The Supernatural in War | The Dark Histories Podcast

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Prior to the First World War, ghostly apparitions across battlefields tended to be confined to large scale skirmishes fought in the skies. In America, Modern folklore has helped to spawn a cottage industry within the tourist trade of Civil War battlefields. The equation of such high death rates, paired with intense levels of trauma seems to equate to an acceptance that wars were surely the perfect breeding grounds for the supernatural. Though this doesn’t always appear to ring true, war is, nevertheless, a ripe area for some very bizarre stories.


R. Machen A., (1915) The Angel of Mons: The Bowmen and Other Legends of the War. London, 1915.

Runcorn Guardian (1915) Angel At Mons. 27 August, 1915. P.5. UK.

Davies, Owen (2018) A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War. Oxford University Press, UK.

Carrington, Hereward (1918) Physical Phenomenon and The War. Dodd, Mead and Co. New York, USA.

Liverpool Echo (1916) The Trench Ghost. 21 November, 1916. P.3. Liverpool, UK

Bird, William R. (1930) And We Go On: A Memoir of The Great War. The HUnter Rose Co. LTD. Toronto, Canada.

Psychic News (1941) Edition No. 455, 08 Feb 1941.

Vu Hong Van, Nguyen Trong Long, Trinh Thi Thanh, Tong Kim Dong & Pham Van Luong (2020) Folk Beliefs of Vietnamese People. Book Publisher International, UK.

BBC Witness History (2017) US Psychological Warfare in Vietnam. BBC World Service, 21 July, 2017.


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The Dark Histories Butterfly was drawn by Courtney, who you can find on Instagram @bewildereye

Music was recorded by me © Ben Cutmore 2017

Other Outro music was Paul Whiteman & his orchestra with Mildred Bailey - All of me (1931). It's out of copyright now, but if you're interested, that was that.
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