Thursday, 23 November 2023 05:06

‘There's no way that can be true.’ And yet it is: People share real incidents that sound like conspiracy theories

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Sometimes you hear a fact that makes you think, "There's no way that can be true." And yet — it is.

Redditor u/BlackAfghaniRose recently asked the people of Reddit, "What’s a fact that sounds like a conspiracy theory?" Yes, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction:

1. "JFK's brain was removed during the autopsy and stored in an archive. Its current whereabouts are unknown."

—u/AdMaterial9419

2. "The Church of Scientology had members secretly infiltrate US government agencies in order to destroy unfavorable documents and investigations into them."

—u/TripleThreatTua

3. "Ernest Hemingway suffered from ongoing paranoia that the FBI were surveilling him, which was thought to be a key factor in his suicide. Most chalked it up to mental illness at the time. Decades later, his file was released, proving he was under investigation for his ties to Cuba, his phones were tapped, and he was right all along."

—u/allbitterandclean

4. "In the spring of 1968, US President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek election to a second full term. He gave no explanation, and everyone assumed that it was because of Vietnam and his resulting unpopularity, but it was far from the full story. Concerned that males in his family tended to die young, and having barely survived a heart attack in the 1950s, in 1967 Johnson had commissioned an actuarial study to determine his likely lifespan. The actuaries concluded that Johnson was unlikely to survive to age 65. Johnson realized he'd have a very short retirement if he ran and won in 1968, as he'd be 64 at the end of the term. This led him to decide against running. The actuaries were right, as Johnson died at 64. Had he served a second full term, he would have died less than 24 hours after the end of the term."

—u/prosa123

5. "Tax service companies such as Intuit spend millions of dollars a year lobbying to make sure the IRS does not make it easier to file your taxes."

—u/ktappe

6. "In the lead-up to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, the country was embarrassed by massive protests. At one of the large protests in Mexico City, they put snipers in some tall buildings near a large government building guarded by a line of police officers. When the protesters made it to the line of police officers, they continued to peacefully protest. The snipers opened fire on the police, making it appear that the protestors were shooting at the cops. The cops retaliated, mowing down countless protestors, thinking they were defending themselves. Protestors were killed and fled the scene. The government was ready, rushed in, and immediately cleaned up the scene. To this day, they have no idea how many people were killed at the scene, and no one knew about the plot to instigate the massacre of the protestors until years later. It worked, though — there were no more protests."

—u/BigMax

7. "In the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their consent as part of a practice to sterilize poor and minority women to 'help their financial situation and their family's quality of life' by preventing unwanted pregnancies in poor communities. Some were not informed at all and had it done to them completely without their knowledge; others were threatened with having their healthcare taken away if they did not agree to have it done to them. Some studies estimate that as many as 25%–50% of Native American women were sterilized in the 1970s, representing tens of thousands of victims. This was essentially a modern day genocide in the United States."

—u/SendMeNudesThough

8. "Project SUNSHINE — in which the US government, in the wake of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered a major study to better understand the effects of radiation exposure and nuclear fallout on the human body. So an international network of agents was recruited to locate recently deceased children and steal body parts from them to use for testing."

—u/likelyadvancement

9. "There was ONE recorded homicide in New York City on September 11, 2001. The people who died because of the attacks weren’t considered part of the homicides for that day because a very high number like that is a statistical outlier that would throw off accurate record numbers. The one person who was murdered was a Polish immigrant named Henryk Siwiak, who was nowhere near the attacks. He was killed in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn at around 11:40 p.m."

—u/SuperdudeKev

10. "COINTELPRO is straight up conspiracy theory-sounding, but 10,000% true. They even sent letters to MLK telling him to commit suicide. No wonder people believe that the US government is probably doing other shady shit — because they probably are."

—u/Ksan_of_Tongass

11. "There are government-built bunkers dotted around the US that hold a total of 1.4 billion pounds of cheese. The government was buying excess milk to prop up the dairy industry, turning it into cheese and shoving it underground since the end of Prohibition up until the Reagan administration."

—u/DevinMeister

12. "Some time after World War II, the US was doing some pretty wild experiments, including trying to see if they could teach dolphins to talk. They believed this was only achievable by full immersion, so they built a house and filled it with water and had a researcher live with the dolphin."

—u/Skootchy

13. "Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the US National Security Agency was conducting mass surveillance on citizens, collecting data from internet communications, phone calls, and other sources."

—u/Euphoric-Beat-7206

14. "Everyone, even from Roman times, knew asbestos was bad for your health."

—u/the-software-man

15. "In two-thirds of all US states, EMS is NOT considered an essential service. As such, it receives next to zero government funding or support."

—u/Boogaloogaloogalooo

16. "The Pentagon has never been able to account for more than half its budget."

—u/Dune1008

17. "In 1919, the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was prohibited. But instead of plummeting, alcohol sales soared. Speakeasies opened everywhere, and people in some neighborhoods were drinking even more than before. In 1926, the authorities asked manufacturers to add toxic substances to their alcohol. In New York alone, 1,200 drinkers were poisoned, and 400 died. A wave of deaths would eventually sweep across the country. This 'poisoning policy' was not stopped until December 1933."

—u/Mrnoword

18. "Operation Northwoods. The US government proposed having the CIA commit terrorist attacks in major US cities so we could blame them on Cuba and go to war. The proposals called for CIA operatives to both stage and commit acts of terrorism against American military and civilian targets, blaming them on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The possibilities detailed in the document included the remote control of civilian aircraft which would be secretly repainted as US Air Force plane, a fabricated 'shoot down' of a US Air Force fighter aircraft off the coast of Cuba, the possible assassination of Cuban immigrants, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, blowing up a US ship, and orchestrating terrorism in US cities. The proposals were rejected by President John F. Kennedy."

—u/ThePresidentPlate

And finally...

19. There's a psychological reaction called 'The Backfire Effect' which essentially means that people, after they're given proof that what they think they know is absolutely wrong, will believe misconceptions or misinformation even more deeply."

—u/ZorroMeansFox

These entries have been edited for length and clarity.

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