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For the better part of two days, the city of Atlanta has been in the grips of chaos and catastrophe. School buses stranded for more than 12 hours and abandoned vehicles by the thousands on numerous roadsides throughout the city. It’s clear that the city was not equipped to handle the reality of Winter Storm Leon. The icy conditions and poor response have been analyzed and criticized by numerous personalities and media commentators. But in the wake of the mayhem, an interesting side story has developed.

There are many people beginning to speculate that the snow is fake.

No, not that the snow didn’t happen–but that the white, frosty stuff on the ground is, in fact, not snow.

Several YouTube videos have been posted documenting “proof” that the snow in Atlanta is some sort of synthetic substance; additionally, these conspiracy theorists claim that this fake snow and the devastating affects it has had on the city of Atlanta are all part of a government plot. The conspiracy theorists say that this non-snow is the latest evidence of “chemtrails,” a long-standing conspiracy theory that postulates that the government hides chemicals in airplanes and douses unknowing citizens and locations with said chemicals. Theorists claim that this is all intended to serve as “testing” for when the powers-that-be unleash the full force of several man-made “natural” disasters, in the hopes of instituting martial law amidst the ensuing disarray.

Here is the basic rundown:  The YouTube conspiracy theorists state that if you go outside and grab a handful of snow, then attempt to melt it with a lighter, it does not melt like “real snow.” No, this conspiracy snow only turns black and emits a pungent odor. That bizarre occurrence is proof enough that there is something amiss about this so-called “snow” in Georgia.

Of course, there isn’t much to this theory, once you examine it a bit.

In all of the clips, snow is being held to a lighter of some kind. Most lighters use butane, which is “dirty,” meaning it doesn’t burn clean. That dirty fuel is why the snow turns a little black. That’s also why it smells funny. If you take the snow to a flame that isn’t produced by butane–i.e. a campfire or a natural gas-burning stove, etc.–the snow begins to melt. It actually even melts when exposed to a butane flame, albeit slowly.

However, it’s a fun conspiracy theory that will likely have tons of people making snowballs and burning them with Bics over the next couple of days. Enjoy yourselves but please be careful–and be mindful.

Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

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