those with him 666
There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan


The lines that I heard in my dream, when reversed, specifically become -- you guessed it! --

There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan

Hmmm...

Spel

Offline Sherona

Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2008, 07:11:27 AM »
Do I believe that musicians backmasked on purpose for the sole purpose to recruit the children of the world to satanic worship? To pervert young minds to sin and damn them to hell? *laughs* no. I don't. I do believe that artists who did backmask did it for the free publicity. What better way to hike sales then to have parents righteously denouncing them from the street corner, and teens wanting to rebel against parents and establishment hearing this...going out to buy albums as thumb to the nose.

The others I believe people were just hearing what they wanted to hear, or was just coincidence that a few words sounded evil. Granted I have never heard any of these albums played backwards...can probably safely say that due to my upbringing never heard Stairway to Heaven outside of brief commercial clips hehee. So I might be completely wrong on all accounts :P

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2008, 11:43:35 AM »
There are two back-masked messages that I know of and have verified for myself by dubbing onto audiotape and then flipping the tape end-for-end.  Both were deliberate, not something that sounded like English in both directions.  One was in ELO's 'Fire on High' instrumental (a little ways into it, you hear a garbled voice under the music repeating two syllables.  If you reverse the next 15 seconds or so, you get "The music is reversible, but time is not.  Turn back, turn back, turn back.)  The other was in Styx's 'Heavy Metal Poisoning' (Before the song actually starts, there is a garbled but unobscured voice.  Reversed, it says 'Annuit coeptus, novus ordo seclorum'.  If you flip a dollar bill end-for-end, you'll find the same message.)

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 12:31:20 PM »
so, if i record this...

O here's to my sweet Satan!
The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan
He'll give those with him 666
There was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan

and play it backwards, i can listen to led zepplin?  how cool is that! ;D

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2008, 12:34:49 PM »
The tricky part is playing the guitar backwards while you sing it. ;)

There's actually part of an Aerosmith instrumental that they deliberately edited in backwards.  Then they had to figure out how to play it in concert.  I learned this when I subscribed to GFPM and they printed the tabulature.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2008, 12:37:32 PM »
You know, as far as hidden mysterious knowledge goes, that isn't exactly awe inspiring. I can't see that little ditty leading to vast ammounts of power, money, or nubile femlings throwing themselves at my feet (or any other part of me, for that matter).

Offline Cherri Tart

Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2008, 12:43:56 PM »
there's a singer named Kate Bush whom recorded a song, and then played it backwards and learned to sing the backwards part and then re recorded it singing it backwards (i hope that makes sense?) - i have the cd and really, it sounds really quite eerie. 

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2008, 12:51:11 PM »
Has listening to it granted you any occult powers?

I'm still waiting on the ones I was supposed to get from playing D&D. I think my copy must be broke or something.

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2008, 01:25:05 PM »
. . .I have occult powers granted to me by the almighty music of satan. . .*shifty eyes*

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2008, 01:41:13 PM »
I come by mine naturally. Or possibly unnaturally. Either way, they're me. I just had to polish them up somewhat.

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2008, 01:47:33 PM »
*laughs*  I was joking. . .*shakes head*

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Re: Subliminal Messages in Backmasking
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 01:59:37 PM »
I figured as much :)

Deadpan humour doesn't work quite so well in print :)

*wanders off to polish his runes some more*