Who Forted? Magazine

Strange Frequencies: Can You Make Sense of this Bizarre Recording?

thetape

The recording begins innocently enough, with classical music coming over the crackling airwaves. The happy tune doesn’t last long however, as the radio fades out into shrieking, whispering, chanting, and what sounds like meditation bells. It’s one of the creepiest audio snippets that I’ve ever heard.

Not a whole lot of information about this strange recording exists, who recorded it, or what it’s authenticity is, but I stumbled upon this link some time ago and have been holding on to it in the hopes that I might be able to dig up some more information. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out much of anything aside from the info offered by the original uploader, so I’m just going to go ahead and post what I’ve got and let you have a crack at it.

From the /x/ boards, of all places:

“Around 1995, I was about 15. I used to stay up late in my room listening to the radio on a boombox with an integrated tape recorder. I’d dial through the stations, and when I heard something interesting I’d hit record for a while, then move on.

One night, I came across this. I don’t think this was the beginning of the broadcast, but I caught a lot of it. Right at the end, an announcer says that the station I was tuned to was WKCR 89.9 New York. There are a bunch of names and dates in there, but…I’ve never run into anything else like this.”

The audio is entirely bizarre, and I have no way to validate whether it is a legitimate broadcast or a hoax, but one possible explanation is that the listener unwittingly tuned into a numbers station. Numbers stations, for those unaware, are radio stations that are widely believed to communicate with spy networks since as early as the first world war. Or, it could simply be a DJ having some fun. Or.. the clearest EVP I’ve ever heard.

Give the recording a listen below and let us know what you think about it. Can you make out any of the rambling words? Tweet us @WhoForted, message us on Facebook, or leave your thoughts in the comments!

Dana Matthews
Dana Newkirk is a co-creator and regular contributor to WF? 'Zine. Dana hosted the internationally syndicated television series The Girly Ghost Hunters, which originally aired on the Space Channel in Canada. It was pretty terrible. If you so choose, you can catch the reruns on Sunday mornings around 4:30am on channel 44. Her main interests lie within the genre of vintage fringe, though she has been known to stand awkwardly in the background of many Who Forted videos.
Dana Matthews

44 Comments

  1. Red Pill Junkie

    04/05/2013 at 11:13 AM

    Weird! Maybe it was some sort of ‘musical happening’? A sort of Dadaist performance programmed by the radio station?

    Has someone tried to transcribe the list of things the female voices are saying? it sounds like some sort of dates from the 1980s

    • Greg Newkirk

      04/05/2013 at 11:49 AM

      Apparently they mention some names of people who died on a Pan Am flight in the late 80′s, and I know they mention Oppenheimer, one of the guys who was involved with the Manhattan Project.

      Very weird, whatever it is.

    • wovereene

      03/28/2014 at 12:22 PM

      it is witchcraft….. whether you believe in it or not, they do. it is a spirit envocation……

  2. the paraclete

    04/05/2013 at 11:24 AM

    Am I going to die now that I’ve listened to this? Or attempt to assassinate an ambassador?

    • Greg Newkirk

      04/05/2013 at 11:41 AM

      Some poor bastard who hasn’t been in office since 1995 is really in for a surprise.

    • Christy

      04/05/2013 at 9:23 PM

      I’m also worried about dying in the next 48 hours. It’s Ring-ish. However, if the recording is truly from 1995 that’s several years before The Ring. Whoooooo

  3. Verklagekasper

    04/05/2013 at 12:23 PM

    If anybody who listened to it is still alive after one week, I’ll give it a try.

    • Michael

      04/05/2013 at 1:27 PM

      no worries..I just popped back in from the future to say I am alive and…..

  4. Pingback: Strange Frequencies: Can You Make Sense of this Bizarre Recording? | This and That

  5. Larry Sessions

    04/05/2013 at 1:23 PM

    Plain and simply some DJ or someone else having a bit of fun. Nothing alien, nothing “paranormal.” BTW, I heard “Frank Oppenheimer,” who was J. Robert Oppenheimer (Oppie)’s brother. Oppie was in charge of the Manhattan Project, while Frank, who later founded the Exploratorium in San Francisco, was involved in the project to a somewhat lesser extent. He did not die in a plane crash, but rather at home in California in 1985.

  6. Michael A

    04/05/2013 at 1:48 PM

    I wouldn’t really call that an EVP being that the voice reading names seems to catch their breath before the next series of names.

    • Michael A

      04/05/2013 at 1:54 PM

      In all seriousness, this reminded me of a documentary called Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles. I used to see these tiles around Philly and found the documentary really interesting. Basically, a dude was also hijacking some radio signals to get his strange message out.

