The Conspiracy of Chemtrails


Trails of clouds following aircrafts used to disappear-  now they linger. What could explain this seeming defiance of nature? Investigative journalist William Thomas sought to explain those suspicious lines in the sky in the 1990s, emerging with the theory of chemtrails. His findings and eventual publication of Chemtrails Confirmed catapulted a belief that these “trails” are not harmless,  rather they are a coordinated government project seeking to control our minds, the weather, viruses, and life expectancy. Proof of this theory would defy all government structure and known processes, overhauling the trust we have built in institutions-thus making it extraordinary. That being said, the evidence is difficult to come across for any top secret government project.

In 1996 the United States Air force published a report about the possibility of weather modification for warfare, referring mostly to space weaponry. Theories of deviant alternative motives began to circulate internet forums soon after, accusing the government of “spraying the U.S population with mysterious substances.” These mysterious substances were described as straight, smooth, clouds that seem to randomly zig-zag across the sky. Their long duration and hints of color are used as justification of a different chemical combination than typical aircraft exhaust, yet there is no scientific proof for this distinction. Additionally, physical evidence for the belief is slim, the most common claim being that the trails “look strange.”  Yet, countless photos and videos are proponents of this theory. Many YouTubers and bloggers have claimed thousands of views by exhausting the reasons why we should all be suspicious. Some of the most “convincing” photos come from the inside of aircraft while being tested as prototypes, the pictures show barrels of substances lined against the inside of an otherwise empty aircraft, cited as hard proof of foul play. The explanation, however, is that the barrels represent bodies on a flight and tested for changes in center of gravity. The government’s response to the idea of “chemtrails” is another indicator of the truth according to proponents of this theory. In 1999 the conspiracy was discussed on the late night radio show, Art Bell. Soon after, angry accusatory letters began flooding government agencies. An immediate and immense response was coordinated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to attempt to dismiss the conspiracy. In 2001, US Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced the famous Space Preservation Act of 2001 with the idea of banning any weapons in space, including “contrails” of aircraft, the non-conspirators term for the trails. However, believers interpreted this as not only an acknowledgment of their existence, but also proof of their danger and capabilities. In both instances, the government’s direct involvement only reiterated for believers that there was something to hide.

Support of this belief spiked exponentially in the 1990s- early 2000s and has since plateaued. Blogs and internet forums are still accessible, but the content appears to remain constant with lack of new, groundbreaking information, and scientists have virtually dismissed the idea. Believers then and now are not limited by race, gender, age, class, or location. Rather, anyone with a sense of suspicion felt that the government was not above such a plot. Even celebrities have questions on the matter, in 2015 Kylie Jenner posted a photo on Twitter that had written; “Why did I see 75 planes on my 15-minute drive to work? Why is this happening and who is paying for it?” After getting its own countless interactions from her followers, Kim Kardashian retweeted it! Essentially, the exposure from prominent figures alone demonstrates how far the conspiracies’ audience has reached. That being said, those who continue to support the conspiracy most passionately are far-right, anti-government / doomsday conspiracists.

There are psychological explanations for the longevity of this belief despite the absence of physical evidence. A prominent cognitive contribution is increased conviction after unequivocal real-world events have refuted the belief. Returning to the EPA response, despite providing a scientific explanation for the trails, believers interpreted this as being greater confirmation that the government is hiding something. This idea fits into the phrase “absence of evidence is not evidence,” since it is deemed a top-secret project, conspiracists stress that a lack of evidence is exactly what you’d expect, thus making it unfalsifiable. Confirmation bias furthers this idea, believers will run with a few photos or videos for years but ignore the lengthy scientific reports that provide an explanation. Along with this, the belief violates the concept of conservatism. If the government truly is modifying our weather, minds, and diseases, it would contradict countless established explanations of what we know to be true.

Government conspiracies are difficult to extinguish, nearly every citizen sits on a spectrum of distrust. There will always be a “what if” factor in any conspiracy considered top secret, it is a large component of how the belief persists. It is not abnormal to be skeptical, the government is a massive institution where deviant behavior has crept through in many forms. That being said, the conspiracy of chemtrails distinguishes itself as extraordinary given its scale. A plot of this size would override countless established processes proven to be true. Even for a top-secret operation, there must be a place for operating, building, delivering, and those willing to maintain such secrecy. Nonetheless, no single person knows all that the government is up to, thus perhaps the operation of chemtrails will never fully be known.


37 thoughts on “The Conspiracy of Chemtrails

  1. If the government were truly dumping vast amounts of chemicals via aircrafts across the United States, one must wonder how those in government who are carrying out this plan remain unaffected/ protected when we all live under the same sky. Essentially those in government should be exposed to just as many chemicals, and they too would have altered “life expectanc[ies]” and be under “mind control.” I could not imagine anyone willingly doing this when he or she would be just as much affected as the ones he or she was harming.

    • That is a great point! Nothing that I stumbled across suggested that angel, which I think furthers the point that is it quite extraordinary to believe this big of a plot would be able to persist.

