For nearly every mysterious occurrence on the planet there is a conspiracy theory: there are even some for the not-so-mysterious events. It seems to be human nature to attempt to find an explanation for the things that occur around us, even if the explanation turns out to be somewhat far-fetched. Here are some conspiracy theories to pique your interest.
There is still a lot of speculation in many circles about the 1969 moon landing. In 1980, the Flat Earth Society accused NASA of faking the moon landing. They suggested that the space agency had enlisted expert help in the form of a sponsorship from the Walt Disney company, a script written by Arthur C Clarke, and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Theorists cite the impeccable quality of the photographs on the moon, the lack of visible stars in the background, and the seemingly identical backgrounds in photographs supposedly taken kilometres apart. A resident of Western Australia claimed to have seen a bottle of Coca-Cola roll across the bottom corner of the screen in footage of the moon landing shown on the news. Many theorists point to the fluttering of the American flag despite the absence of wind on the moon. However, some readers may remember an episode of the popular television show, Mythbusters, where the theory that the flag would not flutter was debunked.
Another cosmic conspiracy theory is that of the Nibiru Cataclysm, which theorists believe NASA is trying to cover up. Believers of the theory suggest there will be an encounter between Earth and another large planetary object at some point in the early 21st century. The theory was started in 1995 by Nancy Lieder, who claims to have contact with extra-terrestrial beings called Zetans. The most popular use of this theory was in 2012 when theorists began sharing the speculation that the world would end on 21 December of that year. The theory was revived in 2017 when a numerologist claimed this theory was related to passages in the bible and that it would happen on 23 September 2017. The theoretical planetary body has since appeared in movies like 2012 (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and made a long-running appearance on Scooby-Doo!, but it has yet to materialise in real life.
“A resident of Western Australia claimed to have seen a bottle of Coca-Cola roll across the bottom corner of the screen in footage of the moon landing shown on the news.“
In 1967, a rumour began circulating that English musician Paul McCartney had died in a car accident the year before and was secretly replaced by a look-alike. Proponents of the theory say the band left clues for fans to find in their songs and album covers including the line “here’s another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul” in their 1968 song Glass Onion. The cover of their album Abbey Road is also cited as evidence, with the band members representing a funeral procession and McCartney (barefoot and out of step with the rest of the band) as the corpse. This theory came about in a time where similar theories about popular figures abounded, most notably those surrounding the assassination of President John F Kennedy. The “Paul is dead” rhetoric has been applied to a number of other prominent figures who conspiracy theorists believe have died and been replaced by imposters, including Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, punk-pop singer Avril Lavigne, and most recently, First Lady Melania Trump.
Perhaps the most widespread conspiracy theory of all is that of the Illuminati and the New World Order. Proponents of this theory believe that there is an elite international group that controls nearly all of the world’s mechanisms and institutions. The Illuminati are allegedly promoting the New World Order, with the hopes of establishing a global hegemony. Many musicians are accused of associating with this group, including Beyoncé and Whitney Houston. One of the more bizarre theories related to the New World Order theory is that the Denver International Airport in the United States is built atop an underground city which is the group’s official headquarters. There are also some who believe a race of lizard people live below the airport, so definitely take this idea with a pinch of salt.
“Perhaps the most widespread conspiracy theory of all is that of the Illuminati and the New World Order.“
Professional conspiracy theorist David Icke visited a psychic in 1990 who gave him the message that he had been placed on earth for a purpose and he would soon receive messages from the spirit world. He began speaking at a number of events which have gone down in conspiracy theory history. His first message was that the world would experience a number of events (including the disappearance of New Zealand and the transformation of Los Angeles into an island) which would culminate in the end of the world. One of his most popular theories is the existence of the Anunnaki, a race of inter-dimensional reptilian beings which have replaced some prominent figures in our world. The Bush Family, Margaret Thatcher, and the British Royal Family are among some of the people Icke believes are such creatures, working in secret to control the world. Most recently, Icke was responsible for a YouTube video in which he claims 5G mobile phone networks are responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. This is one of many conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, including the belief that the virus was engineered by a Chinese laboratory, the belief that the virus does not actually exist, and the belief that Bill Gates released the virus into the world to make money.
Those with a keen interest in conspiracy theories should look for the Conspiracy Theories podcast which covers these beliefs in more detail. Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know by iHeartRadio, started as a YouTube show and has transitioned into the podcast world, bringing its listeners discussions on the vast conspiracy theories and mysteries that exist. Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning dives into the scientific explanations behind some of these theories. If you’re sceptical about the actual existence of conspiracy theories, try QClearance; a brand new investigative journalism podcast which focuses on the biggest conspiracy theory of this year: QAnon, a group of theorists who claim Donald Trump will soon defeat an organisation of ‘Satan worshipping’ sex traffickers.