Why Conspiracy Theories are Fun

Ive always been fascinated by conspiracy theories. In fact, in my early twenties I was constantly reading books on the topic. Anyone remember, “None Dare Call it Conspiracy”? Though now, I can’t remember a single detail of that book, it served to wedge into a corner of my mind that there are conspiracies everywhere. Naturally, one of my favorite movies is The Conspiracy Theory. I only wonder why it took so many years for them to make it.

The great thing about conspiracy theories is that there is one for every paranoic thought that exists. From disenfranchised voters to age discrimination. In fact, without conspiracy theories, Snopes would be out of business. Not to mention other booming businesses, hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs, publishing companies, most newspapers and magazines and television shows.

In the words of Muldaur, The truth is out there. Or is it?

Following, are some of the most popular conspiracy theories – my editorial comments in italics.

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Dinosauroid-like Alien Reptiles Dominate the World

Christine Fitzgerald, a confidante of Diana, Princess of Wales, claims that Diana told her that the Royal Family were Reptilian aliens, and that they could shapeshift. She may have a point, it could explain why they all look so weird

David Icke’s, a BBC reporter, claims that humanity is actually under the control of dinosauroid-like alien reptiles who must consume human blood to maintain their human appearance. Icke theorizes that the reptilians came here from the constellation Draco. Apparently, this dude has been reading too much Anne Rice

Apollo 11 Moon Landings were faked by NASA

This is an oldie but a goodie and has been around as long as I can remember. It was all a hoax pulled off by NASA and CIA spooks – on some sound stage in Hollywood. The so called evidence includes:

  • The astronauts could not have survived the trip because of exposure to radiation
  • The photos were altered: the Crosshairs on some photos appear to be behind objects, rather than in front of them where they should be
  • The quality of the photographs is implausibly high.
  • There are no stars in any of the photos, and astronauts never report seeing any stars from the capsule windows.
  • Identical backgrounds in photos that are listed as taken miles apart.
  • The moon’s surface during the daytime is so hot that camera film would have melted.
  • No blast crater appeared from the landing
  • The launch rocket produced no visible flame.
  • The flag placed on the surface by the astronauts flapped despite there being no wind on the Moon.

Well, let’s say they have a point – the question I have to ask is why? Why bother? What would be the point? So the martians would know we were hot on their trail?

September 11th: Inside Job

This one gets me personally. Again, why, why, why. Theories are:

  • The U.S., Israel or Iraq government orchestrated the attacks themselves. Because?
  • The Twin Towers fell straight down, at close to free-fall speed. This is a similar characteristic of a controlled demolition. The dust cloud and its make up are considered un-characteristic of a gravity-driven collapse. Not if you actually read the final report on why it fell that way – not to mention the fact that surely the thousands of people who worked in that building would have noticed great piles of explosives all over the building.
  • It is often pointed out that no steel building before or since the 9-11 attack has collapsed as the result of fire.
  • The rubble of the Twin Towers smoldered for weeks after the collapse. This claim is meant to point out that steel could only have smoldered as a result of pre-placed explosives.
  • Some consider photographic evidence of the plane lying on the grounds of the Pentagon to be ambiguous and unconvincing, citing a visual lack of burnt metal, human remains, passenger’s luggage or seats.
  • The Pentagon was struck in a newly renovated, reinforced section. Some speculate this location, the west side of the complex, to be indicative of government involvement, noting it as an attempt to reduce casualties.
  • Flight 77 was able to fly in the direction of the DC and Pentagon area for approximately 40 minutes without interception. This is thought to be unusual given the Pentagon’s close proximity to Andrews Air Force Base.
  • There are claims that anti-missile batteries at the Pentagon should have intercepted Flight 77.
  • The FBI confiscated a video, which may have captured the impact, from a nearby gas station attended by Jose Velasquez. This video has not yet been released. And if it’s not yet released then how does anyone know what’s on it? Eh

Barcodes are really intended to Control people

Some conspiracy theorists have proposed that barcodes are really intended to serve as means of control by a putative world government, or that they are Satanic in intent.

Mary Stewart Relfe claims in “The New Money System 666” that barcodes secretly encode the number 666 – the Biblical “Number of the Beast”.

This theory has been adopted by other fringe figures such as the “oracle” Sollog, who refuses to label any of his books with barcodes on the grounds that “any type of computer numbering systems MANDATED by any government or business is part of the PROPHECY of the BEAST controlling you.” Frankly, I’m thinking we have plenty of other really obvious attempts of control going on – that to worry about this is too anal for me.

