We’ve all had friends and family that are really into the conspiracy stuff. You know, the ones that send you emails with blazing red headlines proclaiming how 9/11 was an inside job and the president is actually a KGB agent and the KGB works for the CIA and it’s the connections bro, the connections. Ok, that’s not what we’re doing here. But while most conspiracy theories you hear about are probably pretty bogus, there are a few that are actually worth knowing about. These are 25 conspiracy theories that actually ended up being true.
Last Updated on
The 1919 World Series was thrown
Often referred to as the Black Sox Scandal, eight White Sox players were accused of throwing the World Series in 1919. When the story broke late in 1920, the players were acquitted because throwing games wasn’t technically a crime.
The government poisoned alcohol during prohibition
When people continued to drink after alcohol was banned, the government basically tried to prevent moonshiners from cooking up more alcohol by “spoiling” their ingredients. Because the moonshiners didn’t stop, many of them ended up getting sick and even dying.
Car companies bought up and destroyed streetcars
According to a report done by Congress in 1974, car companies bought up and then destroyed many of the street car and rail connections in the United States in the 1930s in order to increase demand for cars. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you were stuck in traffic this morning.
Area 51 is a top secret military installation
In July 2013, following a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request that was filed in 2005, the CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of Area 51 for the first time.
French soldier Alfred Dreyfus was framed
Known today as the Dreyfus Affair, Alfred Dreyfus, a French soldier, was accused of treason in 1894 for selling secrets to Germany. In 1906 Dreyfus was finally pardoned and it was revealed that he was in fact a scapegoat. The real traitor had been quietly acquitted but due to Dreyfus’s Jewish heritage he made an easy target.
The CIA conducts mind control experiments
Project MKUltra, a CIA program that performed mind control and drug experiments on civilians was revealed in 1975 during congressional investigations and hearings.
The CIA "cleaned" the records of Nazi scientists so they could be recruited by the government
A precursor to Project MKUltra, Project Paperclip was a CIA operation that “bleached” the records of former Nazi scientists so that they could be authorized to work for the United States. The paperclips that secured their new histories to their files were what gave the operation its name.
The IRS is targeting people politically
In 2013, during the IRS targeting controversy, it was revealed that the IRS had singled out various conservative groups and subjected them to significant scrutiny.
The NSA is listening to you
This one probably needs no explanation. The recent NSA scandal that broke out as a result of revelations by Eric Snowden has led to international repercussions.
The US is secretly selling weapons to Iran
Now known as the Iran-Contra affair, during Reagan’s second term it was revealed that senior officials were in fact secretly selling weapons to Iran and funding the Contras in Nicaragua.
The CIA has secret prisons
Known as “black sites”, before President Bush acknowledged their existence in 2006, NGOs and human rights groups were adamant about claiming they existed.
The KGB was involved in the Kennedy assassination
But probably not the way that you think. When a former KGB official defected to the UK in 1992, he brought along several documents that are now known as the Mitrokhin Archive. One of the things detailed in these papers was the fact that the KGB had attempted to spread misinformation about the Kennedy assassination. As part of their war with the CIA they were actually trying to spread conspiracy theories.
The US started fighting in Vietnam due to a "ghost attack"
Now known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, in 1964 several Vietnamese vessels fired on American ships. This was the official start of the conflict between the two nations. What had actually happened was that American warships fired on something they assumed was an enemy vessel during the night. The next day it became clear that the “enemy vessels” were simply due to bad weather. By that point, however, the US was already in full retaliation mode. In 2005 the NSA acknowledged that although they knew the attack was bogus, because the wheels of war had already started turning, they just let it go.
The WWE is scripted
So this one might not come as a surprise, but in 2013 a reddit user by the name of Dolphins1925 began releasing the winners for every single match beforehand. Just in case you need any proof to convince your hardcore friends…
The CIA influences the media
Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign that was started in the 1950s by the CIA with the intention of influencing the media.
Wealthy businessmen are trying to overthrow the US government
In what has come to be known as the Business Plot, Major General Smedley Butler testified before congress that several businessmen were trying to recruit him to overthrow the government and install a dictatorship. It was largely dismissed as hearsay and nobody was prosecuted although most historians agree that there was at least talk of a plot.
The FBI conspires against civil activists
Successfully kept secret until 1971, COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgram) was an FBI project intended to discredit and infiltrate various political organizations.
Propaganda started the Gulf War
Now seen as a textbook case of atrocity propaganda, in 1990 a girl going by Nayirah testified before congress about how Iraqi soldiers were looting Kuwaiti hospitals and killing babies. It was later revealed that her full name was Nayirah al-Sabah and that she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US and that the story about Iraqi soldiers killing babies was a fabrication. Apparently the Kuwait government just wanted to manipulate the United States into fighting their war. They were successful.
Scientologists are into some pretty shady stuff
It’s true. Now known as Operation Snow White, this was the name for a massive infiltration mission pulled off by the Church of Scientology in 30 countries in order to get rid of unfavorable records. To this day Operation Snow White remains the largest infiltration of the US government on record.
The President is abusing his power to spy on people and bully opponents
The infamous Watergate scandal catapulted this conspiracy theory into reality. The Nixon administration was accused of wiretapping opponents, harassing activist groups, and using the FBI, CIA, and IRS. Things eventually came to light and the Supreme Court ordered the the Nixon administration to hand over evidence. Facing certain impeachment in Congress, Nixon resigned.
The government planned terrorist attacks on its own people
Operation Northwoods was a plan put forward by the Department of Defense to stage terrorist attacks on American civilians and frame the Cuban government. This plan was swiftly rejected by the Kennedy administration.
The government withholds medications from people who need them
Known as the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, in 1972 it was revealed that for the last 40 years the Public Health Service had been performing a clinical study on African American men in rural Alabama who had syphilis. In 1940, when penicillin was developed as a cure to the illness, it was not administered to the patients. Drastic legal changes were made with regards to performing clinical studies following the revelations.
The military has investigated using psychic abilities
As crazy as this sounds, the Stargate Project was an actual army unit created to investigate the possibility of using psychic phenomena on the battlefield. It was shutdown in 1995 because it was not being productive.
Asbestos is dangerous
Although it was suspected for years, 1970s court documents alleged that the government had known about the dangers of asbestos since the 1930s but had concealed them. The asbestos manufacturing companies are even worse. Still today they deny that asbestos has any negative medical effects in spite of the fact that medicine says otherwise.
The military has a plan to suspend the constitution and impose martial law
Rex-84 (Readiness Exercise 1984) was a classified drill developed by the US government to suspend the constitution, impose martial law, and detain any Americans deemed “security threats”. It was brought up during hearings concerning the Iran-Contra affair.