Without a doubt you have witnessed discussion of conspiracy theories at some point in your life. Whether it be a rant played for comedic effect on television, a white-knuckle argument between keyboard warriors in the YouTube comments section, or just Uncle Larry getting a bit too sloshed at New Year’s and explaining the NWO to anything with ears and a double-digit IQ, you’ve probably heard, and silently dismissed, conspiracy theorists countless times. Occasionally, you may happen upon a group so dedicated, so vitriolic, and so insane that you can’t hold back your frustration. Enter the chemtrail community.
The chemtrail theory is interesting. Proponents say airplanes spray a varied mix of chemicals into the air—and they aren’t referring to the exhaust. They claim these planes carry tanks filled with mixtures of boron, aluminum flakes, diseases, and other things that you wouldn’t want to inhale. Government agencies spray these solutions in our atmosphere, then large microwave arrays, namely HAARP in Alaska, use the aluminum flakes as a conductor, directing ELF at designated locations. These waves supposedly allow for government mind control. The purpose of the diseases is said to be anything from stifling rebellion to just good old fashioned non-consenting experiments. Another common theory is that arrays like HAARP are used to control the weather and geo-engineer earthquakes and other natural disasters. The purpose of creating natural disasters is to “persuade” countries or to create wartime advantages for our military.
Why would our government poison our air, you may ask, the same air that they too, breathe? That’s a clever question. The chemtrail community doesn’t have a concrete answer, other than, “Maybe they use respirators?” Interact with these people long enough, and you notice a pattern of non-answers emerging. Most questions you pose to chemtrail believers are answered in cryptic rhetorical questions. When presented with criticisms they can’t overcome, they will almost always fall back on calling you a “government plant,” or a “mindless sheep,” or a “spreader of misinformation.”
The interesting thing is that much of the name calling can be turned right back at them. The amount of misinformation they spread is shocking. Go ahead, Google “chemtrail tanks.” You’ll see numerous pictures of large tanks in empty airplane fuselages or just mysterious, unmarked canisters sitting on pallets. Most of what you’re seeing, however, are water filled ballast tanks used to simulate the weight of passengers on airliners. Pictures of these tanks are the most common source of “proof” of chemtrails, though the only thing they prove is how hard these people want to believe the things they’re saying.
The ominous trails people are so worked up about are little more than condensation trails. They’ll tell you that “contrails disperse quickly, while chemtrails linger for minutes or hours,” but actually, it all depends on atmospheric conditions. Persistent contrails can remain present for hours, sometimes being spread into stratus-like sheets by high winds. Due to the erratic nature of high altitude weather, contrails can appear to start and stop as planes pass through zones of differing pressure and temperature.
To a chemtrail theorist, this is “chemtrails being turned on and off.” They’ll also try to explain that this is a recent phenomenon, but going back to early picture of jets contrails are present. The higher amount of contrails today is due to increased air travel. The very regular crisscrossing patterns of the trails? This, too, can be easily explained. Air traffic is heavily regulated and the flight patterns of commercial planes are geometric as a result. So even if there is a grain of fact in these arguments, it’s still only a needle of truth in a haystack of faulty propositions. Unfortunately, knowing how to refute their claims may do little good.
People hate to admit that they’re wrong. Conspiracy theorists, rather than accepting the simple, verified solution, like to find a much more grandiose explanation. They say that “their eyes have been opened” and they “can never look at the world the same way again,” and that’s absolutely true. As soon as you become aware of something you’ll find yourself noticing it more often. This is known as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. It’s like when you learn the meaning of a word and hear it in conversation later, or when you hear about chemtrails and start paying much more attention to those benign trails you never noticed before.
The chemtrail theory is simply a virus-like meme. It’s transmitted through contact with those susceptible to its flawed take on the world. The only cure is time, for in time, everyone will forget the willful ignorance that is the chemtrail theories. Thank God.
Sam McCafferty is studying Fine Arts at Edison State Community College.