A speech reversal from Kate McCann, the mother of missing Madeleine McCann, was played on a radio show recently and declared as being a ‘nice and clear’ reversal. The reversal accuses Kate McCann of beating Madeleine and killing her. However, the reversal is incorrect.

The documented reversal is:

Slay with fists Madeleine

Here is the audio 

Although Madeleine is imperfect, I will assume that her name is there. I wish to address [slay with fists].

  1. There is an /f/ in the FS; however, the sound largely disappears and there is mild frication in its place and also a velar quality of a [k + h] type. Rather than [fist], it is more like [kissed]. There is no concise /k/; however, the frication and aspiration combined with the ramping up of the vowel lends some perception of /k/.
  2. It is not [with], but [we] as the mild frication at the FS /f/ fails to produce [th] perception.
  3. Slay is [slow] articulated with a very English vowel sound. 

Therefore, we would have [slow we kissed Madeleine], clearly a very different meaning to the documented version.




Preservation of primary phonetic and acoustic cues of phonemes trigger their perceptual identification. Time reversal of speech both preserves and alters phonetic and acoustic features of speech signals. Invariant features such the power spectra of a signal are usually maintained whilst properties such as duration and the shape of the temporal envelope, as well as finer details of the acoustic spectrum are altered (Grataloup, Hoen, Veuillet, Collet, Pellegrino and Meunier, 2009). Non-continuant speech sounds are more susceptible to altered perception in reversals as assymetry typically occurs in the shape of the temporal envelope. This is the case in stop bursts, abrupt vowel onsets, and ramping (smooth increase in amplitude) and damping (smooth decay) of signals (Pellegrino, Ferragne and Meunier, 2010). Time reversal of these features alter the characteristics of the speech signal, permitting perception of alternative phonemes, and even the addition of phonemes to the speech signal, or the omission of phonemes from the forward speech.

One study has been conducted that investigates the preservation of phonetic cues in time reversed speech and the perception of reversed phonemes. Pellegrino, Ferragne and Meunier (2010) conducted an experiment which required four phoneticians to listen to pseudowords that were recorded and played in reverse, and phonemically transcribe what they heard. The results of the study showed that around 25% of the original segments from the forward speech were exactly retrieved in reverse. The experiment also demonstrated that certain phoneme types were more likely to be distinguished than others. Fricatives (e.g. /f, v/) liquids (e.g. /l/) and nasals (e.g. /n, m/) were identified at a rate above 90%, and vowels at close to 90%. The authors suggest that the high rate of identification likely reflects the invariance of continuant waveforms preserving a high level of perceptual cues permitting perception. Rhotics (e.g. /r/) and voiced stops (e.g. /b, d, g/) were identified at an intermediate level (66.7% and 61.8% respectively). Listeners, however, were inaccurate with unvoiced stops (e.g. /p, k, t/), with a rate of only 9.4%, as well as schwas (mid central neutral vowel /ə/).

The ones that were not correctly recognised were identified as phonemes having alternative place and/or manner of articulation. 30% of unvoiced stops were transcribed as fricatives. 25% were identified as stops, which also included other stop types such as glottal stops or unreleased voiced stops. 28% were heard as a cluster; for example, a final /t/ in the natural speech was heard as an /sn/ cluster. The authors suggest that the /n/ arose from the ramping of the vowel in the time-reversal signal. 7% were transcribed as a sonorant (r, l, m, n, w, y) while 10% of the stop segments were not detected.

The findings of this study suggest that not only are speech sounds from the forward speech heard in reverse, sounds that are not in the forward speech are also perceived as phonemes.

These perceptions are typical in Reverse Speech. Although many phonemes from the forward speech are perceived, others are heard as alternative sounds, and this is certainly the case with unvoiced stops. They can be perceived as a phoneme with a different place of articulation (e.g. /t/ → /k/ or different manner of articulation (e.g. /t/ →/s/, /p/ → /f/). An alveolar stop and alveolar /l/ can convert into another alveolar consonant; for example, /t/ or /d/ may be perceived as /n/ or vice versa. Others may be heard as allophones (different variation of the one phoneme; e.g. /t/ → /ʔ/ or unreleased /t/), or a similar phoneme such as an alveolar tap /ɾ/. Phoneme addition can occur such as /t/→ /st/. Stop bursts can disappear when reversed, lost in the vowel sound that came before it in reverse, resulting in perception of an alternative phoneme, an unreleased allophone, or omission altogether. Omission of sounds from the forward speech is a common occurrence. Light articulation of consonants or the strong frication of vowels next to a consonant may result in non-recognition of the consonant.

