Conspiracy Theories that Turned Out to be True

Here are examples of Conspiracy Theories that Turned Out to be True! Follow along to learn more about these theories.


The CIA Built a Heart Attack Gun

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●    The theory:
○    The government has developed a gun that can cause fatal heart attacks
●    What really happened:
○    The CIA developed a secret weapon in the 60’s and 70’s
■    A small poison dart was shot out that would cause a heart attack
●    It could penetrate clothing and leave nothing behind except a tiny red dot on the skin, disintegrating on impact
●    The target would feel as if they’d been bitten by a mosquito
●    The poison denatures quickly so autopsy would not indicate foul play
●    Why we know about it:
○    In 1975, Congress investigated the rogue activities of the CIA
■    United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities
■    During testimony, the secret weapon became known to Congress

Operation Mockingbird

●    The theory:
○    The CIA is spying on American journalists and controlling the media
●    What really happened:
○    Operation Mockingbird was a CIA operation that spied on members of the Washington press corps in 1963, 1972 and 1973
■    They also paid journalists to publish CIA propaganda
■    This included wiretapping phones as well as observing their offices to track their activity and visitors
○    Wiretapping of civilians is against CIA code
■    At least one part of Operation Mockingbird was done with coordination from the Attorney General, Secretary of Defense and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
○    Kennedy set the precedent for monitoring civilians, but it was also practiced in the Johnson, Nixon, George W. Bush  and Obama administrations
●    Why we know about it:
○    Mockingbird was uncovered by the Church Committee after the Watergate scandal
○    John F. Kennedy secretly recorded Operation Mockingbird conversations in the Oval Office. They are now part of The Presidential Recordings

Poisoned Alcohol

The theory:
●    The FBI poisoned alcohol during Prohibition
●    What really happened:
○    In 1920, the US passed the 18th Amendment of the Constitution, banning the sale, productions and importation of alcohol
■    The Prohibition Era was marked by widespread bootlegging of alcohol
●    Some of this alcohol, made in private stills, had major health risks from heavy metals in the alcohol
○    Could lead to illness and even blindness
●    Industrial alcohols (used in paints, solvents, fuels and medical supplies) were regularly stolen by bootleggers, redistilled and resold
○    These were regularly stolen by bootleggers, redistilled and resold
○    Law enforcement was frustrated that people continued to consume alcohol
■    The government redesigned formulas used to make industrial alcohol undrinkable
●    The new formulas included adding kerosene, gasoline, benzene, iodine, zinc, mercury salts, nicotine, ether, formaldehyde, chloroform, carbolic acid, quinine and acetone
●    Mandated that up to 10% of total product would be poisonous methyl alcohol
○    The government hoped this method would scare people into giving up drinking
○    Some estimates say that by the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the federal poisoning program had killed at least 10,000 people
●    Why we know about it:
○    New York City medical examiner Charles Norris was very outspoken against the poisoning program
■     1926 NYC: 1,200 became sick from poisoned alcohol, 400 died
●    1927: Deaths increased to 700
■    Norris assigned his toxicologist to testing confiscated whiskey for poisons, finding many of the ones we know about today
○    Public health officials and anti-Prohibitionists, including Missouri Senator James Reed,  spoke out against the poisoning program

Cancer-Causing Vaccines

The theory:
●    People may have gotten a cancer-causing virus from contaminated polio vaccines
What really happened:
●    Simian Virus 40 was first found in monkeys in 1960
○    Monkey kidney cell cultures were used to produce the vaccine
○    The SV40 virus has been linked to many human cancers including childhood leukemia, lung cancer, bone cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
■    While SV40 has been found in these cancers, it there is debate as the whether or not the virus actually causes cancer
○    Shortly after it’s discovery, scientists discovered SV40 contaminated some polio vaccines
■    It was reportedly removed from all vaccines in 1963
●    An estimated 10-30 million people may have been exposed to SV40 after receiving polio vaccines in the 1950s and 1960s
○    More than 98 million people received polio vaccines before the contamination was discovered and eliminated
Why we know about it:
●    The CDC admitted to SV40 contamination in polio vaccines
○    In 2013, the CDC abruptly took down its fact sheet on the subject

Gay Bombs

The theory:
●    The military attempted to develop a bomb that would turn the enemy gay
What really happened:
●    1994 – The U.S. Air Force explored the possibility of using pheromones as a weapon
○    A proposal requested a 6-year, $7.5 million grant to see if dousing enemy combatants with female pheromones would cause a biological reaction in troops
■    The proposal suggested that affected soldiers would find their comrades “sexually irresistible” and could potentially lead to homosexual behavior
■    Presumably, the unbearable attraction would render enemy soldiers less effective in combat
How we know about it:
●    The proposal was discovered by a military spending watchdog group through a Freedom of Information Act request


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