Despite being dismissed as a "hoax" by the U.S. Air Force, chemtrail conspiracy theories have persisted since the mid-1990s, thanks in large part to the Internet rumor mill. Proponents, including McBreen, say the anomalous aerial phenomena observed in connection with alleged high-altitude chemical spraying simply can't be explained in terms of standard jet airplane condensation trails. The Air Force and other skeptics beg to differ. Some even describe the theories as "paranoid."
In a sidebar to the Reporter-News story, Penn State folklorist Bill Ellis likens conspiracy theories in general to the pseudoscientific concept of intelligent design. Both proceed, Ellis says, from the assumption that "the world that we see is not a complex system of random or near-random events," but rather a product of the machinations of unseen forces -- in the case of chemtrails, "a group of very clever, evil people who are working behind the scenes."
Ironically, notes Ellis, the broad dissemination of conspiracy theories via the Internet may ultimately weaken their impact rather than strengthen it. Traditionally such knowledge was regarded as arcane, circulating via "tight-knit conduits" among like-minded readers, and was even held to be dangerous. "On the other hand," Ellis told the Reporter-News -- and some of you who clicked on the link above may find this comforting -- "if you spread the knowledge around, the government can't kill everybody who watches a YouTube piece."
Read more about it:
• Danger in the Sky - The Chemtrail Phenomenon - YouTube video by Darrin McBreen
• Abilene Man Warns About the Dangers of 'Chemtrails' - Abilene Reporter-News
• Researcher: Contrails May Cause Problems - Abilene Reporter-News
• Conspiracy Theories: Making Order Out of Disorder - Abilene Reporter-News
• Chemtrails - Skeptic's Dictionary
• Contrails Facts - U.S. Air Force