The Earth is flat, Finland does not exist, redheads are Aliens, humans have never been on the Moon… Conspiracy theories, even the most outlandish ones, have always found their audience. Despite everything, it sometimes happens that some of them are more or less close to reality. Here are a few.
The government can send secret messages to your brain
If the subject were treated in an American film, we would necessarily see a crank wearing a tinfoil hat in a caravan in the middle of the desert. However, while the idea that the government could send secret messages into your brain to control your thoughts sounds absurd, on paper it is quite doable.
« Microwave hearing is a phenomenon described by human observers as the buzzing, ticking, hissing, or knocking sensations that originate within or immediately behind the head.“, can we read a declassified 2006 Pentagon report intitulé Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons. « This technology in its crudest form could be used to distract individuals; if refined, it could also be used to communicate with hostages via Morse code or other messaging systems, possibly even by voice communication« .
The report also mentions weapons capable of causing seizures or fevers with the aim of neutralizing an opponent. He does not mention any testing of these specific devices, but emphasizes that the technology of such devices is not a futuristic pipe dream: The equipment needed to explore this concept in the laboratory is already available“, can we read.
The good news is that the conspiracy theorists are right about something else too. ” Since this technology uses radio frequency energy, it can be overcome by the use of shielding provided by conductive barriers such as metal or metal shields“, admits the report. In other words, the tinfoil hat idea might not be so bad.
The CIA wants to manipulate you using drugs
It’s one of the most popular conspiracy theories, but again, the conspiracy theorists got it right.
Let’s go back to a very special time: that of the cold War. In the early 1950s, the U.S. government was about to enter what would later be recognized as its “gullible” phase of anti-communism. It was thought then that the Soviets could brainwash you.
It all started when a group of American soldiers returning from Korea suddenly started confessing to terrible war crimes. It turned out later that these men had simply been tortured and traumatized. At the time, however, US intelligence conjured up a more “mystical” explanation for these revelations: somehow, communists allegedly harnessed the power of mind control.
Very quickly, the CIA decided to master this capacity in turn and decided to use LSD to achieve thiswhich had been developed about fifteen years earlier.
« In the 1950s and early 1960s, the agency gave mind-altering drugs to hundreds of unsuspecting Americans in an effort to explore the possibilities of controlling human consciousness.« , reported thus the New York Times in 1999.” Many of these human guinea pigs were mentally ill, prisoners, drug addicts and prostitutes« .
The MK-Ultra project would have lasted two decades in everything is for everything. During this time, no LSD-based mind control techniques were discovered. Ultimately, in a fit of government paranoia following the Watergate scandal, most CIA documents relating to the project were destroyed. The number of deaths attributed to these trials is therefore unknown.
Free health care: a trick to let the government poison you
The Tuskegee Experience is a clinical study that was conducted in the small town of Tuskegee, Alabama (3,300 poor residents at the time) by American doctors. She was aiming to better understand the course of syphilis when left untreated. Doctors relied on the (deeply racist) idea that black people were somehow “racially” destined not to seek treatment for their illnesses.
In the early 1930s, researchers had enrolled 600 African-American sharecroppers, among whom 399 had already contracted syphilis, while the others were not yet infected. In exchange for their participation, all these men received medical care, meals and insurance completely free of charge.
The study, which was only supposed to last six months, was actually spread over… 40 years. Even after funding for their care was cut off, the study continued without the participants knowing they were sick. They were also not treated, even though penicillin had already proven itself at the time.
The scandal finally broke in the 1970s thanks to the doctor Peter Buxtun. By then, 28 of the participants had died of syphilis and another 100 had died of related complications. At least 40 wives of registrants had been diagnosed with the disease and 19 children had contracted it at birth.
This scandal was at the origin of the 1979 Belmont report which has since established the fundamental principles of bioethics with regard to human experimentation. On this occasion, the Office for Human Research Protections was also created, responsible for examining experimental protocols and respecting ethical principles.
Hundreds of ETs buried in New Mexico
Of course, Roswell and Area 51 immediately come to mind, but that’s surely just an urban legend…right? In reality, again, the conspiracy theorists were right again…at least in a way.
In 1982, seeking to exploit the still niche market that was the video game industry, Steven Spielberg enlisted a young programmer named Howard Scott Warshaw to design a video game derived from his film ET, the extra-terrestrial for the Atari 2600 console. Completely failed, it is considered today as one of the worst video games of all time.
To make matters worse, it was developed just before the now infamous Video game crash of 1983. During this massive industry recession, the American Atari, the world market leader, had suffered abysmal financial losses. Many other console manufacturers and other companies related to this activity had also declared bankruptcy.
In the end, the ET video game was such a flop that Atari officials simply decided to bury unsold cartridges in the New Mexico desert. In 2015, they were finally dug up and soldfetching over US$108,000 to local city coffers.