As long as there has been the educated man, there have been opinions; as many as there have been opinions, there have been theories; and as many as there have been theories, there have been debates on their veracity. Almost all major events in history have been linked to alternative theories, or conspiracy theories, when some sort of foul play or alternative motives and intentions have been thought to be at play.
Conspiracy theories range from totally bizarre and made up, to those that somehow ring true. There are those that leave us hilariously entertained and those that actually raise a slight eyebrow of doubt, in what history recounts to be true and factual. Below are 12 of the most widely discussed conspiracy theories and most of these actually make us go, “could this be true?” These interesting and conspiring theories have been argued back and forth for many years now, and will probably continue to be this way for many more years to come.
12) Marilyn Monroe’s Death
Having tried to commit suicide all of four unsuccessful times previously, when her final death was ruled a suicide, it sounded pretty plausible. Yet, too many forensic facts did not quite agree with it being such a straightforward claim. Along with a lot of other scene inconsistencies, there was also the fact that friends claimed her to be in very good spirits at the time of her death.
Conspiracy theories range from accidental death by overdose to murder! On the theory of murder, many believe that because Marilyn Monroe could create potential embarrassment for one or both the Kennedy brothers by leaking private information, she was as one can say, ‘taken out’ of the way. A woman scorned is dangerous as it is (especially when unceremoniously dumped for being a threat to a potential presidency), but a celebrity sex symbol that has letters, notes and just about any and every incriminating evidence of extra marital affairs and worse indiscretions, is probably too dangerous to be left to future’s unknown parameters.
11) Kurt Cobain’s Suicide
When Nirvana star Kurt Cobain died under mysterious circumstances in 1994, his death was ruled a suicide. Apparently the star had managed to both overdose on drugs and seal the deal, by putting a gun to his own head. Yet, more than 20 years on, many still cry foul and claim that this was a murder (and then there are some that claim he faked his own death and is apparently, hold your breath for this, still alive). Some of the facts that conspiracy theorists use to put their points forward are that Kurt’s tumultuous marriage to Courtney Love was at an end and now facing a divorce, Courtney was looking for the “meanest, most vicious lawyer” to plead her case. Worse, when police found a note and claimed that it was a suicide note, in light of the last fact, it appeared to be more of goodbye to the music industry (which he intended to quit) and his wife of many years. Courtney apparently was also in possession of another, a rather incriminating, note.
Ancillary facts that Kurt feared for his life and that his credit card (which was reported stolen later) was still in use, even after his death, also lead credence to conspiracy theories. Finally, there is massive debate in the medical industry, on whether someone who had injected himself with three times a lethal dose of heroin, could possibly be cognizant enough to put a bullet point blank through his head. Go ponder?
10) Princess Diana’s Accidental Death
Diana, the beloved Princess of Wales, died in a car accident, but conspiracy theories still shroud her death with doubt, even to this day. Enquiries and investigations seem to have put most of these theories to rest, but those who believe will still always believe. Diana was killed in a fatal crash in August 1997, when her limousine, also carrying her paramour Dodi Al Fayed, his body guard and her driver Henri Paul, crashed on a pillar in the Alma Tunnel in Paris. Except for the bodyguard, none of the others survived the crash.
Conspiracy theories are diverse in their attributions of blame. Some say that the paparazzi was constantly hounding the divorced royal and seemed to have been following her car at breakneck speed that day, which caused the accident. Others claim that the Royal family (with the aid of British Intelligence) was behind the crash, as Diana was contemplating impending nuptials with Dodi (this stems from rumors that we now know to be false, that she was at the time pregnant with his child). Still others claim that Dodi’s enemies orchestrated the crash and then, there are those who find the cash found on the driver’s person suspicious enough to think that he was in the pay of the National Security Service.
