Chemtrails: What are they and how do I become one?

Everyone worth their bodyweight in salt knows that chemtrails are definitely not a real thing. Never have been, never will be. Completely, unquestionably fake. But when have facts ever kept The Truth from coming out?

Chemtrails, in the libertarian fairy tale dystopia where they exist alongside our beloved Kenyan president, are cloudy trails left behind by planes flying overhead. These trails, reportedly rife with chemicals, can do a number of things, such as alter the weather, disperse toxins over populated areas and control minds.

One theory even claims that chemtrails are the government’s attempt to seed the atmosphere with a lining that reflects solar radiation, thus canceling out the effects of global warming. This is known as “geoengineering,” which is a cool word to say to a scientist on his or her lunch break if you’ve ever wondered what it would look like for a person to laugh, choke and cry at the same time.

In reality, chemtrails are contrails. A fact sheet released by the Air Force describes contrails as “streaks of condensed water vapor created in the air by an airplane or rocket at high altitudes.”

This fact sheet, released in 2005, did nothing to dissuade tin-foil-hat-clad visionaries of their convictions. These rugged, underappreciated modern prophets claim you can tell a contrail from a chemtrail because the chemtrail will dissipate more gradually. In reality, contrail dissipation rates are dependent upon numerous factors, such as humidity, wind speed and direction.

The fact sheet also attempts to address reports of mass illnesses caused by chemtrails, which are still not real.

“There is no such thing as a ‘chemtrail.’ Contrails are safe and are a natural phenomenon. They pose no health hazard of any kind,” the fact sheet states. “If there are massive outbreaks of illnesses, your local health department should be able to tell you if it is an abnormal event.”

The fact sheet goes on to recommend that, in the event of an outbreak, it would be best to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not the Air Force, because presumably airplanes make terrible doctors.

The chemtrail debate was largely popularized in the ‘90s through the most logical and natural of mediums: talk radio. Broadcasters like Art Bell, former host of Coast to Coast AM and famed magnet for conspiracy theorists, were happy to broach the topic on behalf of weird people living in aluminum trailers.

Today the chemtrail war is largely fought online. As with any other terrible thing, YouTube seems to have become the primary battlefield.

One YouTube user, Unsolved Mysteries, recently uploaded what can only be described as a magnum opus of chemtrail videos. The video, titled “Chemtrails ==[and then an airplane emoji]” features a video of billowing residue rising off the backs of airplanes in flight, landscapes in which the horizon is marred by crisscrossing cloudy streaks, and one picture of a sunset that was actually really relaxing to look at.

It would be foolish to assume that chemtrails, which are absolutely fictitious and the result of deeply unsettled, paranoid minds, exist in a vacuum. A detailed examination of the website Chemtrail Central reveals that people who believe in the chemtrail conspiracy are also prone to believing in other phenomena, such as chemclouds (exactly what they sound like), UFOs (exactly what they sound like), and sundogs (not at all what they sound like, sadly).

It’s impossible to tell where the chemtrail debate will end. All manner of reputable organizations have produced tangible, easily digested evidence denouncing the existence of chemtrails, but each report falls on deaf ears. It seems like chemtrails are here to stay, which might not be so bad. Everyone needs a hobby, after all. And lots of canned goods. Also, a bunker. You should definitely have a bunker.