The dead baby project
Laughing at crazy conspiracy theories is good fun—until they turn out to be true. Take the conspiracy surrounding the “Project Sunshine,” for example. In the wake of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the U.S. government commenced a major study to measure the effects of nuclear fallout on the human body.
Conspiracy: The government was stealing dead bodies to do radioactive testing.
The truth: The government was stealing parts of dead bodies. Because they needed young tissue, they recruited a worldwide network of agents to find recently deceased babies and children, and then take samples and even limbs—each collected without notification or permission of the more than 1,500 grieving families.
Conspiracy: During Prohibition, the government poisoned alcohol to keep people from drinking.
The truth: Crazy conspiracy theories almost always suggest the government is behind it all—and they were right, again. Manufacturers of industrial alcohol had been mixing their product with dangerous chemicals for years prior to Prohibition. But between 1926 and 1933, the federal government pushed manufacturers to use stronger poisons to discourage bootleggers from turning the alcohol into moonshine. That didn’t stop the bootleggers or their customers, and by the end of Prohibition, more than 10,000 Americans had been killed by tainted booze. Limiting alcohol is a health advice doctors can agree on, but these 11 health controversies and conspiracies still divide people.