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Lair of the Beasts: The Military and Monsters
By Nick Redfern
September 18, 2010
While there is absolutely no doubt at all in my mind that many of the strange beasts that people such as me search for are indeed flesh-and-blood creatures of truly unknown origin and classification – such as sea-serpents, the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, and the monsters of Loch Ness, Scotland – others are clearly not physical beasts at all.
No, I’m not talking here about the realm of the paranormal or the supernatural – although I certainly do believe that these issues play highly significant roles in certain cryptozoological cases. Rather, I’m referring to monsters borne out of nothing less than the imaginative minds of the U.S. military. You may well ask yourselves: what on earth is Redfern raving on about? Well, I’ll tell you!
Back in the 1950s, psychological warfare planners within the American military began spreading tales of blood-sucking, monstrous vampires being on the loose in the Philippines. The reason: to terrify the superstitious, Communist Huk rebels that at the time, were engaged in an uprising in the Philippines.
The operation was a truly ingenious one that was coordinated by a certain Major General Edward G. Lansdale. Born in 1908, Lansdale served with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War. Then, in 1945, he was transferred to HQ Air Forces Western Pacific in the Philippines; and, in 1957, he received a posting to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, working as Deputy Assistant to the SoD for what were vaguely termed as “Special Operations.”
At the specific request of President Elpidio Quirino, Lansdale was assigned to the Joint United States Military Assistance Group to provide assistance and guidance in the field of Intelligence, to the Philippine Army, as the latter sought to squash the Huk uprising. And it was while lending assistance to President Quirino that Lansdale had the bright idea of exploiting a local legend for psychological warfare purposes – namely, that of the deadly, predatory and monstrous Asuang Vampire. A very strange “special operation” had well and truly begun.
In his own words, Lansdale would later say that: “To the superstitious, the Huk battleground was a haunted place filled with ghosts and eerie creatures. A combat psy-war squad was brought in. It planted stories among town residents of an Asuang living on the hill where the Huks were based. Two nights later, after giving the stories time to make their way up to the hill camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along the trail used by the Huks.”
Lansdale continued: “When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the Asuang had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on that hill. When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity.”
And, as a direct result of these actions, key, strategic ground was taken out of the hands of the Huk rebels. Of course, this is just one example of how and why a blood-sucking monster was brought to life and, arguably, how and why it deeply influenced the outcome of a military engagement; despite the fact that it never really existed in the first place.
While I am firmly convinced that there are indeed some truly strange beasts among us, we should do well to keep in mind the possibility that perhaps certain other tales and legends of unknown animals might have had their origins in the imaginations of Pentagon planners and military strategists.
Monsters, it seems safe to say, are not always what they initially appear to be.
Nick Redfern is the author of many books on the world of the paranormal and the supernatural. His new book is Final Events; a study of the theory that UFOs have occult, rather than extraterrestrial, origins.