Are you feeling a little under the weather? Does your mind feel like someone else is in control? Do white lines in the sky make you nervous? If so—boy, have I got a theory for you. You’re slowly being poisoned…by clouds!
Yes: Chemtrails. Science claims that the white trails left in the sky by airplanes are really condensed water, but what if they’re really toxic chemicals? The chemtrail theory, which revolves around the long, white trails of vapor that are left behind by high-flying aircraft, is slowly metastasizing among hip, middle-aged internet users who want to appear smart but also failed third grade science.
How “Chemtrails” (Contrails) Actually Work
In reality, these white trails in the sky are called condensation trails, or contrails, and they form when the hot, moist exhaust from airplane engines condenses when it comes in contact with the extremely cold, moist air in the upper atmosphere. The trails consist of water vapor and pollutants from the burning of jet fuel. They’re man-made cirrus clouds, and aside from that whole ” pollution” thing, they’re harmless.
Contrails only form when temperatures and humidity levels in the upper atmosphere are just right—if the atmosphere is too dry, contrails won’t form at all; if the humidity is near 100%, the contrails can last for many hours and spread out into a thin veil of cirrus clouds. These trails can start and stop abruptly as the aircraft passes through regions of differing moisture and winds. Contrails can even form at ground level in the Arctic and Antarctic, where surface temperatures are cold enough to support their formation.
How Conspiracy Theorists Think They Work
In imagination land, conspiracy theorists assert that these trails are really tons and tons of chemicals being sprayed into the atmosphere by government (or government-contracted) aircraft that are packed from floor to ceiling with tanks that hold these toxic compounds. The self-described activists call these theoretical chemical trails “chemtrails,” and the purpose of these purported spraying campaigns is to control the weather, make us sick, or control our minds. Sometimes it’s all three.
Where the Chemtrail Theory Comes From
It’s hard to pinpoint who was mental patient zero with most of these tin foil hat theories—sometimes conspiracies originate from the mind of one person, but even then they only really gain life as a collaborative work.
But it’s pretty easy to trace the origin of the chemtrail theory.
It began in the 1990s and came to nationwide attention when it gained traction on radio talk shows and budding internet forums. The theory is based on an Air University research paper written in August 1996 that details the ways in which the United States military would need to control the weather in order to maintain militaristic dominance over the world in the year 2025—at that point, 30 years in the future.
The paper is titled Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025, and it opens with a bold declaration . . .