(Audio soon)

This is an assessment of language-like speech in the reverse speech of Burke Ramsey and the police interviewer during Burke’s police interview as a child.

The examples here represent words that could be perceived, however, in many instances alternatives can be heard. Therefore, there is no certainty with the offerings presented here.

In situations where there is any lack of audio quality or where there is spontaneous speech that is spoken at greater than medium pace, and especially where both occur together together, the possibilities of hearing language not there increases. This is true for forward speech, and applies also to reverse speech.

Comprehension of speech is aided when applying one’s internal grammar and context to the discourse, and this is aided by hearing longer examples of speech. As there is not the greater length of utterances occurring in reverse speech as there is in forward speech, this benefit is somewhat smaller. However, internal grammar can be applied. Context is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can help identify language, yet at the same time create biased expectations and projections into the sounds. Also, one does not know what meanderings the unconscious will produce, and so whether or not the language is associated directly with the forward speech context. Though, it is possible one may hear a series of reversals over a relatively short time period, and realise that they are related to a context of sorts in themselves.

If one records short extracts of forward speech and listens closely to the forward speech, one will often hear sounds that don’t fit the words meant to be spoken, and it can even sound like something else. This is also a problem for reverse speech. Are you hearing what is meant to be said, or something else?

In ascertaining recorded language, it is important to understand how speech sounds, syllables and words interact with each other in forwards speech, and also how audio quality affects speech sounds by masking phonemes. This understanding needs to be applied to reverse speech to ascertain possibilities and parameters within which to operate.

Forward speech dialogue

BR: I was like laying in bed with my eyes open all night. So I was thinking of what might have happened.

PI: Did you hear Mum and Dad talking?

BR: I just heard Mum like going sicko/psycho.

PI: Going psycho?

BR: Yeah, like go like, you know

PI: Did you go down to see what’s going on?

BR: (?) down, and stayed in bed


BR: Now murder, walked around (note: there is no evident [er] on the end of [murder] to make [murderer] otherwise it would be [now murderer walked around]. Alternative is Now/An’ our mother walked around (see next reversal for possible association).

now murder/now mother/an’ our mother/an’ our murder/an’ I murder op[en all night]

[n]ow can be heard at unreleased nigh[t]. This is typical in reverse speech.

At [all], there is a short pronoun-like word such as [our].

[m] can be heard at all[l n]ight.

[rd] can be heard at ope[n] and the onset of [a]ll.

We should also entertain the possibility of [mother]. Interestingly, in the next reversal it appears that he speaks of his Mom walking around.

walked eye[s op]en

around [m eye]s [m] can be heard as [n]. [r] can be heard around [y].


BR: She walks, it’s a walk. My Mum was shit [I just heard Mum like going sicko]

she walks [sicko] Before [w] it sounds like there is an [sh] occurring. [w] comes from the rounded vowel. [s] comes from [s].

it’s a walk [it’s] comes from the lengthened [s]; [a] comes from the vowel in [ing], [w] comes from the rounded vowel [o], and [k] comes from [g].

my mum  [mum like]  [like] simply sounds like fricative noise. I have assumed [my] here. A general hearing gives one the sense of [my mum].

was shit [I just heard] The FS language comes out as sounding something like “aishow” The [sh] comes from the distorted production of [just], and the possible [w] comes from the rounding of the vowel.


BR: Girl afraid [Yeah it’s go like]

Girl can be heard behind [like] (one may also perceive [now]).

afraid – [a] occurs at [g] where [g] disappears. [f] occurs at [s]. Sense of [r] occurs at the constricting of the palate at yea[h i]t’s.


PI: Murder, it’s all this denied bullshit [did you go down and see what’s going on?]

(Note: there is no confidence with [murder] as it easily sounds like something else. There is no obvious [th]is or [d]enied; however, in spontaneous speech, elision of these sounds is possible}.


murder  [going on] This can be heard in different ways, therefore there is a high degree of uncertainty. Sense of [m] is at [n]. Sense of [r] occurs around [ng]. Sense of [d] occurs at the release and onset of FS [o] and [i] respectively. [er] occurs at [o]. The [g] is silent.

it’s all [what’s]

this [see] Elision occurs at [th] with a labial approximate taking it’s place.

denied [down] The double syllable effect in [dow-n] give some sense of [denied]

bullshit [did she go]  A sense of [b] is possible on release of FS g[o].. The [g] is silent and di[d] is silent. [ll] is not there, however, in spontaneous speech this is possible.


BR: Nervous, cried [… down, and stayed in bed]

Nervous [stayed in bed] [nerv] comes at [n bed] with FS [d] providing the alveolar alternative of [n], and [b] providing sense of [v]. [s] comes at [st].

cried [d] occurs at [d]. A sense of [r] occurs at [w]. The initial is ambiguous. It may simply be [n], however, [c] is presented as a possibility.



If anything is viable here, one gets from this the sense of someone (Mom?) walking around. Using the word [shit] with [Mom] could either refer to her feeling ‘pyscho’ at JonBenet missing, or alternatively, Burke’s unease that she was walking around that night. [girl] may or may not be there with [afraid]. He does seem to say that (he?) is [nervous] though.

These are reversals from Al Gore’s CNN Town Hall interview in July 2017 promoting his new book.

RS: Alps, they’re all with snow 

FS: … storms getting stronger and more destructive. [Watch the water spla]sh off the city. This is global warming

Alps [spla]sh

they’re all with [the water s]  [they’re] comes where the [s] in the next FS word joins onto [er] creating a fricative sound – there is a natural assimilation of the [th] with the [s] from [Alps]. [all] comes at [wat][ll] from FS [w], the weakly articulated [t] disappears in the RS. [w] is from the release of FS [w]. [th] is from FS [th]

snow [watch] [t] stop produces [n] stop in RS; [ch] produces appropriately sibilance of [s].

Although Gore is speaking of storms, Gore’s subconscious seems to remind him that rather than ice/snow melting, there is plenty of it in the mountains still.


RS: Why heed/did that rot  

You know without violating the privacy of those conversations I’ll just say that uh, [I I did have] reason to believe he might stay in.

why [have] A sense of [w] occurs from FS [v]

heed/did  [did] There is a tap consonant from the final [d] in FS [did]. This can be heard. At the same time, the [h] in [have] tends to dominate helping to give a sense of [heed] even though there is a tap there. If this is not the case and the [h] should be ignored, it may be [did].

that  [I d]id The contraction that occurs between [I I] in the FS gives a sense of [t] final, [th] comes from [d]

rot [I] Gore articulates an [r] in the FS thus producing the initial of the RS word, the contraction of the palate helps gives a sense that there should be a [t] final.

This reversal occurred at the point Gore stumbled a little in his speaking (uh, I, I …). It is interesting that an [r] occurs at [I] to produce [rot]. Gore, trying to formulate his words probably ended up with a cross between [Urr] and [I] before he repeated [I].

What is the rot or rubbish said? Is it believing that Trump would stay in, and telling himself that he shouldn’t have heeded that? Or, is it a conflicting aspect of Gore’s subconscious suggesting that what Gore is saying about believing Trump would stay in is a load of crap?


This one is made up of several comments which are language-like. This is analysed and discussed below to decide what of it has import.

RS: They’d made the sell, no city, it’s in the (chamber?), sign here Bori(s), I take it, (?) the moral rot  

FS: … virtually every nation in the en[tire world agreed to get to zero greenhouse emissions, it is unprecedented].


made the [eden] perception of [m] occurs, [de th] comes from the FS [d].

sell [prec]edented [p] disappears enough to leave [sell]; fricative noise from the audio occurs which may give a sense of a consonant such as [th] or [f], however, this noise should be ignored.

no city [it is un]precedented

it’s in the emiss[ions]

(chamber?) [emiss]ions The sounds produce shamer or shimmer, however, perhaps it is meant to be chamber.

