How much do you trust the government? Some people go through life paying taxes, believing the media, and supporting the Commander-in-Chief at every turn. But some people have an inherent and extreme distrust of the government, and that's putting it lightly. Conspiracy theorists, they're called—folks who believe Bush did 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld is a lizard, or Area 51 is hiding alien artifacts. But these are the wacky theories—the ultimately disprovable, meandering allegations of wildly imaginative Internet users. Regardless, there's no shortage of conspiracy theories about the US government.
There are, however, far more creepy government conspiracies out there, past and present, that are actually proven to be true. Some of the theories on this list, either proven as truth or highly speculative, are the most disturbing conspiracy theories you've never heard of. Whether you believe in these or not, they'll certainly give you shivers and make you second-guess what you think you know about our leaders. Strap in for some unbelievable truth.
It’s no secret that J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI during the Civil Rights movement, did all he could to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the early 1960s—even going so far as to claim Dr. King was “the most notorious liar in the country.” But that’s mild compared to one of Hoover’s clandestine plots to destroy the Civil Rights champion.
At the behest of Hoover, one of his G-Men in the FBI penned a letter in the voice of a disillusioned King supporter (though the sender remained “anonymous”), alleging to know about all of King’s extramarital affairs, his moral deficiencies, and every other skeleton in his closet. The letter closed with the ominous phrase, “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is.” The FBI was trying to get King to commit suicide, and King knew it. Years later, the Senate’s Church Committee on intelligence overreach confirmed this to be true, and thus confirmed the FBI's anti-MLK conspiracy as fact.
From 1932 until 1972, the US government ran "the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male." The "scientific study" gave placebo treatment to poverty-stricken and poorly educated African-American men who were told they had "bad blood" and were never fully informed of their STIs. The racist program was actually used to study the difference in STI infection between white and black men.
The deceitful operation caused thousands of African-American men to go untreated for syphilis over the course of four decades. As per the UK Science Museum: "Even when 250 of the men were drafted for service in the Second World War, strings were pulled to ensure that they remained part of the study instead." Ultimately, many men died of the disease, and many wives and children of infected men continued to suffer from the disease, even after the study was revealed to be a sham.
Alcohol prohibition was in effect in the US from 1920-1933. During that time, the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcohol was made illegal. This was the US government's attempt to create a sober nation—though the opposite occurred, effectively increasing alcoholism and giving rise to bootleggers and organized crime.
Sensing the failure of the 18th amendment, government officials turned to other means of discouraging drinking—namely, by poisoning industrial alcohols made in the US used by bootleggers to create illegal hooch. This fateful decision by law enforcement ultimately led to the deaths of approximately 10,000 people. On the days surrounding Christmas of 1926, 23 people died in New York City alone as a result of poisoned industrial alcohol, all at the hand of the US government.
If you've ever had a strong desire to research the real possibilities of mind control, then you and the US government have a lot more in common than you might think. During the 1950s, the CIA began its top-secret program MKULTRA, which established contracts with both private and public institutions to conduct psychiatric experiments on human subjects. The purpose of the program was to compete with rival Communist governments in the field of mind control.
The experiments included giving massive amounts of LSD to unwitting test subjects. The results were horrific, ruining countless lives and minds to no avail. Some claim Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, was a victim of the MKULTRA experiments while a 16-year-old undergraduate at Harvard.