Appalachia Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

If You Play A Record Backwards You Might Hear Satan

Playing records backwards you hear satan

Did you ever hear the old wives tale about how you could play certain records backwards and hear Satan? When I was young I heard the tale, but my friends and I couldn’t ever figure out how to actually play a record backwards. But trying to figure out how to play one backwards and scaring ourselves with the thought of what we would hear if we did was a popular thing to do at slumber parties. Turns out lots of people want to know if you can hear Satan and they know how to play records backwards.

Research has shown most words that are discernible are purely accidental in nature and truthfully it was a real stretch to say the words were discernible in most cases.

But there have been a few artists who purposely inserted phrases that can only be heard if the record (or the digital sound today) is played backwards a process called backmasking.

The Beatles were among the first to try out the technique. During the 80s backmasking was at the forefront of the national conversation with parents and other groups accusing rockers of sending subliminal message out in their songs. Weird Al Yankovich thought the whole thing was so silly that he added a funny quip that could only be heard if the song was played backwards to one of his songs that said “Wow you must have a whole lot of free time on your hands.” Prince used backmasking to insert messages in some of his songs one being something about the Lord coming soon.

There are some creepy instances of backmasking too whether the occurrences were accidental or purposeful is up for debate. Go here for the Top 10 Famous Cases of Backmasking.


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  • Reply
    November 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    An awful lot of what’s played as the inevitable background music in stores these days sounds hellatious to me. Twice lately I’ve cut a shopping trip short because I didn’t need the free headache that came with the purchases!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I recall hearing the same thing when I was young, but like you, didn’t know how to play a record backwards, nor was I brave enough to even try! Very interesting post though…

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I think the ‘devil’ has his hands
    in too much of our world today.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 30, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    and folks…Riddle this! Was it a Freudian slip that I typed “waste down” instead of “waist down?”
    Was I thinking waste when I knew to type waist?
    OOOOOOooooooooh, “the DEVIL is in the details!”
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    I agree with Don a lot of music sounds like the “devil” to me as well. LOL
    I hear all this about the “The Beatles” and yes they were supposed to influence youth with their records played backwards. I thought their music played forwards was “in your face bad!” Oh how I remember the four chop hair cut boys from England. I couldn’t stand them. You see I had already graduated from high school and was working at my first job when they made the scene! I felt that were ruining good ole “rock-n-roll!”
    You see I remember seeing Elvis on TV…At least part of him. They wouldn’t show him from the waste down….He was of the “DEVIL” you know…and the television news, music segments wouldn’t show him like he performed..too many complaints from parents, church leaders, etc.
    Of course when the teens heard this they just wanted to see him more on TV and in concerts.
    I was sitting in front of the TV the night Ed Sullivan introduced
    “ELVIS” in his full glittering self, hips and all! Moving his hips to the side, one leg almost on the floor, guitar in hand, scarf swinging and the half-sneer half-grin self singing his “rock-n-roll” heart out! You know what, back in 1954, when the “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heart-break Hotel” was popular, I really didn’t care for him much!
    I just can’t stand some of this hip moving singers today! It is scary what will appear next!
    Thanks for the post today.
    I hadn’t thought of the “Devil” music from the past in a while and playing backerds records!
    I just wonder if the “Devil” is hiding in plain sight, disquised
    as the new music of our youth!
    Just teach them to know the difference!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    October 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    When I was in college in the 80s, we heard that if you played “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zep backwards it said all kinds of evil things. I remember putting it on the turntable and spinning it backwards by hand. Of course, we were scared and imagined all kinds of things. I do know that I ruined the needle on my stereo doing it!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I don’t have anything to play a record on any more. I wonder what it would take to make a play a CD backward.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    October 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

    We played those Beatle records backwards. You had to turn the system on, so the amp would work, then turn the record backwards by hand. The phrases would play, but it was tough to really be sure what was being said. I never had the records that supposedly had Satan on them. Perhaps worse than Satanic messages, are the records recorded by the KKK. The messages aren’t backmasked, they play normally, and are filled with their venomous hatred. Satan was influencing the writers and performers, clearly.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    October 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Yes, Tipper, I remember hearing that and scaring ourselves silly, running screaming to my mother! Don’t recall what we heard, but as girls, we screamed and scared ourselves a lot, hehe.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Don-LOL! So very true : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 9:51 am

    There was one song in the late 80’s that everyone swore was the devil’s song. I can’t remember the name of it, maybe a Boy George tune, I don’t know. My girls tried it and claimed they heard whatever it was they were told to listen for.
    spashell ed, cousin Ed? We must have had the same teacher! We both lernt to spell words exactly like they are pronounced. You are so funny!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I must say you got me on this one. How does one play a record backwards and why would you do that? I would think it would ruin the record. Now I read that it can be done and it is creepy. I think I will play it just normally and enjoy the music. No creeps for me!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    October 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Forget the playing backwards; there’s a whole mess of stuff that, played forward, sounds like the devil to me.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    October 30, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Well, I am kind of limited in musical terms but I never heard of such a notion. Thanks for the info.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 30, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Never tried it, I was too afraid of messing up my records. They were hard to come by at my house.

  • Reply
    spashell ed
    October 30, 2013 at 7:52 am

    i ant got no recerd plaer two try it on butt my ole Beuik has a ate tract plaer. rekkin if i wuz two swich the batree cabels that thang wud run backerg an i cud lissin two the devil thattaway. axe that deer huntin man of yourn fur me. he problee nose abawt that kinda stuff
    i haunt no if i speld Beuik rite. i went owt too look on the car butt i geuss the mblum has fel off.
    did them Beatle boys make eny ate tract tapes.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I remember hearing that, Tipper, but just thought it was nonsense. It seems like a lot of effort for something few would hear end even fewer would give any credence to. But then again there is lots of stuff going on in our world today that I never believed could happen, so, what do I know?

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