Part of the reason conspiracy theories are so tempting to so many people is that sometimes, they turn out to be terrifyingly accurate.

One Reddit user asked:

What's the strangest conspiracy theory you heard that actually turned out to be true?

We're absolutely not encouraging, condoning or supporting any currently popular conspiracy theories, but we all need to be honest with ourselves. Current outlandish conspiracy theories seem plausible to some people because past outlandish conspiracy theories were factual:

Mind Control

Project Mk ULTRA, aka CIA mind control program.

That stuff is terrifying.

- [Reddit]

One of the people believed to be a researcher involved in MKUltra was Henry Murray, a famous psychologist and professor at Harvard. He was responsible for developing the field of Personology and developing some early profiling tests.

He's also partially responsible for driving the Unabomber off the deep end.

During the 50's and 60's, he was commissioned by the US government in order to condition pilots in case they get captured if their planes get shot down so they don't reveal secrets under torture. Unfortunately, he tested these theories to fine tune them on students which meant just screwing with them.

In a separate experiment, which the Unabomber was a victim of, worked like this - students were instructed to write an essay summarizing their personal philosophy on life and underlying principles, then went into a room expecting to debate philosophy with a fellow student. They instead faced an interrogation by a far more experienced opponent, whose sole purpose was to attack and ridicule their beliefs at length. Since one of the main goals of the experiment was to induce stress and upset the subject as much as possible, it's not surprising that many students came out feeling traumatized.

- re30stupid

A Little LSD

lsd GIF Giphy

Operation Midnight Climax

Us government hired sex workers to dose "johns" with LSD to test mind-control capabilities. Then, they expanded the program to dose citizens at restaurants and other public places.

- Qerfuffle

Sex workers and LSD sounds like fun... Until you murder a 12-year-old girl and have no memory of it. Yes this actually happened to one of the victims.

- GeomazingArt

If you're someone who's never done psychedelics and get dosed without you willing.. Man depending on the dosage I can only imagine what the toll on the psyche be...

It could cause a total breakdown if you thought it was just you going insane.

- whazzah

Leave Britney Alone

The #FreeBritney conspiracy.

I saw so many people on Instagram especially that were just convinced that all her weird Instagram videos were cries for help because she was being controlled by the scenes and thought it was kind of a ridiculous theory, but with everything that came out in her court cases in the later half of 2020, it seems like all of that was actually correct.

Britney Spears really was in an abusive overbearing conservatorship for over a decade.

- BeebMommy

I heard the court ruled in favour of the father because he has increased the value of her assets... So they couldn't say he was a bad at looking after her interests.

Sounded like a stupid reason, in my opinion.

- timeforknowledge

Basically, Britney Spears isn't a "legal adult" anymore. You know how kids can't take care of their own stuff and have to have their parents make decisions for them? That's basically what happened to her. Her father is her guardian (meaning he gets to control her money, legal stuff, everything about her life), and there's no real way for her to free herself because she doesn't have the legal options to do that, nor do they think she's supposed to be allowed to decide that ("She's mentally ill, what does she know?" type of reasoning).

She was put in that kind of situation in ~2007 when she had a severe mental health episode, since it was believed that she couldn't take care of herself due to her mental illness. Her family takes advantage of her vulnerable position and takes control over everything in her life, including locking her up, censoring her, pushing her to do stuff she doesn't want to, and making sure she can neither leave nor ask for help. The only reason we know about it is because her fanbase noticed subtle cries for help and other signs that something is wrong. It was a huge thing, and the story was more or less confirmed shortly after.

- DeadIronGolem

She's not even asking for freedom. She's just asking her father to be removed as conservator, not for the conservatorship to be ended entirely.

- Zookeepergamemost100


The CIA proposed "Operation Northwoods" to JFK.

It was a literal false flag attack on American soil perpetrated by Americans but framed up to start a "popular" war with Cuba. The CIA wanted to kill Americans (shooting down passenger planes, gunning down people in the streets, etc.) and blame Cuba as an excuse to start a war.

It was around this time and Bay of Pigs that Kennedy supposedly said he would "smash them into pieces and scatter them to the wind." (Meaning the CIA)

That was a man with convictions... and giant brass balls, to be honest.

- sbbart62

The way I remember hearing it is someone came to him about Operation Northwoods as a way to instigate a war with Cuba or the Soviets or both. Kennedy was horrified and he kind of lost it and decided to try and take down the CIA.

That goes in to the conspiracy that the CIA was involved with his assassination shortly after

- OvoidPovoid


The rumor that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (which is what got the US involved in the Vietnam Was) was fake turned out to be true.

- KingDongBundy

It wasn't "fake" so much as a big embellishment. It was obviously still cynical and dishonest, but it wasn't an entirely fabricated incident, which I think it is often taken to be.

