Today, a follow-up. Two weeks ago, I wrote an entry about "The Most Unusual Voice I've Ever Heard on an Audio Letter"
Being currently unable to accept comments to this site, I invited comments about these mysterious tapes to my own e-mail address, and was happy to hear from more than a half-dozen commenters.
Many suggested that the person speaking had undergone a tracheostomy. I was previously only familiar with the machine used by people with this impairment, which makes sort of a burping, low toned vocal sound, but I guess the sound on these recordings is an earlier method of assisting someone who has had this procedure to be able to speak.
I also got a least five suggestions as to the language being spoken. The correct answer appears to be Estonian (explained in a moment)
But one intrepid writer went much further, and by searching for the return address on the tapes, and then for the name that site turned up, found something truly amazing, and equally horrifying.
Remember that the sender of the tapes, and presumably the primary person talking, was listed as A. Mere at 180 Mere Rd. in Leicester, England. Using that information, this led my researching correspondent to a site which indicates that the person at that address, Mr. Ain Mere, was an Estonian who retired to England, and who was a collaborator with the SS during World War II. Here is the first site found.
That led both my correspondent and me to check Wikipedia, and we came up with even more information - which you can see here - that after retiring to England he was accused and convicted of war crimes, by a Russian court, and sentenced to death. As the page goes on to say, due to lack of evidence, English authorities refused to extradite him.
Several writers, intrigued by what is on these tapes, have asked where I got them. While I don't keep close records of where I've come to own most of the myriad tapes in my collection, there is really only one place I would have acquired a large collection of tapes sent from one person to another, and that is eBay. When and from where the seller was located, at this point I haven't a clue.
But this is just another reminder that you literally can never know exactly what's going to come out of the speakers on the next reel of tape you spool up. And why I'll be continuing to explore this amazing world of sound for the rest of my days.
And now, for your dining and dancing pleasure, here's another one of Ain Mere's tapes, featuring the dulcet tones of Mr. Mere. On this tape, the other person who appears on these tapes (a younger woman, I'm guessing) speaks about as much as the sender does, which is unusual for these tapes. She even briefly lapses into English a couple of times.
This tape only features two songs, but what numbers they are, first an early number by The Beatles (I think I hear him say "Beatles" in the comments just after the song ends), and the other a lovely yodeling tune - She Taught Me to Yodel - as sung by Friank Ifield, whose version was memorably lip-synched by Craig Ferguson (although my favorite version is by Rod Erickson). (The hiccup heard during the song on this tape is from a splice in the tape.)
What occurred to me, while digitizing this tape, is that there are few things that have less in common with the allegations against Ain Mere than the do either the joyful sound of the early Beatles or the good cheer found in "She Taught Me to Yodel".
Thanks to all who wrote, and many, many thanks to GM in cyberspace for filling in the blanks!
Comments still appear to be disabled, so if you'd like to say something, please write to me at the address you can find on this page, and I'll try to add some of those comments to this post, when I get a chance.