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Atlanta snow is fake? Latest conspiracy theory cites ‘plastic snow’


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.


  1. ann on January 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I am from montana and did the same thing with our snow using a lighter, snow melted like it’s supposed to no smell and only turned black when I held the flame right up to the snow. So I would have to say something funky is going down in the south.

    • readthis on January 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Agreed! I got the Same results in Chicago across the street from Lake Michigan, exactly.

    • Dan on January 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Was it butane?

    • Eric Schwartz on January 31, 2014 at 2:41 am

      That burning smell is the smell of all you geniuses trying to think too hard.

    • Tesla Hatt on January 31, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Stop being retarded. Seriously. Your fucking lighter made soot on the snow, they turn everything black. That’s also the funny smell you smell. The only thing funky going on with the snow is how dumb you people are about it. Heat up a pan on your stove and throw a big chunk in there, then see what happens. If you end up with anything other than a small puddle of water let me know.

  2. wildestar on January 30, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Yes I used a match and my snow ball turned black. I live in NC.

    • Dan on January 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      a sulfur match? And it turned black? And you’re surprised?

    • Adam Phytophile on February 2, 2014 at 2:04 am

      Yeah because wood is totally clean-burning. That’s why it is totally safe to use wood stoves without chimneys.

      • David Parker on February 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        Wood does not burn cleanly. Dried hardwoods burn cleaner than softwoods. If You burn softwoods such as any evergreen you can end up with a sap deposit on the inside of your chimney. This can catch fire and actually burn down your house. Also the comment about using a wood stove without a chimney is ridiculous! No matter how “clean” the wood burns it still produces smoke and removes oxygen from the air. With no chimney you trap the smoke inside the house and burn up available oxygen that YOU need to breathe in order to stay alive.

        • Odins Henchman on January 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm

          You idiot, it was sarcasm lol

          • David on January 28, 2015 at 8:36 pm

            So if I lied I would be considered a genius? Guess I need to remember that for the future.

  3. readthis on January 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I used a bic on snow in Chicago melted just fine water dripping down my arms and NO smell. Did the test a bunch of times from different angles, got minor black soot possibly from butane or chemicals already present in the drinking water and I live across the street from the lake. The snow did not burn black like it did in Atlanta where there is a clear distinct odor that smells like plastic.

    • makstone on February 1, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      The rate at which the snow melts depends on how much air it contains, which in turn is determined by the temperature and humidity when it falls. Wet snow is actually a great insulator, which is why you can light a small fire inside an igloo without it collapsing. The snow in the video will actually melt from the inside out of a strong heat source is used and the amount of soot will vary from lighter to lighter and may even depend on the purity of the butane in the lighter. The snow used for this experiment will vary in results from snow used in other cities depending on the amount of air in the snow.

      • readthis on February 3, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        Not entirely true. The sublimation theory much like the bic lighter butane theory are inaccurate. First, the snow I used was wet snow as I live across the street from the lake and it melted dripping down my arm, also if an igloo was to get too hot it would melt not evaporate. The air vs precipitation theory fails when comparing colder climates to those of Georgia that exhibit the same characteristics vs those in equally cold climates that don’t. Also there are numerous accounts of people who have used other variables for heat sources, and have still had the same result with a strong burning plastic odor, so it can’t be caused by butane since none is being used. Sublimation needs specific conditions that are not common to happen and cause a solid to skip the solid to liquid liquid to gas stage and go strait gas, although possible, this is not common enough to match the amount of people reporting the strange snow. A more logical answer would be pollution such as our current water situation ie Virginia, or the fall out in Fukushima or the recent oil spills, the current debunking explanations and insults lead people to believe the geoengineering theories, either way it is something not quite right with the snow, but then again it’s something not quite right with our planet, but we already knew that, right..

        • makstone on February 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          What?? The fact that you live near a lake is irrelevant. You can’t compare snow produced by 2 different weather systems in 2 different geographic areas and expect them to have the same properties. Again, fallen snow can contain as much as 95% air by volume, and that is determined by temperature and humidity at the time the show falls. The soot on the snow will depend on how poorly the butane burns, where the flame is placed and for how long. The odor is simply unburned fuel. The solution is quite simple: Use a preheated spatula (more surface area) , place it against the same snow and it will melt instantaneously. people are getting hung up on the soot and the fact that the snow is melting from the inside out due to slower thermal transfer and air content. It’s not hard folks, we did these experiments in grammar school.

