HV040- Spirit World

Crossroads sign: Spiritualist St and Mediumship WayHearing Voices from NPR®
040 Spirit World: Angels on the Line
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2010-09-15 (Originally: 2008-12-03)

“Spirit World” (52:00 mp3):

Paranormal sonic-expeditions:

“Alice of the Spirits” (6:07 & 8:07) David Franks

A preacher/prank-caller/audio-artist conjures up a con.

“Ritual Magic” (4:09) Carmen Delzell

Carmen samples some voodoo Santera, soaks in a spirit bath; she prays for sex, adventure, and central heat.

“Cassadega” (2:16) Ceil Muller

Ceil visits the small Florida town known as “The Psychic Center of the World.”

“A Night on Mt. Shasta” (25:04) Larry Massett

Our host hangs out in the new age atmosphere of the California city that sits below the spiritual Mecca of Mount Shasta (4,317 m. / 14,162 ft.).

Photo of the Cassedega intersection signs © Rachael Anne Ryals.

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Comments (20)

The narrator says he doesn’t know who does the opening piece, “Alice of the Spirits.” But isn’t that classic Joe Frank?

Comment added by Renshin Bunce on 12.23.08

Larry Massett, the narrator, gave the tape to Joe (they’re old friends) a long time ago. Larry got the tape from poet Andrei Codrescu, who got the tape from someone else, and that’s where the provenance ends.

Comment added by BG on 12.24.08

Ah – then Joe must have used it too, because I’m sure that I first heard it on his show. Thanks for the response.

Comment added by Renshin Bunce on 12.25.08

Yes, Joe did use it, a couple times. In his show Prayer:

and in an hour called Holy Land:

we probably should have mentioned that.

Comment added by BG on 12.26.08

This tape was the work of audio artist David Blake who used to call up people to mess with them when he lived in New Orleans.

Comment added by CF on 10.04.09

Anybody know more about David Bake or where he is now?

Comment added by Larry Massett on 09.18.10

I am extremely upset with the two prank calls you presented. The second one, which I didn’t see listed by title was especially painful to listen too and I finally turned it off. In the second one where he’s telling the poor woman to repeat all those ridiculous things It became obvious to me why those particular women were chosen. I’m going to spend the rest of the day writing to activists such as Tavis Smiley,Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. I’m also going to write to The corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National endowment fot the Arts as well as XM Radio. I’ll complain and suggest they listen to your show and judge for themselves. Of course you can defend your actions with claims of freedom of speech but just because you can doesn’t make it right. I’ll pursue this until the right people take notice and something is done to correct such ugly and cliched programming.

Comment added by wally carlson on 09.19.10

I agree with Wally Carlson’s post above. I couldn’t believe I was listening to NPR! It was a bit over the top. Hope there were no children listening.

Comment added by Nancy Duehring on 09.19.10

This was a sickening and degrading stunt to pull on a person who obviously has a devout, deeply religious soul. David Blake AND NPR should be very ashamed to have been a part of this woman’s humiliation. Blake is obviously of a very juvenile, twisted mind-set, and NPR should never have added to the woman’s debasement by airing such a heart-sickening prank. However, I don’t agree with Wally Carlson’s inference that the prank victim was chosen because of her race. She was obviously chosen because of her deep religious devotion, which manifested itself in the fact that she trusted the ‘preacher’ whole-heartedly and was willing to parrot anything God’s Representative asked her to … without thought. I don’t believe it would have made any difference if she had been white, black, red or Dr. Suess-striped — her religious fervor and vulnerability was the reason she was chosen as the prank victim, not her race.