- AbsoluteShambles

There were two incidents, the first on was nv troops firing upon us ships and the second was just a storm, So they are partially correct.

- Ferlaif12berlinetta

The official line from those in command during the incident was "playing with ourselves in the dark".

- anagreeingdothraki

OK Buddy Sure

Seth Meyers Ok GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers Giphy

Some customer I talked to somehow ended up on a rambling tangent about how he was part of a mission in the Vietnam War, where they were controlling the weather on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.. Yeah, okay buddy, sure.

I looked it up later and it turns out Operation Popeye actually happened.

- IAmTheAsteroid


I didn't hear about this because I wasn't born at the time, but Martha Mitchell whose husband was involved in the Watergate Scandal.

She tried to tell people but was called crazy and mentally ill and her husband and others eventually had her drugged and held hostage in a hotel for months. Later almost all the things she claimed were confirmed to be true.

Mental health professionals have to be aware of the Martha Mitchell Effect.

- slychd

Unarmed and Unprovoked

Not the strangest but the British army murdered 14 unarmed civilians during a peaceful civil rights march in my city, Derry, northern Ireland in 1972. The official line for years was that the victims were armed and had attacked the soldiers first.

The Sun "newspaper" in the UK printed a story the next day portraying the soldiers as heroes and the victims as terrorists. The government eventually admitted about 10 years ago that none of the victims were armed and the killings were not provoked.

Makes it hard to believe anything the government or media say.

- Mouts93

Black Farmers

The Pigford case where the USDA systemically eliminated Black farmers because of racism in the 80s and 90s.

None of the people involved were punished. The agency targeted and eliminated Black farms, paid the highest civil rights lawsuit in history out of taxpayer money, and those responsible are still employed or collecting a government pension.

It's disgusting.

- aboolshite

I've never heard of this lawsuit wtf?

This is mind bogglingly recent.

- honeyyougotwings

Medical Experiments

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male was ethically horrendous.

When the study began (1932), there was no established treatment since the relevant antibiotics did not exist, so the idea of following a cohort of untreated subjects to see what happens to them was a reasonable idea.

However, the subjects were misled about their diagnosis, what the study was doing for them, and how long the study would last.

And then later, when antibiotics became available that could treat syphilis effectively, the study continued without providing that treatment and just let the disease "run its course."

- ToxDocMD

There's also a lingering fear of vaccination in African immigrant populations due to forced sterilization and other medical experiments that happened historically.

- SlowbeardiousOfBeard

Gay Frogs

"Chemicals are turning frogs gay!"

Not quite true, but close.

It turns out if you dump a bunch of (now banned) chemicals into the habitats of amphibians, which determine sex through hormones rather than chromosomes, then they can spontaneously change gender or be hermaphroditic.

- TheNaziSpacePope

Alex jones "they are turning the frogs gay". While his assertion that the goverment is trying to turn frogs gay an purpose is probably not true. The commonly used herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females and render them infertile

- FlatMarzipan

Civil Rights Leaders


Basically, the FBI was conducting surveillance and running disinformation campaigns against civil rights leaders in the 50/60s, and were at least in part responsible for the assassination of Fred Hampton and possibly MLK.

- Stillwater215

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It’s weird how much stuff we let slide when we’re kids. Even if you look at the TV shows we watched back then, we had such a high threshold for the bizarre (early 2000’s Nickelodeon, anyone?). So it’s no surprise that some of us straight-up didn’t react when we saw weird crap in person.

Here are a few wild examples of seemingly harmless things we saw as kids that would be horrifying to see now. Brace yourself, this one gets crazy.

Kids and water aren’t a great mix sometimes. It can get real gross, real quick.

Not worth the tranquility.

I've always loved the tranquil feeling of being under water. When I was a kid I would just hold my breath and float around. Sometimes adults would think I was drowning and run up and scoop me out. I don't remember this (it was when I was pretty young) but my parents have told me about it

I used to think it was a funny story... people thinking I was drowning when I was just trying to relax

....until I watched a video explaining child drownings and yeah, the way I acted in water looked exactly like a drowned kid.

I don't think it's funny anymore.



Renee Zellweger Water GIF by Working Title Giphy

Flood water. It was fun and games for the kids, and we even splashed around in it, much to the horror of our parents (who immediately scrubbed us down). We didn't understand then, but now, oh wow...sewer, insects, rats, parasites, etc.


That’s actually hilarious.

My friend and I were walking along the road in about thigh high flood waters. A small boat with two men comes up to us. We were about 9 years old and I think they were National Guard. Anyway, one of the men asks if we remembered exactly where the manholes in the road were. We answered no. He told us that all of the covers had most likely been washed away in the flood but not to worry because it would probably only take them a few days to find our bodies if we were sucked down one of the holes by currents they produced. He spoke in a matter of fact tone and then left.

