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].
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/.
It is not [with], but [we] as the mild frication at the FS /f/ fails to produce [th] perception.
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.
A number of positive, potential reversals occur in ‘Alexanders’ testimony on Reverse Speech sessions with David Oates. I have included those here. I will also attempt to make an interpretation. Other language-like strings were found, but have not been included. This is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51chcgyidJM&t=14s
RS: ¹and they chartered wolf in this issue ²Nail the thunder cell/Nail the thunder, sell
FS: We now have two viable programs, one of ¹[which is in full production], the other which will be going online soon at the end of the year, so that ²[was another win], in my opinion, for David.
I assume it is ‘chartered’ rather than ‘charted’, or alternatively another word like ‘shuttered’. I assume also that there is ‘ed’ as there is a gap between /r/ and /w/ in ‘wolf’. I also assume it is /ch/ and not /sh/. Of course, sometimes, ‘and they’, is ‘n ney’. In FS speech there is often a degree of assimilation of /th/ with /n/ before it. ‘n ney’ is assumed to be ‘and they’. in this issue
At the end of ‘nail’ one may hear an /l/ or /w/ as in ‘now’, or both. I assume it to be ‘nail’. Nail the thunder cell/sell
The reversals may mean power was conferred to the wolf and the wolf utilised in the issue. As for the second reversal, it depends on the meaning of ‘nail’. If ‘thunder cell’, as a thunderstorm cell is a negative event, ‘nail’ could mean securing, holding down the cell so that the storm doesn’t impact. Alternatively, the sessions have allowed her to release power, for example, through speaking strongly and with conviction – ‘nail’ here would mean getting it right, doing it successfully. ‘They’ occurred in half of these reversals on this page. ‘They’ may refer to the unconscious, which may be seen as a group rather than a single entity. ‘They’ in the various reversals here would show that the unconscious was accessed produce changes.
RS: Now I’m the (court?) and I give acts to the force
FS: we began our work and this was the first time as I said that I had worked with David, I really did not know what to expect; I was not sceptical because I like to think of my[self as having an open mind] …
There is /p/ at /c/ in ‘court’. While the labial /p/ can be heard, I am assuming that it is meant to be ‘court’ rather than ‘port’. ‘Acts’ is not a strong example, with no obvious /k/ produced, but again, I assume it to be. If one listens to short extracts of forward speech, imprecise phonemes occur as well. to the force
She has melded that aspect that has the power and authority to govern , make laws etc, and can use the force to act on.
FS: Although [it’s quite a significant fin]ancial commitment to take a chunk of his time to address your problems, you get his full attention, he’s very responsive to emails …
Making something happen easily and suddenly, but with the idea that you have the power to do so. Making the magical but mischievous and potentially harmful part of oneself stop acting (sit).
Perhaps flicking fingers is making something happen easily and suddenly, but with the idea that you have the power to do so. Letting the elf sit is making the magical but mischievous and potentially harmful part of oneself stop acting (sit) to her detriment.
FS: I first worked with David just about 12 months ago in October of 2013; I called him because I had one very urgent concern .
Once again, ‘they’ is used. This indicates that the attention of the unconscious was gained and utilised to promote her life energy. ‘to look’ is fast at the end before the start of the 2nd comment directly after. Because it continues on to ‘grow’, ‘to look’ runs together quickly, but is possible. Also, there is a perceptible /t/ after ‘made’.
Recently I have been examining speech reversals on the internet. It is clear that there is a plethora of examples that are ambiguous or obviously incorrect. Clearly, projection is occurring. Yet, some responders on the various sites indicate agreement with examples while others oppose. I have to assume that concurrence with highly dubious reversals is a case of priming which Mark Newbrooke claimed was a factor in hearing reversals. This is where the words are given to the listener beforehand, and this influences the listener’s perception. The listener perceives a syllable count, hears some phonemes or allophonic variations that are within linguistic limits, and the remainder is projected into; the mind adds the necessary sounds, and/or deletes others so that a recognisable string of language occurs. Furthermore, there are many reversals that are of 2 to 5 words, Out of the multitudinous strings of speech occurring each day, it is not unreasonable to expect short language-like strings from the reversed sounds that are simply coincidental occurrences.