Comment added by Sherrie Sidman on 09.20.10

Her religious fervor prompted her to repeat some of the most ridiculous stuff I’m sure she’s ever heard spoken in her life. First I’d say why on earth would she have simply trusted a person she didn’t know? But let’s say she’s so devout that she believed God had sent this messenger… wouldn’t she have at some point considered the words he was speaking and simply say “I do believe you’re insane”? It’s people who simply follow whatever any jackball tells them to do, so long as it’s under the guise of their religious faith, that have plagued our existence. This is the first time I’ve heard these tapes and I do believe it is absolutely hilarious. I don’t care what the reason was for NPR to air them, I applaud you. NPR isn’t about being a closed minded tool, the fact that this woman readily displayed herself as such is an example of the kind of nonsense our world desperately needs to wake up from.

Comment added by Ron on 09.20.10

I’d like to add my voice to those who were shocked by those two stories. I think it’s interesting that no one from the show has responded. I think it’s irrelevant that the woman repeated whatever the man said. At the beginning she stated she was recovering from a stroke which may have played a part in her reaction. No matter what you think of her reactions, there is no excuse for someone ridiculing someone in that way. His having her repeat words unfamiliar to her had nothing to do with religion it had to do with his twisted joy in ridiculing this woman. What’s next, a show on the positive side of dog fighting. Thank you Wally, Nancy and Sherrie for taking the time to add your voices. hopefully some good will come of it.

Comment added by Amaranth Rose on 09.20.10

I agree with Ron, I thought the show was great. People need not get upset, how do we know the call wasn’t scripted. Could have been actors for all we know.

Comment added by Dave on 09.20.10

I don’t know who David Blake is, but to me that phone call sounded like the work of the DJ known as Clay Pigeon from the Dusty Show on WFMU. He frequently speaks in the voices of different characters, and his voice is unmistakable. Also, his preferred medium is old fashioned tape – consistent with the poor and sped-up audio quality, as indicated by the host, Mr. Massett. In the context of the WFMU show, we understand these pieces to be a form of fiction.

Comment added by Joshua McNichols on 09.21.10

I think you’re all whiners. The preacher call was hilarious, and I couldn’t get enough of it!! Of course it’s obvious why those people were chosen to be presented. You can’t get just anybody to fall for that! Lighten up…there are dictators killing people somewhere in the world. Dump your lack of humour on them. I understand it was an acquired taste, but I like straight whiskey, bitter beer, and black coffee. My tastes can palate that one just fine! : )

Comment added by Damon on 09.23.10

Oh yeah…And I hope that we can all agree that dog fighting and a prank phone call are two very different things. If you’re going to be sarcastic, to make it interesting and appropriate, won’t you?

Comment added by Damon on 09.23.10


I believe the extraordinary prankster/artist was David Franks of Baltimore.

He died in January of this year.

Comment added by Robert Wright on 10.03.10

Robert, i think you might be right about it being David Franks:

whether ’tis or not, glad to learn of this poet, and this poem:
Pay Attention!

and his obit certainly sounds like a guy who’d make and record those calls:

Baltimore’s David Franks was the sort of poet/artist whose work makes good stories to tell in bars. There was the time Franks conducted a musical composition played by tugboat whistles at Fells Point, or the time he commandeered a Xerox machine at Social Security headquarters, undressed, mounted the machine and photocopied his body.

…Franks left behind many such tales, along with published writing, photographs and sound recordings documenting his experiments on the frontier between life and art, performance and provocation, design and sheer chance.
Bailtimore Sun

plus he was a friend of Andrei Codrecsu, from whom, i believe, Larry got the tape.

Comment added by BG on 10.04.10

Joe Frank credits David Franks both privately and publicly.

Other sources have pointed to David Franks, too.

Another phone prank of David Franks that Joe Frank used was the Tarot Card readers piece which was especially touching at end when he reached the number of a woman who was mentally ill.

Where did the name “David Blake” come from and why isn’t Hearing Voices crediting David Franks?

Comment added by Robert Wright on 10.10.10

I am joe frank from the spirit world

Comment added by Dan on 10.30.10

[…] attitude, also to let you know you’re about to hear a first-person story. If you listen to the whole piece you’ll realize the Archangel isn’t really the beginning of the story, chronologically. […]

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