Reverse Speech: An Overview

By Karen Boone, O.M.D., Ph.D., L.Ac

Reverse Speech is a newly-discovered form of human communication which promises to turn the world as we know it literally upside-down. Reverse Speech is the unedited voice of the unconscious. It cannot be manipulated or directed by the conscious mind, but, instead, reflects the soul's purest viewpoint. It is raw truth, blunt and to the point. Occasionally beautiful, often ugly and generally poetic, Reverse Speech is about to emerge as the phenomenon of the century, jolting an unwitting humankind into the Age of Awareness.

Reverse Speech was born on October 27, 1983 in Berri, South Australia, a lush rural town in the Riverlands just fifty miles from the Australian Outback. There, a portable tape recorder was carelessly dropped into a toilet bowl by twenty-eight-year-old David John Oates while he was shaving. An electronics buff, amateur radio operator and juvenile church counselor, David cleaned up the recorder, put it back together, and found he had on his hands a recorder that could only play in reverse. He put the somewhat useless reverse-playing rnachine in a drawer and basically forgot about it. Not too long afterwards, several of the "street kids" in his charge asked him about the Satanic messages that were rumored by visiting evangelists to be hidden behind the lyrics in popular music, and which were supposedly intended to control unaware listeners. The teenagers told him that the messages could apparently only be heard by playing the tapes backwards. Upset that the evangelists were terrifying them, David pulled out his 'useless' reverse recorder to prove the evangelists wrong. And it was at this point that history began to change.

In addition to a few intentionally-planted "backmasked" messages, some other seemingly nonintentional phrases could be deciphered from amidst the jibberish when the tapes were played in reverse. The rnessages were occasionally Satanic, yes, especially when found in heavy metal music where the lyrics spoke of suicide and hell. But, amazingly, the backwards messages found in love songs tended to reflect loving thoughts, while gospel music contained messages with religious overtones. Furthermore, intentionally "backmasked" messages could easily be identified, as jibberish could be heard underlying the track when it was played in its regular forward mode. However, many of the words and phrases that David was finding were decipherable simultaneously both forwards AND backwards. They didn't appear to be intentional at all. Intrigued and puzzled, David began to devote entire days to researching what he called "reversals" in music and then in everyday speech. Those early days of research stretched into months and then years. He studied tapes of children, politicians, criminals and everyday conversations. Now, finally, after thirteen years of eighteen- to twenty-hour workdays, Research Speech, as it has since become known, is a phenomenon that must be reckoned with.

Essentially, what David discovered was that our spoken language is actually bi-level. A second form of communication consistently occurs imbedded backwards within our forward speech, outside of our conscious control or knowledge. In fact, it appears that the sounds of our language probably even evolved in such a way that our messages could be communicated both forwards and backwards simultaneously.

Reverse Speech is a concept which has, since its discovery, been met with great skepticism. Without considering the research data fairly, many...perhaps most...have gone so far as to ridicule the entire concept as yet another New Age novelty. However, to me, as a practitioner of oriental rnedicine whose entire philosophy is based upon Yin and Yang, or opposites within a whole, the idea that we had ever considered that verbal communication might be singularly forward appears to be much more absurd. According to all that I know, every forward flow has its reverse flow; the left brain function has an opposite right brain function; darkness has its reciprocal light; every covert point has its overt counterpoint; every lie has its corresponding truth And just as the goal for any truly healthy individual is to balance the yin with the yang or the internal with the external, the goal for any truly healthy soul is to balance and unite the unconscious with the conscious to become truly congruent and whole.

Since David John Oates' discovery and detailed documentations of Reverse Speech, we now know that the overt face which we present to the world has a hidden, covert face. Both the overt and covert communicate in tandem, one on a conscious left brain level the other on an unconscious right brain level. The overt may be truthful; the covert is always truthful. Whereas the conscious voice usually speaks in carefully chosen words on carefully chosen topics, the unconscious voice reveals all. The more a lie is defended consciously, the more the truth will be exposed in reverse.

