During the Vietnam War, as Viet Cong soldiers tried to sleep in the jungle at night, they sometimes heard an anguished, disembodied voice shrieking at them from the afterlife.
The men heard the tormented, grief-stricken cries of a deceased comrade cautioning them against the futility of losing their lives in combat, beseeching them to put down their weapons and return home.
“My body is gone. I am dead, my family. Tragic, how tragic! My friends, I come back to let you know that I am dead. I am dead. I am in hell. … Friends, while you are still alive … go home! … Go home, my friends—before it is too late.”
For months during the conflict, this spectral voice bellowed fear into the clustered civilian homes of northern Vietnamese villages and over Viet Cong camps at night. Yet this frightful counsel came not from beyond the veil but out of loudspeakers operated by U.S. soldiers.
The recording, known as Ghost Tape Number 10, played a central role in Operation Wandering Soul, a psychological operation, or psyop, that sought to crush the morale of North Vietnamese soldiers by weaponizing their minds and exploiting their deepest fears.