Sign here [greenhouse] [g] disappears in the RS.

Bori(s)  rounding of vowel in the FS at the end of [zero] gives a sense of [b] initial. The sounds produce [boriz].

I take it [to get to]

(?)  [gree]d This comes out as gibberish, sounded something like e-oo. Perhaps it is a highly distorted heal

the [a]greed The release of [a] before moving to [g] gives a sense of [th].

moral [worl]d The ending of [rl] appears to give a sense of a bilabial.

rot [to our]

There is a highly distorted word that perhaps may be meant to be heal to make heal the moral rotBoris seems pretty meaningless. No city may be informative, or not. Key statements here seem to be They’d made the sell/sign here/I take it, as well as the moral rot. From these comments we can consider that the sell had been made to the world, getting them to sign up, as well as Gore saying that he takes it (the benefits?). Note in the following reversal below he states hurry give. The moral rot may refer to a belief that those who do not subscribe to Gore’s views are part of a moral rot. If no city has any meaning here, perhaps it is a connection to cities and pollution.



RS: hurry give  

FS: And by the way the two degree [figure] is just it’s not a you know a scientific threshold, it’s just sort of a compromise.

hurry give  [figure]

On the one hand, we should be dubious about short two word reversals by themselves as the coincidence level is high. It is worth including, however, in view of a potential bigger picture with other reversals.


RS: But they gather skin my dear; soon they’ll walk, give me sword                                              But they gather skin my dear; soon they’ll walk on me sword  

FS: fossil fuel age is ah i is in a transition now but that does not absolve any of us from our duty to look after you and your neighbours and and [those in the coal industry to make sure they get the] training and the opportunities …

they  g[et]

gather  s[ure they g]et

skin  [make s]ure  Perceiving [n] at [m] is possible here, perhaps aided by the nasalisation of the sound.

my dear  indus[try to m]ake  [m] occurs at [m]. Here we are looking at the FS articulation and release of [m] creating some nasalisation in the word [make] to produce a possible [n] in [skin]. For [my], we have the FS onset of [m] creating the [m] in [my]. [dear] comes from [ry t]o with [t]ry creating slight frication at the end which can be ignored.

soon they’ll  coa[l indus] [soon] comes at [dus] where [d] creates acceptable [n] perception; they’ll occurs at [l in]. Of course the initial is [n], and this is not a good representation of the word, however, there will be some assimilation of the [th] to a final [n] in the previous word. [‘ll] comes at coa[l].

walk  [coa] Rounded vowel gives sense of [w].

(g)ive me [in the] There is a [th] rather than [g]; the [n] does give an [m] perception, so that it sounds like [thimme] with the second syllable holding the stress. We can accept a loss of [v] for [m]. A general listening can also give a sense of [on me] as in [walk on me sword]. This reduces the efficacy of the reversal.

sword  [those]

There are two other reversals behind the FS. These follow each other – In the FS you do drama is first and in RS it is second.

RS: you do drama  

RS: solve any loss 

The sounds at [thimme] is  a question mark, and [soon they’ll] is a little iffy. The rest of language represents the words appropriately.

Gore is addressing a female about what would happen to the coal miners in her state (my dear). Gather skin is unusual, but we should try to apply it to the second part of the reversal. The issue in the second section is what it is at the point of [thimme]. If it is meant to be [give me], then, if the coal miners walk, does that mean leave the industry? Sword is imagery for fighting a battle, which Gore is doing. If it is meant to be [on me], perhaps he is suggesting that the coal miners will commit ‘suicide’ so to speak on his sword. But gather skin? Hard to know what that means – maybe more people, maybe something else.

Gore is good at sounding dramatic; he even sounds evangelistic in his video documentaries. Being dramatic is a tool he uses to sell his product.


RS: Their apprentices know we’re all going to cry dumb, bring attack                             Their/They’re apprentices, now we’re all going to cry dumb, bring attack  

FS: all faith and traditions to read La Dolte the encyclical from Pope Francis which really address the question you’re [asking here my daughter Karenna Gore runs the Centre for Earth] Ethics here at Union Theological Seminary, and she was part of a study group, multi faith reading that …

their  [earth]

apprentices [is the centre for]  [th] assimilates to [s] – [s th] – in the FS leaving [ces] from [s the c]entre. [nt] comes from [n], [ppr] comes from [re f]or where [f] creates perception of [p]. [a] comes from f[or].

know/now we’re all  Karenna G[ore run]s  [n] is from [n], [w w] is from [r]uns, [‘r] is rom o[r]e; [all] is from [o]re.

going to K[arenna G] produces acceptable form of the words.

cry dumb  [my daughter C] [cry] from d[aughter C], and [dumb] from [my d].

bring attack [asking here m]y  [bring] is from [g here m], [attack] from [askin]g [sk] creates sense of [tt], and sense of [ck] comes from pre-articulation of [a]sking.

His daughter’s study group may be the trigger for their apprentices (or vice versa). The pronoun we is used in regard to crying dumb. Cry dumb may be like the phrase ‘cry innocent’ in the sense of proclaim innocence, but here, proclaim ignorance. Bring attack could be active voice in the sense of someone (will) bring an attack, or passive voice in the sense of something that is done brings attack on them by others. If connected, it may be that crying dumb may bring on an attack. But the question here is, what are they crying dumb about?



This reversal is often played on the Reverse Speech circuit. The claim is that it was found a couple of weeks before the US went into Iraq.

Forward section: Bush: “… will help that nation build a just government after decades of brutal dictatorship. The formal leadership of [that government is for the Ir]aqi people to choose”.
The issue with this reversal is the chosen beginning point, which is incorrect, and as a result the first two words documented are incorrect.

For a start, we will is not evident. We will occurs behind [for the Ir]aqi. There is an obvious [r] at [w]e, and there is [th] which produces a [d]/[th] sound around where [w]ill begins. Where it has been cut at the initial makes it almost sound like there is a [p] as in the word [pray]. Cutting at the wrong position can create a sound and even a word that is not there. An example is if one starts a reversal at the onset of a FS [s], it will typically sound like [d] in reverse.

Secondly, listening to the seconds before this reversal, one can hear another phrase, which sounds like Swish little baby carried I will refer to this as the first reversal, and the documented reversal as the second reversal.

The documented reversal is begun at the point of [rr] in carried.Therefore, the correct beginning of the reversal will need to be ascertained. One may hear that either carried or carry is the natural ending of the first reversal. It needs to be ascertained whether the second reversal begins with the [d] from FS [th]e (so that the final word of the first reversal is carry), or begins after it (so that the final word of the first reversal is carried). An overall listening can give the sense that the end is carry and the second reversal begins with [d]/[th] at the point of [th]e in the FS. However, closer examination shows that the [d] sound may actually belong to the end of the first reversal (as in carried), although in a general listening it may sound like the beginning of the second reversal.

The second reversal, if it does not begin at [th], begins at the FS word [for]. The rounded vowel gives a sense of [ou] in you, and the movement toward [th]e at the end of [for] helps to give some sense of [y] as the tongue is moving toward the front of the mouth and is fairly high. The next question is [f]or. With [f] one can assume you’ve. But we have a grammar dilemma with the word sit. You’ve would make it present perfect and sit ought to be sat (past participle), which it is not. Alternatively, one could assume that the [f] has weakened substantially in the RS and has simply assimilated with the [s] in FS [is]. This is possible, and would make the word you’ll. Yet, one can still perceive [v]. This does not mean it is not meant to be [‘ll]. In normal FS, not every sound representative of the speaker’s words will sound exactly that. Nevertheless, [v] can still be perceived.

