Last Friday, Phish kicked off their 2016 Fall tour in Charleston, North Carolina. They will play in Jacksonville, Nashville, Alpharetta (a suburb of Atlanta), Grand Prairie (a suburb of Dallas), and Las Vegas.
For those of you who haven’t heard of them, Phish is a four-man band that was first created at the University of Vermont in 1983. They are a ‘jam band,’ known for long, improvised musical interludes, and they play a variety of genres including but not limited to: jazz, blues, bluegrass, funk, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, folk, country, and pop.
You’re probably wondering why I’m discussing Phish on a science fiction blog. This article isn’t about the band...not really. It’s about chemtrails, a surprisingly popular conspiracy theory.
Ok, so now I’m sure you’re asking what Phish has to do with chemtrails. Well...they wrote a song lyric about them!
The lyric is in Blaze On, a song they’ve been playing live for a while now, but appeared for the first time as a studio recording on their newest album called Big Boat. It was released on October 7th.
They aren’t the first artist to mention chemtrails. On his 2008 Modern Guilt album, Beck named an entire song after the phenomena. Hip hop artist, Isa Muhammad, also references them in his song Chemtrails & Muslim Wars.
Apparently chemtrails are pretty well known, across many different groups of people. So...why haven’t I ever heard of them?
I don’t know how to answer that...but I CAN attempt to explain what chemtrails are, where this conspiracy theory came from, and what it could all possibly mean.
Have you ever seen an airplane flying through the sky? Or maybe when you were little you witnessed a military airshow? If you haven’t, sometimes the planes release a white, billowy cloud trail, known as a contrail. Officially, Merriam-Webster defines a contrail as “a stream of water or ice particles created in the sky by an airplane or rocket.”
There’s a government conspiracy theory floating around that some of these contrails contain chemical and/or biological agents that are malicious in nature. These contrails are called chemtrails (you probably knew that by now) and the conspiracy originated in 1996 when a US Air Force aircraft was seen emitting unusual contrails. The military was then accused of releasing chemicals into the atmosphere in an effort to control the weather. Around the same time, a strategy paper was drafted at the USAF’s Air University entitled Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. The Air Force claims the paper doesn’t reflect current military policy and that they aren’t conducting any weather modification experiments.
They also claim that several accredited universities, major media publications, and scientific organizations have debunked the theory, but many aren’t convinced. It’s clearly one of the more popular conspiracy theories out there (at least three musicians have referenced it)...but what do these chemtrails do? What harm could they possibly cause? Apparently, a whole lot. Here are some of the more popular ideas about the purpose of chemtrails:
Biological and Chemical Warfare: If you’re a science fiction fan, you’re probably familiar with both of these terms. In war, it is the term used when infectious agents, biological toxins, and/or malevolent chemicals are released into the air, and/or water, with the intent to kill, and/or incapacitate life. This can pertain to humans, animals, or plants. Some conspiracy theorists (let’s call them CT’s for short) believe that chemtrails are used to spread these chemicals.
Human Population Planning: This is a good one. In the 50’s and 60’s, scientists and world leaders became very concerned about population growth and its effects on poverty, political stability, and environmental decay. China took these concerns very seriously and beginning in 1978, enforced a one-child policy (they began phasing out the policy in 2015). CT’s believe that chemtrails are used to spread chemicals that affect fertility and prevent pregnancy.
Psychological Manipulation: This is the theory that most closely aligns with the Phish lyrics listed above; that chemtrails are spreading chemicals that control our behavior. In their song Blaze On, the band insinuates that the chemtrails release chemicals that make people happy and subdue. How very ‘Brave New World’ of them...(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World).
Solar Radiation Management: SRM (Solar Radiation Management), a specific type of solar engineering, looks for ways to reflect the sun and reduce global warming. If you’re a CT, you believe that chemtrails are used to do the exact opposite...that they are releasing chemicals into the atmosphere that increase the Earth’s temperature.
Weather Modification: One possibility CT’s consider is that chemtrails are being used to modify the weather. Weather modification can be used to create snow and/or rain to increase the water supply or prevent damaging weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc). According to the theories, it can also be used as a weapon in economic and/or military warfare to create malicious weather events.
So now that you know the scoop, are you a chemtrail conspiracy theorist? Before you start really guzzling the Kool Aid, I think it’s important to note that contrails are formed at high altitudes (between 5-10 miles/8-16 kilometers). If chemtrails are real and chemicals really are being released maliciously, how are those chemicals controlled once released? Science tells us that, at that altitude, the chemicals would either degrade completely before hitting the ground OR land hundreds of miles away.
From a realistic perspective, only two reasons above seem plausible: Psychological Manipulation and Human Population Planning. But even these two ideas seem like a stretch…
If chemtrails are being used to psychologically subdue the human population, it isn’t working. Have you seen the discord among people of different cultures and political beliefs in the US? With the added venom that social media invokes, we are at each other’s throats more than ever before!
Human population planning, while somewhat believable, isn’t feasible. Can we really begin to believe that there’s a chemical that prevents the female body from having more than one or two children? A chemical that prevents reproduction completely would be foolish because we need new generations to replace the old. I can only really wrap my head around this from a science fiction perspective.
Personally, I’m not convinced.
Vehemently disagree with me? Have info that backs up your chemtrails claim? I would love to hear about it.
Sources: Wikipedia, Phish, Genius