Conspiracy theories have been around as long as recorded history. Whether steeped in truth, fabrications, or superstition, there are always “believers”. Psychologists suggest that belief in conspiracy theories stems from natural inclinations to control and understand our own destinies.
Conspiracy theories are often thought to be the realm of the ultra-paranoid, and people tend to automatically dismiss them. The problem with this closed-minded approach is that they sometimes turn out to be true. Here’s a list of some conspiracy theories that you may not know are actually true or at least rooted in some truth.
During prohibition, conspiracy theorists believed that the government was poisoning alcohol to stop people from consuming it. Many people thought this was ludicrous. Alcohol is naturally filled with many dangerous or toxic chemicals.
However, from the late 1920s to the early 1930s, the federal government did indeed pressurize manufacturers to use more potent poisons in alcohol to discourage bootlegging of moonshine. It was said that some 10000 people lost their lives to overly contaminated alcohol.
Conspiracy theorists suggested for years that the Dalai Lama was a CIA and earned a huge salary. This theory flourished in the 60s and was widely disregarded. No one could believe that the peace-loving, famously immaterial religious figure could be involved in such affairs.
Guess what? De-classified files subsequently proved that he did indeed earn up to $180,000.00. This exchange came from CIA funding of the famous Tibetan Resistance against China. The total amount the CIA spent was reportedly more than $1.5 million.
It is now a well-known fact that cigarette smoking causes cancer and other health problems. The fallout from these empirical truths caused governments to introduce stifling legislation that banned tobacco advertising. Early on, the biggest tobacco companies claimed to not know the health risks.
Theorists believed they were simply lying. However, by the 1950s, medical research had already conclusively proven the links between smoking and health risks. It wouldn’t be until the early 90s that big tobacco began finally admitting they knew the truth.
The theory went that after suffering a damaging stroke, President Woodrow Wilson was rendered incapacitated. During this period, his wife, Edith Wilson, secretly took over his Presidential duties.
The truth was that President Wilson did indeed have such a stroke. As it was late in his term, the government decided it would be in the nation’s best interests to keep it hushed. It was later confirmed that the first lady had been making executive decisions for up to a year.
When you’re as famous and beloved as the Beatles were, conspiracy theories are never far behind that level of stardom. It was, therefore, no surprise that there were widespread conspiracies about John Lennon being surveilled by the FBI.
It turns out that since the Beatles sang many peace songs and made other political utterances, they were once considered a “threat”. Under President Nixon, the FBI did indeed surveil Lennon and even attempted to deport him.
The American-Vietnam conflict was one of the most opposed in history. When support for it was very low, a story emerged that there was a North Vietnamese attack on a U.S naval ship. Details were sketchy, but it reignited support for America’s direct involvement.
People have claimed for years that the entire incident was fake and used as a tactic to drum up support for the war. It turns out they were right. While it wasn’t a fake story, the facts were distorted for just that reason.
The theory suggests that there exists a secret society that covertly rules the world. Some theorists suggest that the U.S government is in on it. So, obviously, this one isn’t true.
However, there does exist a not-so-secret link between the Illuminati and the NSA. For some unknown reason, if you type Illuminati backward as Itanimulli into a web browser, you will be redirected to the NSA website.
Theorists believed that the U.S government once used hallucinogenics to try and achieve mind control. Scoff if you must, but this one was completely true. The program was known as MK-ULTRA and consisted of the CIA performing behavior modification experiments.
The substance they used for this was mostly LSD, and it was initially used on volunteers but also later used on others without their consent. Think that’s disturbing? The following story is as morbid as they come.
This theory suggested that the U.S government was stealing deceased bodies, including those of fetuses, for experimentation. The truth was that the government was recruiting teams to steal parts of deceased bodies.
Since they also needed young tissue, the samples often included fetuses or deceased babies. The experiments were to ascertain the effects of radioactive material on human tissue.
The theory was that the Canadian government once tried to develop a scientific method of detecting homosexuality. Given what a world leader Canada is in championing the rights of all persons, regardless of their orientations, this one is unsurprisingly hard to believe.
The truth was that in the 1960s, the Canadian government did indeed seek to measure pupil dilation in men when exposed to certain stimuli. Sadly, it was even used as evidence to fire more than 400 men from the civil service.
If you’re stunned about how many of the above conspiracies are actually true, it’s no surprise. To end, let’s change tack and look at some widely believed conspiracy theories that are false.
True conspiracy theories indeed prove that not all conspiracy theories are complete hokum. It should, however, be remembered that there are even more out there that turn out to be complete nonsense. Here are two of our favorites.
Many people out there still do believe that the moon landing was faked. These theories have been debunked many times. However, they do continue to persist.
The sad part is that since the theory is still alive, it continues to undermine and minimize one of the most outstanding achievements in human history. Additionally, it sadly diminishes the courage and heroism of the brilliant and brave people who accomplished it.
With this theory continuing to proliferate, many young people are unfortunately more likely to believe it. It, of course, has received a lot more attention since Netflix has a documentary on its leading protagonists.
Although many people may find it laughable, the truth is that such theories can be dangerous. In this case, by creating further skepticism in science. Either way, it is just another example of how the world of conspiracy theories is not always something to be scoffed at.
In the modern world, social media and massive amounts of the fake news floating around make it virtually impossible to always stay ahead of what’s true and what’s not. Conspiracy theories have unsurprisingly grown a lot in the past two decades.
While some do turn out to be accurate, the vast majority are labeled as “theories” for a reason. Healthy skepticism can undoubtedly be a good trait. However, too much of it can also be just as debilitating as blindly believing anything. What’s your take?