Wild and hysterical conspiracy theories have been thrown around since humankind first gained the ability to reason and experience paranoia. There have been people that question the truth of events for as long as we’ve been recording history, retelling the story with their own version of what they think really happened. The mythical founders of Rome were said to have been raised by a she-wolf. Julius Caesar’s death was followed by countless theories, and JFK was shot with a magical bullet from the grassy knoll and all that jazz. It’s easy to make crazy claims, but the only ones that stick are the ones that have proof—solid or silly, it doesn’t really matter, but it has to have proof. Finding and disqualifying these so-called proofs on either side of the argument is half of the fun.
So, why do these theories exist? Why do they show up year after year, century after century? Why do many of these theories involve pop culture and celebrities? There probably isn’t one answer to these questions. Maybe, at the most basic level, ridiculous theories give us something more exciting to believe in than just the plain old truth. Our world is governed by the laws of the universe. This is too predictable for some people, too boring. By adding in a sense of mystery or magic to things, we allow ourselves to feel that there is something more to life than what science tells us there is. This is satisfying. When you consider why conspiracy theories always focus on pop culture and the icons that exist there, it’s a world that everyone can comment on. You don’t need to be an expert on any particular subject. You don’t need a degree. You only need to have an ear to the streets.
Over the last 50 years, we’ve seen and heard some truly insane theories. Some are just outright stupid, while others seem ludicrous at first but they have some semblance of evidence at least. The theories on this list are the best of all of them. They may be crazy, but they’re also awesome. Here are the 15 most impossible pop culture conspiracies ever.
16. Beyoncé Is Solange’s Mom, Not Blue Ivy’s
Why Beyoncé would want to fake a pregnancy is the first question. The answers are many. Some say it was to increase her likability, allowing her to move into the family/ motherhood realm of music and drive up her publicity. The proof that she was never pregnant is that her baby bump appeared to go up and down in size and her due date seemed to change quite a bit depending on who you asked. The most telling piece of evidence was the “folding baby bump,” an event that happened when Beyoncé was on Australian television. As the singer sat down, her baby bump seemed to fold in a disturbing manner. The star quickly laughed it off, saying that it was only the fabric folding, but some truthers claim that not only is the fold way too thick to be fabric, but Beyoncé doesn’t even sit down like a pregnant woman. Others claim that Beyoncé truly is a mother… to Solange. They also say that Bey was actually born in 1974, so she was a teenager for the birth of her “sister.” Now that’s extreme, which somehow makes the fabric-baby seem way more believable now.
15. The Gov’t Murdered Brittany Murphy
Both Brittany Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack, were found dead within 5 months of each other in 2010. The causes were identical: pneumonia and anemia. There have been claims that one of Brittany Murphy’s friends, Julia Davis, was a Homeland Security whistle blower and that Murphy and her lawyers had got involved with the case. This led to Murphy’s family being put under DHS surveillance. Many conspiracy theorists believe that both Murphy and her husband were killed to keep them quiet. When Davis and Murphy’s father requested a toxicology report on Murphy’s body, they apparently found the presence of heavy metals in her system, which led people to believe that she was poisoned.
14. Courtney Love Killed Kurt Cobain
When grunge rocker Kurt Cobain was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, police concluded that it was suicide. But people don’t usually accept celebrity deaths so easily, and this one was no different. Plenty of speculation has gone around since Cobain’s death in 1994 and much of it has to do with his wife, Courtney Love. The main argument is that Cobain died with three times the lethal dose of heroin in his system. Some experts claim that he would have had difficulty even lifting his arms with that much heroin in his system, let alone clean up his drug kit after using it, putting a shotgun in his mouth and then pulling the trigger. On the verge of divorce at the time, Love had a clear motive to make sure the Nirvana money kept flowing in, and she may have hired a hitman.
13. The Britney and President Bush Alliance
Britney Spears had a classic meltdown in front of the world, but some conspiracy theorists believe this was all in an effort to distract the American public from the troubling politics going on in the background. First was her hilariously short marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander. This all took place while the United States vs. Libby trial was ramping up, an investigation into a high-level administrator for President Bush. Then, Bush drops in approval ratings, so Spears takes a drive with her unbuckled infant son sitting on her lap. Osama Bin Laden increases his stranglehold in Afghanistan, so Britney shaves her head and goes crazy. It’s actually kind of comical going through and reading about these timely coincidences. Was Britney really a pawn for the United States government or just a standard and strange musician?
12. Elvis Still Lives at Graceland
The star who faked his own death. These types of claims have been around for ages. We don’t know when this trend started, though many point to Niccolo Machiavelli incorrectly (it’s not true that he faked his own death). In 1977, when Elvis died in his bathroom, reports said it was a drug-induced cardiac arrhythmia. Yet, when the autopsy results were sealed by Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father, many people started asking questions. Things got worse when the King’s middle name was said to be spelled wrong on his gravestone. It was traditionally spelled “Aron,” but on the gravestone it was spelled “Aaron,” something that led conspiracy theorists to believe it wasn’t really his grave. Turns out, Elvis always wanted his middle name to be spelled “Aaron” and his father just went with that spelling in honor of his son’s wishes. Yet others still claim he’s a groundskeeper at Graceland, as seen above.
