Even celebrities find time to get sucked into horrible Internet wormholes.
At least that's what seems to have happened to Kylie Jenner, who tweeted an image last night that parrots the worst of the worst of the most outlandish and unscientific of all conspiracy theories: the theory of the "chemtrails."
The theory basically boils down to people claiming that the typical condensation trails left behind by an airplane dissipate very quickly, so when there are trails that do not dissipate quickly—leaving a "chemtrail" in the otherwise blue sky—there must be some sort of sinister, hidden agenda at play. Namely, a plan to control the weather and our minds.
"For more than a decade, first the United States and then Canada’s citizens have been subjected to a 24/7/365 day aerosol assault over our heads made of a toxic brew of poisonous heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous ingredients," wrote popular conspiracy theorist author Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri in 2010. She goes on to claim that all types of chemicals, ranging from "radioactive thorium" and barium to "desiccated blood, mold spores," and other scary sounding stuff is being sprayed over our heads daily.
"Independent researchers and labs continue to show off-the-scale levels of these poisons," she wrote, claiming that anonymous government officials had acknowledged the ongoing testing.
The result, she claims, is a societal "brain injury" caused by these chemicals. As evidence of the government plan to affect our thoughts, she cites a growing number of Americans with dementia and Alzheimer's (which she calls "Alzheimer's") and that "many people are behaving oddly" out in the world.
"There are more unexplained auto accidents that never should have happened. In just one day a few weeks ago, I witnessed three traffic accidents that need not have happened. The news is full of these stories," she said.
Perlingieri is, of course, just one conspiracy theorist. But she is not alone. There are tons of websites dedicated to blowing this thing out of the water, and exposing the government for using its citizens as part of a mass-mind-control, slash weather-control experiment.
Air traffic maps are pretty crazy, after all. And just think about it — people live under all those planes!!
Surprisingly, the federal government has actually responded to these concerns over the years, despite there being no scientific basis for… pretty much any of these claims.
"There is no such thing as a 'Chemtrail,'" reads an archived Air Force document describing the facts about condensation trails. "Contrails are safe and are a natural phenomenon. They pose no health hazard of any kind. If there are massive outbreaks of illnesses, your local health department should be able to tell you if it is an abnormal event."
Contrails appear or disappear depending on the humidity and the temperature of the air outside the plane, the Air Force explains. They appear when the warm exhaust meets the cold air outside the plane, kind of like how you can see your breath when it's cold outside. The more humid it is outside the plane, the longer the contrail stays visible. Sometimes, they last for hours, and can spread "several kilometers in width and 200 to 400 meters in height," reads the report.
"Persistent contrails are of interest to scientists because they affect the cloudiness of the atmosphere," it continues, in a passing acknowledgement that maybe, somehow, the contrails might have an effect on the weather.
The government maintains that it does not have a "cloud seeding" program aimed at changing the weather. Basically the only time it admits to having sprayed chemicals from the air is when it (rarely) fights wildfires, and when it sprays for insects, as it has often had to do in Puerto Rico, Guam, Florida, and Panama.
In 2013, a chemtrail conspiracy theorist was accused of sending President Obama a letter that contained traces of ricin, the poisonous chemical found in castor beans. Several sites claim that chemtrails contain traces of ricin, suggesting that it might have been motivation for the assassination attempt.
Ultimately, the man was released without charges, and another man was arrested and convicted for the plot.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.