Vietnamese Folklore Was Exploited to Fight the Viet Cong
In Vietnamese folklore, dead people who are not properly buried are doomed to wander the earth as tormented souls, unless and until their corpses receive the appropriate last rites. Those troubled ghosts can supposedly communicate with the living on the anniversary of their demise. So American forces in Vietnam used such superstitions against the Viet Cong. A plan known Operation Wandering Soul sought to “frighten and demoralize the enemy … and compel many to desert their positions“. To accomplish that, US forces used high decibel speakers on helicopters and backpacks to blast recordings of wailing “ghosts” in areas plagued with insurgents.
The tapes had messages in eerie-sounding Vietnamese, purportedly from dead Viet Cong or North Vietnamese soldiers. They warned their comrades in hair-raising voices: “My friends, I have come back to let you know that I am dead … I am dead! It is hell! I am in hell! Don’t end up like me. Go home, friends, before it is too late!” Other creepy recordings included a bewildered “ghost” asking: “Who is that? Who is calling me? My daughter? My wife?” That was followed by another damned soul responding: “Your father is back home with you, my daughter“. Eeriest of all might have been the ethereal voice of a child wailing “Daddy, daddy, come home with me. Daddy! Daddy!”