11. Tupac Lives in Cuba Now
Following in the shoes of Elvis, the rapper Tupac Shakur, too, faked his own death, so they say. The reasoning behind this theory is complex. The basic element of it all is that Tupac rapped at length about his own death before it happened. This, at the time, made him a little unique. But remember, Tupac was representing the thug’s life, one that comes with many dangers: “we live by the gun, so we die by the guns.” In reality, predicting that a gang member would die in a gang-related death isn’t all that difficult. But it made people believe. Tupac also had an alter-ego, Makaveli, which many fans connect to Niccolo Machiavelli’s own faked death (something that is attributed to the historian incorrectly). There are also questions about the night of the shooting and the strange circumstances surrounding it, including a curious picture of Tupac dated the night after he was shot.
Most fans suggest that Tupac is living with his aunt in Cuba these days, set to return at some point like a resurrected god. Like all good conspiracy theories, this one has countless “proofs.” It doesn’t matter if they are all easily explainable; it only matters that they exist in the first place.
10. Paul Walker Killed By A Drone Strike
For some odd reason, conspiracy theorists got it into their heads that Paul Walker became a target for US government. Some say it was because of his efforts to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, whereas others say he learned some secrets about the funny financial business surrounding the US government’s relief efforts, but both groups agree that Walker was targeted and killed. There were claims that the brakes of the car he was in were tampered with, but those were quieted when the brakes were examined and found to be fine. Another claim, which oddly enough, is even crazier but seems to hold more weight, is that the car was hit by a drone strike. There is surveillance video of the accident and a weird object with a downward trajectory is seen in the vicinity. It might be a bit of a laugh, but people take it seriously.
9. Dave Chappelle Forced Out By “Dark Crusaders”
Now that he’s back, this one is gaining some steam once again. Dave Chappelle was a massive star. His show was a grand success and he was set to be one of the richest comedians out there. Then and without warning, he walked away from it all. He moved to Africa or something. He was gone from our lives. Why? Apparently, a group of rich and influential famous black people going by the name of the “Dark Crusaders” urged him to leave. This group, led by the likes of Oprah and Bill Cosby, were disappointed with Chappelle. He was giving black people a bad name and perpetuating racial stereotypes. They began by sending him threatening messages, like voodoo dolls, and then moved on to sabotaging The Chappelle Show. In the end, Chappelle caved in and fled the country. Now that Cosby is in trouble, Chapelle’s back. Coincidence? Almost definitely.
8. The Real Batman Assassins
There have been other pieces of art connected to mind-control in the past, some we will get into yet, but it seems that Batman is the newest assassin trigger for conspiracy theorists. The theorists connect this film to Jerad and Amanda Miller because the two Las Vegas cop killers were apparently “obsessed” with the Joker and Harley Quinn, though those reports stem from a lone photograph of the two dressed up like the clown and his girlfriend. They also connect James Holmes, the man behind the mass shooting at a theater in Aurora, CO, while The Dark Knight Rises was playing and the Sandy Hook, CT, shootings because in the film The Dark Knight Rises itself, there is a map that Commissioner Gordon pulls out and on it is labeled “Strike Zone 1”, with a nearby section that appears to be labelled “Sandy Hook.” All of this might seem silly because The Dark Knight trilogy was hugely popular and many people, both murderous and not murderous, loved it. Still, this is the conspiracy theory and this is how they work.
7. Bruce Lee’s Killed By Dim Mak
More than two months before he died, Bruce Lee was recording some voice dubbing for Enter the Dragon when he collapsed. He was rushed to hospital where it was discovered that he had some swelling of the brain. The swelling was reduced and he was allowed to go home. Then, two months after that, Lee complained of a headache and was given a painkiller that contained Equagesic. Lee then went down for a nap that he would never wake up from. The coroner’s report concluded that he died from considerable brain swelling caused by an allergic reaction to Equagesic. Theories flew around after this monumental death saying that Lee had been cursed by the Triads, killed by them or even given the fatal Dim Mak, the touch of death. All of these theories, however, tend to ignore the fact that Lee collapsed two months before his death with similar symptoms.