          • readthis on February 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

            Wow, you clearly didn’t read the comment, ok back to the butane theory….what about the experiments with no butane..yielding the SAME results with the same smell…..exactly?… Moisture humidity weather location and proximity to a large mass of water all play a major factor in precipitation and snow fall as well as it’s density, so thus living by a lake is not irrelevant neither is comparing various climates and there recent local weather patterns with this constant silly sublimation theory, it’s not consistent enough to be considered accurate….that’s simple… It requires to many variable for sublimation to occur… And if it is occurring in a place with a similar weather pattern as another region but not in the other region where according to your logic it should occur in both based off of these factors, but It doesn’t…..why?… You can’t say it’s because it’s more air in my snow and more water in there’s if we both share the same type of weather system …it’s simple….sublimation is a good theory just not an accurate enough one to get pompous about and act as if people are slow it makes you look bad.

  4. Kittybriton KB on January 30, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Confirmed what Ann says below: here in Vermont I went and scooped up a handful of what I know to be /real/ snow and applied a BIC lighter to a snowball.

    It melted, slowly, and leaving a slight sooty stain. But NOTHING like the video showed.

  5. stephen ramsden on January 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm


    • Cossard on January 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Yeah, matches are completely clean-burning, that’s why there’s no smoke or smell associated with them … oh, wait …

  6. Amanda Michelle Jones on January 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    i also live in chicago & my snow also melted right away when i put a bic lighter to it. there was no soot. furthermore, sublimation doesn’t explain why people’s snowballs didn’t reduce in size. if the substance was actually evaporating, the solid wouldn’t remain the same size & shape. or did i miss some magic science lesson?

    • kristi on January 31, 2014 at 7:28 am

      Well said!

    • Cloey Jade on January 31, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Come on now everyone…. Before you believe the conspiracy hype, just
      test this for yourself. I froze some purified water in my freezer and
      then made “snow” out of it with my blender. It didnt melt. It just
      shrunk back like on the video. It also smelled like plastic and turned
      black. Theres no way it was nanosnow since it came from my own purified
      water. But i had the same results. If you dont believe me, try it
      yourself. It doesnt drip because the water gets absorbed back into the snowball.

      • readthis on February 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

        That’s really odd since sublimation would occur in snow with more air than water yet you made snow from pure h20 and got no water but a plastic smell and the snowball turned black?….I smell a disinformation troll…….matter of fact I tried this out myself and the fake ice snow melted down my arm with NO plastic smell?.. Why the difference?… What’s in your water??…

  7. ace on January 31, 2014 at 1:45 am

    I live in Atlanta & this is a load of bull. the snow is snow. Move on people.

  8. Mike Duke on January 31, 2014 at 5:45 am

    It’s sad, but kind of funny at the same time, that people can be so stupid and ignorant and yet still think their pseudo scientific opinion counts for anything.

    Years of affirmative action and “I have a dream” and you are putting lighters to snowballs to see if there is a secret conspiracy. Stop twerking and start reading, you dummies or you will always be slaves to your own ignorance.

    • Cossard on January 31, 2014 at 10:52 am

      Your post seems to assume that the idiots who believe this are necessarily black. How did you come to this completely wrong conclusion?

      • Mike on January 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        Because it’s Atlanta.

        • Isabella Maier on January 31, 2014 at 5:51 pm

          Ah, well that makes sense then. And there will always be slaves and wards of the state where there are brilliant people like yourself to ignite the quest for knowledge in a population by insulting and stereotyping them first.

          Anyway, we’ll forget about this “snow thing that happened in Atlanta” soon enough, but it would be interesting to see what types of chemicals are found in the water.

        • Cossard on January 31, 2014 at 11:38 pm

          And since not everyone in Atlanta is black, you turned out to be ludicrously wrong.

        • ACMEsalesrep on February 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

          I’d be willing to bet that it’s angry southern white folk, just like the rest of the anti-goverment, anti-Obama crowd. In fact…[checks YouTube]…yup.

