It’s been seven years since my editorial on conspiracy theories was published in MT, and I thought it might be fun to revisit the subject.
    Contrails, as aircraft buffs know, are condensation clouds left behind high altitude aircraft, resulting from combustion products (mostly water vapor) hitting the frigid air at those elevations.
    Painted at those altitudes, the wispy white trails are real attention grabbers, especially if you're paranoid and think that our government is deliberatelyspraying its citizens with (take your pick):
    a. Mind altering drugs
    b. Slow-acting poisons
    c. Crop-killing herbicides
    d. Sterility agents
    e. Carcinogens
    f. Hazardous wastes
    g. Radioactive dust
    Please tell me, conspiracists, how would the government benefit by indiscriminately poisoning masses of our population? Why have there been no increases in hospital admissions following these “sprayings?” How is it possible for thousands of civilian pilots and crew members over several decades to participate in such an activity without one of them telling about it? Does it make sense that this would be done in broad daylight? Isn’t it obvious that these streams are coming from the jet engines’ rear nozzles?
    So why the popular hysteria over a common phenomenon? Is overexposure to violent video and computer games, movies, and TV taking its toll on the public's rationale? Is growing disgust at politics driving Americans to cynicism and suspicion? Or is it merely the indiscriminate fantasy of some fundamentalists who will cite nearly anything as evidence of "prophetic fulfillment?"
    During the late ‘90s, I was alerted to trainloads of Russian-marked armored vehicles being conveyed to mysterious destinations to stage a takeover of America. Think about it: If you wanted to take over America, would you send your exposed equipment, marked clearly with your foreign country of origin, during daylight hours, through heartland America? I don't think so. Photos, please?
    Then I was informed that black-suited paratroopers were dropped into a Texas town (had those informants been imprinted by watching a rerun of “Red Dawn”?), and that barbed-wire internment camps were being set up in remote locations to impound U.S. citizens.
    Oddly enough, when availability of real news has never been more pervasive, many Americans would rather believe the much-altered predictions of Nostradamus as concocted by historical revisionists, or the seriously-flawed prognostications of the late Jeanne Dixon who couldn't even foretell her own death.
   During May, 1999 a story was widely circulated that the citizens of Reston, Virginia, were sprayed with a brown, hepatitis-inducing agent by Soviet helicopters, and that thousands of residents would be expected to contract the disease.
    There were no police reports of such an event, no intercepts of related communications, no FAA radar sightings of those aircraft, and no media mention of such an extraordinary invasion. I subsequently drove through Reston, and it looked pretty normal.
    We’ve seen many others examples of conspiracy theories as well:

  • The U.S. moon landing was faked
  • Kennedy was killed by two assassins’ bullets
  • The American Medical Association is suppressing a cancer cure
  • Cold fusion truth is dismissed by scientists
  • A Vatican observatory in New Mexico is guarded by U.S. troops
  • Crop circles are made by UFOs
  • Roosevelt knew of the impending Pearl Harbor invasion
  • UFOs and their alien occupants are hidden in Nevada’s secret Area 51
  • 19 leading microbiologists were assassinated within 4 months by the CIA
  • Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance was a government cover-up
  • A New World Order will follow the global takeover by the Trilateral Commission

    Conspiracy theories are as abundant as cow flops in the pasture, and just as fragrant. With modern, instant communications at our fingertips, secrets shared are secrets revealed. But the terminally twitchy will believe most anything that reinforces their immunity to critical thinking.