6. Stevie Wonder Isn’t Blind
This one is marvelous. When Stevie Wonder was born in 1950, he was placed in an oxygen-rich hospital incubator. In that atmosphere, he suffered retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which basically means his retinas detached and his eyes stopped growing. The man has been blind since he was old enough to remember. Yet, ever since Stevie got famous, people have been telling stories about his eyesight, claiming that he can see. Evidence for this is in his songs and the specific images he sings about, the fact that he sits courtside at basketball games and some anecdotal stories given by people who’ve met him. However, the most compelling evidence may be in a picture of Stevie Wonder taking a photograph of a Michael Jackson wax figure. In this shot, Stevie is using the camera’s eyepiece. Why? Then there’s the famous mic-stand catch. During a musical performance caught on video, Paul McCartney runs in front of Stevie, knocking over his mic stand. It appears that Wonder reacts and catches the stand before it falls. Some people say he heard it happen since Paul hit his mic, others say he just reached out and accidentally caught it. You be the judge.
5. The Catcher in the Rye Made Me Do It
After Mark David Chapman killed John Lennon, the legendary member of the Beatles, he sat down and opened up his favorite book, The Catcher in the Rye. This murder came five years after details of the CIA-led Project MKULTRA were released. Many conspiracy theorists latched on to these two things and suggested that Chapman was a government-triggered assassin. The following year, in 1981, John Hinckley Jr., another mentally unstable individual, attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. When police searched his home, they found a copy of The Catcher in the Rye on a table. Eight years after that, in 1989, Robert John Bardo killed actress Rebecca Schaeffer. Like Chapman, Bardo was also carrying a copy The Catcher in the Rye. So, what’s this all about? Well, The Catcher in the Rye is about a mental patient, Holden Caulfield, who sees himself as “normal.” But, most believe that the US government have embedded triggers in it. That’s why psychopaths carry it with them. Chapman, we know, was obsessed with the book. Hinckley just read the book. He was much more obsessed with the film Taxi Driver, so he was trying to kill a politician to get Jodie Foster‘s attention, just like Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) wants to do in Taxi Driver. Bardo was obsessed with Chapman it seems, recreating his process in a way.
4. McCartney, Eminem, Avril Lavigne: All Dead
The Beatles have countless theories surrounding them, but one has stood out above the rest: Paul McCartney is dead. But I’ve seen him. He’s very clearly alive, you say. Nope. The theory suggests that who you’re seeing is actually Billy Shears, Paul’s double. Why or how he died varies, but most claim he was killed in a car accident in 1966. The band, to keep up appearances, brought in Shears and kept the band intact. One of the most glaring pieces of evidence, if you can call it glaring, is the cover of the Abbey Road album. On it, the four members represent a funeral procession. John Lennon is part of the clergy in white clothes, Ringo is the mourner in black, George Harrison is the gravedigger in jeans and Paul, shoeless, is dead. They want you to know that Paul’s dead. They’re giving you hints. Let that all soak in for a minute.
Also dead are Avril Lavigne and Eminem. Both disgruntled pop stars went missing for a while and returned looking quite differently. That’s because they were also replaced by body doubles. Obviously. Apparently the fake Avril goes by Melissa, while the phony Eminem is called Feminem.
3. Kubrick’s Faked Moon Landing
In order to win the race to the moon, the United States government enlisted the only director that was capable of going to space, or at least of making it appear as if he went to space, Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick had already dazzled audiences with 2001: A Space Odyssey, so they knew he was capable of the ruse. So, Kubrick films the moon landing in a studio and almost everyone is convinced. Kubrick kept quiet about his involvement for a while, but then, in 1980 with the release of his film The Shining, keen-eyed viewers spotted that Kubrick was giving a confession of sorts. They found many different proofs in the film, from Danny’s Apollo sweater, to the carpet patterns to room 237 representing the thousands of miles from Earth to the moon. It’s ridiculous but it’s neat.
2. O.J. is Khloe’s Real Father
Nothing like a celeb paternity mystery to fuel the public. Most people assumed Khloe Kardashian was Kris Jenner and Robert Kardashian’s daughter. Well, the Kris part is true, she’s the mom, but many say Khloe’s father is OJ Simpson. It’s possible, since Robert and the Juice were friends for over 20 years and then suddenly called it quits. Robert defended OJ for murder, but sleeping with Kris may have been the final straw. He also ended up divorcing Kris, who then admitted to cheating on him. Think about it. Khloe is so much bigger than Kim or Kourtney. This controversy got so big that Khloe asked OJ to take a paternity test — to prove once and for all that he is not her father. OJ said he would take the test, but Khloe would have to come visit him in prison first.
1. Marilyn Monroe Was Murdered
Most people have come to accept the official report of Marilyn Monroe‘s death, that she died of a barbiturate overdose, a suicide. Yet, not everyone has been satisfied with this explanation. Many different theories have popped up over the years, including one that says Robert Kennedy had her killed to quiet her from revealing information regarding her affairs with him and his brother, John F. Kennedy. Another theory argues that her doctor, Ralph Greenson, committed the murder. Evidence that backs up these murder theories is in the lack of vomit at the scene, something quite common with barbiturate overdoses. There was also no glass of water or glass at all near the scene, which means Monroe took 50+ pills without anything to wash them down.