Reverse speech

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The idea of reverse speech claims that a recording of ordinary human speech, played backwards, can be interpreted as having completely different words. These words apparently reveal emotions or beliefs that the speaker intended to keep hidden. Different people tend to hear different messages from the same portion of backwards audio, and a consensus only occurs when someone claims and promotes that a certain phrase is heard. Once people are told what they're supposed to hear, they think they can hear it clearly.

David Oates[edit]

An Ozzie con-man by the name of David John Oates is the major promoter of the idea of reverse speech. Because Oates believes that the technique shows what people truly believe, he thinks that it has value in psychological evaluation. Amazingly, some people believe him. Oates sometimes gets access to the mass media and some punters apparently cough up actual money for his equipment and instructions. Oates was a frequent guest on Art Bell's radio show in the 1990s, where for a few years he lucratively marketed his reverse speech products, until 1999 when Bell filed a $60 million slander lawsuit against Oates in the Supreme Court of California. [1] In an epic fail of biting the hand that feeds, Oates had alleged on his website that reversals of Bell's speech proved that Bell consumed child pornography.


  • Bill Clinton says, forwards, "I try to articulate my position as clearly as possible." Backwards, this becomes "She's a fun girl to kiss."
  • A radio commentator at the scene of the JFK assassination, and before the facts were actually known, says in reverse "He's shot bad. Hold it. Try and look up."
  • Sandra Bernhard, talking about a night with some pals, says in reverse "They pulled out the grass."

The merchandise of reverse speech[edit]

  • Reverse-play tape recorders - $225 (no longer available)
  • iReverseSpeech iPhone app - (free but with in-app purchases of $4.99)
  • Reverse speech software - $179.95
  • Reverse speech Metawalk series - "14 individual generic Metawalks taking you through the major metaphors of the unconscious mind, enhancing your natural abilities and clearing away sabotages to mental, emotional, and financial health" – $495.00
  • Signed copies of Oates's book - $29.95
  • Complete training course - $1,495

See also[edit]

External links[edit]