In this episode of Manipulating The Masses we’ll be talking about subliminal messaging and its power to transform the human mind. This episode reaches into dark realms and asks the question, “is subliminal messaging a form of mind control or just another creepy marketing tactic?”
In 1990 the heavy-metal band Judas Priest went to trial for the death of two young men. Judas Priest wasn’t found liable for the young mens’ death — the two died by suicide, one instantly, the other three years later, the result of taking the pain-killing drug methadone (according to the coroner’s report).
The two young men, Raymond Belknap and James Vance were young. They were also huge fans of the British band. During what some have called a, “drug and alcohol infused” day out, the young men claimed to hear “subliminal messages” in Judas Priest’s cover of “Better by You, Better Than Me” by English rock band Spooky Tooth who made a name for themselves in the ‘60s.
The supposed subliminal messages were claimed by the decedents’ attorneys to be “backmasking” - the intentional process of “encoding audio materials on a recording in such a way that they can only be heard and understood when the recording (or track) is played backwards. Simply put, if you listen to the track backyard you would hear an intended message. Backmasking is intentional … this can’t be said enough.
The messages that Belknap and Vance claimed to have heard were, “try suicide,” “let’s be dead” and “do it” in turn urging the men to commit a double suicide.
This story is tragic and deeply sad.
What other bands have been thought to use backmasking in their recordings?
What can history teach us about subliminal messaging?
Where can we find subliminal messages in pop culture today?
If any of these questions intrigue you, tune in and see where Zach and Kaitlin take you on this week’s episode of Manipulating The Masses.
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