The Conet Project

Posted by Brandon |

NPR's All Things Considered had a story Friday afternoon about the Conet Project and number stations that has creeped me out beyond belief. You can find a link to listen to the story by clicking here.

The Conet Project is a four CD recording of numbers stations, these mysterious shortwave radio stations that broadcast people reading random numbers. Many different theories exist about what these stations are, but most agree that they are for espionage purposes and are broadcasting code for spies in the field. The stations are completely anonymous with no identifiers and most disappear as randomly as they appeared.

The creepiness of these stations is incredible. Just thinking about them gives me the willies. Some broadcasts are read by men, some are read by women and some are read by children. Some have computer generated voices reading the numbers. Some have music playing at times including old music box jingles that are perfectly scary in their simplicity.

The tone of these stations, regardless of how happy the person reading is or how upbeat the music sounds, is ominous. Who are these people and who are they reading these messages for? Why do they continue to this day despite the cold war ending years ago? As Akin Fernandez, the guy behind the Conet Project, says in the story, "when you don't know what your government is doing then bad things happen." These are stations that are not meant for public consumption and it's exactly that secrecy and the tone that make them so scary.

You can find more about these stations on SpyNumbers.com and on Simon Mason's website. On SpyNumbers.com there is a link to a page about a parody station running on the East Coast occasionally broadcasting messages as the Rodent Revolution and Commander Bunny that is very interesting.

To hear a bunch of clips from the Conet Project go to it's page on Public Radio MusicSource. You can also put yourself on backorder for the CD's for the cheapest price I've seen so far. There are a number of other places to purchase the CD's such as Amazon but prices range from $65-$95 for this rare box set and a new copy may take forever to actually get. If anybody has a copy they would be willing to burn for me or know where I can get my hands on a used copy, please let me know because I am totally fascinated by these recordings.