The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare
I just read a really interested military research paper from the 1950's titled, "The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare."
It alleges that all governments, for about 100 years, have been manipulating domestic & international popular superstitions in order to advance a higher, geo-political agenda.
This is done in 3 ways:
1) Creating an indifference to rational activity.
2) Creating preoccupations with non-rational acts.
3) Weakening the power of approved symbols that hold popular allegiances.
The paper goes on to report case studies during WW2. For example, it tells the story of a German village inundated by a chain letter (very similar to modern-day chain e-mails); the letter said to copy it verbatim in one's own handwriting, then deliver it forward to 10 people. Apparently this was part of a United States PSYOP to clog the mail system in certain regions in Germany, to make it that much harder for the Germans to focus on war time efforts, and to pre-occupy the attention of German citizens with "useless" tasks.
Prophecies from fortune tellers is another medium of war-time propaganda, according to the paper. Pumping into the supernatural information sphere favorable or unfavorable predictions about the originating nation could either motivate people extra or demoralize large groups of people... especially if these fortune tellers are prominent.
That's right. Popular fortune tellers may very well be working for an unknown intelligence outfit. The paper illustrates this point, "In the United States, the FBI was said to have kept a file of wartime astrologers & fortune-tellers suspected of being Axis agents..."
Likewise, actual pseudo-paranormal events were created using special effects & stage magic to scare provincial populations into a supernatural hysteria. The paper recounts a story of British Intelligence staging a kind of giant scarecrow in the distant foggy hills of rural Italy, configured with a flamethrower in its face. Apparently this scene one night terrified the village into a mass hysteria, as they assumed it was the Devil.
In turn, the Italians panicked, fled, refused to cooperate with the Germans for religious reasons, congested the roads, etc, This effect lasted for several weeks.
Of course, war aggravates superstitious tendencies. That's another reason why it's natural for the military to intervene on this plane of consciousness.