“The American Friend”

One of the “gentle” interrogations conducted on Canadian subjects in the late 1970s, this audio clip arrived at the Lost Signals southwest outpost in 1998, and was recently digitally restored. We are making it available in here in hopes that someone may be able to identify, if not the speakers themselves, then at least the region in Canada where this was recorded. The interrogation protocols are typical: use humor to disarm and relax the subject, then advance with innocuous questions relating to United States hegemony. During this era, interrogators were frequently women.

A re-working, captured

As far as we know, this is the only surviving audio recording of Frank Cole, a biloquist whose sudden appearance in the rural American south in the late 1930s coincided with a rash of disappearances that have remained largely uncatalogued. The acetate disk recording came to us in 1971, but it was only recently that we got around to digitizing and archiving it here. The “Betsy” voice–a folksy farm woman–was apparently the most dangerous of the voices, indicating that Frank was about to set in motion the machinery of the listener’s disappearance, or “re-working” as Frank referred to it in his diary, which we have seen a copy of but would be grateful to hear from any reader who might have information about its existence, if it still exists at all.

So here is the short recording, Frank as “Betsy.”

The Miss Killer Audio

Often we receive an object through the mail that is not what it seems, case in point being a Lentar f=105 mm 1:4.5 enlarging lens, which arrived sometime in 1989. In our random sampling of the over 10,000 objects and files in the archives, we selected this lens last week for deeper inspection, 20170619_094707only to discover a 1/8 inch microcassette audio tape carefully spooled around one of the lens’s inner mechanisms. After extraction and rough remastering we can present it here now, still uncertain not only about its meaning, but its very reason for being. The tape seems to be a very short mix-tape which we have dubbed “Miss Killer” for the sequence between 00:26 and 00:33. The entire contents are listed below.

00:00 – 00:08 — wind
00:08 – 00:20 — “Miss Lynch”
00:20 – 00:26 — police scanner chatter
00:26 – 00:33 — “Miss Killer”
00:33 – 00:35 — international airport terminal?
00:35 – 00:40 — helicopter
00:40 – 01:02 — silence
01:02 – end — helicopter

What is the relationship between Miss Killer, Miss Lynch, and the other audio samples? Who is being asked questions, and by whom? Why the 22 seconds of silence? Our only clue is that Miss Killer shows up in several other Lost Signal items which have yet to be publicly catalogued here, including a yellowed newspaper clipping a child’s lullaby that references a “Miss Kill’re” and a torn piece of white linen stained with what appears to be a copious amount of blood.

*Note: Orders for the Bulletin of Lost Signals #1 remain open, as do submissions for recipes.

 

Firehead

Of the 11,336 audio files archived at Lost Signals, several dozen are from the Appalachia region, field recorded in the 1930s, and of those several dozen, a handful are recollections (often secondhand) of an explosion in the wilderness, followed by “something” flying through the air, followed by a figure apparently clad in uniform whose eyes “roll around” in his head “like balls of fire” before the person takes off through the air again. This recording–tape #9,045a–is the most complete, uninterrupted version. Dubbed “firehead” by the original Lost Signals archivist, the recording was misfiled (purposely, it seems) for years under “forest fires” and only recently rediscovered and correctly filed. Listening notes:

  • 0:40 / “something coming across in the air”
  • 2:18 / “his eyes began to roll over and over”
  • part 2 of the recording–#9,045b–is just hissing static
  • part 3 of the recording–#9,045c–is a recantation, or disavowal, of the contents of part 1

“Has the Government Ever Done This to a Paper Before?” (R. Nixon)

1970. Nixon. Mitchell. Kissinger. And the obscured presence of a fourth person, a listener, a faint audio artifact that appears only as metadata, a sonic artifact that suggests Kissinger’s secret taping of the taping. The “orderly government” of which he speaks–something far beyond the so-called deep state–could only exist, of course, against a backdrop of disorder. Although this audio exists in various iterations, Lost Signals is in possession of the only known 0001 copy, the one that preserves the tonal erasures original to the recording.–E. Edgewood

Marseilles

The “Marseille” audio is vexing, more for what it obscures than for what it reveals. The facts, such as they are, are simple and direct, and require little commentary. The audio was made in 2007. It’s sourced from Marseille (misspelled Marseilles on the file name) France. The voice is female. There is something suggestive of either a private conversation or a very subtle announcement. Likely neither, however, as the file is sub-tagged WARNING and TOXIC, as if words themselves could communicate a virus. In fact, that’s just what they are doing, which is why we have spliced-out the phrase that occurs between :06 and :07, so that the curse, such as it is (and not to be melodramatic) is rendered useless, or “infertile,” in keeping with the linguistic turns-of-phrase that accompany this particular audio file. All of which is to say: no fear. You have not been infected.

Willing to Do Anything

Recorded in a tavern in remote and sparsely populated Diablock, Kentucky, this audio is labelled murder planning, #6 of 6, db ky – 8-08 / Pete’s Tvrn. Were it not for the label, the audio would seem innocuous enough: shooting pool, the easy, back-and-forth flow of conversation. The sort of thing you’ve heard a version of a hundred times before. But with the title, certain phrases take on potential new meaning. At around ten seconds, for instance, the casual phrase “you’re willing to do anything” shades darker in the context of murder planning. In fact, it brings to mind Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film The Conversation, and the overheard “He’d kill us if he got the chance” line, a phrase which reveals itself to mean something completely different by the end of the film than it does when we first hear it spoken near the beginning. Still, it’s hard to imagine that anything murder-related is being discussed in this Diablock audio, and we await usable audio of clips #1 – #5 to provide fuller context to address the question: is what’s being discussed the possibility of recruiting a person “willing to do anything,” and if so, what is the nature of “anything?”