Sitting just off New York’s Long Island sitting in Gardiner’s Bay is a tiny speck of land measuring only 3 miles (4.8 km) long and 1-mile (1.6 km) wide, known as Plum Island. It is mostly a nondescript and unassuming little piece of rocky land that most would normally not give much thought to, but Plum island is wreathed in a colorful history shrouded in secrecy and mystery. Originally purchased by the U.S. government in 1899, the island went on to become the site for a military base called Fort Terry, which was mostly meant to be an artillery sentry post. This military function continued with the start of World War II, when the base became an antisubmarine outpost for a government wary of enemy subs prowling the coast, and it was eventually decommissioned in the aftermath of the war.  The island then was used by the Army Chemical Corps for some years before it was repurposed for use by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who established the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) on the island in 1954. The facility was ostensibly involved in research into animal borne diseases that could be devastating to livestock, such as foot and mouth disease, and develop vaccines for these, although the full extent of the list of pathogens they were involved in researching has always been a well-guarded secret. Indeed, with the USDA’s acquisition of Plum Island it very quickly became locked down with incredibly tight security and numerous signs warning visitors to stay away, with no one allowed to come too close and boats or tourists turned away in no uncertain terms.

Perhaps it is this sudden veil of utter secrecy that circulated rumors amongst a nervous populous that there was something more going on at this top secret facility than was let on, and whispers of conspiracies became louder when the Plum Island Animal Disease Center was taken over by the United States Department of Homeland Security in 2003 and later turned into the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. It did not go unnoticed that workers and scientists on the island were ferried back and forth on special government vessels under armed guard, and reporters, boaters, and curiosity seekers were, and still are, strongly warned not to take photographs of the island or indeed come anywhere near it. Although the government claimed this is simply due for the need for tight security of a facility hosting potentially harmful microbes in a post-9/11 world, it is undoubtedly pure rocket fuel for conspiracy theories, and Plum Island has many.

One of the more prominent dark conspiracy ideas surrounding the island is the idea that it has long been used as a facility for researching biological weapons. Perhaps the most well-known supposed cases of this originates from an outbreak of a mysterious disease in the 1970s at a peaceful town in Connecticut called Old Lyme. The unknown illness produced myriad symptoms including fatigue, muscle aches, inability to focus, and at times paralysis, and at the time no one had any clue as to what it was, where it came from, or why it should gravitate towards this one town.  Scientists would eventually figure out that the disease, which had earned the name Lyme disease, was spread through deer ticks and was caused by a type of bacteria that would be labelled Borellia burgdorferi. Further research into this bacterium showed it to be incredibly complex and unlike most other bacteria ever seen, and that it could cause a vast number of offshoot symptoms and complications ranging from chronic schizophrenia and psychosis to severe infections of the brain and encephalitis, among many others. This baffling complexity and the fact that it had never been seen before made the strange disease very suspicious, as did the fact that it all started out of nowhere at Old Lyme, which it was quick to be pointed out was not far at all from Plum Island, only about 13 miles away. This led to the idea that Lyme disease was not naturally occurring at all, but was rather engineered at the secretive government facility.  READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT