Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Bill Ellis, professor of English and American Studies at Penn State University, has a theory about that ... and it's a conspiracy!
It's the nature of the human mind to bring order out of disorder, Ellis said, and conspiracy theories often erupt in an attempt to do just that, explaining a wide variety of information in a fairly simple way.
Locals believed planes were flying over, spraying some sort of chemical to prevent clouds from forming because coastal cities, especially casinos, were making a lot of money of the fine weather.
Then there was cattle mutilations, with dead cows, surgically precise incisions and black helicopters.
"It was believed that this was part of a sinister military experiment having to do with nerve gas," he said. "They were testing various kinds of chemical weapons for use in Vietnam and other future conflicts, so they would try them out in small doses over livestock. Then they would have to go in, take one or two of them, then kill them and biopsy them to see how effective the gas had been."
It's a process of working back from the mysterious events by assuming that there must be a pattern involved and, if so, it must have a malicious intent because the pattern is being kept secret (except from the perspicacious conspiracy theorists) and, since it is being kept secret, the conspirators must be very powerful, so it must be the government ... or aliens ... or the Illuminati ... or ...
But my favorite conspiracy theory of all is:
"I like to compare conspiracy theories to intelligent design theories because they basically make the same claim -- that the world that we see is not a complex system of random or near-random events, but rather it's designed ... "