If pressed, we at Cracked would have to admit that, yes, perhaps we have a slight "thing" for conspiracies -- especially for the kind that turn out to be true, which are more common than you think. As such, we've often wondered what it would be like for you -- random, everyday you with nary a mention on Wikipedia -- to walk through your front door one bright and sunny morning and smack straight into some wide-ranging and lethal conspiracy orchestrated by the powers that be.
Well, we actually don't have to wonder, because there are plenty of real people out there who did just that. Well, some of them are still out there, anyway ...
Ray Peck Wakes Up To Find He's In The Middle Of A Top-Secret Chemical Weapons Test
When Ray Peck walked out of his home in the about-to-be exceedingly appropriately named Skull Valley Of Utah on the morning of March 14, 1968, the first unusual thing he noticed was that the land had been blanketed by late-winter snow. The second unusual thing he noticed was a dying rabbit struggling to drag itself back to its burrow, as if a scene from Watership Down had escaped from his recurring nightmares and wriggled its way into reality. The third and fourth unusual things he noticed, respectively, were that the surrounding ranch was mysteriously peppered with dead birds and that entire flocks of sheep -- thousands upon thousands of sheep -- had simultaneously come to resemble sweater-wearing doornails.
March 14, 1968, was an unusual day in Skull Valley, is what we're saying.
Don Grayston via Wikipedia
Well, it was pretty usual aside from this.
But, while Peck's day had started out weird, it was about to take a screeching turn onto Batshit Boulevard. Soon, an Army helicopter from the nearby Dugway Proving Ground arrived and dumped out a stream of military scientists, who collected creature corpses and jabbed Peck's rightfully terrified family with frightfully terrifying needles. They were gone as quickly as they had appeared, and, soon, rumors of bizarre military chemical weapon tests were running rampant throughout the community. The U.S. Army's official answer to such allegations was, "Nu-uh, but we'll pay for all your dead sheep, anyway."
Despite their denials, the Army had, in fact, released a heaping helping of the straight-up evil VX nerve agent from an F-4 Phantom jet over the Dugway test site on March 13, 1968 -- which you may recognize as the day before every sheep in the general proximity of Ray Peck just so happened to keel the hell over. Thanks to a janky shut-off valve, the plane continued to release the chemical as it climbed to a higher altitude after the test, scattering trace amounts of the lethal agent across the surrounding landscape.