These are a few of the potential reversals I have located in the 911 call of Jessica Mitchell.
1. There is uncertain language with the following reversal – whether it is ‘baby’ (2nd [b] not clear) and what the mystery word (?) could be. Also, it appears that the reversal may not begin at ‘the baby’, and that there is a syllable before it which could be ‘hide’. However, I will first look at the reversal without it.
(a) RS: the baby; why hurt you; (tag?) get under.
FS: Mitchell: He’s got shaggy blond hair
Operator: How tall is he? Hello?
Mitchell: I’m not exactly sure how, he’s about thr ….
the baby [he’s ab]out – It is possibly ‘baby’; however the consonants are open to question. The initial [b] actually comes from the onset of [s] before any frication – it may be heard as [b], but not conclusively; the second [b] is less clear, coming at [h] – an assumption is being made, therefore; a short sound at the onset of [h] gives the vowel ending in reverse.
Why hurt you? – exact[ly sure how]
hurt [sure h]ow – where [s] is in ‘sure’, one can perceive the [t] ending for ‘hurt’. Between exact[ly] and [s]ure there is a sibilant sound that can be considered extraneous.
you – exact[ly] – ‘you’ is gained from a combination of the vowel and the roundness of articulation occurring as in the neighbouring sound (sure in FS, hurt in RS).
I have included the syllable before ‘get under’; there is uncertainty, however.
(tag) – e[xact]ly – On close listening it can be like ‘tag’ or ‘cud’ (assuming an alveolar position before the [g] that follows). Both can be heard, and this is probably due to [ct] in the FS. Grammatically and contextually, the most sensible word would be one starting with [t] – ‘tag’ would be one choice, even ‘tie’.
get under [I’m not ex]actly – [g] comes from onset of [x] (egs); [n] from [n] in the FS; the [d] is an overall perception of the word ‘under’ – where [m] is, [n] can be heard which is articulated strongly.
Of course, there is no certainty that ‘the baby’ is genuine.
(b) Before it there is a word sounding like ‘ide’ which could be ‘hide’. This is uncertain.
RS: Hide the baby
So, if ‘baby’ is there, we have the mother’s subconscious saying ‘why hurt you’, so this may refer to Deorr. If so, the subconscious doesn’t want the child to be hurt, and if ‘hide’ is indeed there, then the child should be hidden (but then, are we talking about hiding a child that is now alive, or now dead?). Then again, the hurting may be a semi-autonomous aspect of JM talking about JM herself being hurt. Here, the subconscious may want the child out of the way of harm, and ‘get under’ may refer to a place to hide and protect herself and the child.
(c) The next reversal in the FS section appears to be either:
RS: There is no de-icing out there/There is no de-icing. Oh dear.
FS: And he’s got shaggy blond hair
De-icing typically refers to the removal of ice. Alternative, one may entertain the removal of the drug ice from the system. As it was summer and there was no ice, the normal term is strange in the context.
There are a number of FS consonants that have disappeared in order to create this reversal, or ones that have appeared.
There’s – blon[d hair] – on close examination the word is difficult to ascertain, and could even sound somewhat like ‘prays’, however, like in forward speech, words can sound distorted, and understanding of what one says comes from big picture listening. Most likely it is ‘there’s.
no [blon]d – [b] disappears in the FS.
de-icing [shaggy] – [c] comes from [sh] in the FS; [g] in the FS disappears; a perception of [ng] occurs at the glottal/velar [t] at the end of ‘got’ in the FS, and up to the beginning of [sh]; [d] is perceivable at shagg[y] before the onset of [b] in the FS.
Oh dear/out there [and he’s] – [d] or [th] comes from the [s] – although there is an obvious [z] sound, there is enough force to give an impression that one or the other consonant is there; out/oh comes behind ‘got’ – the [g] disappears and the lack of full articulation of [t] also causes its disappearance. One can perceive [t] where [g] is.
(d) The operator said ‘hello’? waiting for Jessica Mitchell to respond. She began talking at the same time. I will not try to record her words as it is very difficult to pick up. In reverse, it sounds like she says:
RS: Here, raping people
The operator, in reverse, almost sounds like she is saying:
RS: Who are (th)ey?
