Reverse Speech founder David John Oates declares that "embedded backwards into the sounds of human speech is another form of human communication" making speech fundamentally bi-level, delivering messages and functioning in both forwards and reverse simultaneously. The forward mode of speech is overt and under conscious control, while its reverse mode is covert and beyond our conscious control. Oates assures us that this combined construction of speech appears throughout all forms of human language.
In practice, what is characteristic to his methodology is that words and phrases can clearly be distinguished and documented when human speech is recorded and reproduced backwards. Oates indicates that these two modes of human speech, when produced forwards and backwards, relate to each other, and specifically backwards speech becomes “complementary” and “operates in unison” with forwards speech. Essentially, what is spoken backwards can only be fully understood by hearing what is spoken forwards. As a result, these two modes of speech are necessarily interconnected and interdependent and Oates’ theory proposes that combining both of these modes of speech reveal portions of the conscious as well as the unconscious psyche of the person who is speaking.
According to Oates the development of this second, covert mode of backwards speech occurs in early childhood and even before overt forward speech begins (as young as four months). As the child comes to master forward speech, so to does the gradual combination of these two modes of speech begin to combine in order to form “one overall bi-level communication process”. Both of these forms of human speech begin to contribute to the entirety of the communication that is processed and understood by the brain at the conscious and unconscious levels (p17).
Reverse Speech, which tends to occur in emotional or very relaxed situations and is thought to form in the right brain hemisphere where the emotional content of forward speech is generated. Other right hemisphere functions such as rhythm, music, images, color, dreams, dimensions, imagination and vocal tonality are also thought to occur here (p18).
It is proposed that the voice of Reverse Speech comes from many different parts of the human mind through which the conscious, the unconscious and the spirit can be heard. David Oates lists five specific areas, including: the conscious mind, which focuses on conscious thoughts and feelings with reversals in regular language style; the subconscious mind, concerned with automatic body functions, warnings of physical disease and stored memories with reversals in regular language style and minor metaphors; the unconscious mind, dealing with unconscious thoughts, motivations, behavioral patterns and personality structures with reversals in metaphors and archetypes; the collective unconscious, reflecting universal knowledge and information separate from the knowledge and experience of the speaker with reversals in metaphor and regular language; and lastly the spirit, which details matters of the soul and voices the guidance and insight of a higher level of being with reversals in metaphor and regular language.
Reversal types can also include constant reversals, which are certain words and phrases in reverse that appear consistently when the same or similar words are spoken in forward speech. The forms of constant reversals include: universal constants, that are independent of the speaker; personal constants, that are based on a behavioral aspect and repeat themselves for a particular person; and situational constants, that shift from day to day, being constant in one particular situation by one speaker (p27).
As we explore the world of Reverse Speech and familiarize ourselves with the theoretical and practical tools of its practice, we’ll come to know that reversals speak the truths of the world we live in and that are often in our blind spot or hidden from our view. We can tap into and hear the thoughts of consciousness and at its deepest levels, hear the voice of our spirit as we access what Carl Jung calls, “the mirror [that] shows the true face….namely, the face we never show to the world because we cover it with the Persona, the mask of the actor”.
Oates, David John (2015). Reverse Speech Investigator Training Manual. Trademark and copyright 2011. 174 pages.