      • Yes it’s that extraordinary that most don’t believe it even though they can see it. This belief in it being extraordinary is how it occurs in the first place. Our inability to believe that the powers that be would do this is what allows them to actually do this. All that is required for corruption to exist is you and I not thinking it’s possible and via our lack of scrutiny and blind trust we actually create it. The internet in bombarded with anti chemtrail info and debunking and you can’t actually find anything on chemtrails anymore via google which is highly suspect.

    • The pilots that deliver these substances through the air probably have no idea what these chemicals are since everything in the government/military is on a need to know basis. This is how the government rolls!

      • I seen a piece earlier this year about two pilots that were flying these planes, both died of the same cancer extremely quick.

  2. I had never heard of chem trails until Psych 2301. First of all, if these chem trails were the governments attempts to control our minds, the weather viruses, etc., I feel like we would have good people who never get sick and live in a world with no global warming. Second of all, it would be pretty impressive if a small trail of “stuff” coming out of plane could actually control all of that.

  3. I have also read that there was a patent filed in 1991 that would put particles in the atmosphere that would reflect sunlight and so slow global warming. I found a fandom blog from individuals who believe in the chemtrail and who think this was the start. This technique produced the wrong effect and associations started to be created with dying plant life and people getting sick. People who believe chemtrails focus heavily on the effect the “chemicals” have on humans but have you seen any reading on effects animals?

    • Your comment on animals is another great loophole that was not mentioned. Surely something that was affecting humans so drastically would have to have an effect on other living creatures as well!

    • I don’t believe the government is doing this for mind control. I believe they have their hidden agenda though.
      There have been several species of insects go extinct. Our bee population has been drastically reduced.
      What is our government really up to?

  4. I find this topic very interesting. I do agree that government conspiracies are hard to prove since there are so many and the government has such access only available to certain people. However, I find the idea of chemtrails not making sense because people claim it controls minds as well. Would the government not just make it so this thought would never occur and then they would not be exposed? Also, why have they not use this in war or on other countries? I also saw that someone else mentioned how the government officials seem to keep themselves safe from these issues. It feels like there are big holes in the theory but people have not dropped it because the government passed the Space Preservation Act of 2001. I believe the government did this to ease people’s minds but it just led them to believe that they were right.

    • Exactly, all great points, I believe theorists are stuck on the secrecy aspect. Any evidence that the government provides to dismiss the theory is deemed as further shielding of such secret. But I agree with your comment, it really does not make sense.

  5. Hello!
    I enjoyed reading your blog post! I find this theory interesting because it sort of connects to my first blog post topic. I wrote about how people believe the government is hiding cures to disease and has strategic ways of controlling population and such. I think the idea that their are chemicals being sprayed into the air connects. I learned that it is almost impossible for people to collectively be in on some sort of scheme such as this without news coming out. I found it funny that Kylie Jenner has any influence on conspiracy theories as well! People will believe whatever they are told sometimes. But I think when you legalistically think about it, the people spraying would also be affected so why would they want to harm themselves??

  6. Is it weird that I haven’t heard about this conspiracy theory anymore. The first time I heard about it was in my geography 1900 lecture. The day he started talking about contrails, he kind of got a bit sidetracked and started making fun of this conspiracy theory.

  7. Hello! I wanted to comment on this post because I actually JUST learned about this belief in chemtrails this past Monday in Psych 2301! For some reason my thought automatically goes to the example of agricultural aircrafts that are manipulated for the specific use of dusting crops with pesticides or fertilizers in order to stimulate a healthier/protected growth. Do we have the technology to manipulate jumbo jets, commercial aircraft etc. to dispense chemicals into the atmosphere? Yes. But the idea that the government is purposely administering these chemicals into planes and dispersing it through flight in hopes of taking hold of the human mind is just so bogus. If that were the case, what would be the end goal for the government? What would be their motive for doing this? This post was very fascinating! Thank you.

    • I think your comment on having a motive is another great point, what would be the end goal for the government? Who is it helping? Why wouldn’t they just control our minds to not suspect anything at all? Who knows!

  8. This was fun! It’s both a testament to the rigidity of belief and the incompetence of government that their involvement and rebuking of the “science” behind chem trails just made people more inclined to believe in them. That’s a truly American move. These kinds of mass, institutionalized conspiracies are always fascinating because they assume so much intelligence, coordination, and cooperation between literally millions of people. The idea that everyone involved in flight, chemists, government agents, contractors, and public officials would all be this tight-lipped for decades on this issue is hard to accept – politicians’ staffs leak things all the time, surely this would have been leaked too.

    • Thank you! And right, it would take countless people to sustain such a plot, it would be extraordinary for it to remain secret in this day and age with technology.

      • You’re saying they couldn’t hide such a large-scale operation. That’s ridiculous. The Manhattan Project employed 130,000 people. No leaks. No whistle blowers. Most didn’t even know what they were working on.

  9. I really enjoyed this post, and I like that the comments are pointing out some loopholes in the theory. I think they do a really good job of addressing the flaws in the theory. Like if the government was spraying stuff to harm humans, well then how are they remaining unaffected. I think the animals was a great point too. I think if this was really happening we would see a lot more animals deaths, especially amongst plant eating ones.

