> I was recently talking to a fundamentalist who gave this argument
> concerning the rock group Led Zepplin and Satan:
> " If you play 'Stairway to Heaven' backwards it says, "Hail Satan" over
> and over again. The technology is(or was) not available to place this
> there on purpose. And the voice patterns speaking it frontwards would
> never be able to match anything that closely backwards. It was put
> there by Satan. Since Satan exists, God must also exist. "
> I laughed at this. But I have tried to find something on backward masking
> or similar occurances. I can not find anything about it and am interested.
> Can anyone point me in the right direction, or specifically:
> 1. Is backward masking technologically possible?
> 2. How is it done?
> 3. Are there other groups besides Led Zepplin which used it?
> 4. Are there any good books, articles, etc. on the subject.
> I would post in the Satinist newsgroup, but figured their answer would be
> just as biased.
There are three methods by which fundies claim messages are placed on
these records. One, a message is recorded while the tape is in reverse,
so that when played normally is sounds reversed. This is easy enough
to do. Prince has done it on a few occassions and Pink Floyd has done
it at least once. On the album _The Wall_ the band recorded a message
which said "Congratulations, you have just discovered the secrect message.
Please send you answers to Old Pink care of the funny farm, Balfort."
This is in reference to Syd Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd
who experienced a nervous breakdown in the late sixties and was at the
time confined to a sanitarium. Interesting, but hardly satanic. The one
sequence I've heard done by Prince was regarding the second coming of
Christ, again hardly satanic. One heavy metal band, whose name I
can't remember, even went as far as to record a message which said
"Beeee goooood, driiinnk your miiilk, saaaayy your praaayers."
The second method that fundies have "discovered", and the one they
claim is used on "Stairway..." and several songs by the group Rush.
They claim that the writers choose certain phrases in the songs so
that when played backwards, the phonemes of the words create a new
message. Sort of an audio palindrome if you will. Although theoretically
possible, it's next to impossible to apply in real life. Not only
must the phonemes create legitimate words in both directions, but
it must form a proper sentence and make sense within the context of
the song. I would assume that this is so unlikely, that we could
rule it out without concrete evidence to the contrary. Just a small
aside. I've listened to several sequences that fundamentalists claim
were created this way both by reversing the tape and by digital sampling.
I only heard the "message" after it was suggested to me what was being
said. Before I had only heard gibberish. The mind is *very* good
at interpreting patterns, and at creating patterns out of noise,
from visual and audible data.
The third method is the introduction of messages by Satan. The presupposes
the existence of such a being. I for one do not believe he exists, so
I won't address this point.
Some would say we should just let the fundies believe what they want
and hope that they will go away. Unfortunately, the fundies have already
taken it from the puplit to the courtroom. In the last year or so, the
band Judas Priest was taken to court by the parents of a teenage son who
had committed suicide. They claimed that subliminal messages in the music
drove their son to suicide. The court later ruled that the "message" was
the leading singer breathing between verses, and not intentional. In
this case, the parents were trying to find someone to blame for their
tradgedy. The son had been a heavy drinker and drug abuser and several
friends testified that he had been deeply depressed for months before
his suicide. The parent sought out a surrogate, instead of facing the
fact that they didn't recognize the warning signs.
I'll just leave it at that, I've rambled on enough. I never was good at
writing conclusions. BTW, this post is probably riddled with grammtical
and spelling errors.
From: john fruetel
I believe that Led Zeppelin did this intentionally, knowing full well
what they were doing. At that time, Jimmy Page seemed to be fascinated
with Aliester (sp?) Crowley, a really weird guy and self-proclaimed "most
evil man on earth."
Jimmy Page was a muscial genius (although he doesn't seem to be anymore...
What happened to Jimmy anyway?) who, in my opinion, could have easily worked
something out for this. As for the technology necessary, any tape player
rigged to play in reverse would do fine.
A lot of people have come down on me for believing this, mostly because
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant deny this stuff. But I still believe from some
of the lyrics in the song ("Sometimes words have two meanings", "If you
listen very hard, the tune will come to you at last") that Jimmy and
Robert put these backward messages in deliberately. Also, I recall a very
old interview where Jimmy and Robert implied this stuff pretty strongly,
without actually coming out and saying it.
But I don't believe that Satan put these there; just a couple of really
Okay kids, it's time for C Frog's "Phun Phacts about Backwards Masking".
1. Stairway to Heaven played backwards sounds *exactly* like, well, Stairway
to Heaven played backwards.
2. All of The Bangles songs played backwards sound a lot better (this works
well for Paula Abdul too).
3. "Jesus loves you" said backwards sounds like "We smell sausage" (try it!).
4. "I saw a girl with a weasel in her ear" -- the approximate "Satanic"
message you hear when you play a recorded version of Psalm 23 backwards.
5. If you play one of the Beatles songs backwards (I forget which one, but
it has them saying "Number nine, number nine" on it) is sounds like they
are saying "Turn me on dead man". Remarkably enough this is because
"Number nine" reversed sounds like "Turn me on dead man". Whoda thought?
666. Lots of songs have backwards masking in them, put there deliberatly in
most cases. Pink Floyd had quite a few (mostly innocuous ones like
telling you to kill your parents). This is not hard to do, it involves
recording something and reversing the tape. Whoa, hold me back. Mutli-
track recording studios have been around for quite some time so any band
with a bizarre sense of humor could pull this stunt off easily.