- backward masking and illusions
- Backward masking is also known as backwards masking and backmasking. All three terms are used in the popular music industry to denote a recording technique in which an auditory message is encrypted by recording it in reverse order onto a track. As a consequence, the encrypted message can only be retrieved by playing the track backwards. The backward masking technique was popularized during the 1960 s by The Beatles, and has since been imitated by numerous bands. The urge to retrieve so-called backward messages in popular songs has yielded a number of 'messages' that do not originate from words or sentences recorded backwards, but from regular words or sentences that merely sound like intelligible language when played backwards. These 'messages' are attributed to a * cognitive illusion called * auditory pareidolia. Some examples of auditory pareidolia on the basis of backward masking can be found in the pop songs Another one bites the dust by Queen (where the reversed sentence "Another one bites the dust" is rendered as "I decide to smoke marihuana"), Revolution nine by the Beatles (where the reversed words "Number nine" are rendered as "Turn me on, deadman"), and Eldorado overture by the Electric Light Orchestra (where the chanted word "Hallelujah" remains the same when played backwards). The latter phenomenon, where a phoneme remains the same when it is heard in reverse order, is called a phonetic palindrome.ReferencesAranza, J. (1983). Backward masking unmasked. Backward Satanic messages of Rock and Roll exposed. Shreveport, LA: Vital Issues Pr.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.