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Tin Foil Hats are a type of fashion accessory constructed out of aluminum foil that is worn on the head under the belief that it protects the wearer from forms of telepathy and electromagnetic fields. Online, tin foil hats are often referenced in jokes mocking conspiracy theorists.
According to an article by Business Insider, tin foil hats were first referenced as protection against mind interference in the 1927 science fiction short story The Tissue-Culture King by Julian Huxley, which features caps made of foil that are used by the story’s protagonist to block telepathy.
“Well, we had discovered that metal was relatively impervious to the telepathic effect, and had prepared for ourselves a sort of tin pulpit, behind which we could stand while conducting experiments. This, combined with caps of metal foil, enormously reduced the effects on ourselves.”
In 2005, a study performed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that metal hats amplified some radio frequencies instead of blocking them. On August 10th, 2009, Redditor FlyingBishop submitted the study to the /r/technology subreddit, where it received upwards of 1,400 votes (93% upvoted) prior to being archived. On April 3rd, 2013, YouTuber Ephemeral Rift uploaded an ASMR-triggering video in which he wears a tin foil hat while crinkling various tinf oil objects (shown below). In the first two years, the video accumulated upwards of 100,000 views and 750 comments.
On September 24th, Redditor sammikins666 submitted a photo in which she and her kitten are both wearing tin foil hats to the /r/funny subreddit (shown below). Prior to being archived, the post gained over 2,500 votes (86% upvoted).
On July 16th, 2014, musician “Weird Al” Yankovic released a music video for “Foil,” a parody of the song “Royals” by Lorde in which he dons an aluminum foil hat to thwart the Illuminati from reading his mind.