My Expanded Understanding of Reverse Speech
By Barb Salerno
My Expanded Understanding of Reverse Speech – “Hi, Barb,” sounded the greeting from my telephone answering machine tape. Not quite sure that I really heard it, I played it again in disbelief. It was unmistakable – and thrilling. Not because I had gotten a phone message from a dear friend, but because I had played the message backwards and gotten the same message in reverse as in forward. It was the first clear speech reversal I had ever heard, in spite of many, many frustrating attempts up to that time.
It was July 2004. I had just heard about Reverse Speech while researching a famous crime on the internet. I instantly trusted it to be a real and valid phenomenon of human speech. I bought David Oates’ book and cassette tape set and a Sony cassette reversing machine, and set out in search of speech reversals. After many weeks of slogging through pure gibberish with lots of headaches and no results, “Hi, Barb” revealed itself to a joyful ear.
It was not just a phone message or even a celebratory first reversal. “Hi, Barb” was an invitation from the unconscious universe to explore the mystery of Reverse Speech in depth.
Back then, searching for speech reversals was like going on an Easter egg hunt in search of goodies. Each time I found one brought a squeal of excitement – I got it! But most of my recordings came from television programs, which were terrible to listen to because of poor sound reproduction and background noise. RS Pro 4.0, a wonderful tool, did not exist. I didn’t know then that media reversals could be few and far between, and frustration mounted when I just didn’t hear anything in the media that I was recording. In time, my little Sony recorder broke, and Reverse Speech took a back seat to other interests.
Fast forward to 2016. I signed up for my first Reverse Speech class and began putting in serious hours listening to everyone and everything on Youtube. But changes were in store during the first few months of class. Locating reversals took on a more serious tone – no longer just a treasure hunt in search of goodies. Searching for reversals became a serious investigation. After all, it was allowing me an unprecedented glimpse into the inner workings of someone’s mind – a peek at the soul.
And that was a sobering realization. Most friends would not allow me to read their diaries, yet, with their permission, I could actually gain access to their innermost thoughts, memories, and fears. With that knowledge came a new sense of responsibility and respect for Reverse Speech and the benefits it can provide. It is still as exciting as a treasure hunt, but I am now respectful of its power and the possibilities that it offers in the way of helping others to achieve wholeness.
Reverse Speech is the language of the unconscious, and as with all languages, knowledge comes in layers. First we learn the words, then we build a vocabulary; we learn the verbs and tenses, then the idiomatic expressions. Reverse Speech has its own vocabulary and idioms, which are the metaphors, imagery and symbols which populate the unconscious mind. It is a richly textured, complex study of the human psyche at work, expressing itself in words.
I was not aware of the levels of complexity of Reverse Speech until my recent studies. Now I understand that it reflects five areas within the realm of the human mind:
- 1) conscious, revealing our everyday waking awareness
- 2) subconscious, which connects to bodily functions, stored memories
- 3) unconscious, where behavioral patterns, personality constructs and feelings beneath our conscious awareness reside
- 4) collective unconscious, concerning knowledge of the general culture to which we belong, and matters which we perceive beyond our ordinary awareness, and the
- 5) spirit, part of a greater being or universal intelligence, as divine guidance.
There are also other dimensions to Reverse Speech of which I am only recently aware. It’s fascinating to realize that my simple initiation reversal, Hi, Barb (I know now to bold the text!) was a very special reversal indeed, with these qualities:
It ranked VF5. VF stands for Validity Factor, a ranking system that categorizes reversals by their clarity and precision of sound. A VF5 is the highest ranking a reversal can receive, and is the most desirable type of reversal to present to others, so that they stand the best chance of hearing and recognizing the words spoken.
Validity Factors are based on Check Points, which further classify the reversal in terms of clarity. Check Points were created to facilitate the search for reversals. Suspected reversals should be subjected to a test of the first three checkpoints: is the syllable count correct, are the vowel and consonant sounds clear and precise, are the beginnings and endings of words clearly distinguishable?
Once the reversal meets these tests of precision, one should then check if the spacing is sufficient between the words, if the phrase is distinct from surrounding gibberish, if the phrase has a melodious tone throughout, and if the phrase has a definite beat or tempo. These are Check Points four through seven.
If a reversal meets all of these seven criteria, it ranks a VF5; if it is imprecise in any one of these points, it ranks a VF4, if two, a VF3, and so on. I have learned not to bother documenting anything less than a VF3 reversal, missing only two of the above criteria, as it will be too indistinct. Presenting sounds which too closely resemble gibberish can raise undue suspicions in others, such a clients or skeptics, and can do a disservice to Reverse Speech, so I aim to work with VF3’s at the very worst, if I feel they are useful.
Hi, Barb was clearly enunciated, each consonant and vowel was sharp, there was spacing between the words, which were clearly distinguishable, and it had a melodic, even singsong tone and beat. Perfect VF5 for my first reversal, which I’m sure helped me hear it in the first place!
After the Validity Factors and Checkpoints, we progress to the next layer of Reverse Speech – the category and structure, which is much like learning the sentence structure of a new language. Hi, Barb fulfilled a couple of the categories of Reverse Speech: it was Congruent, because it matched the forward message of my friend greeting me. It also belonged to the External Dialogue category, because my friend’s reversal was addressing an outside person – me.