Generally, in the past, unconscious communication was "heard" only via "reading between the lines, " ESP, or what we know of as intuition. Since the discovery of Reverse Speech, however, we know from research done on children that the backward voice is not only real, but actually learns to express itself as much as six to twelve months before the forward voice learns to speak...that the forward dialogue is actually dependent upon reverse dialogue in the gradual developmental process of forming a bi-level communication.

Reverse Speech is based upon the principle of complementarity, which simply means that the topic of the forward speech is the same as the topic of the reverse. I think of the reverse as basically editing and correcting the conscious dialogue on a continual basis. There are many types of reversals. Congruent reversals are those that confirm the forward dialogue, as compared to contradictory ones which may correct false statements. Expansive reversals add more information to what is said forwards. Reverse dialogue may occur with oneself (internal) or be directed towards another (external). Trail and lead reversals occur when reverse dialogue speaks of a topic just discussed or about to be discussed. Link reversals combine the unfinished thoughts of one person with those of another who might complete the phrase. And lastly, comparative reversals--which rnay appear to be the exception of the principle of complementarity--are complementary with experiences of the same emotional tone, rather than the same topic.

10% or so of Reverse Speech phrases occur in everyday English. These are called First Level Reversals, and they are straight to the point. Little interpretation is called for in the analysis of these. 90% or more of all Reverse Speech dialogue, however, is metaphoric, communicated in pictures or parables, sirnilar to dreams. Second Level Reversals, also known as Operational Metaphors, reflect how behavior is played out. They are action words, and may be individual for each person. These differ from Third Level Reversals, or Structural Metaphors, which reflect the deep programming within each of us. These are those precepts that direct our behavior and beliefs, that limit or allow our happiness and achievements. These metaphors even reveal the collective unconscious, as they are consistent from one person to another. We each run a few principal structural metaphors and will show similarities to another who runs the same metaphors.

Speech reversals may vary from a Single Word, which may communicate intense feeling, to Long Sentences, which are highly significant, as their occurrence is somewhat rare. Reversals may be expressed as Cause and Effect, one part of the punctuation-separated reversal indicating an event or fact, the other part being the cause of that. Mirror Image reversals have the same word or words begin or end both the forward and reverse dialogue, but are not reversals of each other. When the forward and reverse dialogue combine together to complete one thought, these are termed Sentence Building reversals. Double Emphasis reversals repeat a phrase two or more times successively for added emphasis. In Semi-Formed reversals, the last word or the last part of the last word may be dropped into the jibberish, trailing off as is also comrnon in forward speech. As far as tense, reversals may be Past Tense (having already occurred), Present Tense (current patterns, actions or thoughts) or Future Tense (will surely pass if action is not taken to prevent the occurrence.)

Reverse Speech is the ultimate truth detector. It has no need to be polite or tactful. It can blast us to the depths of our souls in its blatent accuracy and honesty. It can be shocking when a previously unknown self-truth is exposed to the conscious mind, and is rnade even more horrifying if we refuse to open our eyes to the new reality. Optimally, on an individual level once we are able to see how our own self-computers are programmed, we rnay change the programming if we so choose, bringing what for most of us is a first chance at truly healthy, conscious living.

On a larger level, we have the rare opportunity to take the truths of Reverse Speech into our hearts, our homes and our businesses, clearing the way for a truly honest, functional global existence. In reverse, what we say is what we mean, and what we mean is what we say. Anyone who chooses to use this tool when deciding on a business partner, employee or a course of action will have the winning edge. If the world is ready for it, Reverse Speech will be used by the leaders and innovators in every field from psychology to medicine, business to law enforcement, athletics to the stage within the next few years. I firmly believe that anyone who doesn't use this tool will be at a great disadvantage in the twenty-first century. It is the dawning of the Age of Awareness, and the bus is now boarding. Are you coming?