Some sounds in time reversed speech are highly ambiguous and may be heard differently by different listeners. Alteration of phonemic cues through reversing or degrading of the sound through audio noise or poor audio quality contribute to ambiguity. In this case, one’s grammatical and lexical knowledge comes into play in phoneme selection, projecting the desired phoneme to produce meaning.

Reverse Speech is very much about the perception of speech sounds and finding meaning though the building of strings of language that make some grammatical and syntactical sense. But of course, this is very much the case for normal speech as well. We turn the sounds uttered by another into coherent meaning. When listening to speech, we cannot actually perceive each individual speech sound. We assume that they are there. However, if we were to examine the individual segments of spontaneous forward speech, we would find that not all phonemes of the heard words are recognisable; they may sound different or be missing altogether. Yet, there is ample remaining of the speech signal to perceive a coherent string of words. The rest is projected into it.

So, we can now see that Reverse Speech is composed of perceivable phonemes and segments. Not covered by Pellegrino et al. is whether the segments produce lexical information. It can be easily proven that they indeed do. However, to perceive strings of language correctly, one needs to operate within linguistic possibilities and parameters. This entails examination of phonemes and segments of reversed speech as well as comparing them to the information in the forward speech. This means understanding linguistic processes. This also means knowing that some speech sounds in forward speech can be heard differently to the sounds which normally make up words.  It is important to know what is wrong with the string of words just as it is important to know what is right. This helps to set reasonable linguistic parameters for what can be accepted as linguistically viable. There are innumerable examples out there in ‘Reverse Speech World’ that are obviously not what they are claimed to say. There are also many that can sound like what they are attested to be, yet still lack the necessary evidence for it.

Yet, strings do occur that mirror acceptable language. Nevertheless, proving that they are anything but coincidental is another matter. Every day, there are perhaps trillions of strings of language produced by speakers around the world. Quite naturally, ‘words’ will appear that are purely coincidental, even if they are a grammatically acceptable string of two, three or four words which are composed of perhaps one or two content words and one or two particles. One can shake these in front of linguistics all day and get a response like “that’s interesting, but no cigar!”, even if they did seem to have some meaning regarding the speaker and what he was saying. For attention to be garnered, linguistically viable strings that are much longer need to occur; say, a minimum of 7 words in length with ample examples of ones that are more than 10 words and even as long as 15 -20 words.

Funnily enough, they exist.


Grataloup, C., Hoen, M., Veuillet, E., Collet, L., Pellegrino, F & Meunier, F. (2009). Speech Restoration: An Interactive Process, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 52, 827-838.
Pellegrino, F., Ferragne, E., & Meunier, F. (2010). 2010, a speech oddity: Phonetic transcription of reversed speech. Interspeech 2010, 1221 – 1224.

Other links

Investigation of audio samples related to Deorr Kunz case – Vernal Kunz and Jessica Mitchell

Jessica Mitchell 911 call – Deorr Kunz

Isaac Reinwand July 2016

The reversal set is 19 words long coming as a series of statements typical in RS. Almost all is completely acceptable linguistically, however the [v] is really an [n] with some frication, and there is an evident [l] in [you up] which makes it sound like [heal up] on closer listening. The fact that there is only 2 or 3 phonemes out of over 60 that are ‘out of kilter’ perception-wise makes the reversal set worthy of consideration. In FS one can perceive phonemes that are not ordinarily a component of the word, and therefore consideration ought to be given to RS in the same way. In addition, if there is a ‘voice’ communicating in the reverse of the speaker’s words, then it stands to reason that not all of it will be heard clearly and precisely. One needs to weigh up what is right about the reversal and what is dubious in order to determine its worth.

If any of the statements are genuine, then we may see Jessica (spoken as in the 3rd person) being viral – the mother everywhere looking (FS ‘crazy Mom status’).  The desire to find and be with her child – ‘pick you up honey’ and ‘Mommy’s here’. And, the deadly mountain and ice associated with a mountain. Alternatively, ice refers to the drug, almost like an entity itself speaking (‘said’).

RS: May answer the others. She came [v]iral. Pick you up honey. Kill said ice. Mummy’s here. Kill mountain here.  