Charlemagne never existed, is a fictional character

Phantom time hypothesis is a theory developed by Heribert Illig which suggests that the Early Middle Ages (614-911 CE) never occurred, meaning that all artifacts attributed to this time period were from other times, and all historical figures were outright fabrications.

One consequence of Illig’s hypothesis is that Charlemagne never existed but is a fictional character. The vast majority of historians believe this theory to be complete fiction, as all cited evidence can be considered circumstantial. So, do you think he believes Batman and Spiderman are make believe too?

Area 51

And speaking of Muldaur…do any of you remember that alien autopsy they showed on public televsion at the height of the popularity of The XFiles? This place is the holy grail of UFO phenom and legend. Highlights of this theory are:

  • The storage, examination, and reverse engineering of crashed alien spacecraft (including material supposedly recovered at Roswell), the study of their occupants (living and dead), and the manufacture of aircraft based on alien technology.
  • Meetings or joint undertakings with extraterrestrials.
  • The development of exotic energy weapons (for SDI applications or otherwise) or means of weather control.
  • Activities related to a supposed shadowy world government.

Microsoft sends messages on Wingdings Font

And if you listen to “I am a Walrus” backwards, Satan has a special message for you.

The Wingdings Font included with Windows has a history of controversy. In 1992, only days after the release of Windows 3.1, it was discovered that the character sequence “NYC” in Wingdings was rendered as Skull and crossbones symbol, Star of David, and thumbs up gesture. This could be interpreted as a message of approval of killing Jews, especially those from New York City.

Microsoft strongly denied this was intentional, and insisted that the final arrangement of the glyphs in the font was largely random. Various other combinations of Wingings characters are alleged to have special significance by conspiracy theorists, but these results are likely purely coincidental.

The Nazis had a Moon Base

Esoteric Hitlerists and conspiracy theorists interested in Nazi mysticism and World War II have speculated that the Germans landed on the Moon as early as 1942. I think they need to talk to the folks at the Apollo Hoax Center Hotline

According to other theories it is believed that the Nazis had made contact with ‘half a dozen’ alien races, including the malevolent Reptilians. Or perhaps this is just a smokescreen designed to prevent people from knowing that they were/are the blood sucking reptillian aliens seeking to take over the world?

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Princess Diana’s Murder

Within hours of Princess Diana’s death on Aug. 31, 1997, in a Paris highway tunnel, conspiracy theories swirled. As was the case with the death of John F. Kennedy, the idea that such a beloved and high-profile figure could be killed so suddenly was a shock. This was especially true of Princess Diana; royalty die of old age, political intrigue, or eating too much rich food; they don’t get killed by a common drunk driver. Unlike many conspiracy theories, though, this one had a billionaire promoting it: Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Dodi Al-Fayed, who was killed along with Diana. Al-Fayed claims that the accident was in fact an assassination by British intelligence agencies, at the request of the Royal Family. Al-Fayed’s claims were examined and dismissed as baseless by a 2006 inquiry; the following year, at Diana’s inquest, the coroner stated that “The conspiracy theory advanced by Mohamed Al Fayed has been minutely examined and shown to be without any substance.” On April 7 of this year, the coroner’s jury concluded that Diana and Al-Fayed were unlawfully killed due to negligence by their drunken chauffer and pursuing paparazzi. As fun as it would have been to be true because, well it would make a heck of a novel – personally, I always thought the Paparazzi should have been thrown in jail instead of skating because the limo driver had been drinking. Suckers!

Subliminal Advertising

This baby has been around since I was a kid. Apparently advertisers, splice in images of coca cola, popcorn, candy and hotdogs into films shown at movie theatres. Naturally, the movie theatre owners don’t mind because that’s where they make their dough. Then over time, it has apparently morphed over to the small screen, broadcast, cable, direct tv, dish tv, the internet. Watch out man, they’re fricking everywhere. Really, why show subliminal advertising when everybody is used to regular advertising?

