Oftentimes, when the term “conspiracy theory” arises, it evokes the visual of a deranged homeless man with a tinfoil hat, babbling about how the government took his kidneys. While this is an awesome and humorous piece of imagery, there are plenty of homeowners (and renters) with normal hats, who buy into certain stories and tales that are considered to be of a conspiratorial nature.
One of the most notorious examples is the 9/11 attacks, in which while a majority of people consider Muslim radicals to be the culprits, there are still those who argue that the United States government had their own part to play on that fateful day. Both sides claim the other is mistaken, confused and downright ignorant. Looking further back, many were ridiculed for questioning the United States’ government’s side of the Gulf of Tonkin attack (which in effect, started the Vietnam War), but it was later realized that the firing exchange between US and North Vietnamese vessels was started and finished by the US, while they had long held their story to be contrary.
While conspiracy theories vary from issues and topics from “who started what war, and why?” to such tirades as “this law was only brought into place to benefit x group of business owners”, even the deaths of famous people have found their own little subcategory of conspiracy tale. Did a celebrity die with either no witnesses or no leads? Never fear, there is usually an interesting (and sometimes factually plausible) story to explain why “X political or social group or person” was behind it. Here are ten of the most interesting celebrity deaths that have interesting conspiracy theories. Finally; a disclaimer is necessary: we don’t necessarily agree with these theories, or the other beliefs of those who spread and preach them, but just seek to outline these conspiracies in the interest of reporting.
11. Paul McCartney
To start off the list is a man whose death is not surrounded by conspiracy, but is a conspiracy. Some die hard Beatles fans think that Paul died in a car accident back in 1966. Allegedly, the band didn’t want the public to lose their faith in the band, so they found a lookalike who also sounded and acted like McCartney.
Fans claim that several of the Beatles’ songs reference Paul’s untimely demise. Paul’s replacement was and is supposedly named Billy Shears, and the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album supposedly had several hints as to the fact that Paul had met his end. Every band member has insisted that the story is complete nonsense, but as a good conspiracy theorist might say, “OF COURSE, BECAUSE THEY’RE IN ON IT, MAAAAAN!!” Every now and again a fake news article pops up that claims one of the band members made a comment on Paul’s death. The most recent was around the end of February; in which some fake celebrity news sites claimed that Ringo Starr admitted to his bandmate’s death in an interview. It never happened and the sites that started the rumor are not reputable, trustworthy sources.
10. Marilyn Monroe
The essential definition of beauty in the 1950’s was killed in 1962. The official report is that she died of a barbiturate overdose, but many people think that foul play was involved. It was no secret at the time that the beautiful lady liked her drugs, and many argue that the “overdose” story is just that, a story.
There are a few theories floating around, but the most widely accepted as that her death had something to do with the Kennedy brothers, Bobby and Jack. Monroe bedded both of them during their political careers and one book, written by journalists Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin, argues that after she started to actively pursue JFK, his brother ordered that she be killed to protect his reputation and marriage. Certain aspects of the story support such a claim, such as the fact that the scene of her death did not involve certain usual signs of overdose, such as emptied or strewn about pill bottles, vomit, or any water or alcohol. While the book may have convinced some, Marilyn Monroe’s death is still one of the most widely disagreed upon parts of the starlet’s life.
9. Bruce Lee
The legendary martial artist from Hong Kong died back in 1973, and fans were told that he suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a painkiller. For numerous reasons, many believe that Lee did not suffer such a death and that there were other factors at work. His usual doctor remarked that Lee had never reacted to the drug before, and others have argued that a conspiracy is afoot given the fact that his son Brandon, died years later; also under mysterious circumstances.
Some of the popular theories include an idea that he was killed by organised crime interests (either the Triads or the Mafia) and that it may have been the work of other professional martial artists for putting their secrets and practices up on the big screen.
8. Kurt Cobain
Above is a picture of Cobain’s alleged suicide note. Back in 1994, the singer for the grunge band Nirvana was found dead, having sustained a shotgun blast to the head. It was officially ruled a suicide but there was speculation and scrutiny of the story from day one.
While entire articles and websites have been dedicated to this conspiracy theory, there are just a few key points that supporters of the conspiracy believe point to its legitimacy. The main suspect for having committed Cobain’s murder is his wife, Courtney Love. Many point to the fact that she was aware that he was (allegedly) going to divorce him. Furthermore, when he “killed himself” he had far more than a lethal dose of heroin in his system: some say he wouldn’t have been able to stand, let alone put a gun in his mouth and operate the trigger. Finally, questions about whether his finger prints were on the shotgun and whether his note was actually a suicide note (many think it was to his fans, announcing his retirement from music) add to the mystery surrounding his death.
7. Bob Marley
Back in 1981, the greatest reggae musician of all time, Bob Marley died of cancer. It had started out in one of his toes and, while he did attempt some forms of alternative treatment, it gradually spread through his body, finally overtaking his lungs and brain. I know what you’re thinking, “who wants to go after a dope smoking, peaceful Jamaican with a great message and awesome dreadlocks?” Well, to answer that question: many believe the CIA had a hand in it.
These people argue that it was a CIA hit crew that tried to kill Marley years earlier. They shot up his house, with extreme prejudice, but failed to kill him. Some of those close to the late musician claim that a copper wire that was contaminated with a potent carcinogen was implanted into a boot he wore in the early 80’s, which caused the cancer that would eventually end his life. As to the question of “why would the CIA bother with Marley?” it was due to internal conflict having to do with the Cold War, according to some conspiracy buffs. In short, there were two parties in Jamaica at the time; one supported by the Americans, and one which was aligned with Cuba. CIA operatives were allegedly sent to Jamaica to kill some key figures; Marley was one of them.