FS: I hear little kid voices [or anything I am like] [crazy Mum status like you know following people around making sure that it’s not him].

may [him]

answer – i[t’s not] no[t] is not articulated in the FS and does not occur in the RS. [t’s] produces RS [s] and contributes to the RS [er], The [er] is influenced by the [th] in [the] and is weak as it would be in FS.

the others [sure that it] [the] takes some of [it] and FS [th] disappears. [other] comes at [ure tha]. The RS [s] actually disappears into the [sh] in [she] in the next reversal as it would naturally in FS.

she mak[ing s]ure [ng] disappears in the RS

came [mak]ing

[v]iral peop[le around] At [nd] one there is [n] or [m]. As phonemes in FS don’t always sound like what is intended, I have included this as a possibility.

pick [peop] [k] perception occurs

you up [following] [f] is perceived as [p], [y] comes from [i], FS [ng] disappears. There is an [l] occurring in the RS from the FS [ll] therefore this is imprecise.

honey [you know]

kill [like]

said ice [status] [st] becomes [c]

mummy’s cra[zy] mum

here [cra] [c] becomes an aspirated sound which adds to perception of [here].

kill [like]  [like] typically produces [kill]. Here the vowel is produced a bit lower but is still acceptable.

mountain any[thing I am] Vowel diphthong a bit imperfect but reasonable, [t] occurs at palate closure after RS [ng] and before [I] moving straight th [n], which is quite normal. FS [th] assimilates with the [n].

here [or any] [n] is weak in the FS and disappears in the RS.


My wash, my sheet, now some food; who’d believe but I gotta tan 

FS: I have so many things in life I want to do with my son teach him, to show him and I’m not giving up on that that I’m go’nna be able to do that.

my wash [show him]

my sheet [teach him]

now some food [do with my son] now some comes at [my son]. [w] is cut short, but in normal speech with a word following, that would be normal. Alternatively, it may be heard a nurse him, with food a separate addition. The fact that there is no pause may be acceptable, as RS is often a series of short comments that may have no pause between them. This would make it my wash, my sheet, nurse him, food. Food comes at [do with], with the [w] continuing the rounded vowel, and FS [th] perceived as [f].

who’d believe – b[e able t’do] who’d comes from [do]. [le t’] practically disappears leaving [e ab]. Perception of [l] comes from the transition in [e a]. [v] assimilates to the [b] in [be], which is acceptable.

but I g[onna b]e [b] comes at the onset of [b] in the FS. Sense of [t] comes at a tap like sound at FS [n]. I comes at FS [o].

gotta – th[at I’m g] There is some influence of the [m], however, this is an adequate representation.

tan – o[n that] – [th] disappears in the FS, leaving [n].


These two reversals may indicate subconscious processes as regard to freedom and responsibility.

He talks about wanting to do things with his son in the FS; his reversal, however, lists chores – washing and feeding, or, washing, nursing him, feeding. The 2nd reversal indicates a desire for a different identity and reality. The 2nd reversal reveals elements of a Latin/Spanish accent (note the unaspirated [t] in [tan]) – a fantasy of a cool Latino with a tan. The reversal seems to continue to another statement; however, the first part is gibberish, but the last part may be heard as be gun runner, though /r/ is not precise. This simply continues the fantasy of the Latin with a tan. 


Source now for money through mouse/mouth. They both lie

FS .. all [thought/felt the time we were seen on f on soc]ial media and everything well it was everyth ..  money this money that and, no … um I work every day, every day, um I just want it’s nice to know people out there don’t …

source now – on f[on soc]ial The addition of the [f] in the FS actually adds to the strength of now.

for money – s[een on f] The [f] provides the RS [f]. Here, Vernal was probably going to say “Facebook”, but stopped at the initial sound. The [n] provides reasonable perception of [m].

through mouse – [time w’were s]een FS [we] becomes a slightly longer [w] in [were]. This provides the rounded vowel in through, with FS [s] providing frication to perceive [th]. The final sound in mouse/mouth is cut short probably due to the continuation of the reversal, and therefore this creates uncertainty over the ending. The ending comes at [t] in the FS. The ending can sound like [t]; however, in the reversal construction, this would not make sense. In some ways it can sound like threw him out, however I believe this version is less likely. The duration of the sound is cut short, and therefore the sound is not properly perceived. Please note [t] can create an [s] in RS, and often does. Also, with the next statement beginning with [th] (they), it is more likely to be [s]. Moreover, Vernal is speaking about social media. Therefore, a (computer) mouse is arguably more likely.

