The government giving STIs to black men without their knowledge, police lying about the deaths of people who just went out to watch the football and an impostor who helped start a war are among these bizarre-sounding conspiracy theories that actually turned out to be true. Don't read on if you ever want to trust anyone again.
Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment
This US experiment ran from 1932-1972 and involved giving nearly 400 African American men syphilis without their knowledge or consent. The men were told they had "bad blood" rather than being informed they had the STI or being treated for it. The study aimed to see if the STI affected black men differently from white men and by the time it ended only 74 of the original participants were alive.
Wired reports this CIA programme saw agents giving unwitting human subjects drugs as a form of mind control. They also used electroshock therapy, hypnosis, subliminal persuasion and isolation techniques. The programme is mentioned in the book The Men who Stare at Goats, which was later turned into a film starring George Clooney.
This was a secret plan to bring Nazi scientists to America to work for the CIA at the end of World War II. An account of this plan was revealed by journalist Annie Jacobsen in her book Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America. According to Ynet, the scientists help develop chemical weapons for the US and worked alongside American scientists to develop LSD.
The Nayirah testimony
In 1990 a 15-year-old girl known as "Nayirah" gave evidence to Congress which helped spark support for the first Gulf War. The girl claimed Iraqi soldiers had removed babies from incubators and left them to die, but this fact was later refuted by Amnesty International. After the war the New York Times reported "Nayirah" was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador and her testimony was arranged by a PR firm, Hill & Knowlton.
On April 15 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death and hundreds more were injured when trying to watch an FA Cup semi-final at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium. In 2011 a retired judge claimed the families of the dead should drop their "conspiracy theories" about what happened in the disaster. By 2012, an inquiry had shown how police had made "strenuous attempts" to blame the tragedy on the 96 victims of the crush. Three years on, and the inquest into the disaster is ongoing, with new revelations about a cover-up still emerging.
As Slate reports, the US government deliberately poisoned alcohol during Prohibition in an attempt to enforce the ban on drinking. Around 700 people died due to their actions.
This was a Cold War plan by the US government to create fake attacks in America designed to be blamed on Cuba, to drum up support for war with the Latin American communist country. Records show it never went beyond the planning stage.