Of course, if the FS [th] was included, it can sound like they’ll, and in fact a general listening gives that; however, the second reversal beginning without pause and starting with a vowel can help to create the sense of a [th]/[d] beginning, but in fact does not.

Therefore, in this case, we would have You’ll sit in Baghdad or You’ve sit in Baghdad (if one accepts the grammar error)   However, one might continue to consider they’ll/they’ve sit as a possibility.

Little baby carried possesses some unity as a phrase but with swish, this word would have to sit alone or be discarded as gibberish. Swish little baby by itself is rather odd.

Carried, however, has an amplitude that is similar to You’ll sit in Baghdad rather than Swish little baby, which is softer (You can hear that in the audio above). If we include swish, we may have to see carried as a one word statement that follows, that is, written with a comma before it – swish little baby, carried – you’ll/you’ve sit in Baghdad. If we ignore swish as gibberish, we have little baby carried.

There does appear to be a word following Baghdad. This is rubbish. I am unsure as to whether it is part of the clause or just gibberish. There is [v] from FS [of] in the FS where the [r] is. However, [r] is arguably acceptable here.

This word, though, runs directly into the gibberish following, which is a mark against it.

You’ll/You’ve sit in Baghdad rubbish 

If the pronoun is you, is this Bush speaking to himself? Or, is he talking about an external other, and doesn’t refer to himself? We could consider things will turn into a mess for him/his administration, assuming this is the meaning of rubbish, rather than actual physical rubbish. If it is they, we could consider that he is speaking about US forces.

There is another possibility for rubbish – that it is not the ending of the reversal, but a separate statement from a conflicting aspect of Bush’s subconscious, one that is expressing strong disagreement with sit in Baghdad.

And the meaning of the first reversal? Besides an interpretation of a desire to be nurtured, it could also mean being left holding (carrying) the baby, which means having to deal with it because others won’t take responsibility.

Here is the whole lot from beginning to end

Here are reversals of language-like utterances from a recently released video of Diana talking with her voice coach in 1992. Here is a transcript of the recording https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4141886/publish-full-transcript-diana-tapes-channel-4-documentary/

The reversals show the currents swimming around in Diana’s subconscious mind.

There is a danger in speech identification when there is audio noise, such as in this recording. It increases the chance of hearing something that is not there. This is also the case when speech is spontaneous. The chances of erring is high. And with Reverse Speech, one has to identify apparent speech from gibberish, as well as coincidental sounds that appear to be language. One should know what is really happening both at the macro level of the speech and at the smaller speech unit level, and compare what is occurring in reverse with what is directly occurring at that point in the forward speech. One needs to know what is right about it and what is imprecise, ambiguous etc about it, and then make a decision whether to claim it as likely reversed speech.

RS: ‘n I’m a/(to?) slaughter; the (p)rophecy  

FS: (It was the fact that an older man), um, who was in a prominent position liked me, and wanted to have me around.

‘n I’m a/to  old[er man]  [m] comes from FS [m]. There is a slightly perceivable [n] from ma[n]. There is no [t] in the RS – it like the vowel [a], a general listening just gives a sense of [to].

slaughter  [an old]  [n] creates the [t]; [old] creates [slau] with [d] becoming a sibilant.


the  [that]

prophecy  [it was the fact] the initial sound in uncertain, and tends to run straight to the vowel – it is just easy to hear [pr] in it, so whether  it is meant to be this is a subject for debate; [ph] comes from [f]act;  [e] comes from th[e] while the [th] disappears into the sibilant at [c]y; [cy] comes from [it was] where [t w] are lightly articulated and largely disappear in the RS

Before the reversal starts, the is the sounds of merc with an [s] sound as the final. We generally use the word with a [k] sound final for mercedes, or a short for for mercenary (I am uncertain if mercenary also has a final [s] alternative. As a slang word, it can mean to kill ruthlessly (but maybe with a [k] ending?). Anyway, the car in which Diana was killed in was a mercedes, and the sounds are the first half of the word, whether that means anything or not.

Sounds like a part of her subconscious believed that it was her fate to be butchered.


RS: Big liar was I when he was/I was seeking  it. Game off, s(t)ea(d)y on roo! Shower!

FS: [Wrong word. Whereupon he leapt upon me, he started kissing me and everything, I thought rahh you] know, you know, this is not what people do and he was all over me for rest of the evening, he followed me around …

big liar  [rahh you] The consonants are not in the FS speech. However, perception permits their possibility, with possible sense of [g l] occurring in the transition from [rahh] to [you], and [b] at the labialised close of FS [you]. [iar] occurs at [rahh]

was I  ev[erything, I thought] rounded vowel creates [w]. [th] creates [s], [erything] was articulated quickly and weakly leaving a lengthened sense of [I].

when I was/he was  ki[ssing me and ev]erything  [w] comes at [v], [n] comes at [n], an uncertain pronoun occurs at m[e a]n’ (I or he), [w] comes at the release of FS [m], [s] comes at [ss].

seeking it s[tarted kiss]ing  sense of [ing] comes from , The voice coach vocalises over Diana and the final word is unknown and can only be guessed. It is possible that [it] is the word behind the interruption of the interviewer.


game off  [upon me]  sense of [g] occurs at release of [me], [m] comes from [m] with FS [n] assiilating to [m], FS [p] permits a sense of [f].

s(t)ea(d)y on roo! [whereupon he leapt]  roo is from [where], Sense of [n] in [on] occurs at the [p] in [upon] while the [n] in [upon] seems to disappear, [he] comes from [y], RS [d] is actually [l], however, and there is a [p] that is perceivable. This word is distorted. However, in the overall scheme of things it may be worthwhile including as a potential.


  The sibilance of [d] produces [sh], [w] comes from [w]ord, [r] comes from w[r]ong, [ng] disappears.

In regard to ‘he was seeking it’, we may have Charles seeking a sexual encounter or romance, or Diana admitting to seeking it herself. Big liar was I, indicates Diana was playing a game, and not being truthful about everything. Game off, steady on roo indicates Charles should back off as he was coming on too strong. A surface level listening gives the perception of steady, however, this word has phonemic issues. If roo is a part of it, it may come from kangaroo, and simply mean fella, so steady on fella! Shower would mean that she wants to wash herself after being ‘pawed’ by Charles.


RS: Where does he get this arrangement

FS: And Charles said to me that he was killed in a motorcycle accident [and that was the biggest blow] in my life I must say, that was a real killer.

Where does he [bigg[est blow]  [w] comes from [w], [ere] comes at b[lo]w, a sense of [d] occurs at [b], [s] comes from [s], [e] creates [he]

get [bigg]est  – [b] reduces enough to give a sense of [get].

this wa[s th]e

arrangement [and that wa]s Neither the FS or RS is clear and precise. There is a [g] sound happening in the FS at the point of onset of [th]at. Following [g], there is, of course the [n] following, but one can easily place in there [ment]. We have to bear in mind that FS is not always clear, and need to assess whether what we are hearing is possible. The [n] comes from the release of [th]at, [rr] comes from [w]as. The lack of audio quality probably helps us to hear this word in it. It is interesting, though, the [zh] sounds unexpectedly turns up in the FS, otherwise the word would not be possible.

