Numbers Stations are shortwave radio stations that sporadically broadcast an eclectic mix of seeming gibberish. This includes impossibly coded messages, occasional blips of classical music, and a screeching sound reminiscent of a modem desperately trying to connect during the dial up days. The voices appear to be machine-generated and created by speech synthesis and are almost always female, a Siri without any personality.
These stations have proven to be an effective method for government spy agencies to communicate with their overseas employees. This had long been suspected, and was confirmed in David Wise’s 1988 Book, “The Spy Who Got Away,” about a CIA defector. Further proof came in 2001 when the United States tried five defendants who had spied for Cuba using this technology. The best-known Numbers Station was the Lincolnshire Poacher, which the British Intelligence Service ran from Cyprus.
In Wise’s book, the CIA turncoat explained how it worked:
“A transmitter is set up in Germany or Langley, and the agent knows that at certain times on certain nights you will transmit to him. He is given a one-time pad, which the sender has the only other copy of. The pages of a the pad consist of random five-digit groups that are used to encipher messages with the aid of a matrix or number grid. Each page is destroyed after use.”
All this presents a sizable obstacle to the hardened conspiracy theorist. Most of the population, even the skeptic blogger portion, have concluded there are indeed secret messages being broadcast in a spooky voice, that the CIA and KGB were involved, and that there was government denial of something that was clearly going on. Normally revealed secrets and government cover up would be conspiracy theorist gold. But the theorist compliments himself on being iconoclastic and able to shrewdly navigate false narratives, and that doesn’t work if there’s nothing to expose.
But theorists did not become so by meekly acquiescing to Occam’s Razor. Consider someone with the handle Reef75 at abovetopsecret.com. He writes, “The official and common ‘explanation’ for this phenomenon is that it is some sort of spy communication.”
In truth, there is no official position for this or most other topics. Official, when used in conjunction with the government, refers to entities like agency seals, foreign policy positions, and the nation’s borders. A statement from a government official, or the media’s reporting of it, are not “official,” and this merely serves as a handy pejorative for the theorist to wield.
A British record company released a five-CD collection of these shortwave recordings. Reef75 concludes that this “was part of the cover-up,” without offering reasoning or evidence of this, or even clarifying what was being covered up, or how releasing the sounds was consistent with suppressing them.
While he initially mocks the espionage theory, Reef seems to completely contradict this by writing, “The spy communication theory is probably correct.” But he then quickly does a U-turn back to his version of reality. “But the real question is, who are the spies? And how many are ‘They’?” They, capitalized in mid-sentence and in quotes. Nice ominous touch there, Reef, you’re quite skilled at this.
When conspiracy theorists pose questions, they are not normally seeking answers. For example, when they ask how World Trade Center towers could collapse when jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel, it is pointed out that the beams need only to burn hot enough to melt the steel, which is how blacksmithing works. Anyone genuinely asking this question would be satisfied with that explanation. But having no interest in getting an answer, the theorist moves the goalposts or in some other way deflects the response.
Reef next asserts that no country has ever tried to find out what’s going on with these Numbers Stations. Buoyed by this unsupported premise, he surmises this is because, “All countries are in on it together.” The United States and Iran, North and South Korea, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Greece, India and Pakistan, all involved in this lovefest centered on cryptic messages and snippets of Swan Lake.
If accepting the spy premise, the idea that sending and receiving locations are forever changing would seem routine. But if determined to see more, this is thrilling evidence of malfeasance, and Reef excitedly chases the real truth down the rabbit hole. Once there, he concludes:
“These signals in fact confirm that there is a part of the human race that isn’t like the rest of us. I call them ‘The Others.’ If they are 10 or 50 percent of us, I do not know. But my feeling is that they are many. Does anyone have another explanation that fits the scenario with logic?”
Yes, you’re a nut case. But I don’t care for the personal attack, so my “official position” is to defer to the spy scenario, as documented by the Cuban Five case, the CIA defector book, and the Lincolnshire Poacher.
As to why “The Others” are doing this, Reef writes, “The only thing I could think of is that these signals are used as mind control on all of us.” That a human being could come up with these conclusions does seem to support the idea that our minds are being screwed with.
Reef was the only guy I could find online who offered a sizable conspiracy theory manifesto about the numbers station. But there were others who gave terse explanations. One suggested it was the dead trying to contact us – by using impossibly coded messages in a medium available to about two percent of the population, on stations that one must know precisely when and where to tune in. A rather arduous way of letting your nephews know where you left the fishing scrapbook they are looking for.
A Bing search also revealed a URL that advertised itself as dedicated to exposing the New World Order and Illuminati. With regard to the Numbers Stations, it revealed that, “Trapped in an alternate dimension somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, children survivors are attempting to communicate through shortwave radio stations.” Alas, when I clicked for further information, the link was broken. The Men In Black and reptilians must have got them.