  9. wmiz77 on January 31, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Oh my word people, give it a rest! I live in Atlanta, believe me the snow is real. We played in the last last 2 days, have watched it melt like normal snow. The only people that should be making theories based on information like they are, are those with science degree who understand how things work. Talk about starting false rumors and paranoia with false facts, it is irresponsible.

  10. kristi on January 31, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Those of you who think there is NOTHING going on and our government is NOT to blame for everything going on need to wake up before its too late. they don’t care about us at all..we are all a bunch of worthless guinea pigs to them and americas ignorance to it all is astonishing.

    • Tesla Hatt on January 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      I don’t think that’s news to anyone. That doesn’t mean the snow is plastic.

    • H2fn2 on January 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Take off the tinfoil hat and get some psychological help .

  11. BX on January 31, 2014 at 10:54 am

    From the ATL – This article should never have been printed. The snow is real and still on the ground as of Friday. I really hesitated to even comment on this worthless article.

  12. Levkin on January 31, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Shut up, just Shut UP!

  13. Guest on January 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Come on now everyone…. Before you believe the conspiracy hype, just test this for yourself. I froze some purified water in my freezer and then made “snow” out of it with my lighter. It didnt melt. It just shrunk back like on the video. It also smelled like plastic and turned black. Theres no way it was nanosnow since it came from my own purified water. But i had the same results. If you dont believe me, try it yourself.

  14. Cloey Jade on January 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Come on now everyone…. Before you believe the conspiracy hype, just
    test this for yourself. I froze some purified water in my freezer and
    then made “snow” out of it with my blender. It didnt melt. It just
    shrunk back like on the video. It also smelled like plastic and turned
    black. Theres no way it was nanosnow since it came from my own purified
    water. But i had the same results. If you dont believe me, try it

  15. Kenneth Nelson on January 31, 2014 at 2:18 pm


  16. Kenneth Nelson on January 31, 2014 at 2:19 pm


  17. comali on January 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    If you don’t think that something is being sprayed in our skies you must not look up very often. Whoever it is that has the money to pollute(practice weather modification) our skies/atmosphere/world (hmmm lets see…) is not going to stop till we accept that something is going on and fight. Research & you will see, chemtrails/geoengineering are not conspiracy, it goes on everyday.

  18. Sybil on January 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I live in Atlanta. I just did with a match & again with a Bic. It melted, no strange smell. Snow from my back yard. It’s real (obviously) now please shut up already…

  19. MD on January 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I tried with a match and got the same result with my natural gas stove same result.

    • shelly on January 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      I got the same rest with an unscented candle. Didn’t melt. just burned and smelled like toxic plastic burning

  20. shelly on January 31, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Then why did burning it over a candle give the same results as the lighter?

    • shelly on January 31, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      I am from the IA IL area

    • Geoff Robbins on February 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Because a candle is also a “dirty flame”. If a hydrocarbon (gas, oil, wax) flame is yellow it means there is “incomplete combustion” and there is still lot of carbon in the flame – lots of soot basically. Try it over a blue gas flame on a stove.

  21. Dee.P on February 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Bullshit!! If I took a lighter that burns butane (dirty fuel) and burn and ice cube out if my freezer the daym thing does not burn black and gives off a pungent odor. Explain that muthafucker! Dumbest explanation ever. How much you get paid to write this stupid shit???

    • makstone on February 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      For the record, an ice cube contains almost no air and will melt immediately. If people would do just a little research they could easily verify that there is no fake snow.

  22. roboloki on February 1, 2014 at 9:50 am

    i have been in upstate south carolina. we were hit by this same storm. when the flakes hit my skin it burns like fire. also? zombie steve jobs implanted a microchip in my taint and obama is an android.

  23. Heydi Shara-ann Mccoy on February 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I did it this morning too,,, im in Niagara falls, Canada. i used a lighter, and a stove that was not a flame stove it was an element on high heat, i put it very close over top of it, it didn’t melt, with the lighter it did start to melt after some time, but did look like plastic when you put fire to it. it smelt like moth balls and to note over a month ago now, after our first snow falls and it melted i could smell moth balls outside, so when the snow smelt like moth balls it really did make me think that this isn’t all conspiracy.

