Chemtrails: Harmless water vapors or the tools of poisoning, mind-controlling masterminds?

Previously, we’ve explored a slew of different conspiracy theories, including those pertaining to fluoride, hidden libraries, Bigfoot and, of course, theIlluminati. This week, however, we turn our eyes to the skies. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…

(Article by Aubrey Sitterson)


As per usual, let’s start off by defining some terms, huh? Before get too deep into discussing chemtrails, it’s actually important that we define a different, similar and closely related term: Contrails. The word “contrail” is a portmanteau (look it up) of “condensation trail,” also referred to as vapor trails because, well, that’s exactly what they are: The streams of clould-like vapor created by a plane or jet’s engine exhaust.

Frequently, these vapor trails evaporate, disperse or otherwise disappear in mere moments. But other times? Other times, they hang around for minutes, even hours. Adherents to the chemtrail conspiracy theories would have us believe that the reason behind this phenomenon is, naturally, that the trails that hang around in the sky aren’t condensation at all, but rather, that the planes and jets up above us are surreptitiously dispersing trails of chemicals: Chemtrails.



Though there were likely lunatics claiming that they were getting cropdusted with chemicals long beforehand, the chemtrail conspiracy theory really picked up speed in the mid-90s. That’s because in 1996, a paper written by a student at the Air Force’s Air University (which, incidentally, boasts the raddest coat of arms we’ve ever seen) outlined hypothetical strategies for weather modification in the year 2025, and it was only a matter of time before certain citations were taken out of context to promote the idea of chemtrails perpetuated by the United States government.

The conspiracy theory caught like wildfire, as people worldwide latched on and started accusing their governments of hosing them down with any number of harmful chemicals for any number of devious purposes. Belief was spurred on by talk radio and late night programming, with the chemtrail conspiracy theory possessing the unique trait of appealing to the paranoid from every part of the political spectrum. Those on the far right are more than willing to believe that the government is up to nefarious acts, and those on the far left relish the notion that the military is working against those they are meant to protect.

Multiple government agencies in multiple countries including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, have issued numerous press releases and studies proving the nonexistence of chemtrails, but the response from the conspiracy community has been a familiar one. As so often happens when unprovable conspiracy theories are debunked, the most ardent believers move the goalposts and decry the debunkers for being in on the fix, either willing co-conspirators or brainless patsies.



A lot of chemtrail debunking is somewhat technical, so we’ll put that aside for now. Instead, let’s look at some evidence against chemtrails that should be pretty indisputable. Despite the fact that most chemtrail conspiracy theorists maintain that the government started using planes to spray people with chemicals as recently as the 90s, if you look at old photographs, you’ll find something interesting: Frequent contrails. And these weren’t contrails caught in the moment of their occurrence, they were contrails that had been hanging out for a minute, as evidenced by the fact that they overlap with one another. Who exactly was making these chemtrails back during World War II?

As for the chemtrails’ purported purpose, we could do an entire, separate article on all the crazy theories swirling around. They include everything from military weapons tests, to outright poison to one of the most deliciously ridiculous bugaboos of conspiracy theorists worldwide: Mind control agents. Of course, outside of bizarre between-the-lines readings of official statements and gut feelings, there is absolutely no evidence of any of these things actually being sprayed into the sky by jets and planes flying overhead.

As for what tangible evidence conspiracy theorists do point to…there’s not a lot of it, and it’s all extremely easily debunked. For instance, the big, nefarious barrels seen in pictures like the one below. Conspiracy theorists would have us believe that they are filled with their noxious chemical of choice, but the real explanation is much simpler and makes a lot more sense: They are used as ballast on airplane test flights, so that weight can be shifted and redistributed midflight, as it would be in an actual commercial trip.

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