8) Adolf Hitler’s Suicide
Adolf Hitler, one of the most hated men in history, it seems, is still a favored topic of discussion for adamant conspiracy theories who staunchly believe that the Fuhrer fooled the whole world by staging a suicidal death and actually survived the World War to lead a normal life till a ripe old age! Well, history claims that Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his partner Eva Braun (after killing all of his dogs) in a bunker after losing World War II. Skull fragments, dental records, etc were used to identify his body since no other DNA evidence could be assessed from the charred remains, which were burnt in a fire with gallons of fuel being poured in!
Fictional novels such as The Seventh Secret, give interesting visuals of a survival conspiracy theory. But a new book titled Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler, claims that instead of dying in Berlin like everyone believed him to, the Nazi leader actually died in Argentina, almost 17 years after a faked suicide. Well, along with other known evidences, the fact that Hitler had a body double and the fact that the skull fragments used to confirm his death, are now considered to belong to a woman, do lend some credence to the doubt over his death.
7) John F. Kennedy’s Death
Now this one is a biggie, for just too many theories exist for an assassination that happened out in the open! When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 with two bullets while he was out in the public in an open-topped limousine, one Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with killing him. Yet, a survey in 2003 revealed that a whopping 70 percent Americans actually believe that Kennedy’s assassination was part of a much more sinister plot, and this of course, explains all the conspiracy theories.
For one, Lee Harvey Oswald never went to trial, as he was himself shot dead, just two days after the assassination. Additionally, numerous witnesses have died under highly suspect circumstances since the death. The Soviet Union, then under Nikita Khrushchev, The Mafia, Lyndon Johnson (the then Vice President) and numerous other people seemed to have their own motives, should they have decided to plot and carry out an assassination.
One bizarre suggestion also states that Jackie Kennedy, who was actually a secret undercover assassin, was behind the President’s death, irrespective of the fact that the First Lady was in plain view of the public as the shots were fired. There are also theories that the trajectory of the gunshots did not match and it could not have been one assassin as the police claimed. People have also had the President’s bodyguard and his driver under the suspicion scanner since then.
6) Bermuda Triangle Disappearances
Well, technically the Bermuda Triangle disappearances do not go down as conspiracy theories, yet, these theories have become such frequent drawing room discussions, that they just cannot not be included on this list. Strange disappearances of planes, ships and boats in the Bermuda triangle started around 1945, yet no one could quite identify exactly what was amiss in the triangular stretch of ocean between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Miami.
Theories that range from UFO activity to human error on the part of some amateur sailors and pilots, have all seen their share of intelligent discussion. Theories that have also been displayed on film, involve magnetic instruments going crazy and direction instruments going askew. Some claim that the famed Lost City of Atlantis lies below this ocean stretch, causing these energetic anomalies. There are also some that claim the whole thing to be a Government cover-up conspiracy. The AUTEC or Atlantic Undersea Test And Evaluation Center is located right in the middle of the notorious triangle and it is their ‘unrevealed’ testing of reverse alien technology that is causing all the problems!
5) Flight MH 370 Disappearance
When Malaysia Airline flight MH370 suddenly disappeared into thin air while en route to Beijing, from Kuala Lumpur, family and friends of the 239 passengers on board were frantic with worry. Yet, after months of searching, nothing is known about the flight’s inexplicable disappearance.
Some of the most compelling conspiracy theories associated with the flight’s disappearance are that North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un had the plane hijacked. Not only has this happened before, but what makes the theory plausible is the fact that MH370 had last reported changing course and going north-east in the direction of the rebel country. Other theories involve Islamic Separatist terrorism in China (which China is trying hard to conceal from the world), where apparently the plane was made to land for now, with a probably Chinese 9/11 on the cards in the future. The most interesting theory had the terrorist-hijacking angle, but with the plane missing for so long, this seems improbable.
Startlingly, some family of the missing passengers claim that some passenger phones are still on and when one calls them, one gets a normal ring. Worse, some of these get answered and then hang up! This has led many to believe that Malaysia Airlines is not revealing all information and that the passengers are still alive somewhere. Eerie, no?