  24. in the name of Chris on February 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I prayed over the snow in the name of Christ Jesus and the demon came out of it and spoke and admitted it was Jew snow.

  25. keithbrekhus on February 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Don”t over think it. It was real snow. Its called weather.

  26. Adam Phytophile on February 2, 2014 at 2:03 am

    snow sublimates when you hold a flame right to it… it is turning directly to steam, that’s why it does not appear to melt. and yes, any non-clean burning fuel will leave residue if you hold it up to *any* surface. if the snow were plastic, it would catch fire, and create thick black smoke of its own. if it really “doesn’t melt,” where are the videos of it sitting placidly in a frying pan over high heat on a stove?

    • Adam Phytophile on February 2, 2014 at 2:11 am

      my friend in ATL put some snow in a pan on the stove. can anyone guess what happened?

      • Geoff Robbins on February 2, 2014 at 11:31 am

        There’s a good chance they’d damage the pan. It’s a common mountaineer’s problem, if you don’t keep the snow moving you get a thin layer of water, then steam, under the snow. Steam doesn’t conduct heat well, so the snow doesn’t melt and the base of the pan gets dangerously hot.

  27. Dave Lanson on February 2, 2014 at 7:39 am

    This just proves that insane people are being given credibility through media coverage of their “theories.” With Alex Jones and Glenn Beck as their leaders, these might be the people who take charge in the future and make the teabaggers seem moderate.

  28. makstone on February 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Holy crap I’m amazed at some of these responses. Let’s make this simple, folks. Leave the lighter out of the experiment since so many of you are getting caught up in this soot thing (nothing more than unburned butane). A lighter is the wrong type of heat source to prove or disprove this theory of “fake snow”, The vid shows the snowball melting from the inside out because the flame doesn’t disperse heat enough to melt it quickly in this particular case. TRY THIS: Heat a metal spatula on the stove, go outside and get a freakin snowball, and you will all get the SAME RESULT. Water! Everybody is going out and doing this lighter crap and drawing the wrong conclusion. All snow has different air and water content depending on the conditions that produced it. Snow in Virginia will not be the same as snow in Minnesota at any given time.

  29. David Parker on February 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Where in the world did anyone get the idea that people in the South do not know what know is??? Plastic snow? Yeah… right. So I guess there is plastic snow all across the South and that I played in it in several Southern states as I grew up. And I suppose these “geniuses” think that the black ice on the roads is oil or something. Go try to easily freeze some oil and keep it frozen. Because You live in the Northern part of the US you think You are the only ones *allowed* to experience snow. Where in the heck do they find those people? By the way… I live near Atlanta, Georgia and it was real! Put *that* in your Northern pipe and smoke it!

    • Mark Russell on February 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm


      • David Parker on February 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        I suggest you read the article.

  30. Arthur McDonald on February 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I think this is all silly, but then again the snow IS gone and I didn’t get to try the experiment myself.

  31. SpookySr on February 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Uhhhh… I guess it couldn’t be particulate matter from all of the CFC’s and Hydro-Carbons in GA area? I mean Diesel trucks and busses burn sooty causing particulate matter to go airborne and mix in with precipitation. And what about all of the factories in GA burning sooty? Couple that with all of the cars idling in traffic jams pumping massive amounts of CO into the atmosphere… where does anyone begin to use their collective brains? Rain and snow is DIRTY already! China has the world’s dirtiest snow. Guess why? If you want to know what’s in the snow just bring it to a .EDU and have the geeks do a spectral analysis on the stuff.

    And BTW? ChemTrails are LEGAL now thanks to San Antonio Congresswoman Hutchinson (TX-R). She got a weather modification bill passed in the last decade and it allows such things as artificial seeding of atmosphere to change the local weather (i.e. “S. 517 (109th): Weather Modification Research and Development Policy Authorization Act of 2005). Hell the USAF has been working on such a system for a “force multiplier” concept to asymmetric warfare (i.e. “AF2025 Final Report: Vol 3; (Ch 1) Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025”).

    So don’t be shocked if your snow smells funny and tastes even worse. Snow probably has more heavy metals in it then your cigarette!