The [th] is actually [l] as in ‘who are lei?’. I have presented this as a possibility in the context, but cannot say whether this is valid here. Approximately 20 seconds later, the operator makes an interesting comment about a rapist in reverse. This is further below.
2. The entire eight second section of forward speech appears to reverse to language.
(a) To spin an axe, probably indicates throwing it, and idiomatically, strong anger.
RS: You screw me. Axe, spin it
FS: It’s so turn right after like the general store and the post office in Leadore [and it’s at Timber Creek].
You – C[reek] – [k] disappears.
screw me [Timber Cr]eek – [t] in the FS creates a little frication, however, does not get in the way, so ‘me’’ is reasonable. [r] I the FS after [c] creates enough frication to perceive a possible [s] in ‘screw’.
Axe – [ks] sound in [x] comes from the [s] in ‘it’s’ and velar constriction at the onset of [a] in ‘at’; [t] in ‘at’ does not cause any issue.
spin it [and it’s] – [t] in FS can be perceived as [p].
(b) It is interesting that the following reversal occurs at ‘in Leadore’.
FS: Hurled on it
FS: It’s so turn right after like the [general store and the post office [in Leadore] and it’s at Timber Creek.
(c) The remaining reversals run together without pause. There may be four statements in all. I have separated the first two from the last two, and will separate again to reveal individual comments.
The following sub-section runs together and can sound like ‘Take parts off but there torn it’. If you isolate ‘there’ and separate it from [f] before it, it is ‘know’. Of course, it does not necessarily mean that it is meant to be ‘know’, as isolating words in forward speech does not always reveal what the speaker was saying – we need to rely on larger speech chunks to understand a speaker.
If genuine, we need to ask what parts are being referred to, removed from what, what was torn, and who knows it? It may be useful in referring to the next reversal following this one for insight, as it runs on without pause.
RS: Take parts off. But know torn it.
FS: It’s so turn right after like the [general store and the post office] in Leadore and it’s at Timber Creek.
But know torn it
Take o[ffice] – a perceivable alveolar stop [t] occurs at [c]; [ff] disappears allowing perception of a near velar articulation [k].
parts – po[st o]ff – [p] is heard before the onset of [f] in the FS.
off [po]st – [p] forms a fricative [f].
But know – s[tore ‘n th]e post – right after the frication of the [ff] and part of the frication of [th] in ‘the’, one gets a short sound, which in the context of the other words, may represent ‘but’ (it could begin with [b]); know occurs at [tore ‘n], ending at the release of [t] in the FS.
torn it [general] store – an approximate [t] occurs around the [l] and the [s] in ‘store’ in the FS; [g] remains ‘open’ in the reverse, and allows a sense of a [t] in ‘it’.
(d) The rest of the run-on reversal is below. Letting someone/some people out and a door sticking may refer to a vehicle.
RS: You let the other side ou(t). ? door stick.
FS: [It’s so turn right after like the] general store
You let the li[ke the] – [l] in reverse occurs at [th] in the FS, and [th] in reverse occurs at [k]!
other – afte[r li]ke the general – this makes the assumption that the level of frication and force of articulation can be accepted as [th] in reverse.
side ou(t) [right af]ter – assumption of ‘out’ in the context, though there is non-articulation of [t] at the end; [s] in RS comes at [f] in FS; [d] in RS comes at [t] in FS.
? [turn off] – we have a mystery word. It sounds like ‘farner’s’, or ‘parner’s’ which is most likely nothing. However, in the context all of the language occurring around it, it should be noted.
door stick [it’s so] turn right – perceptible [d] in reverse occurs between ‘so’ and ‘turn’; assumption of a [k] ending in RS is reasonable.
3. The following section contains 4 to 5 reversals. They appear to use the word ‘fight’, ‘warrior’, and ‘skills’, which seems to indicate a pattern in JM’s reversals.
FS: JM: Um. I’m uh actually camping in Leadore, just outside of Leadore, um, my two year old son, we can’t find him.
Operator: What’s your name?
Operator: Pard .. Jessica who?
Operator: How long has he been missing?
JM: About four(?) …
(a) One should be careful about such short reversals. It increases the chance of coincidence. Context is important when deciding to include them. Fight’ is produced again seconds later behind a different FS word. Therefore, this is particularly worth noting.