Obviously this statement is aided somewhat by the inferior audio quality; however, here are many characteristics of the target sentence, and it may be worth considering.

Charles springs a surprise on Diana that the security guard (Barry Mannakee) whom Diana felt deeply for dies in a motorcycle accident. Diana here would be thinking how Charles can ‘arrange’ for this kind of thing to happen.


RS: Ban the men who I know I met  

FS: I think he was bumped off but um [there we are I don’t … we’ll never know].

ban [know]  Release of [know] at the labial creates sense of [b].

the (m)en we[‘ll never]  [m] is actually [v]; it is a generally listening that one may get a sense of [men].

who[m] I know [I don’t w]e’ll  [w] creates [w], a sense of who[m] occurs due to the do[n’t], [kn] comes from [d]on’t. [ow] comes from [I].

I met [there we are]  [I] comes from w[e are], perception of [m]et comes from [we], though one can perceive it as [w] also, and m[et] comes from [the]re.

Diana is revealing suspicions she harbours that Barry Mannake, who she felt deeply for, was murdered. One can treat the relative pronoun as [who] or [whom]. The reversal is reasonably sound, apart from the [v] sound on closer listening in [men]. One may place ‘that’ or ‘whom’ within the sentence to understand it better – Ban the men whom I know that/whom I met – so, ban the men that I met, and whom I know. This is likely Diana thinking that other men are not allowed in her life.


RS: Is she upset? See her  

FS: I was like a little girl in front of home the whole time. Desperate for [praise. Desperate].

is she deper[ate] The [t] produces [sh], its FS release helps give a sense of [is], and at the vowel [a] we get a sense of sh[e].

upset  [desper]ate This is quite clearly seen from the FS sounds.


see her  [praise]  The [p] disappears in the RS leaving [see her]

This sounds like a subconscious aspect of Diana asking if Diana is upset. Diana is referred to in the 3rd person. The aspect seems unsure if she is upset or not. Subconscious aspects of oneself are not all all-knowing. They can be as fallible as our primary ego. An example of a possible literal interpretation of words is found further below.


RS: My love/life go out. Miss/This’s the end. Mum miss such number. This naughty girl 

FS: I used to have really disturbing dreams about him. He was very unhappy, [wherever he’s gone to]. And so I went [and laid some …  I went and found ou]t where he’s buried [and went to put some um flowers on his] grave.

my [out] There is some sense of a labial consonant occurring at the initial.

love/life  [find]  The [n] produces a sense of [l] in the RS. The word could be [love] or [life].

go [went ‘n] The two [n] disappear and sense of [g] occurs where the [e] is released and the tongue is raised to produce the [nt ‘n] in the FS.

out  [I]

miss/this’s  [some] Although there is [m] in the FS, there is some ambiguity, and it is possible that it may be something else such as this’s the end.

the  l[aid]

end [‘n l]aid The [l] assimilates with the [n] in the RS.


mum so[me um]

miss [some]

such [t’ put s]  [t’] comes out as [ch] in the RS as it does in the FS, the release of [t] in the FS helps produce sense of stop before [ch] in the RS, [p] disappears in the RS, [s] comes from [t] and [s].

number [n went] [n] from [n], [m] from [w]. There is an acceptable sense of [number] here.


this [to] [s] comes from FS [t], a sense of [th] comes from the frication of the vowel.

naughty wherev[er he’s gone] [er he] produces perception of [y], he[‘s] produces perception of [t], [n] from [n].

girl [wherev]er The combination of [r] and [v] help to give perception of [g]. And the combination of [r] and [w] help give perception of [rl].


Diana is talking about the death of Barry Mannakee. Before mum miss such number, there is what is like parent suicide. Of course ‘apparent’ is close to the word, but it does not seem to indicate that. [sui] is actually like [siu] and the ending of parent disappears; however, in normal speech, that can occur also. Parent suicide – Mum miss such number occurs behind “I went to put some flowers on his grave”. Her words could be triggers for subconscious thoughts about suicide and her mother. Saying that her mother missed such number, may mean she missed that particular fate.

go out may mean to be extinguished. Therefore if my love go out, then her love could refer to Barry Mannakee’s death, and it ‘died’ at that time. Or it may refer to the dying of her love for her husband. If my life go out, then it may refer to a loss of will in living due to the circumstances that occurred. This’s the end would then follow on from that. If miss the end, we would need to know what the end refers to. Does it refer to not being there for Mannakee’s end, or something else?

This naughty girl comes behind “wherever he’s gone to”. There may be a naughtiness felt by Diana in suggesting this.


RS: An’ I appear for her days; gonna offer their prevention/An’ I fear for her days; gonna offer their prevention.  

FS: [And I should never have played with] fire when I [did and I got very burnt].

An’ I appear/An’ I fear/ [very burn]t There is a bilabial occurring in reverse ([b] or [p]) from the FS [b]. [n] in [An’] comes from bur[n]. The [r] in appear/fear occurs at ve[r]y. Although there is a bilabial occurring, one may also get a sense of [f] in fear. It can sound like other phrases – An’ up here/Enough here.

for her [‘n I got] [n] disappears in the RS, [h] can be perceived, at [g]ot, [f] can be perceived on the release of the vowel in got just before [v] occurs in the FS (go[t] is not articulated in the FS).

days  – [did]  One might also consider that the word is meant to be death

gonna [when’ I]  a [y] sound occurs, however, some perception of [g] can be had here,

offer w[ith fire]] [th] assimilates to the [f] to produce [ff].

their  p[layed]  [th] from [d].

prevention [an’ I should never have p]layed   [n I] creates [ion], [should nev] creates [venti], [er p]layed creates [pre]

Diana is talking about the unfortunate outcome of her feelings for Barry Mannakee, where Mannakee ended up dying in a vehicle accident. gonna offer their prevention occurs when she says I should never have played with fire. It sounds more like ‘their’ than any other pronoun. So, if this, who or what is their? Prevention of what or who? Is it a referent to ‘fire’ where it is using a plural pronoun to refer to the possibility of more than one fire? Is it an aspect of Diana that interprets literally (she mentioned ‘fire’, so there should be fire prevention?) Or, does it refer to offering prevention for these kinds of situations which Diana might find herself in?

I appear for her days (death?) or I fear for her days (death?) occurs when she says I got very burnt. It could be argued that her refers to Diana; therefore who is I? This would indicate a part of Diana that is at least semi-autonomous. If An’ I appear for her days, then we would have to consider what ‘her days’ refers to. If, on the chance, it is meant to be ‘death’, then it may refer to something that will make itself known at her death. If An’ I fear for her days/death, then it would be just that – a part of her that holds that fear. Again, is it a literal part of her that feared because Diana said she got burnt, and is interpreting that literally? Or, does it fear for Diana in other ways – her dalliances, the dangers of her position etc. It is uncertain whether ‘gonna’ is there. But it does seem to point to prevention.





RS: I am a boy for now. Seal boy for now. Boy you’re fair/your affair, do ya. Him, affair with a ma(n) 

FS: I bless each ¹[one of you from my hear]t. ³[I will pray for you] [and your families], and I ask each ²[one of you please] to re[member to pray for me].

I am a  [from my hea]rt  I am comes from [m my hea]; [a] comes from fr[o]m; there is a slight fricative sound from /f/ but this may be accepted as extraneous.

boy for now  [one of you]  /b/ is perceivable on release of FS [you]; [oy] comes from FS [you]; [for] comes from [of]; [now] comes from [one]


Seal p[lease] An unreleased /p/ however can be heard.

boy [you] /b/ can be heard from the release of [you].

for now [one of] as set out in first reversal above.