They both lie – [all thought that] Lie comes from [all]. [b] comes at the release of the vowel in [thought] creating an rapid, explosive labial like sound in the reverse. They comes from the [th] in [that].


Although the ending of mouse/mouth is cut short, this may be accepted as normal due to the rapid movement to the initial of the next word. One needs to decide whether they refers to external actors, or whether it is a semi-autonomous aspect of self referring to Vernal and Jessica. If the latter interpretation is correct, and the word is mouse, then this can show that they indeed attempted or had the intention to source money over the internet (perhaps to raise funds to aid the investigation, for example). If mouth, then this would show an alternative means of accessing funds.


Nurse he’s really dead 

FS: Daddy loves you son and I’m not giving up hope.

nurse [son]

he’s – love[s you]

really – Dadd[y love]s

dead [Dadd]y


This lies behind Daddy loves you son. This would indicate a part of him that believes that his son his dead. If nurse is valid, perhaps it indicates a desire to hold him.

It would be quite normal that the parent of a missing toddler that cannot be found would entertain thoughts that he is no longer alive, but at the same time hold some hope. To claim that he consciously knows this with ‘dead certainty’; that is, he knows what happened to the child, may be erroneous. What comes from reversals is not always going to be known consciously.

(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: Our murder,/mother walked around, (the) then they hear the threa[t] [I was like laying in bed with my eyes open all night]  

our murder op[en all night]

our n[ight] [t] does not occur in the RS. There is no evidence of any articulation towards the high front vowel in [I], and with the time period extending a little longer than a shortened cut [I] that could occur before consonant, I won’t claim [I] as a possibility.

mother/murder op[en all n]ight [m] comes at [l n]. [rd]/[th] occurs at FS [n]. It sounds most like murder, however, audio quality could mask sounds, and [mother] is a possibility.

walked eye[s op]en The labial op] gives a sense of [wa]. The FS[ [s] provides the [ed] ending (this can occur in the RS).

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

(the) then they lay[in’ in bed with] FS [b] disappears. At slower speeds one can hear a short syllable before [then] from [with]. It sounds most like [the], and I will accept it as a ‘stumble’ that oten occurs in FS. In [then they], the [in’ in] provides a lengthened [n] which gives [n th]. This then follows normal assimilation of [th] adjacent [n].

hear [lay] some aspiration occurs, and [r] is perceived at [l].

the [like] the alveolar [l] dominated allowing a sense of [t]. Of course, audio quality aids this as well

threa[t] [I was] the fricative of the [s] gives a sense of [th], and the [w] gives a sense of [r]. Lack of evidence of an unreleased [t] final


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

If this reversal has an association with the previous one, then [murder] may meant to be [mother]. Also, see reversal below from the Dr Phil interview in 2016.

she walks [sicko] Before [w] it sounds like there is an [sh] occurring – he produces some vocal noise, however, it is likely the audio is lending something to it. [w] comes from the rounded vowel. [s] comes from [s].

it’s a/this walk [it’s] comes from the lengthened [s]; [a] comes from the vowel in [ing], It may also be [this walk]. [w] comes from the rounded vowel [o], and [k] comes from [g].

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

the/was shit [I just heard] It could also sound like [momma] at this point, however, there is a new word beginning after [mom]. This point is at the end of [heard], and is most like [the], however, [was] is a possibility.The [sh] comes from the distorted production of [just]. An unreleased [t] final is assumed here.


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

There is no obvious [th]is or [d]enied; however, in spontaneous speech, elision of these sounds is possible.

it’s all [what’s]

this [see] Elision occurs at [th] with a labial approximate in its place. The failure to articulate [th] would occur in FS.

denied [down] The double syllable effect in [dow-n] give some sense of [denied]. There is no initial [d]; however, assimilation to the preceding [s] is quite possible.

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.

Before the beginning of this reversal is a word that can sound like [murder] 

murder  [going on] This can be heard in different ways, therefore there is a 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.

One has to separate it from the following sibilant sound to get a better sense of it.


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


I have included here one from Burke’s 2016 interview with Dr Phil.

RS: Mom out there. Remember answer  

FS: The [first thing I remember is my Mom] bursting in my room really frantic saying like oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, running around my room looking for Jon Benet.

There is no [b] in “remember”, however I think this does not exclude it as the documented reversal.

This could either indicate coaching from his parents when he was a child, or refer to a rehearsed response to his mother. Note that other reversals may refer to his mother walking around while he was in his bedroom.


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. He does seem to say that (he?) is [nervous].

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.