So, projection occurs; priming occurs, too. Short strings of speech are not all that remarkable – often they are just the reverse of the sounds of the forward speech, and probably occur when different people say it, or there are a couple of ambiguous sounds that allows the mind to fill in the ‘right’ sounds. But, with all that said, does this mean that there is nothing genuine about reversed speech? Not necessarily. It means projection is an issue. It means that there are plenty of poor or ‘shaky’ examples around.
Amongst all the valueless apparent language, there is some pretty powerful stuff, and stuff that occurs in much longer strings of language, that I believe, are reasonably there within linguistic bounds. It is these longer strings that ‘separate the men from the boys’ so to speak.
I have taken an interest in a webpage on http://reversespeech.com/reversal/did-we-go-to-the-moon-or-not/ I have listened to a few of the reversals. I am not conspiracy-minded myself, but I would like to make comments about some the reversals presented, as well as present some more that lie behind the forward speech.
The numbered reversals are the reversals documented on the webpage, while BA is my take on what is there. Reversal 1 etc refers to the Reversal number on the webpage.
Ah, it sucks
Apollo 11 not perfect. Ah, it sucks
BA: Apollo he/who left on a carpet. Ah, it sucks
When splitting into two sections, I can hear language that is like “Apollo 11” (11 roughly so), and “no perfect” (without [t] in ‘not’). “Perfect” is possible, however, I put forward the possibility of “carpet” – the initial consonant may be heard as [p], but also [k]. Rather than“11”, it could be “he left on”, or “who left on” – if “who” the bilabial approximate [w] comes off the rounded final vowel in “Apollo”. Here it is as “he/who left on a” And. rather than “not”, it becomes o[n a].
This occurred at lift off. If “carpet”, it sounds like a fantasy as in “magic carpet ride”. Whether one wants to interpret that as just that – a fantasy – and therefore not really happening, or, alternatively, as an expression of the magical and brilliant event that was occurring, flying into the sky …. that will be determined by the bent of one’s character.
It could be “camera 4” rather than bad rapport . The initial sound is a wildcard and can be heard differently; however [c] is just as likely as anything else. [m], [r], as well as [f], and [or] in “4” come from the sounds in “roll from” in the FS
It is very fast, but I agree with “I come in” it is the first word that is unknown, and it could represent different words. It has a bilabial quality, so I am going to assume ‘but’
There are words preceding which appear to be part of the reversal with “camera 4”. They start when Klondike finishes talking – “I’m from” or “Come from” or “I come”, but it is not clear
In this case, this would refer to the capturing of the lift off through the organisation and direction of the cameras.Note in the forward speech the speaker said something about get a roll …….
First, there is a reversal before it – The outfit cuff you. Of course, ‘cuff’ someone would indicate limiting a person’s ability to take action/say something etc. “Outfit” would be the organisation. At the end of this and the onset of the next reversal, there is an [r], so it comes out as Ryena(‘s) paranoid. [R] cannot be separated from it. It sounds like the name of a female.
There is another reversal: Fire, [I] was in the co(ck)pit (cockpit). Alternatively, it would have to be File was in the co(ck)pit. There is a small syllable in between ‘Fire’ and ‘’was’’, which I will assume to be “I”
I think “Man will” is “Never”. Never – [N] comes from ma[n]; m in [m] remains a fricative in the RS – the mouth moves towards a labial position, but frication continues to occur giving an sense of the labial [v] in ne[v]er. In the FS [f] is “for” disappears.
Here it is without the [N], as ‘ever‘ Here it is with the [N] included Never
It is possible there is meant to be an [s] sibilant at the end of “space walk“ and it is space walks”; however, this is not necessarily so, and can be seen as space walk, also.
Then there is the word “know” followed by a possible “that” disappearing into poor audio quality. There is a very short syllable before “know” that is like an unpronounced schwa. This may or may not be meant as “I”. I know that
With “never”, I find a consistency in the emotional expression of the whole message. There is almost a feeling of pained thought or sorrow in the way the reversal is uttered.
As a future tense, “man will” would appear inaccurate as man had already space walked. Neil Armstrong, though, never did space walk, while Buzz Aldrin did. Therefore, it may simply refer to the fact that he had not, or in fact ever would space walk.
There is shit. We need to fry the head. Near blood. It’s terrible.
BA: Near pod, it’s terrible. They’re ashamed o’ that. There is shit. They/He knew to/need to buy/fry the head.
