Editor’s Note: Ahhhhh, yes–chemtrails. Mind Control. Super Secret Squirrel Weaponry. The ultimate villainy by the government to control its population by spreading a sterilizing agent into the atmosphere. So grab your tinfoil hats, everyone, and buckle up. Here’s how one man, by taking a video of an airplane venting fuel, completely messed with the minds of conspiracy theorists and earned himself a roasting of monumental proportions when the flat-earth/chemtrail crowd found out they’d been had.
The chemtrails conspiracy theory has been circulating for a while among the same sorts of people who believe that 9/11 was an inside job and celebrities are being controlled by the CIA. In brief, chemtrail enthusiasts think that those white trails of vapor you see pouring out of planes are actually nasty chemical or biological agents that governments are using to geo-engineer the weather, create a vast electromagnetic super-weapon, control the population, or—well, you get the idea. There’s no science or proof whatsoever behind this, but plenty of people are still willing to entertain this vaguely supervillain-esque notion.
On October 1, Chris Bovey—a 41-year-old from Devon, England—thought he’d troll the chemtrails camp. During a flight from Buenos Aires to the UK, his plane had to make an emergency landing in São Paulo and dumped excess fuel to lighten the load. Since he had a window seat, Chris decided to film all the liquid being sprayed out of the wing next to him.
Touching down, he uploaded the video with a caption that suggested it could be evidence of chemtrails, hoping to mess with a couple of friends who he knew might fall for it. The video now has 1.1 million views, nearly 20,000 shares, and dozens of comments telling viewers to “wake the F up,” or accusing naysayers of being “stupid paid shills.”
He then claimed (falsely) that he’d been detained at Heathrow upon arrival, been interrogated by the authorities, and had his phone confiscated. That riled everyone up even more, with “conspiraloon” (Chris’s term) website NeonNettle.com picking up the story and reporting it as evidence of chemtrails.
Mick West—editor of anti-conspiracy theory website Metabunk, which published an article explaining why Chris’s video was a hoax—explained the history of the chemtrails theory to me. “It started back in the late 1990s,” he said. “People just noticed contrails—the condensation trails behind planes—for the first time, and got this idea that a normal contrail shouldn’t persist for very long. So if anything lasted for more than a few minutes, it must be something being sprayed.”
The original article in its entirety can be viewed at Vice right here.