Did You Know?
Plum Island is the only place in whole of United States where studies and experiments on foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest viruses are carried out.
Conspiracy theories exist everywhere around us, listing all sorts of strange, weird, bizarre, wacky, scary, and many times, even dumb beliefs of people. More often than not, these tend to arise from people's curiosity about a thing, person, place, etc., that they either know nothing about or have a very limited knowledge of. Conspiracy theories tend to start off as rumors, and if they get enough air, they eventually become part of popular beliefs. Some of these are weird, while others are completely crazy―these are conspiracy theories, which tend to cross the edge of madness, be it David Icke's theory of reptilian-humanoid bloodline ruling the world or even the connection of the Nazis with a superior subterranean race, who gave them their special Vril-powered aircraft during WWII. So, what do conspiracy theories do? They either attempt to establish that things which do not exist in reality actually do, or they make the already mysterious things seem even more mystifying.
Plum Island is one such place about which several conspiracy theories abound. Located in New York State's Suffolk Count, Plum Island is only about three miles long and one mile wide. This, more or less isolated island is situated in Gardiners Bay, to the east of Orient Point. Owing to its isolated location, in what one may refer to as the 'middle of nowhere', and the supposed activities that the U.S. government may (or may not) be carrying out on the island, Plum island has continuously been a subject of numerous controversies and conspiracy theories. This Buzzle write-up will discuss the various conspiracy theories that have developed around Plum Island.
The Conspiracy Theories
Location of Plum Island
Before we delve into the conspiracy theories, it is vital that we state some of the widely known and established facts about Plum Island.
Post WWII, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps planned to establish a biochemical weapons research facility on Plum Island. According to sources, construction of the facility had also begun; however, the plan was canceled before its completion.
In 1954, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), took over the site (and the completed structures), to establish a research facility to study the 'foot-and-mouth disease', a contagious viral infection in animals. This facility came to be known as the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC)
, which exists there even today.
Because the foot-and-mouth disease is highly infectious in nature and adversely affects the meat- and milk-producing capacity, especially in hoofed animals, it was also looked upon as a biological weapon that could to used by the enemy to destroy the entire economy of the nation.
So, for some years, initially, while scientists at the facility tried to discover medicines and vaccines for the disease, they also looked at it from a "biological warfare" perspective. However, in the year 1969, President Nixon passed orders that put an end to all the non-defensive biological weapon research. Nevertheless, the research on 'foot-and-mouth disease' continued.
After 9/11, Plum Island was constantly under surveillance by the U.S. security forces, as it was feared that the enemy would steal harmful pathogens from the facility and forcefully infect the livestock.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided to move the PIADC facility somewhere on the mainland, in the state of Kansas, and since the year 2010, the island has been listed for sale.
Now, let us take a look at the various conspiracy theories, in light of the facts mentioned above.
Theory #1: Secret testing of chemical and biological weapons happens at Plum Island.
➥ It is a known that post WWII and over the course of the Cold War, dangerous biological and chemical weapons were researched and developed at a secret facility on Plum Island.
➥ However, after the ratification of the Geneva Protocol, and the Biological Weapons Conventions by the United States, all such research supposedly came to a standstill.
➥ But the conspiracy theorists do not seem convinced. Many of them hold and believe that even today, in the deep freezer's of the PIADC facility, there are samples of many dangerous diseases such as polio, anthrax, and other biological pathogens and disastrous chemicals.
Theory #2: The Plum Island PIADC facility works on the creation of mutant animals.
Illustration of the Montauk Monster
This is one of the most popular conspiracy theories revolving around Plum Island. Remember the Montauk Monster
? Yes, the same deceased animal of an unidentified species that was washed away on the shore of Montauk in July 2008.
The creature has aroused great curiosity in the minds of the people about what the animal was, and where it had come from.
Amongst the many weird and often unnatural speculations and theories, is the one stating that the Montauk monster was a mutant that had escaped from the PIADC facility, where such mutant species are being created.
Theory #3: Lyme disease spread from Plum Island.
➥ In 1975, an unknown disease spread in the town of Old Lyme in the state of Connecticut. Many conspiracy theorists have been claiming since decades that Plum Island is the place where the Lyme disease originated.
➥ Theories say that samples of some species of poisonous ticks, which were dropped from airplanes during WWII to spread diseases as part of the biological warfare, were collected and brought to Plum Island for experiments. Conspiracy theorists claim that these poisonous ticks may have been transported to the mainland by means of various biological agents.
➥ Moreover, in 2004, Michael Carroll, in his book Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory claimed that Lyme disease resulted from a faulty research at the Plum Island's secret Lab 257, and its outbreak on the mainland happened because it was let loose purposefully, as it could not be controlled inside the lab.
➥ While there is evidence to prove that research on Lyme disease spreading poisonous ticks was conducted at the PIADC in the past, there is no substantial proof that states that Lyme disease originated there.
Theory #4: Over 2,000 Nazi scientists were hired at the Plum Island facility on a top-secret project.
➥ Yes, this is yet another one. Most of us know about Project Paperclip, under which, numerous Nazi scientists were employed by the United States after the end of WWII in order to lead some of the pioneering projects and even space programs. This conspiracy theory is in lieu of Project Paperclip.
➥ It has been claimed that more than 2,000 Nazi scientists were recruited at the Plum Island facility, not only to work on dreadful animal diseases, but also to conduct research on biological warfare.
➥ Moreover, the theorists claim that this top-secret project was undertaken by the U.S. government in order to create new and more dangerous biological weapons, and large-scale testing of these were even done on animals to see the effects. However, again, like the other conspiracy theories, this was never proven.
The more secretive one is, the more conspiracies are built around it. The same is true even in case of Plum Island. A large portion of the island continues to remain a restricted area even today, thus, encouraging the curious minds of conspiracy theorists. Now, the facility is about to move to the mainland, and we hope that the truth behind the so-called "secret" activities soon come to light, thus, giving a little rest to the imaginative minds of conspiracy theorists.