  10. I actually really like the chemtrail conspiracy because – at least compared to some of the things that are being discussed on this blog – it’s mildly feasible (albeit still ridiculous). However, I think the biggest logical hole that I find in the theory is that – if we had these kinds of mind control chemicals – wouldn’t we have used them as a weapon of war by now? Wouldn’t we have used them on the Russians? I don’t think America would have something that powerful and only use it on its own citizens haha!

    • Haha that is very true! I didn’t stumble upon anything that had an explanation for international flights, would they just stop spraying after they left the US? Or is this a worldwide plot? And if not, why wouldn’t it be!

    • I really really like this point, because it brings forth the idea of other areas outside of the United States–wouldn’t other countries and their people become effected as well? The atmosphere channels oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases throughout its various levels, including the ocean–so wouldn’t other people be citing some kind of health hazard or interference because of this? Wouldn’t we see effects on our ocean and water systems?

      • Maybe you are seeing effects. Alzheimer’s has gone up 145% since 2001. What’s a contributing factor? Aluminum exposure. What’s being allegedly sprayed by these planes? Aluminum nano-particles.

  11. Reading your blog post made me really think about the media that is out there helping to propagate these theories. Youtube makes it so easy to search something up and watch a video someone put together with “evidence” that there are chemtrails that exist. Do you think that this conspiracy would be as popular without the strong influence that youtube and major news outlets have?

    • I think that without platforms such as youtube it would certainly spread less quickly, however, government conspiracies have always existed and there would likely be people who were just as convinced with or without medias help.

    • Yes. Because anyone who watches the sky long enough will see evidence of weather manipulation. They’ll then wonder what the hell is going on. It takes minimal observational/investigative skills. No need for YouTube.

      • Every single sunny day in St. Clair Shores, Michigan , starts early in the morning. Facing east to Canada where I live, it looks like a small bee hive with all the jets. In about 30 to 40 minutes, the sun is behind a haze covered sky. Then around 10 am look south, and their at it again. Repeated actions around 6pm facing west. The days of a sunny blue sky with puffy (normal) clouds are over. I believe this process of dispersing these trails is solely to block out the full effects of sun. But I also believe that what ever goes up, will most certainly come back down some where.

  12. Reading the chemtrail conspiracy really reminds me of the flat earth theory and all the other conspiracy of how governments hide the truth from their citizens. Although those theories all discuss in different aspects and events, one thing they have in common is the distrust of governments. This suspect is rooted deep in people’s believes. It may generate some misconceptions like this, but it’s not hard to understand.

  13. If chemtrails were to exist, then the intense and secretive branches of the government are doing a terrible job at keeping their plans classified. If this were their plan, why would they use a method that is visible to the human eye in the sky? I like that celebrities are being used as credible sources for the existence of the chemtrails as well. In addition, if this were the case, wouldn’t we notice people under mind control already? Or maybe we are already being mind controlled and just do not know it!

    • Another great point, everyone’s responses seem to pertain to the concept we learned in class, “the fallacy of the hyper-competent government”. I thought this was incredibly interesting to learn, it provides a sound explanation of just how far stretched some of these theories can be.

  14. I wonder what is the reason that makes these people believe the government wants to spray chemical substance. Nobody can get benefits from it. It will disrupt the environment and how can the government people can themselves safe from this? Wearing respirator every day? Overall, I think this conspiracy is spread by the people who want to cause social panic.

  15. This technique would be used on war if it is true. When it comes to government, the public would always tend to believe such conspiracy theories which now kinda confuse me since so many extraordinary beliefs about the government.

    • Right, I feel that if it were true in any form it would be in war. That being said, if it was spraying us all the time, are the effects just slow spreading? Take 70-80 years to kick in?

  16. I think the belief in chem trails are so fascinating. That people really can believe the government and thousands of other people who are needed to put ‘chemicals in jets to try to control humans’ could keep such a big conspiracy a secret. I think people need someone to blame for the random bad things, like sicknesses, so they point their fingers at the government.

  17. June 18, 2019 I live in Michigan and it’s very rare to see normal fluffy clouds of the past. I’ve been around almost 70 yrs. Four years ago I began to notice strange looking skies. I can’t really refer to them as clouds, as they were more like a spreading out overcast. The next day it rained hard, which was the forecast, the following morning before sunrise I looked east and their they were, jets leaving the trails that did not evaporate, they just kept spreading out and out, by the time the sun came up it was blocked by the haze. Every single day there are blue skies, they don’t last long because these jets are up there spraying something that creates the overcast. I have watched a jetliner many times (passenger) they leave a trail that evaporates. I can’t guess to what exactly their spraying, but I do know this, whatever go up comes down. I would have to say that whatever is coming down and being sprayed can’t be good for our health.

  18. I fear they are making fake clouds to reflect some of the sun’s heat. It’s all talked about in global dimming docs. They don’t want us to know the shit has already hit the fan and we are dead men walking.

Comments are closed.