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HPI Chronicles: Tree Ghosts of Vietnam


I have been to Thailand and Burma. I have never been to Vietnam, even though I flew over Vietnam and Laos to get to Thailand. I hope to one day visit Vietnam. Vietnam has become a friend to America and tourists are treated graciously. My half brother Andrew Somprise Soyo remembers a different Vietnam. He remembers being an infantryman for the US Army and fighting in the jungles. He remembers the smell of napalm, the sounds of helicopter blades. He remembers seeing his friends die-he remembers the dangers of the jungle. He remembers a close friend dying next to him, after being bitten by a dangerously venomous snake. I do not know if my brother was exaggerating, but he claimed the snake is known as a one-minute snake, because it can kill you in one minute.

My brother left Vietnam and carried back with him Malaria. At nights, he wakes up in a cold sweat as he goes through the symptoms of Malaria. Malaria will always remind him of the jungle. My brother remembers the negative side of Vietnam and the only two things that came out of Vietnam that he considered positive is when he received the Soldier of the Year Award and an R&R trip to Thailand.

With the many wars, suffering, torture, tragedies that this small nation has witnessed, you would imagine that Vietnam has many, many ghosts. I interviewed a close friend of mine. Her name is Thuy Phan. Thuy is refreshing, reverberating and full of life. With big smiles, she can tell you about Vietnam; a Vietnam that she visualizes as paradise. Thuy is 19 years old and has heard stories about the war, but to her, it's like a mere fable that has been told to her, it seems unreal. I asked her if there are ghosts in Vietnam and her response is "plenty".

Thuy remembers the stories about the 'tree ghosts of Vietnam'. Legend has it that wandering spirits around the countryside of Vietnam need a place to live and they take up residence in the trees of the jungle. It is said that if you cut down a tree without asking permission, you will be cursed or you will face bad luck. Usually the people of Vietnam will perform a ceremony asking the entities to leave a tree and to move onto another tree before cutting it down.

Former Lieutenant Howard Pierce who recently went to Vietnam on vacation, stopped off in the jungles of Bach Ma. He claims he saw two pale apparitions staring at him from one tree. As he approached the tree, the apparitions vanished in front of his very eyes. Perhaps Howard saw the tree ghosts of Vietnam?

Another ghost story that Thuy recalls is a story from her sister. Her sister and her sister's supervisor were working out-of-town and were staying in a hotel that was reputed to be haunted. As they discussed how the hotel is haunted, Thuy's sister's supervisor started walking around the hallway and saying..."I don't believe in ghosts, come out and show me that you are here!" She kept saying that over and over again. Finally an apparition actually walked in front of her and went into another room making a loud sound. After that day, Thuy's sister's supervisor believed in ghosts.

Three tourists claimed that in the Phuoc Tuy Province they encountered a phantom soldier that was wearing a hat that was flipped over on one side. He appeared to be bleeding from the side of his neck and holding his neck as if he were trying to stop the bleeding. They could hear the soldier say in an English or Australian accent: "I need help-where am I?" As they watched the soldier walk down the hill, he faded into a thick tree.

People that have explored the tunnels of Vietnam have made claim of seeing moving figures in the tunnels. Could those moving figures be ghostly tunnel rats? Tunnel Rats of our American servicemen who went into these underground dwellings looking for VC (Viet Cong)? How many tunnel rats died tragically by poisonous booby traps? Those poisonous booby traps being bamboo viper, venomous Krait and scorpions placed strategically in places of the tunnels by the VC. If these biological booby traps didn't get you, then perhaps the shrapnel from a grenade or a discharged projectile from an AK-47 would make its mark. If you were a soldier in Vietnam and you were inside these tunnels, you were facing death. How many people including VC and allied soldiers died in these tunnels? Do I believe these tunnels to be haunted? My answer is "yes".

Vietnam had many conflicts-the Vietnam War was just one of those conflicts. With all of the tragedies of Vietnam, I believe there are many, many ghosts. I will never forget as I walked the Bridge of River Kwai in Thailand. I could feel the pain and suffering that once befell this tragic area. I didn't have to be psychic to feel the deep negativity. So when Thuy Phan tells me that there are ghosts in Vietnam. I have to believe her.

Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Paranormal Investigative Reporter, Ghosthunter

Haunted and Paranormal Investigations International

WPRT Paranormal Radio - Content Editor

Email: JazmaPika(at)

Paranormal Cellular Hotline: 916 203 7503 (for comments on this story).