Paul McCartney’s Death

According to many stories and conspiracy theories that circulated in the late 1960s, Beatles guitarist Paul McCartney died in 1966. The remaining members of the Beatles–along with their manager and others–conspired to keep McCartney’s death a secret, going so far as to hire a look-alike and sound-alike to take his place in the band. Well, kind of: In a case of seriously twisted logic (even by conspiracy theory standards) the conspirators in this case took great pains to keep the press and public from finding out about McCartney’s demise–yet they also wanted fans to know about it, and placed clever clues in album covers and music giving details about McCartney’s death. For example, on the cover of the Abbey Road album, all four Beatles are photographed striding across a zebra crossing, but only McCartney is barefoot, and out of step with the other three. This must mean something, right? Despite public denials by the band, fans couldn’t just let it be, and came together to look for more clues. Once again, start playing “I am a Walrus” backwards – the truth is out there.

Who Shot JFK?

John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963 in a Dallas motorcade. Who killed Kennedy? Most (though not all) conspiracy theorists acknowledge that Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from a book depository. Beyond this fact lies a vast area of conspiracy theory that has spawned endless speculation and hundreds of books, articles, and films. Was there a second assassin, perhaps one at a nearby “grassy knoll”? And if Oswald did act alone, who gave him the orders? Activists against Fidel Castro? Organized crime bosses? A jealous husband upset with Kennedy’s philandering? Though the Warren Commission report concluded that Oswald acted alone, a 1979 report by The House Select Committee on Assassinations suggested that there was in fact a conspiracy, and likely more than one shooter. In such a complex and sensational case, the conspiracy theories will live on. Yet, we still don’t feel like we know, do we? What is up with that Kennedy family anyway, the strangest things happen to these people.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion

“The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” is a hoaxed book that purported to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to achieve world domination. It first appeared in Russia in 1905, and described how Christians’ morality, finances, and health would be targeted by a small group of powerful Jews. The idea that there is a Jewish conspiracy is nothing new, of course, and has been repeated by many prominent people including Henry Ford and Mel Gibson. In 1920, Henry Ford paid to have half a million copies of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” published, and in the 1930s, the book was used by the Nazis as justification for its genocide against Jews (in fact, Adolph Hitler referred to the “Protocols” in his book “Mein Kampf”). Though the book has been completely discredited as a hoax and forgery, it is still in print and remains widely circulated around the world. This one stymies particularly since in the not too distant past Jews were almost anihilated from the planet – and have one of the tiniest countries in the world – yet they are the threat? Interesting.

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Pearl Harbor Was Allowed to Happen

This theory states that President Roosevelt (FDR) provoked the attack, knew about it in advance and covered up his failure to warn the Hawaiian commanders. FDR needed the attack to sucker Hitler to declare war, since the public and Congress were overwhelmingly against entering the war in Europe. It was his backdoor to war.

Theorists believe that the US was warned by, at least, the governments of Britain, Netherlands, Australia, Peru, Korea and the Soviet Union that a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was coming. All important Japanese codes were broken. FDR and Marshall and others knew the attack was coming, allowed it and covered up their knowledge. Gee, this has an oddly familiar ring to it. Makes you wonder, don’t it?

The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment was an alleged naval military eperiment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sometime around the date of October 28, 1943, in which the U.S. destroyer escort USS Eldridge was to be rendered invisible to human observers for a brief period of time. It is also referred to as Project Rainbow. The story is widely regarded as a hoax. The U.S. Navy has stated that the experiment never occurred, and furthermore, details of the story contradict stated facts about the Eldridge.

According to some accounts, the experiment was conducted by a Dr. Franklin Reno (or Rinehart) as a military application of a Unified Field Theory. The theory, briefly, postulates the interrelated nature of the forces that comprise electromagnetic radiation and gravity. Through a special application of the theory, it was thought possible, with specialized equipment and sufficient energy, to bend light around an object in such a way as to render it essentially invisible to observers. The Navy considered this application of the theory to be of obvious military value (especially as the United States was engaged in World War II at the time) and both approved and sponsored the experiment. A navy destroyer escort, the USS Eldridge, was fitted with the required equipment at the naval yards in Philadelphia. Personally, I’m a little disappointed that this is a hoax. How cool would it be if we could make our military invisible? I think we could use some of that now.

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Flat Earth Society

In 1956, Samuel Shelton founded a society that subscribed to a theory about the shape of the Earth — namely, that it’s flat. Shelton based his theory upon what he called common sense and personal observation. He called the scientific evidence for a globe-shaped Earth “dogmatic,” meaning scientists were making this claim without adequate evidence. Later, when people showed him pictures of the Earth taken by satellites, Shelton claimed the photos were fake. He and the members of his society continued to support the idea that the Earth is flat and that those who disagree are part of a conspiracy to keep the truth about the Earth hidden.