There may be a reversal before “There is shit”, although it is not all clear and it is ‘disintegrating’ towards the end:
They’re ashamed o’ that
Here is They’re ashamed o(f). In natural speech, [f] can be left off
Here is that. Although messy, it is possible
The alveolar in the middle is messy, but ‘need to’ is possible, and it could even be heard as ‘nigger’. But it called be “knew to”.
There is shit; they knew
to buy/fry the head
In regard to ‘blood’, there is an [l] in ‘develop’ from the FS. However, I believe it disappears to a significant degree in the RS, and the RS has become “pod” (a cross between [b] and [p]). Near pod, it’s terrible
Pod could refer to either the re-entry vehicle or the Lunar module. “Head” does not necessarily refer to a human head, but could be machinery.
BA: Let’s kiss old Sue/who in a movie now/First now kiss her
There is a lot more happening around these words. It appears to start Let’s kiss old Sue/who in a movie now. On listening you notice that it is particularly hard to catch “Sue who”, and instead may be heard as ‘server’. However, I have consistently come across this in RS, where one reversal statement ends, and the next follows immediately on, and general listening does not capture that break. Separated, it comes out as follows:
(L)et’s kiss old Sue
Who in a movie now
This is followed by First now kiss her
However, this may not be all. Following on immediately is possibly:
Surf with her from (Churliss) (I have written it as it sounds. It may not mean anything, however).
And, the whole lot together:
Let’s kiss old Sue/who in a movie now/First now kiss her/ Surf with her from Sherliss.
So, it seems, the whole time, Aldrin’s subconscious is thinking about a girl from his past. As he said in the FS, ‘sequence of rendezvous maneouvres’, lol. This shows that what comes from the subconscious may not be about the topic at hand, but a trigger occurs from the topic creating a past memory experience.
There is [h] about the start, but the force can give one the perception of [k]. It may or may not be a reversal. Before ‘my fraud’ is “Concert to’’, which indicates a mutual agreement to the fraud. Concert to my fraud
The initial is also heard as an alveolar like [t] or [d]. I put forward the possibility that is is meant to be a [k] initial in ‘concert’.
An overall listening gives a sense of the documented reversal. However, there is a double syllable occurring where ‘en’ is documented. This is behind the FS a[s you get]. In reverse there are the sounds of “take – izh”. “gineered” is dominating, so the mind can gloss over this to hear just “engineered”. So, the issue here is, was the subconscious actually producing “engineered”?
I cannot be confident of that. I will try an alternative. Over 6 seconds, there appears to be a group of reversals. This starts with:
Her die, but gal fell off or Her life but gal fell off In this case the alveolar in ‘’life” is meant to be [l]. ‘Her die’ is not grammatically correct. However, I recognise that this may occur at times.
There was joke/They’re a jokeIn deciding which one, one has to decide if there is supposed to be [s] on the end of “was”. This is quite reasonable as it would tend to combine with the [j]. There is also a [w] formed from the rounded vowel in “to” in the FS. Nevertheless, “They’re a” is also reasonable. Is it meant to be “joke”. Yes, possibility; it comes behind “close to”, so the [k] comes from [c] and the [j] comes from the combination of the sounds clo[se t]o. Note, the word “then” appears to occur first, however I did not include it for sake of clarity, and because its removal doesn’t affect meaning.
Injured, neared now I will assume “injured” is the beginning of the next comment. “neared now” is a question of whether it belongs with “injured” or the next comment, “The Earth, the Earth”. There is no pause after “injured”, however, I am unconcerned about that as one comment following another does not always have a pause, in my experience. Of course, this also may be heard as “engineered now”. But note – there is an syllable between “joke” and “engineered” (“take” mentioned above, leaving the sound “izh” or “ezh” as the beginning of “engineered”). I am uncomfortable that there would be an extra syllable as gibberish, unless it was meant to be incorporated into the first syllable of “engineered”, but is just imprecise.
The Earth, the Earth
Armstrong descends the ladder on the LEM. His subconscious may remember a female who fell, where maybe a joke as played, and she was injured (maybe even died). In this case the movement down the ladder triggered the subconscious meandering. With “The Earth, the Earth”, his subconscious may again have come back to the current situation.
However, if it is “They’re a joke”, this may not have anything to do with the scenario just mentioned. If it is meant to be “engineered now”, then it may read as “They’re a joke – engineered now – The Earth, the Earth”.