When you see a plane in the sky, you probably notice the whitetails trailing behind it. Usually, the tails quickly dissipate, but some people think they stick around longer than is natural. Are these tails simply harmless contrails (the condensation created in the air from jet exhaust), or are they the more sinister “Chemtrails”?
Many believers in the chemtrails conspiracy theory think the trails are loaded with unknown chemicals supplied by the government to brainwash the minds of civilians. Other “Chemmies” believe the chemicals poison people to “weed out” the ill and elderly. Another idea is that chemtrails are used to worsen global warming. Scientists reject these theories, maintaining that the scientific evidence behind contrails leaves little room for mystery.
History of Chemtrails
Chemtrail conspiracy theories began to circulate after the United States Air Force (USAF) published a 1996 report about weather modification. Following the report, in the late 1990s, the USAF was accused of “spraying the U.S. population with mysterious substances” from aircraft “generating unusual contrail patterns.” The theories were posted on Internet forums by people, including Richard Finke and William Thomas. They were among many conspiracy theories popularized by late-night radio host Art Bell, starting in 1999. As the chemtrail conspiracy theory spread, federal officials were flooded with angry calls and letters.
The chemtrail conspiracy theory posits the erroneous belief that long-lasting condensation trails are “chemtrails” consisting of chemical or biological agents left in the sky by high-flying aircraft, sprayed for nefarious purposes undisclosed to the general public. Believers in this conspiracy theory say that while normal contrails dissipate relatively quickly, contrails that linger must contain additional substances. Those who subscribe to the theory speculate that the purpose of the chemical release may be solar radiation management, weather modification, psychological manipulation, human population control, biological or chemical warfare, or testing of biological or chemical agents on a population and that the trails are causing respiratory illnesses and other health problems.
The scientific community has dismissed the claim. There is no evidence that purported chemtrails differ from normal water-based contrails routinely left by high-flying aircraft under certain atmospheric conditions. Although proponents have tried to prove that chemical spraying occurs, their analyses have been flawed or based on misconceptions. Because of the persistence of the conspiracy theory and questions about government involvement, scientists and government agencies around the world have repeatedly explained that the supposed chemtrails are in fact normal contrails.
This topic has become wildly famous and reached to the BBC. In 2008, Chris Bell (BBC) published a detailed article on ‘Chemitrail’.
The term chemtrail is a portmanteau of the words chemical and trail, just as contrail is a portmanteau of condensation and trail.