The Experiment Podcast: The Wandering Soul

On many nights during the Vietnam War, if you listened closely, you’d swear you could hear a ghost. Today, The Experiment explores the story of that ghost and how it still haunts us.

A distorted illustration depicts helicopters over a Vietnam skyline. “The Wandering Soul” is written English and Vietnamese.
Bryan Ahonen

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As the Vietnam War dragged on, the U.S. military began desperately searching for any vulnerability in its North Vietnamese enemy. In 1964, it found one: an old Vietnamese folktale about a ghost, eternal damnation, and fear—a myth that the U.S. could weaponize. And so, armed with tape recorders and microphones, American forces set out to win the war by bringing a ghost story to life. Today, The Experiment examines those efforts and the ghosts that still haunt us.

This story originally aired on “Mixtape,” a special series from Radiolab about how the cassette tape allowed us to record, reshuffle, and reimagine our lives.


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