Clouds of Conspiracy

Published: Nov 6, 2013

Kurt Melville

Look, in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s an absolutely ridicu­lous con­spir­acy theory!

I’m talk­ing about con­trails of course — those thin, long clouds that some­times appear as air­craft travel across the sky.

According to a sur­vey on con­spir­acy the­o­ries done by Public Policy Polling, nearly 15 mil­lion Americans believe these con­trails are a con­spir­acy to spread chem­i­cals over the unknow­ing pub­lic by var­i­ous world governments.

If you’ve ever viewed com­ments on any news-related web­site you would prob­a­bly think 15 mil­lion might be an under­state­ment, while another 24 mil­lion Americans are unsure.

The term “chem­trails” has been coined to describe this alleged secret pro­gram. The rea­sons for the exis­tence of the pro­gram vary hilar­i­ously. Many con­spir­acy por­tals point toward an attempt to con­trol global warm­ing, dis­perse mind con­trol mech­a­nisms or to weaponize our upper atmos­phere using nanopar­ti­cles of metal and elec­tric cur­rents. My favorite idea is how we are pur­pose­fully caus­ing global warm­ing to capit­u­late to our rep­til­ian overlords.

Not only are most of the ideas funny, they tend to over­lap with each other. They also tend to be eas­ily dis­proved by sim­ple science.

A chem­trail is formed when the hot gases pro­duced by jet engines mix with the cold air of the upper atmos­phere. The mois­ture in the gas quickly freezes in a process that resem­bles cloud for­ma­tion and a long, thin cloud forms. If the humid­ity, pres­sure and wind speed are ideal, the con­trail can remain for extended peri­ods of time.

No evi­dence has been put for­ward that has proven chem­trails in a sci­en­tific man­ner and nearly all of the evi­dence that sup­ports the the­ory is anec­do­tal. I know more than a hand­ful of peo­ple who believe in this par­tic­u­lar con­spir­acy the­ory and their evi­dence usu­ally con­sists of sto­ries of cloud for­ma­tion after chem­trails streaked through the sky, or strange pat­terns of inter­sec­tion as a result of com­mer­cial air lanes.

Many would say this is just a silly idea that peo­ple are hav­ing fun with, but I am often faced with fierce resis­tance and the insis­tence I am a sheep, a term for peo­ple who have been brain­washed into believ­ing a false reality.

The sur­vey also included other con­spir­acy the­o­ries with large num­bers of Americans believ­ing in many equally ridicu­lous tales. Twelve mil­lion Americans believe lizard-like humanoids have taken con­trol of the world’s polit­i­cal sys­tem and a jaw-dropping 40 mil­lion believe President Obama is lit­er­ally the Anti-Christ.

According to CNN reporter Barbara Starr, police reports from the shoot­ing at Los Angeles International Airport claim the shooter had among his pos­ses­sions a rant that included spe­cific ref­er­ences to the “New World Order,” which is another major con­spir­acy the­ory in the United States, as well as mate­r­ial dis­parag­ing to the Transportation Safety Administration. The shooter allegedly walked around ask­ing peo­ple if they were with the TSA, indi­cat­ing he was specif­i­cally tar­get­ing them.

Conspiracy the­o­ries aren’t harm­ful by them­selves, but some peo­ple end up becom­ing fix­ated on them and lose sight of the big­ger pic­ture, some­times with tragic results. There are only 24 hours in a day, so please spend your pre­cious time wor­ry­ing about rel­e­vant issues.