Boy  [you]  There is an approximation of /b/

you’re/your  f[or y]ou   This creates acceptable perception of the word.

fair/affair  [pray f]or  /p/ disappears in the FS producing an appropriate articulation of the word. Also, [affair] can be appropriate as a shorter RS [you’re] is acceptable. If [fair], [you’re] has a small rising intonation at the end; if [affair]. The rising intonation becomes [a].

do ya  [I will]  [ya] comes from [I] and [do] rom [will] with /w/ providing the rounded vowel. [l] can actually be heard at FS [ll]. There are perceptual similarities with /d/, but of course, this does not mean that it is /d/.


Him  [me] /h/ is easily perceived here. Beginning a sentence with an object pronoun is not normal grammar. One could offer reasons for this, which are not necessarily accurate. For example, as Reverse Speech appears often to be different subconscious aspects communicating with each other, [him] may be a reply to another aspect of the person that we cannot hear, and indicating that the ‘voice’ is talking about ‘him’.

affair  [pray for] [a] comes from f[or]; a bilabial /p/ can still be perceived, but it is decayed, and a general sense of [with] occurs.

with a  rememb[er to]  /w/ comes from t[o]; sense of [th] occurs at /t/. and [a] comes from [er].

man  re[memb]er   There is no /n/. I have taken licence here to cut it at the onset of /m/ to give some sense of [man]. Ordinarily this should not be done, however, on the chance that it is ‘meant’ to be [man] I have done so; but of course, I cannot then claim that it is. Following this are two more syllables which may represent a further short statement, however, has fallen into gibberish. This begins with /m/. And as /n/ can be assimilated to a following [m], I have offered the possibility of [man].


There is another language sounding section. It sounds generally like ‘mafia’ however, there is an /r/ evident so that it is really like ‘ma free ya’.

Sin/Seen  fam[ilies]  /n/ perception comes from the alveolar /l/. Perception of the length of the vowel will cause one either to hear ‘seen’ more or ‘sin’ more.

mafia/ma free ya [maf] comes from [fam]; Interestingly, /n/ in [‘an] disappears in RS and what is left is [a] and [y] [an y’]. However, an /r/ is perceivable as well.



A reference to ‘boy’ is obvious here. The first voice refers to itself as a boy. The second one refers to boy in the 3rd person. The third reversal refers to boy in the 2nd person. Seal can mean hide away, protect, don’t let out. The final reversal refers to ‘him’. In light of ‘boy’ in the other 3 reversals, this could refer to ‘boy’. It may mention ‘affair’ twice, but at least once. If twice, it is used with ‘boy’ and it is used with ‘him’. It connects ‘boy’ to the affair, and the affair with a man (If indeed, it is meant to be ‘man’, and this is not necessarily so).



RS: ¹Shake your dick now; I fell. ²I fuck in the ark now/no. ³We fucks dick. 

FS: You are concerned about your children’s ¹[welfare and education]s. You worry about the future of the planet and ²[what kind of a] world we will leave for future generations. But today and every day I would as³[k each of you] whatever your capacity to care one another. Be close to one another.

Shake edu[cati]on

your ed[u]cation  [y] is produced in the articulation of FS [u].

dick [ed]ucation /k/ is perceivable here

no(w) [an’]  The /w/ does not occur and this is a shortened word.

I fell  [welfare]  [ll] comes from /w/; FS /l/ disappears leaving /f/; [I] comes from [are].


I fuck  [of a] Again there is perception of /k/ here.

in the ark now  [what kind]  in the comes from [nd]; ark comes from [ki]; now comes from the alveolar articulation, the vowel and /w/ of [what]. There is a short pause before the final word. It may be that I would be inclined to drop it out and keep ‘I fuck in the ark’; however, the intonation of ‘ fuck’ indicates that it is not the final word.


We  [you]  /w/ comes from the rounded FS vowel, and [e] comes from the high front vowel from [y].

fucks  ea[ch of]  Yet again /k/ is evident! The sibilant sound comes from [ch].

dick  as[k eac]h /d/ comes from the alveolar position of the tongue at the start of [ch].



/k/ occurs in each statement when the FS sounds would not ordinarily produce the sound. There appears to be a sexual theme running through these reversals. If ‘I fell’, this may indicate a weakness in control of desire. If ‘ark’, this may represent a coming together of diverse peoples to be saved and (hopefully) start a new life together. Verb agreement is incorrect in the final reversal with ‘fucks’ rather than ‘fuck’. Perhaps this is not necessarily a problem as verb agreement is a major issue affecting many English language speakers as a non-native language who are lacking in fluency. The last reversal has a different voice characteristic while the first two sound more like the Pope.


RS: ¹Siena grow seen issue; ²They(‘ll) lie ‘n they must go/They’re lyin’ a/in Moscow/They lie in a Moskal; ³The owl grow. 


FS: Many of you have come to this city from countries the world over; as such you are a microcosm of the peoples ¹[which this organis]ation represents and seeks to serve. [Like so many other] people ³[worldwide] you are concerned about your children’s welfare and educations.

Siena  org[anis]ation    The diphthong in the FS creates the diphthong in reverse.

grow  [org]anisation

seen  [this]  The alveolar the Pope articulated for [th] produces /n/

issue  [which]  The Pope produces a short syllable through over articulation of [ch] producing the [i].


They’re/They’ll/They  [oth]er  The release of FS [o] produces perception in reverse of [th] or [d]; close examination reveals that there appears to be /l/ as the final before the [l] initial of the next word. However, the [r] will assimilate towards [l] as the articulators are preparing to produce [l], so [they’re] is also appropriate.

lyin’ a/lie in a/lie an’ they  m[any oth]er  In the FS, [th] sounds like [l]. In [lie an’ they] they [th] can assimilate to the /n/ before it, so this is viable. At the slowest speed [a] can sound like [in] where the /n/ would have assimilated to the following /m/ (in Moscow).

must go/Moscow/Moskal  [like so m]any  At normal speed the /l/ is most evident, but at the lower speeds it is easily perceived as /w/. Moskal is a derogatory term for Russians known by East Europeans and Russians themselves.


Discussion of this reversal

They/They’ll lie and they must go

They’re lyin’ a/in Moscow

They’ll/They/There lie in a Moskal


With Moskal being a name for people, [a] before it would be incorrect grammar. Moskal is also a term less likely to be known. With Moscow, it would be grammatically correct if it is [in], however that is not so evident at the two higher speeds. The first alternative provides the most accurate grammar.


The  worldwi[de]

owl  world[wi]de The [ld] may help to give perception of final [l].

grow  [worl]dwide /g/ is perceivable perhaps from the lowering of the soft palate at [rl].


There is another possible reversal – ‘n  that’s okay – however, this may not be the case, and I have not included it here.


Overall discussion

Siena may refer to the central Italian city. There is an issue associated with Siena and growing. Perhaps this is associated with the spread of refugee camps to areas such as this from the south to central Italy. The owl is a metaphor. There are different meanings attributable to the owl. For example, growing of the intellect, the ability to see things, to see through deception, or a symbol of change and transition. If the owl growing is associated with the issue in Siena growing (refugees), then it could either the increasing ability to see what is happening from all this, or that it represents a change in life as we know it. In the other reversal, some lie, and therefore they must go (If this version is correct).



RS: Havana now. 