As an adult, I have zero doubt those two men had a good laugh as they looked back and watched us nope out of that water like two roadrunners in a cartoon.

Edit: It was Fish and Game Wardens. The NG didn't come until later.


Not to mention the crazy injuries that kids somehow are constantly surrounded by.

Had a jogger get hit by a car outside my house once when I was about eight or nine. My nephew came running inside yelling at my parents and my sister to call the ambulance because he was bleeding pretty badly.

I could even see him from our playrooms window and I wondered what he was doing lying on the grass. Turns out he was bleeding out pretty badly, deliriously yelling at my parents when they tried to help.

Eventually, an ambulance came and picked him up, but my parents always told me he made it out okay. The day after, in the spot he was found someone had put a lily in the grass in a vase.

It took me longer than I care to admit to figure out he died from the hit and run.


How sharp were they, though?

A kid f*cking sharpened his fingers with an automatic pencil sharpener at grade 2. Everyone didn't know what was going on until the teacher started freaking out.


I just remembered I tried to stick my finger into electric pencil sharpeners as a kid and disliked how my fingers were too big to fit in it. What the hell was I thinking?


Rock climbing can definitely be dangerous.

scared george costanza GIF by HULU Giphy

We did climbing in PE (sixth to eight grade). Like rock climbing and we had to do our own harness and stuff. PE teacher (supposedly) checked it after we were done to make sure it was done right. One day my neighbor broke an arm and leg because she wasn't properly strapped and fell.

This was at an international American school in Egypt around year 2000, for all those wondering what type of school does rock climbing.


Kids are, in fact, made of elastic.

We used to jump of our roof. First time hurt a little, but after a few times you learnt how to land.

Did it regularly and would try various items as 'parachutes' to see if it slows you down any.

I look at that height now and wonder how the hell we never broke anything - kids bones are more elastic I guess.


​It’s amazing what adults can get away with right under kids’ noses.

A casual hit-and-run.

car japan GIF Giphy

My babysitter was running late to take me to piano lessons and rear ended an old man at a stoplight. She told me that he must not have noticed because he didn't get out of his car. I thought nothing of it, and she drove away and took me to my piano lesson.

I forgot about it, and it didn't click until I remembered the incident years later that I had been unknowingly involved in a hit and run.


Big yikes.

Not so much something I saw - but when I was 5 or 6 I was at a family wedding, and there was this really friendly adult guy (who I didn't know) who told me he was really worried about his nice new car in the parking lot and how he wanted to check on the car but didn't want to leave the wedding.

He asked if I could go check on it and he would pay me $5 just to go see if his car was "okay" being that age $5 was a crazy amount of money so I couldn't believe my luck.

On the way to the parking lot, my mom intercepted me and was absolutely horrified, I remember not understanding why, like trying to tell her no she had it wrong he was nice and paying me! And as an adult now I'm like that's so messed up and I wonder how close a call that could have been.


Go grandma!

Until the age of 12 my grandma had custody of me. I used to sleep with her and she slept with a baseball bat next to her bed. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized she did it dads friends wouldn't be able to do anything to me.

Dad was a drug addict and drunk and when he was out of prison he had all kinds of people in and out of the house. You would never know what would be missing the next day - often my Nintendo :(

She did everything she could to protect me from God knows who/what and I had zero clue!

Edit: Damn this blew up while I was sleeping!! Thank you so much to everyone for the support :)

Im adding extra details to help understand the situation.

My grandmother was born in 1914, had a third grade education and was a housewife her entire life. She was already 71 when I was born! My grandpa died when I was 4 and it was just her and I. We lived in a tiny 2 bedroom house in a terrible neighborhood. It was paid off and that's all she could afford. She lived off of the social security death benefits from my grandpa and food banks. She couldn't just "leave" and go anywhere else.

Also, for those suggesting she should have called the cops - cops don't do anything if you say "I'm scared these guys will do something bad" cops have to wait till something bad happens.

She did her very best and raised my right! Now my father is back in prison (shocker) and is pissed at me for not letting the past be in the past and welcoming him with open arms. Meanwhile I'm a 2x college graduate with a great job, my own house and recently married! She definitely did something right. Unfortunately she died when I was 12. Id give anything to be able to tell her how grateful I am to her for doing everything right.


We see some scary stuff as kids. No wonder most of us are so messed up years later. Often these things don’t even register as something terrible- a lot of times, the things we witnessed were just a part of life.

The best we can do is to take our trauma, and learn from it, so we don’t pass it down to our own children. Because kids don’t deserve it- they deserve to have happy childhoods and not think about the horrors of the world.