If you have a possible investigation call: 1-888-709-4HPI

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, PaulDaleRoberts, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

troyarn (5 stories) (479 posts)
16 years ago (2008-08-05)
I am interested in why you never answer posts that often on this site. I myself would love to have you comment more on what you are telling us and what we are saying.
bigpatti87 (2 stories) (39 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-14)
Well Vietnam has got to have a lot of Soldier Ghosts and I salute them all because they died for their country and I would trade places with them in a heartbeat because they earned the chacne to be here today but yet they arent here so that we can all be here... That was a good story but I just can't get past the soldiers... God Bless their souls and I hope they can all move on and find where they are going and pass over because it is still tragic to see their spirits still aching from the war... Like I said good story.

God Bless,
BigPatti 😉
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-14)
Thanks again Paul for another graet story. I was wondering when you were going to post another story for us. Thanks for sharring. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
ohmy (22 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-12)
Paul, this reminds me of someone who used to live in Vietnam. She would regale me with the few sightings she had whenever I asked. I sometimes feel like that comedic guy, Dave Chappelle, where on one of his show's episode he self-righteously kept huffing to to his buddy, "Oh, that's nasty! She's nasty!" while watching a stripper or whoever was dancing on stage and intently ogling her some more. Here I am on this board, "That's scary! You shouldn't! Tell me more!"

Getting back to the discussion, I will call this person "Mei" to protect the innocent. When she was about 16 years old, way before the war started, one evening she fell asleep outside on a hammock in front of her house. She lived in the countryside. Sometime around midnight, she woke up cold and shivering. She heard something from the road and peeked through some vegetation lining it. She saw two women all in white, walking down the street. They were really floating several feet from the ground. One of the women resembled a neighbor's family member who had recently died at that house and Mei thought, "I wonder what she is doing here? I thought she was dead..." Mei watched as they continued down the road and floated into that neighbor's house. When it dawned on Mei that they were ghosts, she ran inside her house in terror.

That neighbor in Vietnam was a Buddhist. Buddhists tend to do a ritual on the anniversary of a loved one's death, offering them meat and drink, and pray to their deceased ancestors and dearly departed ones. Mei found out that the next day was the anniversary of the neighbor's deceased relative, one of the ghostly women who was with the recently departed one. The neighbor had been preparing for the anniversary.

The people there are very superstitious. Mei told me that when she was about 11 years old, she bribed one of her boy relatives to wear white and cover his face with a white sheet to scare off people who were picking fruits from trees. I forgot what kind of trees they were, but the fruits sat high up on the tree. When it got dark, the boy jumped out and all the people who were in the area picking fruits ran for the hills. Mei and the boy gathered up the spoils that were left behind by people in their haste to make themselves scarce. The only thing I can say is that they must be extremely superstitious to be scared off by a boy capering around in a Casper costume. That night, Mei had nightmares about ghosts and never repeated that escapade.
Tonith (1136 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-12)
Most asian cultures have a ready made belief in the supernatual. It's steeped in their history. What I think most witness is residual hauntings. It's imprinted in the atmosphere where intense events happened. Being of the Vietnam era and knowing many vets of that war, most have trauma they are still dealing with. I don't know if something like that ever leaves you. I don't know about the tree spirit thing being that spirits have been sighted in trees in all other parts of the world as well. Trees are living plant matter and maybe the spirits are drawn to their aura. It's been scientifically proven that all living matter has an aura. Great story but I would never have a desire to visit Vietnam. Too many of our soldiers perished in that God forsaken and unnessary political war. Makes me feel badly for the people that lived there that ended up victims as well. War is hell on earth.
PaulDaleRoberts (29 stories) (2 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-12)
Thank you everyone and thank you to Thuy Phan, who is my assistant, she is the one that inspired me to write this article. I want to hear the Ecuadorian legends! Tell me, I am all ears!


Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Ghostwriter
FRAWIN (guest)
16 years ago (2008-07-11)
Thank you Paul for another interesting story. Even though I have a negative feeling for Vietnam, I enjoyed your story.

KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-11)
As always, I have enjoyed your writings.

Very true, so much history, megative history, positive history, any kind of history, is boud to leave behind many differing types of energy.

Thanks again!
God Bless!
Carlos (3 stories) (14 posts)
16 years ago (2008-07-11)
Interesting, here in my country we also have plenty of legends and folklore tales, in which, the protagonists face demons and ghosts, when the submission page is empty, I will write some ecuadorian legends. This vietnamese tales are good. I am hoping to share some stories with you.

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