An article I'm considering writing: the (explicit) political use of ghost stories.

The idea of the 'confederate soldier ghost' was explicitly promoted to keep former slaves in line & this is the origin of the KKK's sheets, as described in Colin Dickey's Ghostland.
Decades later, in Vietnam, US military intelligence used the same basic technique against the north vietnamese by broadcasting traditional funereal songs from airplanes along with a wailing voice describing the tortures of hell.
There were similar pitches to project the image of the virgin mary on the bottoms of airplanes in catholic countries during the second world war, though I don't think they were used.
In The Vanishing Hitchhiker, it's claimed that one of the social functions of folklore (and now, the 'urban legend') is to provide warnings about real dangers in a more memetically-viral format. An effective urban legend will spread both the real element & fantastic exaggeration.
So, weaponizing this is pretty natural. Even if nobody quite believed the KKK member was really a ghost, the result is effective: former slaves will spread the meme "if you do this, an apparent-ghost might show up". (Who knows which would be more dangerous?)
(I should be clear: 'ghost' here is more like revenant. Like in many folk traditions, we're talking about raised dead who are both physical and dangerous. Like the norse revenant tradition, there's the expectation their strength & speed have only increased postmortem.)
The point is probably never to hide the true origins. Being convincing is not a priority. By slotting into an existing mythic mechanism for transmitting warnings, transmission of norms is hijacked for outside purposes. So, this technique is particularly powerful.
(I'm not aware of a clear case of a ghost story system being hijacked by outsiders as a weapon against the group that's controlling it where the outsiders are unambiguously in the right, unless you count adults as outsiders to children's culture. It's a dirty technique.)
And, of course, we can link this all to Mirage Men & the Paul Bennowitz case, as a new & modern twist.
I think the intentional manipulation of folklore for psyops purposes is interesting to explore precisely because without documentation it's hard to distinguish from the kind that arises automatically.
Folklore evolves fast & the same pressures that make synthetic folklore succeed are the ones that perform natural selection on spontaneous storytelling to produce folklore in the first place. So, it's successful ecosystem engineering of a type we haven't done biologically.
What are the synthetic 'invasive species' of the supernatural urban legend space? What's the ghost-story equivalent of kudzu? And, what impact does that have on behavior?
@Mythos_Media I'll write this up & submit to you at some point in the next few weeks. I'm going to need to crack open some books for it (unlike most of my essays).
The integration of ghost stories in psyops is a natural extension of Linebarger's advice in his seminal manual Psychological Warfare to make propaganda mesh with the target's culture & values, & a natural elaboration of examples he gave of pamphlets using mythic language.
(Linebarger was a master of creatively manipulating a syncretic mythology in his second career as science fiction author Cordwainer Smith. We can see echoes of his work as Smith in the foundations of Herbert's Dune series.)
The engineers of post-confederate 'chilling effects' campaigns could not have known of Linebargers work, he did not mention them in his, & he would have criticized their techniques for underestimating the 'enemy'.
Underestimating or mischaracterizing the target of propaganda is a good way to make it fail entirely. (See:… /…)

These guys got lucky in that ghost stories were a big part of an existing tradition of didacticism.
Somehow, the other half of the thread got hidden. Here it is:
Since this is sort of blowing up (at least by the standards of my account), here's a link to essays I've written on related subjects:
Having an existing tradition with roles that outsiders can easily slot into is a vulnerability. Two modern examples: the MIB in UFO lore and the hidden masters in theosophy & its offshoots. In both cases, there's an expectation that you might meet a stranger who is superhuman.
In the theosophical interpretation, you're supposed to take orders from the hidden masters & trust them as gurus. Few UFO researchers or abductees trust the MIB. (Of course, when they claim to be government agents promising disclosure...)
Alan Greenfield's Secret Cyphers of the UFONauts & his later Occult Rituals of the Men in Black claim that the MIBs and the ascended masters are one & the same. There's a lot of stuff in those books, and I'm not sure I'm convinced, but they play a similar role.
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