FS: to care [one another]. Be close to one another. Respect one another. And so embody (…?) (your?) service this organisation’s ideal of a united human family …

Havana  [another]  no /h/ but this is quite normal for a South American speaker. /v/ comes from [th].

now  [one].


Only 2 words, so this increases possibility of coincidence. The UN speech was at a time when Obama was looking at reinstating relations with Cuba. This reversal fits into the FS words of a united human family.


RS: Sit search for deep; send it dumb  

FS: Working not only for peace but in peace; working not not only for justice [but in the spirit of justice].


sit  jus[tice]

search  [jus]tice

for deep  s[pirit of]


send it  [in a s]pirit  Unreleased /t/ can be perceived at the beginning of [in] after the release of /t/ in [but]. The position of the tongue and contraction occurring allows perception of this. The lack of obvious /d/ is not an issue here.

dumb  [but]  /m/ can be perceived here.


There is a clear bilabial at the end of the final word. One may hear ‘down’ in a general listening, and consider it with the word ‘deep’. However, in FS not every phoneme is perceivable as belonging to the word the speaker is saying. Perhaps it is meant to be ‘down’.

One may apply a range of interpretations here. For example, the conscious searching for deeper meaning may cause an aspect of ourselves to remain hidden and silent, uncommunicative. Or a search for peace and justice will cause some part of ourselves to become dumb.


I have taken clusters of language-like words from the reversed speech of a participant at a Reverse Speech seminar and presented them here with an examination of the linguistics and discussion of possible meaning. That I have documented reversals, does not mean I believe that they are real. Some of them can be heard in different ways, and some are not sound enough phonemically. In fact some are quite inane. Audio noise also plays a role in influencing perception here. It is a look at what someone might hear, document and present as Reverse Speech, and an exploration of what may ‘pass the grade’ as Reverse Speech. 

RS: in/and that fuck the raper  

FS: I get moved how um people can be so down and they (?) it just becomes ah joyful and happy and they see a different, their skin changes and they become [happy and confident ‘n i]t it just moves me to see when ….

The raper is behind [happy an]. There is a sense of an /r/ in the RS before articulation of /n/ occurs in the FS, but this could be aided by the audio noise. /n/ produces an approximation of the. Fuck comes from [conf]ident where /n/ is greatly decayed. A northern English [u] vowel occurs (note: speaker is originally from Yorkshire). In/and that comes from confi[dent ‘n i]t.


This is fairly sound linguistically, assuming audio noise did not play too great a part in it. Whether there was a real raper is something that would need to be determined (and also whether it has something to do with the potential words nigga/Muhammed, which occur close by, analysed further below). In the FS there is a great wish for positive, happy experiences, but in the reverse, there is something quite different going on.


RS: Watch me kill one day  

FS: [Yeah, I work in Tro]pic and I’m the senior manager in Tropics.

[o]ne comes from [I w]ork,  /n/ comes at the onset of [I] in the FS (it is possible that the speaker uttered [‘n] before [I] in the FS but the noise masks it). In the FS at /d/ in [day] David Oates speaks at the same time. It sounds like a soft /t/ comes from the speaker and the release of the vowel from David Oates can give the impression of a /d/Kill comes at [work]. There is a sense of [m]e at i[n], but this may be aided by audio noise. Watch comes from [tro]. The rounded vowel combined with the mouth moving towards /p/ produces /w/. tro[pic] produces kep in the RS. There is an assumption the reversal begins after this.


Of course audio noise hinders identification. [day] is uncertain, and there is an assumption of [me] 2) a syllable – kep (tro[pic]) – has not been included. It is not known whether this is something that should be a part of it.

Interestingly, David Oates says in reverse after this “Oh, right”.


RS: I had this attack 

FS: It’s not about money it’s not about possessions it’s not about anything li[ke that, it’s abou]t changing people’s being

The speaker’s emotions produced the /h/, allowing for perception of [I ha]. One can quite easily perceive /d/ at the point of /b/ in FS [about], however, /b/ can still be perceived. One can get a sense of [th] from the constriction at the release of /a/ and onset of /b/ in [ab]out combined with the frication occurring.  Attack comes from li[ke that i]t’s. The FS [th] is decayed and /k/ is heard.


The final in [had] lets this reversal down a little as it is dubious. Perhaps it is meant to be have, perhaps it is gibberish. A very light [th] is not an issue as this can occur in FS.  Otherwise, the stress pattern is appropriate. Based on this, one will need to decide if there is enough that is right about it. Assuming accuracy, one would then need to consider whether it is a negative emotional/psychological event that occurs or occurred to her, or whether it is a physical one, and this may tie it into other reversals documented here.


RS: I kiss Noah. See a loss, some deliverer I want  

FS: Um what’s stopping me from be[ing who I really, my soul is I want to ge]t everything you know I just …

I kiss – t[o get]  /o/ gives sense of I; /k/ from /g/ and /s/ from sibilance of /t/ is reverse.

Noah – [I want] /n/ from /n/; [oa] comes from [I wa]

See a loss – [soul is] [see] from [is]; [a] from release of /l/ moving towards [i]; [loss] from [soul].

some – [my s]oul

deliverer – [I really] /d/ is perceived the release of [y]; sense of /v/ as well as /r/ comes from [I] and /r/ together; sense of an extended [er] comes from including enough of [I]. As a FS version of this word would often not be enunciated clearly in regard to [erer] unless spoken slowly, I find the possibility of [deliverer] reasonable here.

I want – [ing who I] The remaining part of I (not utilised in the [er] above) goes toward producing RS I. /w/ comes from the rounded vowel in [who], and /n/ comes from [ng].


Kiss Noah and deliverer may indicate a strong desire for someone to help her and guide her. The reversal could then be a response to the consultation with David Oates.


This is a long language-like string. Here is an approximation of words.

RS: You/he/it had/got me/my head swimming – it’s true – then head him off – Australian on eggs will beat my egg through 

FS: I work in Tropic, and I’m a senior manager in Tropics (?) and sell (vegan) skin care and make up which I just [love getting on people’s skin and they learnt it from me then, then it just and it moves me when I] can see them change and transform.

(a) RS: You/he/it had/got me/my head swimming 

FS: and it moves me when I

you/he/it had/got – whe[n I]  The emotionality and duration of I creates an aspirated /h/ or, alternatively, the stop nature of the emotional noise can create sense of a [g] /d/ comes at FS /n/The pronoun is uncertain.  

me – m[e wh] The /w/ produces perception of /m/

head – [me] The speaker’s emotionality creates the /h/. Sense of unreleased /d/ occurs at the onset of FS /e/.

swimming – [an’ it moves]  swim comes from moves with /v/ allowing perception of /w/ (but also /l/).  ing comes from a[n’i]t.

(b) RS: it’s true

FS: it just

ju[st] allows a sense of i[t’s] and a further sound produced by the speaker after [just]  allows a sense of [i]t’sThe [j] permits a sense of [tr]ue, however, there is no /r/,  and therefore this is uncertain.