6. John Lennon
The second Beatle to make our list; John Lennon was killed back in 1980. Mark David Chapman, who is still in prison to this day, was his murderer. While he pleaded guilty and was convicted, there are still those who think Chapman did not do it. Different stories have flooded the internet with respect to Chapman himself. Some argue that he was inspired by J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, while others claim that Chapman was deeply religious and took extreme exception to Lennon’s “we’re bigger than Jesus” comment.
These are just the tip of the iceberg however, and there are those who are hell-bent on convincing us that Chapman had nothing to do with it. One such theory has argued that the man who wrote the book on Lennon’s final days; Robert Rosen, is responsible. It is alleged that Rosen found witnesses after the murder to implicate Chapman and killed Lennon in order to sell copies of his book.
Other theories suggest that Salinger’s book has been used by the CIA to subliminally motivate certain murders. Others have even suggested that Richard Nixon and Stephen King (yes, the novelist) used headlines to motivate Chapman to kill Lennon using newspaper and magazine headlines. Why Lennon? He was a critic of the Vietnam War and of American foreign policy who was incredibly effective and widely supported, of course the government wanted him dead!
5. FAKED?! Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson
These three are listed together because their deaths all share one similar characteristic: these celebrities have dedicated fans who think they are still alive. Elvis Presley; the king of rock and roll, Tupac Shakur; one of rap’s all time greats, and possibly the greatest entertainer of all time; Michael Jackson. Some say the King simply faked his death to help record sales that were slipping in the 1970’s. Others say he just wanted to get out of the spotlight. He has been spotted all over the United States and even Canadians claim to have seen him with some saying he used to frequent Ottawa, and others saying he settled down in a small town named Tweed, Ontario.
With regard to Tupac Shakur, no particularly coherent ideas have been proposed to account for his “faked death”. With that said however, many people cling to the idea that he still lives and will one day come out of hiding. Some also say that he was killed by the CIA but let’s be honest, the government can’t kill every celebrity…can they?
Michael Jackson has been seen just about everywhere, and as such, many think he faked his death. Some suggested that he was facing bankruptcy and whether or not he was guilty of those things he allegedly did; would you want to stay in the spotlight with that type of publicity floating around? Again, many people think that MJ now resides in Canada.
4. Jim Morrison
It’s fun fact time regarding another celebrity whose death many believed was faked. Remember earlier, when I pointed out the Gulf of Tonkin incident that essentially opened the door to initiate hostilities in Vietnam? Rear Admiral George Morrison was in command of the group of American warships that participated in the event. His son was the singer for The Doors; Jim Morrison. The Doors’ front-man died in 1971 at age 27, and the official report indicated heart failure. Fans think Morrison faked his death to escape the fame he had achieved. There was an interview released a few years ago in which Gerald Pitts claimed Jim Morrison took drugs to simulate death, woke up weeks after he was declared dead and had been living in Oregon ever since.
Alright folks, that’s enough of these faked deaths.
3. Osama Bin Laden
Welcome to the Gong Show, folks. Obviously Bin Laden was/(is) not a celebrity in the same way as the rest of the list so far, but using celebrity as a term to describe any famous person, he fits the description. He is very widely believed to have been killed during a Navy SEAL raid back in 2011, but some people argue that the US government’s story is as full of holes as Bin Laden was.
Some considered the “burial at sea”and the lack of photographic evidence to be enough to determine that something was fishy. Others speculated that Bin Laden was killed prior to 2011 and that the Obama administration just took credit for it at this point. Conflicting accounts of the raid in which Bin Laden was killed didn’t help the US government’s credibility among conspiracy buffs either.
2. John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Again, not a celebrity in the same way as The Beatles or Bob Marley, but few people in the world are as famous as an American President. The conspiracy theories around his death are so numerous that books have been written on this topic. There are questions about bullet trajectories, the speed with which the rifle could have been operated (it was supposedly a beat up old bolt action), “the magic bullet” idea, the controversy over whether part of the President’s brain was misplaced, and of course, the number of shots that were heard.
As varied as the amount of questions about the events of the day, are the suspects. Some say it was organised crime, while others say the CIA was behind the entire project. Lyndon B. Johnson; Kennedy’s Vice President is also suspected of having had his boss knocked off, and of course, there is still the idea that Oswald actually didn’t do it alone, but that he was put to the task by yet another unknown conspiratorial character. Regardless of the theories themselves, Lee Harvey Oswald is still considered the killer by the US government. Interestingly, several polls over the past few years have indicated that a majority of Americans still think that Kennedy’s death was due to more than just Oswald.
1. Princess Diana
Sorry to those fans of the British monarchy, but there are people all over the world who think that she met her end because of more than just an auto accident. To be clear, nobody argues whether or not the car was involved, but many argued that there were other forces at work beyond just momentum.
While the official story involved a negligent driver, plenty of people have made speculations that the British military had something to do with her death. Others said MI6 was involved and many have also hypothesized that Diana was pregnant at the time with the child of her then boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. The implication was that the Royal Family would not tolerate her having divorced Charles and then having a child with Fayed. In essence, conspiracy theorists have long postulated that it is not unreasonable to think that the Royal Family had her killed in response to what they considered insults.
An anonymous soldier who claimed to be a sniper said that he and his regiment assassinated Diana when her limo sped into the tunnel, but this was never proven. Then again, however, there is the fact that even driver Henri Paul’s parents admitted their son was a heavy drinker. While the establishment may have done her in, there is still that crucial fact about their driver. The conspiracy buffs have their work cut out for them with this one, though.
newsweek.com, beforeitsnews.com, theguardian.com
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