That time the US military tried to make foxes glow in the dark to freak out Japanese soldiers

Originally published at: That time the US military tried to make foxes glow in the dark to freak out Japanese soldiers | Boing Boing


If they really wanted to go all in with the “magical animal freakout” plan they should have airdropped in a bunch of betesticled raccoon dogs.



War Is (What The) Hell


So this would have had to be during the war, right? The 1950s doesn’t make sense. And later in the post it mentions 1945.

The OSS was dissolved in September 1945 so I guess the description above must be a typo.


Perhaps the tale was first told in the 1950s by somebody who claimed to have worked for the OSS. “I’m not supposed to talk about this, but…”


This is apparently the Batman/Scooby-Doo theory of psychological warfare - “foreigners are a superstitious lot, who will be easily manipulated with ghosts!” The irony is that Americans believe in more supernatural stuff than the citizens of most developed nations, so this all seems like a lot of projection. If other countries did it, the US would be highly susceptible (though given how often we make up weird stories and panics on our own, which have no impact on the functioning of the military or economy, etc., I’m not sure what these would achieve).

Now I’m wondering if other countries are into this as well, and if a lot of US-based weird phenomena aren’t, in fact, ridiculous foreign psy-ops.

…or US psy-ops, for that matter…

Somehow this all feels so very American: releasing radioactive foxes to terrify Americans… in order to pwn the Japanese…


Yeah, the one where TIL our side was trying scare tactics with animals, while the other was making effective use of balloons. I’m hoping at some point the higher-ups asked this:

Schitts Creek Wtf GIF by CBC


Honestly I can’t especially fault them for considering long-shot psychological tactics that may have killed a few innocent animals when the alternative strategy that they ended up going with (firebombing Tokyo and nuking two other cities full of civilians) was so horrific that nearly any other option would have been better.


In Vietnam they used recordings of spooky voices transmitted through loudspeakers on helicopters flying over jungle canopy at night to mimic disappointed ancestors and dead Vietcong to try to convince NVA soldiers and Vietcong to desert. The Army actually did this.

I wonder what the lifespan of Radium painted foxes would be?


While we’re on the subject of Psyops, didn’t they once “accidentally” airdrop ridiculously large condoms ostensibly meant for US soldiers over enemy lines? Or was that just an urban legend?

They just could have combined this with the bat bombs.


That might have worked if they were fighting koreans (ie see the stories about the kumiho), but with kitsune it would be a mixed bag based on how all over the place they are in terms of moral alignment in japanese folklore.

Wouldn’t they need to add some extra tails?

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I’m not that familiar with the Japanese tradition. Somewhat more with the Chinese tradition of yaoguai. But if I’m not mistaken… There probably are/were rural areas that held beliefs about fox spirits. That’s not the dumb thing. The dumb things are… Everything else. Do kitsune glow? I thought they looked like foxes or humans. Also - aren’t they not necessarily malevolent? I believe there are places where the presence of such a sprit would be welcome, or assumed and treated with respect. Can anyone correct me if I’m wrong?

I mean… I would freak out if I saw a glowing fox falling from the sky. But my fear would not be limited to spiritual interpretations


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