(c) RS: then head him off 

FS: from me then then

then head [then then] This is just one alternative; it is too unclear to be certain of any words.

him off  [from me]

(d) RS: Australian on eggs will beat my egg through 

FS: [getting on people’s skin and they learnt i]t

Aus – learn[t i]t /t/ produces /s/

tra – l[earn t]o – there is an /n/ in the RS rather than /t/.

lian  – [nd they l]earn [th] disappears; /a/ is pronounced rather than a schwa (unpronounced vowel).


on eggs – [skin a]nd  The vowel is indicative of eggs, however the softness of the consonant could make it ex or even aches. 

will beat – [people]’s  a sense of an unreleased /t/ can be perceived at initial /p/ in [people]. /w/ can be perceived at [le].

my egg – [getting on] /m/ is perceived at /n/ as it assimilates to the [p] in the FS; [y] comes from the nasalised /o/ + /i/ in the FS) [ng] disappears and /t/ is glottal like and cannot be heard in the RS); egg is from [ge]tting

through – [love] – frication from /v/ gives sense of [thr]


Of course, this is just one way to hear it.  If there is actual language occurring, some of it is quite likely something else. Her head swimming may be a reaction to the situation she found herself in, speaking to David Oates about herself in front of people; the fact that Oates is Australian makes the closeness to ‘Australian’ interesting. Some of it is certainly rather inane. Just because it sounds like language doesn’t make it language.


RS: Yeah, this is (zh) the end of my bills. Soul wake up 

FS: I want to be able to just not [to worry about money and just to be] financially free again [like I was].

this is (zh) the – mon[ey and just t]o  this – sense of [th] in this comes from release of t[o] in the FS and /s/ from [t]o; sense of the comes from part of [ey] and [an’]; sense of is comes from ju[st]; there is a noise syllable (zh) at [j]ust.

end of my – [about money] /b/ disappears in the RS as does /t/ which had assimilated to /m/ anyway in the FS, therefore m[y] occurs at [about] and  /m/ comes from /m/.

bills – [to worry] an indeterminant sound occurs at the FS release of /y/ allowing some impression of a possible /b/; /ll/ comes from [worr] and /s/ comes from [t]o.

Soul – [was] /w/ creates sense of /l/

wake – li[ke I] Movement of [I] towards /w/ in the FS produces /w/

up – [li]ke David Oates talks over the consonant, so what the speaker utters is unclear. [p] is assumed here for sense. 


There is a syllable of noise (zh). If the reversal was started later, it may still be heard as This is the end …. where (zh) represents is. One can see how an end to bills relates to the FS.


RS: We’re ready it would/Edward (b)ook you for (the) Alice, Alison, (b)ook (m)e for (the) Alice 

FS: an’ to let, to let (other?) people would be a real gift

We’re – [real]  soft /l/ produces /w/ in RS

ready – b[e a r]eal /d/ comes from transition of FS /e/ to /a/ where the tongue is high and forward.

it would/Edward – [would be]  i[t] or E[d] can be perceived at [d b]; /w/ comes from the rounded vowel w[oul]d; /d/ can be perceived at [w]ould.

(b)ook – peo[ple]  A stop /k/ can be perceived at /p/. This is unclear as there sounds like a double consonant at the beginning where one is /l/ and the other /b/ or /d/.

you – oth[er peo]ple  high front vowel allows perception of /y/, and movement of vowel toward /p/ in the FS allows for y[ou].

for (the) [oth]er –  The frication at [th] gives a sense of /f/. The change in intensity between [o] and [th] in the FS gives a sense of [the] following [for], which may not be heard in a more general listening. Here is the The Alice with for not included

Alice – [to le]t There is a pause between Alice and Alison where an unreleased /t/ occurs. Although nothing can be heard, one could also make an assumption that it is Alison.

Alison – [an’ to le]t

(b)ook – peo[ple]  A [k] final is perceived. One can hear [l] as the initial; [b] can easily be heard due in part to the sudden ramping up of energy.

(m)e [peo]ple Initial is actually [p] which comes from the ramping up energy of the vowel [eo]. The FS [p] disappears.

for (the)  [other]  A consonant such as [p] or [f] may be heard o the release of [er] in the FS. There is sense of [the] from [oth] which may not be heard in a general listening.

Alice  [to let] Alice comes from [to le] with the [t] producing [s]. The other [t] in the FS disappears.


Of course this is one way to hear it. Alice is repeated from the FS words [to let], which could just be seen as coincidence; however, one may argue that the subconscious has influenced use of the words.  (b)ook is an issue due to the [l] that can also be heard. It is promotes some interest, however, due to [we’re ready] and [(the) Alice] and the possible book, in view of the speaker talking with David Oates, an Australian, and The Alice being a stereotypical place to visit for overseas tourists.


RS: Put the self-pride, Earls and it numb it, (put) souls in there, (nurse/there?) she/you can’t solve wrecker 

FS: I was very abundant and then um [I kind of lost my passion and lost and went into a dark place (laughter)]. And um I want people to be walking around happy and joyful.

put the – [laughter] this comes at the laughter, could be heard as with the, also. If this is ignored, the reversal begins at self-pride

self pride – [dark place] /p/ can be perceived at FS /k/. /r/ is not really there, so it is assumed. The /f/ is not particularly evident, and it can sound like sell; however, we can assume assimilation of /f/ to [p] 

Earls – [to a] /t/ provides the sibilant as is typical in RS.

an’ it – wen[t in]

numb it – [an’ wen)t a[n] gives a sense of /m/. 

put souls – [lost] /t/ produces sense of the.

in there – [and]  

nurse she/you can’t/ – los[t my passion] – an approximation of nurse occurs. Continuation of /sh/ + vowel allows for some sense of she, but perceived rounded can give impression of you with the sibilant fully part of nurse. With can’t, [c] may be perceived from release of m[y], although this could also be /p/; /m/ may be heard as /n/, and natural ending of can’t can be heard with FS /t/.

solve – o[f lost]

wrecker – [I kind o]f  [nd] decays to /r/; rounded [o] produces /w/. 


Most of the words are reasonable, self-pride is a bit iffy. Perhaps the two put may be meant to be something else. Nurse is doubtful, and this may need to be dropped.  If there is anything in this, we see aspects of her psychology – self-pride, souls, Earls, numb it (self pride or souls?), can’t solve the wrecker. Earls only makes sense if it is accepted as a metaphor for a leading aspect of the Self.


RS: an’ if it’s (a) certain nigga, Muhammed 

FS: I’d be singing down the street singing (?) [with my handbag and just skippin’ a]long

an’ if it’s comes behind [skippin’a]long. The stop effect of the FS /p/ disappears, allowing perception of /f/. /k/ can be heard in i[t]’s, however, similar acoustic cues allow for some perception of /t/ and the influence of FS /s/ in creating a RS /t/ dominates the /k/. The sibilant /s/ is longer than normal. It is possible to perceive [a] following [it’s]. The reason for this is between the /s/ of it’[s] and [c]ertain at jus[t] skipping -though it continues to be a sibilant, intensity drops, emulating someone who doesn’t bother releasing /s/ in order to articulate /a/. certain comes from a[nd just]. The stop component of the affricate [j] allows for /t/ perception. The lengthened [n] from [and] in the FS gives both the [n] final in [certain] and [n] initial in [nigga]Nigga comes from handb[ag an]d, where the extended /n/ in the FS allows for a separate perception of /n/ from certai[n]. The vowel tends to fall into a diphthong /ei/ and the final syllable [ga] tends to have higher stress, so the word may sound a little odd. The stress pattern is interesting, however. The extended /s/ in it’s can occur when someone is hesitating for a moment. Certain drops in intensity as if the speaker knows they could be saying something wrong. The higher stress on ni[gga] could be an intonation pattern to indicate the speaker is saying something important and you should listen. Muhammed comes at [with my handb]ag. The [nd] assimilates to the [b], and in reverse sounds like /m/. Muhamm[ed] occurs at [with]. Closer listening will give a perception of did at [ed]. Therefore, the word is iffy. 


