5 - Witchcraft And War
Since time immemorial warring armies have sought the blessings of their favorite Gods. High priests, shamans, witchdoctors, prophets, fortune tellers and all sorts of oracles were consulted. Often sacrifices were demanded, either human or animal. 'Bless our boys" and "Hex the enemy" were the dominant themes. Till this day there's not a God-believing country that doesn't claim "God is on our side." Following the adage that "all's fair in love and war" governments the world over have not hesitated to use occultism and witchcraft in what they term psi war ... psychological warfare.
In the book, The Old and The New Magie by Henry Ridgely Evans, Dr. Paul Carus says in his Introduction: 'The magic lantern, commonly supposed to be an invention of the Jesuit Kircher, in 1671 must have been secretly known among the few members of the craft of scientific magic at least as early as the end of the middle ages, for we have an old drawing, which is here reproduced, showing that it was employed in warfare as a means of striking terror in the ranks of the enemy. We have no information as to the success of the stratagem, but we may assume that in the days of a common belief in witchcraft and absolute ignorance of the natural sciences, it must have been quite effective with superstitious soldiers."
This same book has a picture of the Magic Lantern of Johannes de Fontanna, about 1420, which had a picture of the devil on it in an upright position, the glass blackened with the exception of the picture. The "master of seige and fortress defenses, who from an appropriate hiding-place projected the image upon a convenient wall in the outside works of a fort so as to let assailants, unexpectedly be confronted with the hideous form of a demon."
In the tragicomedy of Anguilla, a British owned Caribbean island, population about 6000, witchcraft was used against the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, with whom they were joined in a Federation until they declared their "independence."
These islanders are descendants of African slaves and practice voodoo to this day. Anguilla is the poorest island and looked down upon by the others.
The associated state of Anguilla St. Kitts and Nevis was formed by the British in 1967, Britain remaining responsible for then: defense. The new state was administered by the mother island of St. Kitts. The prime minister was Robert L. Bradshaw, considered dictatorial by the Anguillans, a former member and officer in the sugar mill labor unions. Bradshaw is a descendant of early African slaves and a believer in voodoo.
When the Anguillans threatened to invade St. Kitts in the shape of dogs, a voodoo tradition, Bradshaw panicked and he ordered that all of the unleashed dogs on the island be shot. Unfortunately, two of the dogs that were shot were owned by the administrator of the St. Kitts Hospital!
During World War II the British employed Astrologer and novelist Louis De Wohl as part of their Counter Intelligence work. His job was to tell them what Hitler's Astrologers were telling him. Hitler, like most tyrants, was deeply immersed in mysticism (What else could he be considering that he gauged everything by his own, usually irrational, "feelings.")
These symbols represent the magic circle. It serves as a protective girdle to ward off evil spirits. According to the practice of magic all invocations must be made inside this circle. Once inside the magician has nothing to fear front any spirits that might want to intrude.
Of course he "followed the stars" only when they were compatible to his own hysterical moods. Hitler was not adverse to using occultism, mysticism and Astrology in his mad scheme of conquest, but he also feared such persons and most of them ended up in concentration camps. He jailed his personal Astrologer in 1941 and passed a decree forbidding its practice in the Reich throughout the war. Louis De Wohl, a Hungarian refugee, was decorated for his Astrological services for the British Secret Service after the war. And though some may debate whether his services helped there is absolutely no proof that it harmed the Allied offensive in any way.
In the Sunday News, July 10, 1966 issue there was a full page story authored by Arthur Watson "GI's Deal Viet Cong A Deadly Ace." The blurb said "Yanks play on superstition of enemy who says ace of spades brings death." The gist of the story was that Allison F. Stanley, President of the United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati received the following letter: "We, the officers of Company "C", 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, are writing to ask a favor of the United States Playing Card Company.
We are stationed in Pleku, South Viet Nam, and have been using your Ace of Spades as our calling card for nearly two months. In Viet Nam, the Ace of Spades and pictures of women are regarded as symbols of bad luck. Since your trademark contains both of these, we have been leaving them as a psychological weapon in areas we have cleared of Viet Cong.
Our supply of cards is rapidly being depleted and we were wondering if you could supply us with approximately 1000 Aces of Spades. Your support would be greatly appreciated."
This letter was signed by Lts. Barrie E. Zais, Charles W. Brown, Leonard D. Davis and Thomas R. Wissinger.
The Ace of Spades illustrating the article had the Goddess of Freedom in the center with this caption "... means double trouble for the Viet Cong who fear .both as symbols of bad luck." Playing cards are the latest psychological warfare weapons and they are left on bodies of slain guerrillas, to discourage VC sympathizers in villages.
For centuries, throughout the world, the Ace of Spades has been associated with death. Always a bad omen. In ray book It's In The Cards in the chapter on the card suits under the heading "Calling A Spade A Spade," I wrote: "A multitude of meanings is given to the spade cards, perhaps the most symbolic in the deck. They represent the unknown, forbidden, mysterious, darker aspects of life. The unfavorable meanings of these cards are death, sickness, worry, fear, anxiety, reverses, losses, delays, obstacles, troubles, disharmony, friction, resentments, setbacks, broken homes, marriages, friendships, divorce, frustrations, phobias, neuroses and psychoses, depressions, discouragement, quarrels, fights, anger, hostilities, ill temper, hurt feelings, bad environment, theft, crookedness, deception, wrongdoing, accidents, tensions, pressure, insults, impositions, parasites, jealousy, enemies, etc.
Quite a list! The meanings of course are modified depending upon surrounding cards. On the Ace of Spades I say: 'The mind card or rather what affects the mind, usually worry, fear, anxiety, self-doubt, expecting the worse. Reveals a setback, delay, complications in one's plans. When this card touches the card depicting the person being read along with other spade cards following it the meaning is that the person is distraught, can become 'sick with worry'."
President Allison E. Stanley sent over 10,000 Aces of Spades at his own expense saying "Naturally I wouldn't take any money for the cards. I'm grateful for the opportunity to give them away. Not every citizen has the privilege of making a contribution to the war effort."
Congressman Craig Hosmer of California in a speech to the House of Representatives on Feb. 7, 1966 suggested that the library of Congress study the subject of the enemy's superstitious beliefs and requested that hundreds of thousands of plastic Aces of Spades be dropped on North Vietnam where this card is considered "as deadly an omen as it-is in Sicily." Hosmer has previously returned from a fact-finding trip to Vietnam. His speech was greeted with loud laughs and not taken seriously by his fellow Congressmen, but the returning GIs, plus their written requests, changed the laughter into positive action when other Congressmen visited Vietnam, including Rep. John J. Gilligan (D.-Ohio) who took with him a large supply of these Aces to deliver to the troops.
What the above article didn't say was that the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong use the same methods, plus others, to scare the daylights out of the villagers.
Triangles of Lucky Numbers