  7. Raven Storm

    04/05/2013 at 2:55 PM

    This is very interesting. I find it odd that you can still hear the music at the start of the tape very faintly while the woman is speaking at the beginning of tape, so that would indicate that either the music is playing in the background and then fades out or somehow the talking is over the music without erasing the original tape, which would be pretty impossible to do. (As a kid I used to freak out when my stupid sister would record over my music cassette tapes) So either this IS a very bizarre recording or it is a complete hoax. When I have a little time later tonight going to try and pull all the names off the recording. I started with one that is pretty clear and found that the person did die in November of 1988, but this was picked up in 1995. Let ya know what I find :)

  8. jennifer

    04/05/2013 at 4:06 PM

    Bad medicine man

  9. Adam

    04/05/2013 at 5:02 PM

    It kind of sounds like something that would be done by the “band” Negativeland. They are a “noise” band that often fill their “songs” with random sound bites.

  10. Kirsty

    04/05/2013 at 5:19 PM

    You can hear her taking a breath. I think Red Pill Junkie is right. Sounds like a performance art piece.

    • Phoenix

      04/25/2013 at 8:05 AM

      Agreed. Sounds too well-produced and intentional to be random… particularly when the DJ breaks in over it to announce that the next show’s running late.

  11. Raven Storm

    04/05/2013 at 10:56 PM

    I posted a follow up on your FB link. It’s from Columbia University student run radio station and is probaly a performance piece. The words are really just the woman saying the names of deceased people from the 1980′s along with the names of their relatives. In some places she says “my friend” and “Ann’s friend” afterward. Maybe just giving the indication that they somehow knew those particular people who died and this was their way of a rememberance of the event. It does remind me of the way some cultures do a prayer for the dead. Or you could contact them at (212) 854-9920 or 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 & see if they have an archive possibly for that year. They actually recorded Sputnick’s radio transmission as it passed over the US and re-broadcast it which resulted in the FBI confiscating the tape. Cool, huh?

  12. Kenna

    04/05/2013 at 11:57 PM

    Impossible to dance to.

  13. Nick

    04/06/2013 at 2:43 AM

    This is a recording from an FM station. The sound quality makes this quite clear.

    It’s not a numbers station because they only operate on short wave to reach ‘agents’ in other countries. And they only transmit, er… numbers!

    I first thought it could be a station transmitting over the top of the original (a pirate station or someone just mucking about with a little FM transmitter nearby) since the original station can be weakly heard in the background in exactly the same way as when two FM transmitters transmit on the same frequency.

    But that seems unlikely. There aren’t the sound artefacts present when this happens. The sound quality from the ‘weird’ stuff is the same as that from the the first station.

    All in all it sounds to me like some sort of alternative, artistic, experimental prank played by the station. And it ends neatly at the programme junction. A dead give-away!

  14. Hbloodbath

    04/06/2013 at 11:26 AM

    I don’t think it’s anything paranormal but its definitely creepy

  15. john mizzi

    04/06/2013 at 1:33 PM

    Indeed I also picked up the name oppenhiemer it was actually frank oppenhiemer who indeed worked on the Manhatten project with his more famous brother Robert and he did die in 1985 so it sounds like a list of obituararies but not really paranormal I have been studying evp for over 10 years and this does not fit the paranomal model of an evp well done though

    • Greg Newkirk

      04/06/2013 at 1:36 PM

      Just curious, since I haven’t actually heard of anyone putting it that way, what are the criteria for the paranormal model of EVP?

  16. c jones

    04/06/2013 at 8:19 PM

    pretty hd for a tape. my opinion, art piece done during/ post “the ring” era. the woman speaking almost has a rap/ melodic rhythm to it.

  17. mrs. eccentric

    04/06/2013 at 9:52 PM

    Hi Dana!

    from your written description, i thot it sounded a lot like an old radio show i used to listen to (very occasionally, i go to bed at 9pm) called “Insomniac’s Parade”. It was broadcast on KPFA in Berkeley, CA in the wee hours, like 1 or 2 am to 5 or 6 am as i recall. i’d catch it at the tail end. This show was aired in the 1980′s and 1990′s to the best of my memory.

    After listening to the clip i have to say it sounds EXACTLY like the type of stuff they used to do – a bunch of overlapping tracks with music, conversations, voices way in the background so you couldn’t hear the conversations they were having (they would sometimes have live callers) or the random lists, poetry, fiction, news stories or whatever they were reading. That kind of fake martian-y voice you hear in this tape showed up constantly.

    Upon my first googling i’m coming up with nothin’ – not even their epic classic show on the lizard men!!! Anyways, i am thinking that there are two obvious people to ask about this one: Greg Bishop, with his long time experience in west coast pirate radio, and Micah Hanks (who i believe worked with Joe Frank at one point – Frank and the Insomniacs seemed to have influenced each other very heavily).

    If you could trace down that Insomniac’s show on the lizard men i truly have no sense whatsoever of how i will be able to contain my joy. Best of luck and happy weekend, steph

  18. Patricia

    04/07/2013 at 12:37 PM

    The way the names are chanted and the ringing of the bell sounds like prayers for the dead to me by Catholics. Maybe there was a Catholic radio station running those?

  19. N

    04/07/2013 at 11:20 PM

    My question is this: if this is legit, why did the DJ allow it to continue playing through? Five minutes and no one at the radio station said, “Hey! What is this bizarre chanting?” I believe in almost everything, but I really don’t see anything paranormal here.