4) Garry Kasparov Vs Computer Chess Game
Russian Garry Kasparov, the chess Grandmaster himself, played a high stakes tournament against IBM’s super computer Deep Blue, all eyes were on the Grandmaster and all hopes pinned on humanity winning over all machines! Alas, on May 3rd 1997, after playing 6 games with the machine, it was apparent that Deep Blue had indeed toppled the King’s crown! Garry was no longer the world’s best chess player and it was in fact, a computer named Deep Blue who was the champion now.
After the game itself, Garry himself, who probably couldn’t believe a computer to be just that smart, fed conspiracy theorists by hinting that he suspected foul play in the form of human aid (for the computer) that led to the computer’s victories. A documentary titled Game Over: Kasparov and The Machine, explored the very same theories. Yet, theorists claim that it was not just the fact that the computer could calculate 200 million move permutations per second, or the fact that it neither grew tired nor emotional that gave it the edge, it was IBM’s financial backing that did. Why could IBM cheat? Well, they did indeed make phenomenal gains from the advertising opportunity provided by ‘its’ star beating the world’s ‘star’.
3) Studio Moon Landings
Approximately 20 percent of Americans still believe, even today, that America’s successful Apollo moon landings never happened, and were simply staged to compete with Russia’s moon sojourns. Despite the fact that astronauts on these missions had brought back several independently identifiable moon rocks and other specimens, conspiracy theorists rely on the some rather interesting details of their own to explain their doubts.
For one thing, the waving flag picture from when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted it on the moon surface could simply not have been true, as the moon’s atmosphere is a vacuum, which translates to no wind. Then there are other facts such as the lack of impact crater (formed when a spaceship lands), multiple light sources in photos and pictures and the lack of stars in any of the pictures (which there should have been, clearer than when viewed from earth, due to the lack of clouds), which theorists claim to be the result of the shots coming from a studio, rather than the real moon surface. There are so many other claims, such as the spotting of a mysterious object’s reflection in an Apollo 12 astronaut’s helmet, the photo of a rock with an almost human-like marking of the letter ‘C’ and identical photo backdrops claimed to have been taken miles apart that fuel the fire of these theories. NASA for one, holds its own claims and has never once backed down from giving explanations!
2) Shakespeare Not Original
Scholars in the literary world have drawn up the battle lines when it comes to Shakespeare; there are those that believe him to be the original author and playwright for his whole body of work, and then there are those that believe him to just be a name, a front, for either a group of other playwrights or a phenomenal single playwright who wished to remain anonymous. Debates on Shakespeare date back to the 19th Century and conspiracy theorists who do not believe him to be the architect of the original work now attributed to his name, talk mainly of him being too illiterate to have done so. Additionally, the fact that most of the work attributed to Shakespeare has evidence of knowledge, not just of distant places and traditions, but also of the English court affairs, which could not have been known to a man of no advanced education and low class during those times. In fact, even the lifestyle of the aristocratic rich and famous and their sporting choices could not have realistically been known to the him.
Other factors, such as there being no documentary evidences conclusively stating him to be the author of his works, no legitimate signatures or handwriting samples having been recorded and the best of all, the fact that his own will was written in a completely plain hand, without any mention of his poems and plays, leaves enough doubt in the minds of theorists. So if Shakespeare did not contribute all the great pieces of literature attributed to him, who did? Theorists claim that it could be anyone from Edward De Vere, The Earl of Oxford, Sir Walter Raleigh, Ben Johnson or even Christopher Marlowe.
1) War For Oil Resources
In 2003, America invaded Iraq, claiming to look for weapons of mass destruction that could bring down the world. There were of course, several very legit reasons for the war but when the weapons of mass destruction never did materialize, nor did any evidence of it surface actually, several conspiracy theories came up to explain the war.
The most important conspiracy theory with regards to the war was the ‘war for oil resources’ theory. Theorists claimed that Iraq held the World’s second largest oil reserves, with most of them being underdeveloped due to wars and sanctions. Since oil and gas prices in the US was high and so was their dependency on the middle east resources, invading an oil rich country and taking control of these resources seems like a likely motivation for war. Yet, World leaders such as Tony Blair and John Howard, dismissed these theories as conspiracy theories on multiple occasions.