RS: Her fight
Her fight [Jessica] – ‘her’ comes at [a] in ‘Jessica’; [f] comes at [ss]; [t] final in the RS comes at [j] in the FS.
(b) RS: Now fight you … (not)
There is a syllable before ‘now’ which I have cut off and not included. Actually, the syllable before and the word ‘now’ together sounds like ‘Danielle’. I am taking the position that ‘Danielle’ is coincidental (and that may also mean ‘now’ should not be included). The fact that ‘fight’ is used twice within seconds behind completely different words in the FS is interesting, however, and worth noting. It may sound like ‘find’, but there is no indication on close listening that it is this word more than the one I documented. However, it may need to be considered. Sometimes the word ‘not’ is heard behind ‘um’, and of course, we should not just accept it as being language. Of course, one can also hear /m/ rather than /n/. However, I have included the potential negative in this and the next reversal which occurred seconds away (it doesn’t occur anywhere else in the call) on the chance it means something. But, we should not assume it does. We must remember that what may appear to be language behind FS can be coincidental.
Now, fight you [we can’t find]
- You comes at ‘we’
- [c] disappears enough in the FS to allow the perception of an alveolar [t] ending in the RS
- now comes off f[ind] in the FS
not – although ‘um’ has an [m], [n] is also perceivable in the RS.
(c) In the following reversal, the initial sound can be like [b]. However, it is possible that the word expressed is ‘warrior’s’ both linguistically and contextually in light of other reversals mentioning fighting and using skills (see next reversal). As mentioned above, the negative may be extraneous to the main reversal section.
Warrior’s camp … (I’m not)
Warrior’s [two year ol]d – [w] occurs at the [l] in the FS; [io] comes at [wo y] in the FS; [s] comes at the [t] in the FS.
camp [my] two – [c] occurs between ‘my’ and the onset of [t] in ‘two’
I’m not [um] – [n] is perceivable just before the onset of [m] in the FS; [I] in ‘I’m’ comes at an extra vowel uttered after ‘um’.
(d) RS: And use my skills
FS: Ac[tually camping]
And use – cam[ping] – [n] from [n] in the FS; [p] becomes a fricative and allows perception of [s] in the RS.
my [cam]ping – [c] disappears enough to allow perception of ‘my’.
skills – ac[tually] camping – [sk] occurs before the onset of [c] in ‘camping’ at [y] in ‘actually’ – [k] is not obvious on close examination; here we need to rely on a wider listening to ascertain that [k] is at least a possibility. Note that articulation is moving towards [c] in ‘camping’, so this may be possible.
In using ‘skills’, we might ask is this just a reference to the fact that they are camping, and so certain skills are required not ordinarily used at home? And, does the possibility of ‘warrior’ also just bring out a feeling within her about camping? Or can we relate it to the context of the other reversals to do with fighting?
4. JM describes the child’s clothes to the operator. It appears that she uses the word ‘knife’ twice in the 6 seconds.
(a) In the first reversal, she appears to say ‘jumper’, and interestingly this subconscious voice uses a British accent, possibly from the West Country. Contextually, jumper can be seen as reasonable, in that she is speaking about clothes. In this reversal, ‘knife’ would be a verb.
RS: Right, knife who made this jump-er
FS: a blue um [pair like pajama pants , and] a camel jacket.
Right [and] [r] is perceivable as the [n] disappears in the FS; sense of [t] ending.
knife [pant]s – a sense of [f] occurs at [p] where the stop has disappears and is aspirated
who made this [pajama] [d th] comes at [j] in the FS; [p] disappears, and the frication at the end gives a sense of [s].
jump-er [pair like] – some frication occurring around [k] in the FS, can some sense of an affricate, although there is also [y] occurring as the vowel moves to [k] in ‘like’; [p] disappears in the FS.
(b) In the next one, [f] is less obvious in ‘knife’, however, it is possible.
RS: Excite – your knife hit
FS: [a camel jacket]
Excite [jacket] – acceptable [t] at [j] in the FS; [ex] comes from [ke] in the FS + a sibilance that occurs before [k] in ‘jacket’.
your – cam[el] – the high front position of the tongue produces [y].
knife hit [a cam]el – [m] can also be heard as [n]; the [c] ha becomes an aspirated frication – an assume is made here that it is meant to be ‘knife’; [t] ending for ‘hit’ acceptable.