10 February 2020

Ghost Tape #10-- Operation Wandering Soul

Also known as "Ghost Tape Number 10" was an audio mix the US military used for psychological operations in the Vietnam War against the North Vietnamese. It played deeply on the Vietnamese belief of ancestor worship, spirits and the afterlife.The Wandering Soul was played on loudspeakers installed on helicopters, PCF boats or by infiltrating infantry 'loudspeaker teams' on known enemy areas usually at night deep within the jungle.

"It exploited the belief among many of the Vietnamese people that once a person is dead the remains must be placed in an ancestral burial ground or that person will forever wander aimlessly in space. The tape was so effective that we were instructed not to play it within earshot of the South Vietnamese forces, because they were as susceptible as the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army. Wandering Soul' broadcasts of eerie sounds intended to represent the souls of enemy dead who have not found peace (i.e. by being buried in the village family plot)...the idea was that the sounds would at least get a Communist soldier to think about where his soul would rest in the likely event of his being killed far from home." - LTC Raymond Deitch, 6th PSYOP Battalion Commander

"The damn reverb effect of the recording is eerie. I saw and picked-up leaflets and once heard Funeral Music played over the valleys around Landing Zone Mary Ann. A Kit Carson Scout told me what the music was. This was a ghostly sound. Hell, listening to that made me want to Chieu Hoi myself. It must have been effective as hell in the jungle at night." - Unnamed 1st Infantry Division sergeant 1968-1970

"You know what we did on Nui Ba Den Mountain in 1970? The 6th PSYOP got an Air Force pilot to fly to Bangkok, to get an actual recording of a tiger from their zoo. We had a Chieu Hoi (rallier to the national government from the enemy ranks) come down the mountains and tell of a tiger that was attacking the Viet Cong for the past few weeks. So, we mixed the tiger roar onto a tape of 69-T, 'the wandering soul', and a 2-man team got up on the mountain, played the tape and 150 Viet Cong came off that mountain..." -- psywarrior.com

-- Jonny Saiga's YouTube channel

22 March 2018

Stichomancy c. 1995; Wentworth Institute of Technology Library:

In the image of homo dionysiacus, man sees decadence as immanent in human nature and history. Typical exponents of this view are Schopenhaur, Nietzche, and neo-romantics like Ludwwig Klags, Spengler, and Leo Frobenius. Man is seen as a "deserter" or a faux pas of life; as a megalomaniac species of rapacious ape; as an infantile ape with a disorganized system of inner secretions; or as essentially deficient in vital powers and dependent for survival on technical means. Man's power of thought is an artificial surrogate for missing or weak instincts, and his "freedom to choose" is a euphemism for his lack of direction. Human social institutions are pitiful crutches for ensuring the survival of a biologically doomed race. Reason is regarded as separate from the soul, which belongs to the vital sphere of the body. Reason is the destructive, "demoniac" struggle with, and submergence of, the healthy activity of the soul.
-- Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Philosophical Anthropology-- The Self-image Of Man."

04 March 2017

10-1 In Reader's Park

In my rookie year, 3 months in, I got doored on School Street. I was dispatched out of the Option office at 36 Bromfield; the job was a 44 School to 294 Wash— no shit, two blocks, literally around the corner. Traffic was tight and flowing, with every parking space filled. It wasn't a commercial zone back then, it was metered parking. The car was an older BMW, and the door just cleared my front wheel as it swung open. I went up and over through the window, and landed with the showering glass on my back on the other side. The whole thing was a mess, and I still have a piece of glass in my head for it, but this is really just the background for this other story I wanted to tell...

When I was working for Presto doing airline ticket runs, it was in the same office that Option had vacated at 36 Bromfield. Dispatch was in the front room, and we would hang out in the back between runs. I think everyone smoked in this office; we definitely blew bones in the stairwell. It was usually Spencer— when Minuteman closed their office down the hall of 36, he bought their list and ran Go-Go, and did the best art in the third floor bathroom— and Paul Tree from Think Tree, and I. Every once in while Billy Wig from Hell Toupee would be special guest star riding for Spence.

