I’m interested in learning more about Chemtrails. I understand that they are spread in the sky by jets using aluminum particles and that they are used to create cooler weather to slow down global warming. However, people are suffering from health problems as a result of this spraying action. If you have more information on Chemtrails, I would be interested in hearing about it.


Dearest Terry,

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Airplanes release water vapor as a byproduct of engine action. At certain altitudes and temperatures, this water vapor causes the surrounding air to cool and condense. We notice this condensation as the white ribbons that planes sometimes leave in the sky, called condensation trails or “contrails.”

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People who are concerned about chemtrails think some of this vaporous skywriting spells, “WATCH OUT FOR THE GOVERNMENT.” This chemtrails theory holds that U.S. military jets are purposefully spraying the populace with unknown and possibly harmful substances. Why? Take your pick:

  1. An environmentally minded government is spraying aluminum oxide to reflect the sun, cool the atmosphere, and control global warming
  2. An evil government is dousing unwitting citizens with deathly toxins for mysterious purposes, possibly including slowing population growth
  3. A benevolent but secretive government is trying to inoculate all Americans against biological weapons such as anthrax.

By now, you’re thinking the pretty white lines in the sky spell out, “UMBRA FISK IS CRAZY.” Well, it’s not me. It’s a conspiracy theory, and as conspiracy theories go, it’s a doozie. Just enough truth and just enough wack to keep you guessing. Chemtrail watchers point to alarming (to them) evidence: white plumes that linger in the sky longer than normal contrails and spread farther; healthy bystanders suddenly experiencing inexplicable headaches, asthma, dizziness, and fatigue; sightings of numerous Air Force jets and tankers where air traffic controllers report only a few; water tests revealing high levels of aluminum; oily rainbows near contrails; and that all-purpose anti-evidence evidence, denials by the government and many scientists. Perhaps the most alarming and damning find is a 1996 Air Force research paper called, “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.” In the future, apparently, technological, political, and military circumstances will have reached the point where the U.S. could use weather as a weapon.

But there are less alarming explanations for the chemtrail phenomena. Chemtrail skeptics say all the spooky stuff in the sky is better explained by more mundane factors such as water vapor, wind, temperature, jet exhaust, accepted military maneuvers, and everyday pollutants.

Still, we do need to be concerned about the long-term effects of jet exhaust, which produces greenhouse gases, creates climate-affecting cloud patterns, and alters ozone levels. Whether the government is secretly experimenting on us through poisoned contrails is anyone’s guess; as for whether there are plenty of other environmental toxics poisoning us already, the writing is on the, uh, sky.

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Blithely yours,
Umbra Fisk