Conspiracy Theories About Chemtrails, Explained

By: Carissa | Last updated: Nov 17, 2023

You may not have heard of “chemtrails” by name, but chances are high that you’ve looked up in the sky to see straight white lines of smoke emitting from the back of an airplane.

Many think nothing of these unique white trails left in the air as a plane breezes by, but there are some people who consider them to be suspicious. In fact, there is an entire conspiracy theory centered around chemtrails because people believe that they are the sign of something sinister.

What Exactly Are Contrails?

According to conspiracy theorists, there is a significant difference between contrails and chemtrails. While both can be seen coming from behind an airborne aircraft, contrails are “formed when water vapor and fine soot particulates from burning jet fuel freeze into ice crystals.” When there’s low air humidity, the crystals simply disappear.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

In high air humidity, the trails create a visible white vapor that remains in the sky for a period of time. The difference in humidity is why some airplanes produce contrails while others don’t, but conspiracy theorists have other ideas. They believe that chemtrails are the white vapors that linger in the sky because they contain harmful chemicals forcibly sent out by the government.

Some Believe That Trails From Airplanes Are Intentional

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. The simple lines in the sky appear to be harmless, but they offer a more nefarious tale according to conspiracy theorists.

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Source: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Some people are under the impression that the government is spraying the population with hazardous chemicals. While the purpose behind the alleged dangerous toxins remains unclear, some people are convinced that chemtrails exist only to cause harm.

Conspiracy Theorists Insist That Chemtrails Contain Deadly Chemicals

The chemtrail conspiracy theory started out on a small scale until the global pandemic hit. COVID-19 brought on an array of new conspiracy theorists who insist that the government is up to no good, and now chemtrails have become their latest target.

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Source: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Chemtrail conspiracies have even been promoted by select online influencers who boast millions of followers. Chemtrail conspiracy theorists believe that government officials are “dumping poison” from airplanes in a possible attempt to control the population. Believers of this notion say that while contrails quickly dissipate, chemically-induced chemtrails that remain visible must contain other foul substances.

They Also Believe That Airplanes Are Causing Droughts Around the World

As climate change and lack of precipitation persist in many places in the world, chemtrail conspiracy theorists have proposed a new theory.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some say it doesn’t rain because airplanes prevent rainfall and cause drought. And what proof do they base this theory on? According to conspiracy theorists, a sky full of chemtrails is clear evidence that something is amiss. They refuse to back down from promoting this theory, despite having little to no confirmation that their claims are valid.

When Did Chemtrail Conspiracy Theories Originate?

The concept of governments regularly spraying the Earth with toxic chemicals from average passenger flights first came to light in the 1990s.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

At first, conspiracy theorists suggested that airplanes were emitting a toxic metal such as barium to reduce the population. As time went on, the ideas behind chemtrails shifted and now there are multiple theories about the real purpose of the white vapor trails that come out of airplanes.

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Chemtrail Theories Have Evolved Over the Years

Believe it or not, there are varying degrees of conspiracy theories pertaining to chemtrails.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In recent times, some conspiracy theorists have claimed that the white puffs of vapor are actually airborne vaccines sent out by the government, while others have thought that the contrails are even being used to spread a highly contagious strand of COVID-19. Some have fallen even deeper down the rabbit hole of assumption by believing that the contrails can “initiate mind control.”

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Are Chemtrails Controlling the Weather?

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, the interesting assumptions about chemtrails only get wilder.

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There are people who are convinced that everything we see and do is being controlled. According to some conspiracy theorists, chemtrails indicate that someone is manipulating the weather from above. They believe that a government agency or some other powerful human force can decide what the weather will do, and they insist that chemtrails are a distinct clue.

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Could There Actually Be Cause for Concern?

The chemtrail conspiracy theories may seem a bit crazy at first, but there have been instances in the past where similar things have occurred.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Experiments conducted in the 20th century sprayed unsuspecting people with potentially hazardous elements from above. The fact that this really transpired lends credence to the notion that chemtrails could actually be the cause of something more scandalous than just vapors.

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Various Experiments From the Past Offer Insight Into the Minds of Conspiracy Theorists

A government report from Great Britain allegedly revealed that army tests were conducted between 1955 and 1963 that dropped various chemicals on people without their knowledge. Zinc cadmium sulfide was released onto Great Britain’s south and west coast.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Another experiment from 1950 in San Francisco is also commonly brought into question when dealing with the origin of chemtrail conspiracy theories. Smithsonian Magazine reported that a Navy ship “airsprayed (the bacterium) ‘Serratia marcescens’ for six days about two miles off the northern California coast.” With this knowledge, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that a powerful organization would airdrop other materials onto the population.

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Chemtrail Conspiracy Theories Span the Globe

The phenomenon of chemtrail conspiracy theorists has taken hold over many parts of the world.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

From the UK, Australia, the United States and beyond, there is international interest in the true meaning of contrails. There is special interest in any areas where commercial or military planes fly over. A handful of celebrities and influencers have globbed onto this train of thought, shining an even bigger spotlight on the issue at hand.

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A Deeper Look Inside Chemtrail Conspiracies

While conspiracy theorists have made a few good points, they tend to take their opinions to extremes. Instead of focusing their attention on one or two probable theories, they have instead sputtered out a wide range of outlandish reasons why chemtrails could exist.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This makes their claims look baseless and uneducated, even though history has proven that organizations have in fact dropped airborne materials onto the population in the past. The British Airline Pilots Association has said that the countless theories have “no evidential basis” while vowing to look into the effect contrails have on the environment.

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