  20. Thea Foley

    04/08/2013 at 1:03 AM

    Found this: http://www.studentaffairs.columbia.edu/wkcr/about WKCR-FM, Columbia University’s non-commercial student-run radio station, is dedicated to presenting a spectrum of alternative programming—traditional and art music, spoken arts, and original journalism. Granted its FCC license in 1941, WKCR is both steeped in tradition and committed to innovation. In the New York area, the station can be heard at 89.9 megacycles in FM; worldwide, it streams online.

  21. Scott McMan

    04/08/2013 at 10:50 AM

    Funny, I heard something like this and it seems the year is about right. It just suddenly started and went on and on…and on. I remember wondering what was going on as it happened right in the middle of a live FM broadcast. When it finally did end, I heard dead air for what seemed like more than a minute and then the station ID came on and then everything seemed back to normal with no mention of it at all.

    It was very strange and I never did understand what was going on. My best guess what the DJ needed to leave the booth for an extended period and chose this weird thing to cover the time.

    Other than that, I’m just as perplexed about it as Dana.

    Scott McMan
    GhostTheory.com

  22. Colin

    04/08/2013 at 12:57 PM

  23. Patrick Fennelly

    04/09/2013 at 5:33 AM

    That is definitely not a numbers station, at least not one I’ve ever heard. I listened to a whole load of them back when we were recording one of our albums, none of them ever sounded remotely like this. And anyway, I’m nearly sure they would have been abandoned in the 90s for a more sophisticated method of getting messages to spies. It was predominantly a WW2 thing.

    One thing that strikes me as odd, though, is the quality of the audio. There’s little to no interference or static, which suggests that it was pre recorded. There’s also a flow to it, while it seems random, there’s undoubtedly a sense of ‘construction’. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out it was an old Throbbing Gristle recording, or someone who was a fan of theirs.

  24. andrew zukerman

    04/11/2013 at 2:47 AM

    uh, has anyone heard of experimental music? does this only seem obvious to me that what we’re listening to is a completely fabricated and intentional piece of sound art?

    • mrs. eccentric

      04/14/2013 at 9:07 AM

      uh, andrew, have you read any of the other comments? :)

      you are not alone! Dana, i continue to search for any info on the Insomniac’s Parade with no luck. next time i’m in Berkeley i’ll try stopping by KPFA and see if anyone can give me any love, steph

  25. nines

    04/12/2013 at 1:12 PM

    It would have been soundtrack from a creepy movie. Seems to me they ran voice overs of deaths and disasters that happened around mothman sightings in West Virginia in the movie. Maybe it was from that. Or, a slasher movie, or demonic possession. Anyway, that’s all good creep-you-out soundtrack stuff.

  26. Mercy

    04/14/2013 at 6:06 AM

    In the first part of this audio, the “signal” appears electronic and occurs at regular intervals (approximately 7 seconds apart). In the background, one can hear other “stations” faintly (meaning, radio signals close to this location on the dial). Then a female voice is distinctly heard (and the electronic signal abruptly stops) reciting names and dates: many of these names are “Father”, “Brother”, whether or not pertaining to religious orders or simply status (as in someone’s father or brother). These names and dates are read rapidly, a steady stream, with accompanying dates. The voice (I think you’d need analysis to see if the voices are identical) becomes the announcer stating that the signal will be transmitted soon because they are “running late”. This is not a commercial radio station, it is more like a student/college radio station. Commercial radio stations don’t “run late” but college stations often have glitches (I had a radio program on one of them for five years, so I know). What these names and dates are I cannot say. There appears to be no purpose, there is no “prank” involved here that makes any sense whatever. I suggest the tape be analyzed, slowed, the names and dates be written down and then investigation. Did these people die on those days?

  27. KM

    04/14/2013 at 5:24 PM

    Witch house?

  28. KM

    04/14/2013 at 5:36 PM

  29. Alex Burford

    04/18/2013 at 12:16 PM

    This is much clearer than it was on the radio last night when I heard it on “Ground Zero,” but I think it is a hoax created by a DJ or someone with knowledge of radio and had thought this out for some time before doing it.
    You heard this in 1995 and all the dates of death are in the past, the 1980′s.
    The DJ who is heard at the end sounds just like the Woman who is reciting the names and dates.
    Nothing paranormal here, just a spooky sounding hoax that is actually very eerie and entertaining.

  30. Hal

    05/15/2013 at 1:54 PM

    “WKCR 89.9 New York”

    has anyone ever contacted the radio station, played it for them and gotten THEIR opion of what it is ?

  31. Archer

    05/17/2013 at 1:54 PM

    Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
    Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc,
    Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron,
    Dien Bien Phu falls, “Rock Around the Clock”
    Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn’s got a winning team,
    Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland,
    Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev,
    Princess Grace, “Peyton Place”, trouble in the Suez
    We didn’t start the fire
    It was always burning
    Since the world’s been turning

  32. Pingback: The old tape.. | HORROR REPORT

  33. Pingback: THE HORROR REPORT | The old tape..

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