That time the US military tried to make foxes glow in the dark to freak out Japanese soldiers

The US military has been known for hare-brained hoaxes to try to scare enemies by exploiting what they think are the opposing group's cultural beliefs and superstitions. For example, in the early 1950s, the US Air Force created a vampire hoax by killing a Filipino guerrilla and poking holes in his neck. Over at Mysterious Universe, Nick Redfern tells several other similar psy-ops stories, including an absurd tale from the 1950s of the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the predecessor to the CIA—who coated foxes with glow-in-the-dark (and radioactive) paint to freak out Japanese soldiers. From Mysterious Universe:

[Psychological operations strategist Ed] Salinger proposed that they focus on using the Japanese fox spirit and Shinto harbinger of doom the kitsune, which were said to have all manner of magical powers and which Salinger insisted many Japanese believed actually existed. They went about fashioning whistles that made the sound of a foxlike "call of the damned," a spray which smelled like fox, and the piece de la resistance, actual live foxes that would be made up to look like the magical kitsune spirits. They went about catching live foxes and then moving on to the next step of the plan, which involved somehow making them glow in the dark. There were several ideas spitballed around before they settled on using glow-in-the-dark paint using the very radioactive and very dangerous substance radium. The next step was to see if the glowing foxes would actually accomplish what they were meant to do, which meant testing them out, and the next stage of this bonkers operation was launched.

They decided to test the foxes out on American soil, as the logic for them went that if the glowing foxes could freak Americans out, then they would definitely terrify the superstitious Japanese. To do this, Operation Fantasia gathered together 30 foxes decked out in radioactive glowing paint, and in the summer of 1945 released them into Washington, D.C.'s Rock Creek Park. It seems to have worked, as people were scared of the roaming animals just as had been hoped, and it would be reported that "Horrified citizens, shocked by the sudden sight of the leaping ghost-like animals, fled from the dark recesses of the park with the 'screaming jeemies." Now that they knew the foxes had potential to frighten the bejeezus out of people, they had to try to figure out how to actually get them into Japan, which proved to be a hurdle since they couldn't be airdropped and having them swim just washed off the paint. Even if they could somehow get them into the Japanese wilds, there was no guarantee that they would go anywhere near people or that they wouldn't just go off and hide in the wilderness where they would do no good at all. Even then, Salinger continued on with his bizarre plan, going further off the rails to this time suggest that they use taxidermy foxes with little animated mechanical skulls affixed to their heads, which would also of course be glowing and be floated over the landscape using balloons, because why not? 

"Strange Military Operations to Use the Supernatural as a Weapon of War" (Mysterious Universe)