The CIA had a SECRET report on Soviet superstitions

The CIA had a SECRET report on Soviet superstitions

The report, classified for 60 years, details familiar fears such as black cats and more involved customs, such as road bucket etiquette

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

A formerly SECRET report uncovered in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives show that in the earliest days of the Cold War, the CIA took an interest in Soviet superstitions.

The report, which was kept classified for 60 years, was apparently compiled by a defector. While several of the entries should be fairly familiar to American audiences …

if not reflective of the universal human experience …

the list gets increasingly Soviet as it goes on …

to the point of endorsing cat ownership as an early-warning detection system for secret police.

The impressive comprehensiveness of the report is somewhat undercut by its author, who ends on the note that they were “far removed from the possibility of understanding such nonsense.”

It’s unclear exactly what the Agency was hoping to accomplish by compiling this report, and it’s worth noting that at the same time it was written, Edward Lansdale was experimenting with weaponizing local superstitions as part of the CIA’s efforts against the Hukbalahap Rebellion in the Philippines.

Read the full report embedded below:

Image by Colleen Martin via Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under CC BY 3.0