Shelton died in 1971, and leadership of the society passed to Charles Johnson. Johnson led the society until his death in 2001. Without leadership, the society fell apart. Critics of the Flat Earth Society say that its members simply deny any evidence that conflicts with their world view without offering real alternative hypotheses. Well, you can lead a conspiracy theorist to geometry but you can’t make him grok it.

Planet X (didn’t they make a movie about this in the 50’s?)

This theory says that our solar system has a 10th planet (if you count Pluto as a planet, otherwise the mystery planet is no. 9). The planet is supposed to be enormous and on an orbital path that will bring it close to Earth soon. Proponents of this theory cite earthquake and weather data as evidence of this planet’s growing influence on Earth. They also claim that the government is forcing observatories to close to keep the planet’s approach secret and prevent panic. Several astronomers have said that there’s no evidence for the Planet X theory, and that if the planet did exist, humans would be able to see it even without a telescope. Wow, all this time we thought it was global warming that was screwing with our weather and now we find it’s a giant planet with a big red x on it. Who knew?

Illuminati and Majestic

Supposedly, the Illuminati is another secret organization with ties to space. There are hundreds of different theories about the Illuminati, some of which say it’s the organization to which all other secret governments report. In what is possibly the strangest theory on this list, some people claim that the Illuminati are the descendants of the union between humans and an extraterrestrial reptilian race.(Here come those giant reptilian aliens again, anybody else sensing a theme here?) According to this theory, these hybrid descendents have infiltrated the highest levels of government in countries around the world. The supposed goals of the Illuminati range from simple world domination to preparing the Earth for extraterrestrial colonization. Skeptics say there’s no evidence to support the existence of the Illuminati, but conspiracy theorists say that the lack of evidence actually proves the group exists. Believers say the Illuminati is so effective, they’ve erased almost all evidence of their existence. LOL – don’t you love that the lack of evidence is the evidence? Too funny.

Shifting Poles

Some people believe that the Earth’s North and South poles weren’t always located where they are now. They believe the Earth once rotated on a different axis. Others say that the Earth always rotated about its polar axis, but that the Earth’s crust shifts so that the land located at each pole changes. Climate change, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions result from stresses on the Earth’s crust during the shift. Some claim that the Earth will soon experience another dramatic polar shift, and that, as a result, entire continents might sink while new ones emerge from the sea.

­­The polar shift hypothesis enters the worl­d of conspiracy theories when some claim that top governments and scientists know of the impending shift but refuse to share the information with the public. Supposedly, they’re keeping it a secret to avoid causing a panic. Well, I guess Algore has let this one out of the bag, eh?

The Dead Cosmonaut

Model of the Russian satellite Sputnik I on display at the Soviet pavilion during the 1958 World’s Fair.
During the 1960s, the Soviet Union and United States raced to become the world leader in space exploration. The winner would be able to claim technological superiority over the other. The Soviet Union had the early edge: In 1957, it launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. In 1961, the Soviet Union dealt the American space program another blow when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. But, according to the Judica-Cordiglia brothers from Italy, Gagarin wasn’t the first.

The brothers set up a listening station in Italy to intercept communication transmissions between ground operations and spacecraft for both American and Soviet missions. Weeks before Gagarin’s successful flight, the brothers claimed to have detected and recorded radio transmissions of a cosmonaut slowly dying while adrift in space. The Soviet Union denied the brothers’ claim. Supporters of the theory believe the Soviet government hid the cosmonaut’s death to preserve the country’s reputation as a leader in space exploration. The truth remains a mystery, though the recordings are available online, if you’re curious to hear for yourself. Gosh, do you think the Russians really might have lied? I’m stunned.

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Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa earned a reputation amongst peers as a tough and effective negotiator. After negotiating the union’s first national contract with trucking companies, the Teamsters Union membership grew to more than two million under his leadership. With time, this raised the ire of many, as Hoffa became the subject of many government investigations and prosecutions that ultimately led to his imprisonment in 1967.

Hoffa left prison in 1971, but disappeared four years later. The last time he was spotted was at Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and we have no reason to think that it was the food that killed him. Eight years later, he was finally declared legally dead. And as Angie the loan shark likes to say, ‘he’s swimmin’ wit dah fishes, now.”

While I’m sure I didn’t hit all the conspiracy theories out there, I think we got a good cross section of crazy, whacky, large scale paranoia from the above. How about you? What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?