These are all the ways the government is controlling your mind, according to conspiracy theorists
If you’ve ever been on the internet, or stepped inside a pub, then the chances are that at some point you’ll have come across a conspiracy theory to two. From the idea that JFK’s assassination wasn’t all it seemed, or that Paul McCartney actually died and was replaced with a double, it seems that there's a theory for just about everything.
And across the world, there are thousands of dedicated conspiracy theorists - or "truthers" - intent on enlightening the rest of the population about the coverups, schemes and dark plots conceived by the powers that be. Even President Trump - admittedly not the most stable man on the planet - is partial to a conspiracy theory, stating in an interview that he believes 9/11 wasn't quite all it seemed. So, why aren't more of us waking up to the "truth"? Well, the theorists have an answer: mind control. But just how is the government doing it?
1. Through your drinking water
We’re all told to get our eight glasses a day, but if your water comes from the tap, then you’re probably unwittingly being drugged, according to many conspiracy theorists. The story is that the mineral officially added to our water supplies to prevent dental decay is actually a strong tranquilliser, designed to make us all slow, obedient and easier to dominate. The addition of fluoride to water supplies has long been controversial, with some questioning the safety and ethics of it, and others presenting it as a communist plot to overtake America.
2. With chemtrails
You know those pretty little condensation lines that planes leave behind as they jet across the sky? Don’t get too endeared by them: they’re actually deliberately spurting out a nasty concoction of chemicals that do everything from mess with your mind to depopulate the earth. Well, that’s what the truthers say, claiming that they do not dissipate quickly enough to contain only water as proof. But it’s not just the hardcore believers who support this one - in the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, conducted by YouGov, 10 per cent of Americans stated they believed in chemtrails, with a further 20 to 30 per cent saying that they believed it was “somewhat true".
3. By stealing your soul
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, better known as HAARP, is a government research project based in Gakona, Alaska. Officially used to study the earth’s atmosphere, conspiracy theorists believe that it’s actually being used to control the weather - including causing hurricanes and droughts - as well as to control people’s minds by emitting radio waves. In 2016, two men were arrested during the planning stages of their own plot to bring down HAARP, having stockpiled a huge weapons haul. According to Alaska’s Anchorage Daily News, citing police sources, they wanted to blow up the machines “so souls could be released."
4. Your favourite book
As any literature fan will know, J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye has long been the topic of controversy, considered to have made swearing mainstream and inspired that terrible trend for wearing baseball caps backwards. But there is also a group of individuals who believe that the book was really part of a CIA plan to turn ordinary citizens into assassins using a trigger object, noting that - among other killers - Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon, and John Hinkley, the man who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan were both found in possession of copies. Psychologists, on the contrary, have argued that it's possible that the killers simply connected on some level with Holden's isolated and cynical existence.
5. Your TV
Have you ever wondered why your phone runs out of battery when you need it most, or why your TV always seems to cut out just when you get to the good part of a film? It may not be an unfortunate coincidence: the government may be specifically targeting you. There are whole groups of people across the world - estimated to be over 10,000 in total - who consider themselves “Targeted Individuals” and believe that they are unwillingly part of a government mind control experiment, in which electrical devices are used to remotely harass them. The idea is believed to originally stem from Cold War weapons projects which looked at ways to enact psychological warfare and research, which some believe continue to this day.
6. Your sports team
If you’re a football player or keen on shooting a few hoops in your spare time, then bad news: they’ve already got you. Apparently, sports aren’t introduced to kids in school as a way to keep healthy or develop team skills, but as part of an early indoctrination into accepting subordination. By obeying coaches, we learn to follow the orders of people other than our parents, making us easier for governments to mould and dictate to. Even worse if you’re a sports fan, because that loyalty to the team you love only exists to divert attention away from this big government plot. Consider yourself fooled.
Whether you're a believer or think it's all a load of garbage, it's easy to understand the appeal of conspiracy theories, especially as a way to give reason to the many, many things we can't explain. And while no one will disagree that governments and companies are probably getting up to things we couldn't even imagine, and almost certainly doing things they'll look back on regretfully with the benefit of hindsight, I'm still slightly sceptical of all of these "truths". So call me a victim of brainwashing, but I'm probably not going to stop drinking water, watching TV or reading books in case they turn me into a murderer.