Unlucky Charms: Candy So Scary, It Had to be Removed from MREs

The army is awash in legacy. Challenge coins, the Court of Neptune, Mustache March. When bullets fly, folklore becomes psychic armor, offering magical protection as long as particular rules are followed.

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One of the many bizarre and stubborn superstitions emerged some time in the 1990s, probably as at an early stage as Desert Shield and also Desert Storm. It was called “the Curse of Charms”—the belief that if your MRE included a package of Charms—tough, square-shaped fruit-flavored candy wrapped in vivid rolls of ten—you should throw it amethod, far ameans, or else poor things would happen.

The Charms Candy Company kind of, currently owned by Tootsie Roll Industries, was born in New Jersey prior to World War I. During World War II, Churts won a contract to encompass its candy packeras in K-rations as “high energy food supplements.” In the 1970s, the company would win renowned for its innovative “Blow Pop”—a kernel of bubble gum encased in a difficult candy lollipop. Throughout, Charms candy ongoing as a staple of military rations.

Then, after the switch from C-rations to MREs, somepoint taken place to Churts. The innocuous little bit blocks of corn syrup and man-made flavoring took a dark revolve. Marines began associating them through all sorts of bad luck. With time, an elaborate pseudo-science emerged approximately the superstition.

Eight days after the ground invasion of Iraq in 2003, Marines speculated that the rash of troubles they encountered en route to Baghdad was an outcome of guys eating Cdamages.

“They’re negative luck and also possibly also many kind of people have actually been eating them, given what’s happened this week,” shelp one corpdental.


The Marines described it this way: eating the lemon flavored candy led to their vehicles to break dvery own. Lime motivated the torrential desert rain storms. Raspberry—well, that was the worst. It portended death.

“I always throw mine away,” sassist Sgt Kenneth Wilson. “Eincredibly time I eat the wrong color somepoint bad happens.”

One could trace the US intrusion route by adhering to the trail of discarded Churts littering the desert.

The superstition quickly infected the Army. It gained to the point where also moving an unopened fill of the stuff was considered unlucky. Drill Instructors ordered recruits in training to discard them in the area.

Charms ended up being so untenable that the DoD Combat Feeding Directoprice (which creates the menus of military rations) removed them from MREs in 2007.

There was a criterion for the Case of the Unlucky Cdamages. In World War II, some Marines stationed in the Pacific swore that airplanes moving rations that contained apricots on a regular basis cramelted. Subsequent generations of Marines swore off apricots in any kind of form—fresh, canned, dried, even juiced. Members of the first Amphibious Tractor Battalion at Cua Viet in 1968 blamed a spate of deadly attacks on C-ration apricots.

“Tbelow is no doubt around it,” said one Naval at the moment, “apricots perform reason foe rocket and artillery strikes.” Once a deserve to is opened up, the word goes out to “standby for incoming.”

In 1995, foreshadowing the Churts debacle, the DoD dropped apricots from MREs.

So, what’s behind the ubiquity of superstition in the military? Psychologists tell us that our desire to manage an unpredictable civilization and also fix uncertainties drives our imagicountries to link co-arising, non-associated events. Someone eats purple candy, then gets swarm. Our brains’ primitive occipital lobes—the reara lot of parts of our cerebral cortex—automatically attach these 2 events, and also a superstition is born.

The more stress and anxiety we endure, the more we revolve to superstition. Historians have actually tracked a rise in superstitious habits in the time of times of war, financial distress, and also civil conflict.

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What probably doomed Churts more than anything else was its bland result on the 21st century palate. In a world of fizzy Pop Rocks, huge Gummies, super-sour Warheads, and Atomic Fireballs, Cdamages seemed a weak throwearlier to subtler confections. Throwing them out was no massive sacrifice.