Even though conspiracy theories remain theories most of the time, there are many that over the years, turned out to be actually true. From mind control to a gaydar machine, here are 10 conspiracy theories that turned out to be true.
1. Conspiracy: The US Government poisoned alcohol during prohibition.
It was hard not to believe the conspiracy theory that the United States Government poisoned alcohol to stop people from drinking, especially after you hear that alcohol was banned in 1920. After the ban, bootleggers used alcohol found in industrial products such as paints and medical supplies to redistill it then sells it unlawfully. This method was the only way they could get their hands on alcohol, and it became the primary source of alcohol. On Christmas Eve in 1926, more than 60 people showed up at the hospital, some with alcohol poisoning symptoms like hallucinations, and a lot of them would end up passing away from the poisoning.
Even though people showing up with alcohol poisoning wasn’t a strange occurrence since the illegally distilled alcohol would often contain impurities, but it was never this large number of people. Investigator began to realize that this was something done by the United States government in an attempt to stop alcohol consumption. Throughout the following couple of year, until 1933, the alcohol poisoning had killed an estimate of 10,000 people.
The investigators were right; during the prohibition, regulatory agencies encouraged the act of making alcohol made from industrial products undrinkable, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people. They added toxic substances that are not meant for human consumption.
2. Conspiracy: Edith Wilson stepped in place of US president Woodrow Wilson after he suffered from a stroke.
President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, suffered from a severe stroke towards the end of his presidency in October 1919. He wasn’t in great shape before that, and his physician Cary T. Grayson had concerns over his health. On September 19, while on a train ride, the president complained of severe headaches and his asthma was getting worse. On the 25th, his facial muscles began twitching, and on October 2nd, he was partially paralyzed. The stroke left him paralyzed on his left side and partially blind in his right eye.
The public had no idea of his stroke or paralysis that he did suffer from for months. His wife, Edith Wilson, stepped in his place and made essential and executive decisions. The president’s illness was kept secret and hidden until the recent years when they discovered physician Cary T. Grayson’s clinical notes, confirming the condition of the president.
3. Conspiracy: The Tobacco Industry hid smoking dangers from people.
For years, smoking has been glamorized and denied any dangerous consequences of cigarettes. Before the smoking trend became popular, lung cancer was a rare disease. After research and studies between the years 1940 and 1950, cigarettes were discovered as the primary cause of the epidemic of lung cancer during these years. In 1954, George Gallup asked the public if they believe that cigarettes are one of the causes of cancer and 59% answered no.
The reason behind that is because the tobacco industry managed to hide the truth about the dangers of smoking. They claimed to be unaware of the fact that it is harmful and can cause cancer and other deadly diseases. And even though they did conduct researches regarding the detrimental effects of smoking, the truth was not revealed until 1994. They withheld the information that cigarettes contain Polonium-210, which can cause the death of more 10,000 people annually.
4. Conspiracy: The United States government was spying on John Lennon
It’s not a secret that John Lennon was one of the biggest influencers of his time. In 1971, Lennon held a concert where he sang a song about the release of John Sinclair, a man who had been given ten years in prison for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes. And within a couple of days, John Sinclair was released from jail. What he didn’t realize was that the FBI agents were standing in the audience.
For the next 12 months, the government made several attempts to deport him back to England. Years after his assassination, it was released that the FBI had been spying on John Lennon and had collected over 281 pages of surveillance files on him. John Lennon was involved in the peace movement. He had written anti-war songs like “Give Peace a Chance” which made then-president Richard Nixon concerned over his influence over the 18 years old who, for the first time, were given a chance to vote in the 1972 elections. Lennon continuously received deportation notices from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. After President Nixon’s resignation, the Supreme court overturned the deportation order.
5. Conspiracy: The invention of a Gaydar Machine that was supposed to identify gay men in Canada.
During the cold war, the Canadian government created a payday machine that was nicknamed ‘The Fruit Machine’ that was supposed to detect gay men in Canada to keep them out of the military, police and civil service. It was created by Frank Robert Wake who was a psychology professor at Carleton University.