In it’s, /t/ could be /k/. Nigga, although phonemes are there, is articulated a little strangely, and there is a [d] or [th] after the mid /m/ in Muhammed, which can get ignored quite easily. These are the issues with it. That known, one would then need to decide whether there is a reversal occurring or just coincidental sounds.


Immediately following the above reversal in the reverse direction is this:

RS: Slip I hang a (spirit/skirt?), and/in lightning 

FS: I’d be just si[nging down the street singing (happily?)] with my handbag and just skippin’ along ….

Slip is behind what I have assumed might be [happily] in the FS, though it sounds like [hapils].  I hang a is behind s[inging ha]. RS ng is at FS ng. I comes from h[a]. What I noted as skirt/spirit is behind [street s]. The [t s] produces the initial /s/. There is sense of an ambiguous stop consonant from the release of the vowel str[ee]t; one could hear it as /k/, /p/, /t/, or even a /y/ with a hard onset. The final /t/ is produced by [st]reet. Sense of and/in comes from dow[n the]. Sense of lightning comes from si[nging down]. However, it is actually like the sounds for nightding; it is just easy to project the required sounds into it.

There are sounds that follow this, but occur at a different tempo. If they were included it would sound something like an’ nigh ding a slipper with sl a bit distorted.


This is messy and quite inane. Although we can project lightning into it, evidence doesn’t support it.


Byrne and Normand. (2000). The Demon-Haunted Sentence: A Skeptical Analysis of Reverse Speech

The authors make claims that can lead readers to believe that David Oates is a shyster, fraudently profiteering from his claims. For example:

  • ‘His company … is dedicated to profiting from his discovery’.
  • A ‘reviewer’ of David Oates’ book, Susan Brombacher, concluded ‘that (Oates) seems more interested in making a profit than educating others.
  • ‘The Reverse Speech Web page contains a plethora of merchandise and services available to consumers at considerable prices’.
  • ‘ ….. those who pay (David Oates) a hefty sum and go through his training can then serve as expert witnesses and command hefty sums themselves’.

It is my suggestion that researchers like Byrne and Normand drop the fact that David Oates makes an income from Reverse Speech, and avoid the urge to use this as a method to discredit the man and the phenomenon.

The attention given to the fact that Reverse Speech is an income-producing enterprise takes away from the necessary argument concerning its genuineness, appears as small-mindedness, and smacks of academic ‘poor form’.  They would do well in ascertaining whether real speech exists, and what it is that is producing it.

The authors write:

“The person trained to hear reverse messages could intentionally or unintentionally report that speech contains hidden incriminating evidence. Many people are not prepared to refute such contrived evidence”.

The authors state that the potential for harm is enormous if Reverse Speech is accepted in places such as a court of law. I agree that it is problematic. It is easy to error without sound skills. This goes for any use of Reverse Speech. A certain perceived stress pattern and the existence of some phonemes can cause the listener to hear a phrase even though other phonemes are incorrect, ambiguous or missing. The ambiguities can mean that it lacks evidence as the documented reversal, and could easily be heard as something else, or nothing at all. Of course, in normal speech, all kinds of processes occur – phoneme assimilations, elision, dropped phonemes and so on – one needs to work with a knowledge of language and its processes and what might be viable within a reasonable set of limitations. After an informed analysis leads the analyser to believe that the reversal indeed represents the sounds of language, it needs to be ascertained whether it is genuine unconscious language rather than just coincidental language-like sounds. Next, what/who the language refers to would have to be identified through a cogent interpretation. What aspect of the person is the ‘voice’? Is it an aspect that represents normal conscious thinking or how he/she views events and those around them? Or is it a denied aspect of the self? Or is it an aspect that communicates at a deeper, more profound level? When the voice uses personal pronouns, such as ‘I’, ‘he’ and ‘you’, who is this entity referring to? Is it the speaker himself or a third person, and if so, who is that third person?  Does the reversal refer directly to the spoken forward speech, or is it the indirect result of a trigger from the forward speech, and refer instead to events or memories of the further past?

The authors apply to Reverse Speech circumstances and conditions which can result in misunderstood and misinterpreted language. For example, they refer to B.F. Skinner’s verbal summator. The authors state:

“The verbal summator consisted of a phonograph (or tape) of random vowel sounds that were grouped together in such a way as to not produce any systematic phonetic groupings. These random phonetic sounds were arranged into patterns that approximated common stress patterns in everyday conversation’.

After such strings of nonsense syllables were arranged, they were played for subjects at barely audible volume levels. After repeatedly listening to these sounds, subjects reported “hearing” the phonograph or the tape “say” things. These sentences, or sentence fragments, did not actually exist and, as such, were considered to be utterances that were already strong in the subject’s repertoire. Put another way, they were “projecting” their own thoughts onto the sounds they were hearing”.

The authors go on to add, “phonemes may sound similar to a meaningful phrase but are really sound salad’. A listener expecting to hear a certain phrase will likely do so”.

Quite true, we project into the signal to hear language, and even more so when there are issues of low audibility, background noise, or audio noise occurring. Masking effects cause the listener to hear a particular utterance that is not there. However, it is not only in Reverse Speech that this can occur; it also occurs in normal speech. Projection into sounds and priming or prompting are issues that affect the hearing of speech whether it is forward or backward. However, Reverse Speech is at a distinct disadvantage compared to normal speech. Here is why:

  • When listening to normal speech, we know it is real language (unless someone has played a trick and recorded noises from a dog that mirror a human stress pattern, and used masking noise over it!). With Reverse Speech, speech needs to be identified from non-speech. This means recognising what sounds reasonably constitute language. It also means being able to recognise a structure that sounds like language as genuine or simply coincidental.
  • The analyst needs to identify the beginning and the end of the reversal. Identifying only some of it can alter how it is interpreted overall, or it can result in completely different words due to how it has been ‘cut’ from a longer utterance. The same thing would occur in normal speech.
  • People are not used to hearing Reverse Speech and, much like hearing an accent or language style one is not used to, it can lead to difficulties in comprehension.
  • We do not understand the mechanisms by which it occurs.

These issues do not mean that Reverse Speech is not a real phenomenon. But it does mean that there are considerable challenges associated with it – many of the difficulties that can occur with normal speech in a comparable situation. Because of the inherent challenges of Reverse Speech, those who investigate it ought to possess appropriate linguistic skills.

In reference to papers such as Byrne and Normand, I suggest that anyone who seeks to offer a critique of the existence of Reverse Speech, do so by first identifying whether there are grammatically-acceptable, linguistically-viable utterances in reverse that are significant in number. I have yet to see a critical study that addresses this basic first point of consideration. From the recognition of the large number of utterances in reverse which are of interest linguistically, one then needs to show whether they are simply coincidental sounds and have nothing to do with an awareness at some level of consciousness. An honest appraisal of the not-insignificant amount of material available that is arguably linguistically-viable, as well as grammatically and syntactically acceptable, should then lead to the question of whether an act of intelligence/awareness can or does produce it. Of course, we are unable to demonstrate scientific evidence of this at this time. Nevertheless, psychology has increasingly become more comfortable with the existence of the unconscious and the subpersonalities that act upon the person. Of course, it is quite a jump to a consideration of the unconscious aspects of a person communicating via the reversed sounds of the speaker. Perhaps in time, further understanding of the mysteries of the brain and the unconscious will lead toward more consideration of the phenomenon.

Byrne, T & Normand, M. (2000). The demon-haunted sentence: A skeptical analysis of Reverse Speech. Skeptical Inquirer (24)2. Retrieved from http://www.csicop.org/si/show/demon- haunted_sentence_a_skeptical_analysis_of_reverse_speech1