The other categories of reversals are: Incongruent, Expansive, Internal Dialogue, Internal Command, Trail and Lead, Future Tense, Premonitions or Comparative. Had my friend contradicted her friendly greeting in some way, it would have been Incongruent. Had she added information to her greeting, it would have been Expansive. Had she spoken to herself inwardly, it would have been Internal Dialogue; had she given herself a command it would have been Internal Command. A Trail and Lead would have required more words, as the reversal flows into a topic which follows, or it elaborates a topic already mentioned in forward speech. A Future Tense would have predicted a future action that she would fulfill, and a Premonition would have intuited some action to follow. Finally, a Comparative Reversal would have seemed unrelated to the forward words but would have portrayed a similar emotion.
So far, Hi, Barb has a Validity Factor of 5 and can be placed in the Congruent and External Dialogue categories. Now we come to another layer of the language of reversals, which is Structure. And it is a very special reversal, because by virtue of its structure it is a Mirror-Image reversal, which is not as common as some of the other structures. The Mirror-Image reversal contains the identical words found in the message – my friend was saying “Hi, Barb!” in her forward speech.
It could also have been a Normal structure, because Normal reversals consist of a few words, as most reversals do. Had her greeting contained eight words or more, it would have been a Long Sentence, had it just been one very clear but unusual word it could have been a Single Word reversal. If the ending word of the reversal got lost into gibberish it would have been Semi-Formed, had she begun a statement and then elaborated on it it would have been a Cause and Effect reversal, had we both been talking with one completing the other’s sentence it would have been a Sentence Building reversal. The rarest reversal of all would have been if we had been talking and our combined reversals formed one sentence in reverse, a Link Reversal. But since I was not conversing with her, the Sentence Building and Link Reversal options were off the table.
I had been rewinding my answering machine tape when I found this reversal. Now, of course, I am aware that all people that I record and analyze must first sign the permission work/session release form, which I then submit to Reverse Speech Pty. Ltd. Having had a thirty-year career as a trademark paralegal, I respect the intellectual property rights of others!
Aside from the learning at the experiential level, my early exposure to Reverse Speech has been rewarding in unexpected ways. I have become more interested in other subtle forms of communication like body language, in which we can read into an individual’s state of mind. I have obtained reversals of people while also analyzing their body language, and find that these two forms of communication strongly complement each other.
This offers further proof that, as David Oates is fond of saying, the human mind is hard-wired to tell the truth. And it will do so in whichever way it can express it to the outside world – through body language, Reverse Speech, or other extraordinary forms of communication. My expanded awareness of Reverse Speech has developed a curiosity in other ways of peering into human consciousness, even Remote Viewing, which I have followed since the early days of Hi, Barb some twelve and a half years ago.
In fact, had I not signed up for Reverse Speech this past autumn, I would have signed up for Controlled Remote Viewing training, but I’m delighted that I chose Reverse Speech at this time. I would love to see how these disciplines complement each other at some future point. My expanded awareness of Reverse Speech involves not only Reverse Speech, but all studies related to the workings of the human psyche. The journey has no limits.
In terms of personal awareness, I have noticed that I can sense the presence of a reversal when someone is speaking, and I can also feel when I am producing reversals while speaking. I have always been a very intuitive person, yet my intuition is sharpening even more. I have felt more grounded and more inwardly secure as a person, more solid in the world, and I haven’t even done any session work yet! I work with Reverse Speech around 18-20 hours a week, and this constant exposure to the realm of consciousness in others seems to have deepened my own personal anchoring and sense of self.
And it has given me a sense of destiny too. Thus far in my training I have found a number of reversals which have provoked a strong inner response and which have resonated with me on an intuitive level. One such reversal occurred In December 2016, just months ago. I had recorded a friend’s conversation for a class assignment, and at the end of the tape I congratulated her on a job well done.
“Really?” she asked, to which I responded enthusiastically, “Really!” In reverse she was saying, Heal you. To my amazement, my reversal clearly spoke, I’ll serve you! At that time I was just becoming aware that Reverse Speech offered many possibilities for future endeavors. Like Hi, Barb, this reversal just might be setting me on a course of serving others through Reverse Speech. At this time I have many ideas on how I may do this, with many more ideas still forming as time and experience go on.
The idea of utilizing Reverse Speech to pinpoint problem behavioral tendencies in troubled and abused children is very appealing to me. After all my training is completed I plan to reach out to a few therapists who counsel victims of abuse and introduce them to the healing capabilities of Reverse Speech.
Beyond the structure and format of this phenomenal language there are still levels and layers to explore. Reverse Speech has its own set of metaphors and imagery that we will discover in the Analyst section of training. These facets of Reverse Speech are further evidence that it is a complex language operating at various levels of consciousness, from the individual to the collective consciousness, and beyond that, the spirit of humanity.
I majored in languages in college, and also attended graduate school in Italian language and literature. From all those years of study I came to understand that there is a critical point in learning a language, where one crosses the threshhold from being a mere translator of words, to becoming an interpreter of concepts, an artist of the language. I have recently become a translator of Reverse Speech, and now look forward to becoming an interpreter of the metaphors and imagery that enriches this mystical language of the unconscious mind. Then, I will hope to learn about Metawalks and how to devise them as well, in the Practitioner phase of the training.
I imagine that when I cross that threshold, I may just hear that special welcome again, Hi, Barb! To which I will reply, I’ll serve you.