I think Paul worked for Central. They were a driver-based company from out of town, and he had never met them. He was their only biker, and they had an ever-present walker named Nancy. Nancy looked like an aged hippy, dressed in well-worn coats and crocheted hats, was always over-dressed for the weather but was always there regardless of what it was doing. She was a fixture and a curiosity.

The story I got from Paul went something like this; Nancy lived with a Central driver named Shanti in a trailer somewhere. I heard that he didn't pay taxes and didn't use banks, like he had all his money in cash in mason jars somewhere, and was pretty vocal about his politics. Mid-'90s 'off the grid' type. I knew of Shanti and didn't really care for him, he'd occasionally try to muscle-in on some courier related event, and his mannerisms were really off-putting.

So anyway, this is a few years later from that dooring as a rookie, and I'm going down School, I forget where to, but traffic's rolling, and I see Shanti, cracking the door of his parked shit-filled shitbox looking to the back up the hill. We met eyes, he saw me coming,.. and he still opened his door. The door hit my right hand, I knew immediately it was cracked somehow, but not how bad. I wasn't knocked down, I had strangely suspected he would fuck me, adjusted foot down, and dismounted.

I was totally astonished he had done it, but felt some personal blame for even trusting him. He looked, he was a driver, he knew the risks as much as I. I mean he fucking looked, as a driver should reflexively, and still did it. Maybe I'm giving the world too much credit to think a person wouldn't do that; show some consideration and then consider otherwise. But this person was Shanti.

The arguing started and moved over the curb and into the park. I don't know what stupid stuff was said, I just remember him with his greasy, ill-fitting glasses, and puffy, blue down jacket that just added to his bulk. He had a Jerry Brown pin on his jacket, and I saw this as a clear omen I was going to get nowhere with this entire incident.

I remember him saying shit like, "I thought you could make it," and this excused his failed attempt at judging if he should fling his door open into moving traffic.

When I said my hand was likely broken— I've had enough broken ones to know— he say, "You can't sue me; I don't have insurance." I was just amazed at his lack of any kind understanding, any kind of empathy, or desire to make it right. I was so stunned, I couldn't be pissed off. We knew each other, traveled in the same circle, he was a Jerry Brown supporter, and so,.. what the fuck?

This kind of back-and-forth went on for a short minute, and suddenly there's this big, curvy hippy girl stepping up. She's kind of cute though, really should've been wearing a bra, and starts chicken-necking. "Yo! Dude! I saw the whole thing! I'll show up in court and be a witness! Let's sue him!" She's super animated and jiggling and putting on that act traveler kids have.

I make an effort to calm her down enough to get back at getting no where with Shanti, and I get hit in my upper left arm from my blind-side. I turn and this really old Beacon Hill-type guy in too much tweed has just hit me with his cane and is shaking it the air at me, and yells with spittle flying, "You rotten bastard on a bike! You got what you deserved!"

I just looked at the old man with his cane and rumpled tweed, then the hippy chick and her boobs, then Shanti squinting through his glasses. I became calm and clear-headed and entirely understood what was going on and what I had to do. 

"All you people are so fucked up," I said as I rode away to make my next drop.

14 September 2016

Beautiful silence

Editor's note: This is a traditional minimalist shake-n-bake hill-stomp number usually played with a 10-key concertina and a Roland MC-303. It was reportedly heard during a recent visit to a rustic laboratory while traveling through the Appalachia when the researcher happened to come across this porch performance.

Beautiful silence
How i miss you
Now that you
Are gone

Left me here
All alone
With my mind
And this song

Beautiful silence
Before you were broken
It was like that moment
When the day broke in
And she banished blessed dawn
But it was always that moment
the whole day long

Beautiful silence
How i miss you
Now that you
Are gone

Never leave me here
Again alone
With my mind
For this long