By Melanie Moyer.
In 1860 the first ever recognizable recording of the human voice was captured by inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, and while the impact from Martinville’s work changed the world forever and for the better, we’re going to take a look at the darker legacy of his achievement, at the creepiest audio recordings ever taken. Ranging from the bizarre and deranged to the mysterious and unnerving, these recordings of serial killers, cult leaders, and an ill-fated cosmonaut to a frenzied call from someone being attacked by a chimpanzee and paranormal activity will leave you with more questions than answers and shuddering long after you hit the play button.
Warning: This article contains extremely disturbing and distressing content, discretion is advised.
1. The Original Night Stalker Tape
The Original Night Stalker is one of many names given to an unidentified serial killer who in the late 1970s to the mid-1980s raped at least 50 women and murdered 12 in Southern California area. Disturbingly, the killer purposefully left DNA evidence at each crime scene as part of a modus operandi but police were never able to come up with a reliable match. And, like many serial killers before him, he enjoyed taunting his victims and the authorities from afar. The Night Stalker would often leave muffled horrifying messages on the victim’s answering machine.
The above clip is only 30 seconds long and begins with the Night Stalker breathing heavily before chanting over and over “I’m going to kill you” before calling the victim several obscene names and hanging up. This tape is one of many audio recordings authorities have on file that they believe contains the voice of the suspect who remains to this day unidentified.
2. David Parker Ray’s “Toybox” Recordings
David Parker Ray was a serial killer, who is suspected to have killed up to 60 people in Arizona and New Mexico over the course of almost 50 years. He had a particular fetish for torture and perverse sexual bondage, for which he used his “toybox”, a truck converted into a toolshed of torture implements. Ray was finally apprehended by authorities after one of his victims escaped, soon after more of Ray’s victims came forward. While no bodies were ever found he was convicted of kidnapping and torture and sentenced to life in prison.
The audio clip above captures Ray talking to one of his victims in the form of an advisory message that he recorded in 1993. The tape is a very long message where Ray speaks explicitly and graphically to his captive about why they have been taken, what they were about to be subjected to. Despite its disturbing content, it does give a unique perspective into the inner workings of a serial killer.
3. “Weepy-Voiced” Serial Killer
Paul Michael Stefani, often referred to as the Weepy-Voiced Serial Killer, was a serial killer active between 1980 and 1982 in Wisconsin where he killed three women. His name comes from the weepy, whining voice he would use when he made calls to the police about his crimes. He would often weep on the phone to police and newspapers he contacted, claiming to be remorseful for the killings and begging someone to catch him before he did it again.
The most famous audio clip, after titled “Don’t Talk Just Listen”, lasts about a minute and a half where the killer admits to murdering Kimberly Compton, his second victim, and expresses regret for doing it. He then goes on to say he was fearful of getting caught and locked up and threatens to kill himself should that happen. He often began his calls to 911 dispatch with the command “don’t talk just listen.”
4. The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel
In 1975 Anneliese Michel, a young German girl came to believe she was possessed by demons. When she was 17, she was diagnosed with epilepsy, soon after, she started experiencing hallucinations while praying and to hear voices, which told her that she was damned. Over the months that followed her mental state deteriorated. She began to eat flies, spiders, and coal; she even bit off the head of a dead bird. In one instance, she crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days. She could often be heard screaming through the walls for hours. After initially denying her family’s request for an exorcism, the Catholic Church went on to perform 67 rites of exorcisms but none improved her condition or quelled the devils she was convinced lived within her. A year later on July 1, 1976, Anneliese died of dehydration and malnourishment. She weighed only 68 lbs.
Upon the release of the film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which was loosely based on Anneliese’s life, audio of the actual exorcism appeared online. The priests can be heard talking about the demons Cain, Nero, and Hitler, who Anneliese believed had taken over her body.
5. The Jonestown Tape
The most famous mass suicide (or mass-murder, depending on how you view it) in history happened in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978, when 918 people died after being told to drink poison by the leader of the cult, Jim Jones. The phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” comes from this incident where Jones encouraged children to drink the cyanide concoction by referring to it as such. It is the largest mass-suicide ever in history and, up until September 11th, was the largest loss of US civilian life in a single incident.
The audio clip begins with Jones’ manifesto and leads to his final speech spoken to his followers where he claims that the life they’ve been pursuing is impossible to reach. Finally, Jones insists the children and then the adults drink from a large vat labeled “Green C.” Instead of following his own instructions, Jones took his own life by shooting himself in the head.
6. 911 Call of a Chimpanzee Eating a Woman’s Face
Travis the chimpanzee became a nationwide topic overnight when he savagely attacked a woman. Travis had been an animal actor, appearing in several commercials for brands such as Coca-Cola and Old Navy as well as daytime television shows. Those that knew Travis claimed he was a highly intelligent and socialized chimp who could unlock doors, water plants, feed other animals, and play roughly with neighboring kids without incident. However, there was a claim of a biting incident in 1996 (when Travis was a year old) that local police say they have no record of.
In 2009, Travis attacked Charla Nash, a friend of his owner, who was holding his favorite toy. Nash’s injuries were so severe that the surgeons who worked on her for 7 hours upon her arrival at the hospital were offered counselling. She lost her eyes, nose, hands, and partial facial structure due to the attack. The haunting 911 call was placed by the owner who, upon trying to get Travis to unsuccessfully calm down, screamed into the phone “He’s eating her!” at which point the dispatch, who believed the call a hoax, sent police. Travis was shot by police several times and toxicology reports found Xanax in his system that may have caused his aggressive behavior.
7. Area 51 Radio Phone Call
Since 1970, Art Bell has worked as a radio broadcaster, famously specializing in paranormal topics. With a popular following of those interested in the paranormal and the unexplainable, it’s no surprise that Art received phone calls often from those claiming to have evidence of the paranormal to share. But none is more famous than a call Art received on his show in 1997 that still has people asking whether or not it was true or a hoax.
On the night of September 11, 1997, Art Bell put out a request for those who worked in Area 51 to call in with any information they had on the possibility of extraterrestrial life. What he got in response was a frantic man who claimed to be a former employee of Area 51 who was medically discharged a week prior to the phone call. He goes on to claim that the government has been infiltrated by “extra-dimensional” beings that are “not what we thought they were.” The phone call is cut off before the man could finish. A week or so later, the man called into the show again claiming he was “better” now and the first call was just a joke. Still, many speculate as to what really happened and how much of a joke the phone call really was.
8. Last Transmission of Vladimir Komarov
Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov tragically died when his space shuttle crashed landed during re-entry on April 24th, 1967. After noting that many of the ship’s systems had failed Komarov was left to orbit the Earth while his ship slowly ran out of fuel. Finally attempting re-entry the audio picks up on the last few moments of Komarov’s life as the ships parachutes fail to deploy and he weeps and cries in rage to mission control while plummeting to Earth to a molten crash landing.
9. The First Recording
Pipping Thomas Edison to the post, Frenchman Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville captured the earliest recognizable recording of human voice, on the 9th April 1860. In the midst of the fainted, fuzzy audio, you can hear someone (most likely Martinville himself) quietly singing the lyrics “Au Clair de la Lune”. Hauntingly eerie, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a dark night, when you’re all alone in the house.
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