In the start, they were following people undercover to clubs and pubs, but that method was inefficient and expensive, and that’s why they created the Fruit Machine. The person taking the test of the Fruit Machine would be sat in a dentist-style chair and would be shown pornography. If their pupils dilated, the person was assumed to be homosexual. Their pulse rate and perspiration levels would also be measured. They fired hundreds of people from the military and kept files on over 9,000 people.
6. Conspiracy: Nazi scientists helped the United States get to the moon.
At the end of World War 2 in 1945, the United States wanted to get ahold of the German wartime technology. Many Nazi German scientists were hired by the United Stated after erasing their backgrounds. Scientist Wernher von Braun was one of these scientists that helped the US. He was a member of the SS and the developer of the V-2 rocket in Germany. He conceptualized a space station, and with the freedom he had, he thought that he could build a base on the moon. He suggested an orbital launch vehicle and carried out tests to make sure that the rocket would orbit the earth safely. He developed America’s first satellite, and after Neil Armstrong’s successful moon landing, it was revealed that Wernher von Braun was one of the people who planned it.
7. Conspiracy: The CIA funded the Dalai Lama
In the 1950s, around 80,000 Tibetans and the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after it was annexed by China and fled to India. It was alleged that the Dalai Lama was working with American and the escape to Northern could not have been successful without the aid of the CIA. He was encouraged to go into exile and become a symbol of resistance to Communist China. The CIA funded millions of dollars to the opposition.
From 1959 to 1964, the Central Intelligence agency of the United States secretly trained Tibetan guerrillas. Also, according to declassified documents, the Dalai Lama had a yearly salary of $180,000 in the 1960s.
8. Conspiracy: The US injected black men with syphilis.
The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was an unethical experiment that was done by the US Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that can have many complications and in late-stage causes death.
The Tuskegee experiment was conducted in a time where the treatment for syphilis wasn’t discovered yet. Doctors from the US Public Health Service recruited 600 black men with the promise of free health care. They were injected with syphilis and were monitored. They were told that they were being treated for ‘bad blood’; a term used by them for different illnesses and the truth was hidden from them. They were also given aspirin for the placebo effect in case of complications, even though penicillin was now recommended for the disease.
People started to die from complications and those who didn’t go blind or insane due to their untreated syphilis. They tracked the data from the autopsies. By the time the story of the experiment was revealed to the public, hundreds had passed away, at least 40 spouses had caught the disease and was passed to 19 children at birth. In 1973, $10 million was given to the survivors of the experiment and the heirs of those who died as a settlement.
9. Conspiracy: The US collected human tissue to conduct atomic tests.
In the 1950s, the Federal government gathered human tissues from around the world to conduct radiation experiment on them. They collected the tissue that was mainly consisted of bones from cadavers without their permission. Doctor Willard Libby from the University of Chicago stated that there weren’t enough data due to lack of human samples taken from children and babies.
Project Sunshine was made to measure the effect of Strontium-90, a radioactive substance produced by nuclear explosions. More than 1500 human samples were snatched from around the world and analyzed for a journal that was published in 1957.
10. Conspiracy: The CIA experimented with LSD on American Citizens.
This is one of the most controversial but true conspiracy theories. The MK Ultra was a secret project done by the CIA after they were concerned that the Soviet, China and North Korea were brainwashing American prisoners of war. The project was approved in 1953, it was made to develop truth serums, mind controlling drugs and test harmful drugs that could be used for torture.
The experiments were done in hospitals and universities on people who were not told what the goal of the research was. They tested out strong drugs and hallucinogens such as LSD. They believed that LSD could be a factor in brainwashing or mind controlling. Other drugs like MDMA, heroin, and meth were also used. And even though the project lasted for years until it was halted in 1973, it didn’t become public until 1975.