Imagine you’re creeping slowly through a battle-ridden jungle at night, holding your rifle high above the soggy ground. It’s nearly midnight, and the jungle canopy blocks out any hope for moonlight from above. Enemies surround you, yet the only sounds you hear are those of nature, unnatural as they seem in the black of night. Suddenly, a ghostly voice floats through the trees. It calls out to you, warning you against death, begging you to go to your family.
This is exactly what many North Vietnam soldiers faced during the Vietnam War. The U.S. had developed a propaganda campaign to exploit fears of the Vietnamese soliders. It played off the belief of many Vietnamese in the “wandering soul”:
“It is the Vietnamese belief that the dead must be buried in their homeland, or their soul will wander aimlessly in pain and suffering. Vietnamese feel that if a person is improperly buried, then their soul wanders constantly. They can sometimes be contacted on the anniversary of their death and near where they died. Vietnamese honor these dead souls on a holiday when they return to the site where they died.”
The U.S was warned to not play it near South Vietnamese, as they were susceptible as well. This is what enemy soldiers heard from “Operation Wandering Soul”: