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Ghost Tape Number 10
"It’s Hell… I’m in Hell!" 📼
As you’ve no doubt noticed, POP ‘N’ PIZZA has become less about movie reviews and more about stuff that interests me, like weird history and fringe topics like UFOs and cryptids. This week, I’m delving into the strange-but-true case of Operation Wandering Soul, otherwise known as Ghost Tape Number 10. Join me, won’t you?
February 10, 1970. Just after dusk, the jungles near the United States Army's Fire Support Base Chamberlain in Hau Niga Province, South Vietnam, came to life with Buddhist funeral music, accompanied by a haunting chorus of anguished wails and otherworldly shrieks. Amidst the sobbing and screaming, one disembodied voice rose above the rest to deliver a warning:
“My friends, I come back to let you know that I am dead! I am dead! I am in Hell! It was a senseless death! Senseless! But when I realized the truth, it was too late. Too late. Friends, while you are still alive, there is still a chance you will be reunited with your loved ones. Do you hear what I say? Go home! Go home, friends! Hurry! If not, you will end up like me. Go home, my friends, before it is too late. Go home! Go home, my friends!”
To the Viet Cong hiding deep within the jungle, the voice could only be one thing: the tormented spirit of a departed comrade. According to Vietnamese folklore, the dead must be buried in their homeland, or their soul will wander aimlessly in pain and suffering. If a person is improperly buried, their soul is doomed to walk the earth for eternity.
In reality, the voice was part of Operation Wandering Soul, a psychological warfare tactic organized by the U.S. Army's 6th PSYOP battalion. These ghostly audio recordings were played on helicopter-mounted loudspeakers flying over enemy-controlled areas to weaken enemy morale and convince members of the Viet Cong to surrender or defect.
Also known as “Ghost Tape Number 10,” the recordings were designed to evoke fear, guilt, and doubt by suggesting that fallen Viet Cong soldiers could not find peace in the afterlife due to their involvement in the conflict.
Regarding the tape, First Lieutenant Jerry Valentine of the 5th Air Commando Squadron said, “It’s a real beauty – guaranteed to raise ground fire anywhere. It even sends chills down my spine. It’s so effective that even the government restricts the use of it – they only let us use it on extreme occasions.”
Listen to the tape for yourself below, if you dare!
The Vampires of the Philippines
The Vietnam War wasn’t the first time the United States employed the supernatural to combat an enemy. In the ‘50s, the CIA terrorized the Hukbalahap - the Filipino communist guerrilla movement - with an evil creature from their own folklore, the aswang.
These winged, shape-shifting vampires were believed to inhabit the jungles where they would feed on the blood of trespassers. American forces would capture and kill a Hukbalahap fighter, leave two puncture wounds on his neck, and hang his body by the heels, draining him of blood. They would then dump the corpse where it would be easily found, scaring the other guerrillas away from that area. Pretty messed up, huh?
Anyway, if you’re interested in learning more, you can check out the short documentary below. Are you digging this? I’m just tired of writing about the same ol’ shit. After 20 years of covering arts and entertainment, I’m just not sure I have anything new to say about it - I’d rather explore things I’m curious about, like how fucked up the United States government is and how cool ghosts and vampires are.
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