The world is a confusing place and humans are hard-wired to seek out explanations. If we can make a narrative out of the facts as they appear to us then we feel much more secure with what is going on around us. This has worked out very well on the whole for humanity. Science is just the story we tell ourselves about the universe. As the facts become clearer we change the story.
Unfortunately there is no one set of facts that everyone agrees on. When faced with an unpalatable truth, or one that does not fit our narrative, it can be tempting to twist our view of the world. Conspiracy theories are stories that are not held by everyone, they exist on the fringes. Where simple explanations seem obvious to most people conspiracy theorists see doubt and reason to be suspicious. Suspicion is good and doubt doubly so. But when conspiracy theories begin to take over our thinking we see plots everywhere. When we don’t feel in control of our lives then it is pleasing to think that it is because there is a shadowy conspiracy pulling the strings around us. That downturn in the economy, that terrorist attack, that war, can all be attributable to something or someone outside of our daily lives.
There is nothing that cannot and has not been spun into a fantastical story by someone. Here are fifteen of the weirdest conspiracy theories you will ever read. At least, that is, until next year when there will be a whole new crop of them. The Secret Government of Reptiles never sleeps...
15 Flat Earth
It is an urban legend that Christopher Columbus’ crew feared they would sail off the edge of the earth. Since Classical Antiquity people have known the Earth is round. In the 3rd century BC the Greek geographer Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the planet simply using the difference in shadow lengths at two locations at the same time. You would think that since then we have moved on in our understanding of the world.
Some people still insist that the Earth is flat and that all evidence to the contrary is faked to trick us for some unknown reason. Satellite imagery just doesn’t convince them. Just this year B.o.B. took to Twitter to share his belief in a flat Earth. "You can regurgitate force fed information all day... still doesn't change physics," he tweeted. He’s right. Physics never changes, which is something Eratosthenes might like to discuss with him.
14 Hollow Earth
The idea that there is some sort of realm underneath the Earth has been a staple of myth and literature for ages. Greek heroes were forever popping down to the underworld for various reasons. Edmond Halley, discoverer of Halley’s Comet, first proposed that the Earth was hollow and filled with further hollow spheres, each of them which could be inhabited. Later it was suggested that there may be openings at the poles which led down to these other worlds. The Northern Lights were thought to be produced by the mixing of air from above and beneath. President John Quincy Adams even supported mounting an expedition to go in search of these portals.
Despite all the evidence against this theory (no polar explorers have tumbled into these massive holes) it still has supporters. Some have even suggested that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi chums might have escaped into the interior of the planet.
13 Reptilian Royals
David Icke is a former English footballer and broadcaster. But he is best known for his pet theories. He believes he is the son of the “Godhead” and Turquoise is an energizing colour. His most influential pet theory is that humans are essentially the pets of alien reptilian beings called Annunaki. Name a world leader and it is likely that they are, in reality, a reptile.
The Annunaki have controlled the world for centuries, since coming to Earth from the constellation Draco. Living in underground caverns (Hollow Earth?) they have interbred with humans to produce the governing World Order. The Reptilians have created most of the world’s problems so that they can gain further control by solving them.
Icke has been particularly fond of calling the British royal family reptilian. While they do undeniably have foreign blood, whether any of it is from lizards remains to be proven.
12 Iraqi Stargate
Why did the Iraq war take place? Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction? Oil? The question will be debated forever, and with endless answers given. One reason that has been put forward seems just a little less likely than the others. The real reason the war happened was to secure Iraq’s Stargate.
Anyone familiar with the film or TV show Stargate will understand why the USA may want a Stargate. It is a device which allows people to travel instantaneously between distant worlds. The theory goes than an ancient alien race, called the Annunaki (again), left behind their powerful technology. Now the US has control of the Stargate, which is buried under the heavily protected Green Zone in Baghdad. Some even see the Stargate as the reason the Nazis sought control of Iraq.
Tucked away in Alaska was perhaps the most powerful weapon ever built. Or perhaps it was an atmospheric research station. Opinions differ. The High Frequency Active Aural Research Programme (HAARP) was built by the United States military for the express purpose of studying the upper atmosphere. Others have seen its arrays of equipment as something much more sinister.
In 2010 Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela claimed that HAARP was behind the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Online you will find that HAARP has been linked to most of the earthquakes and disasters that occurred during its operation. It does not help that the project was partly run by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has in the past conducted dubious experiments. The base is now closed.
It did achieve one notable outcome. Using intense beams of radio waves they were able, for the first time, to induce a small neon green aurora in the sky.
10 Chem Trails
Planes are massive creators of pollution. There are those who think that jet engines are pumping out much more noxious chemicals than mere greenhouse gases. The Chemtrail conspiracy theory says that those fluffy white trails planes leave across the sky are really the delivery system for all manner of chemicals.
The purpose of these chemicals changes depending on who you ask. They may be mind controlling agents used to keep the population docile. They may play a part in shaping the weather. They have been linked to the HAARP research base. Perhaps they allow HAARP to transmit electricity long distance along the chemtrails as part of an electromagnetic superweapon.
All tests on supposed chemtrails (chemical trails) have shown them to be simply contrails (condensation trails), water.
9 Phantom Time Hypothesis
History has been happening for quite a while now. Each year there seems to be more of it. This makes it tricky to learn it all. There is a conspiracy theory that would make it much simpler by getting rid of some of it.
The Phantom Time Hypothesis was created by Heribert Illig and suggests that three hundred years of history (614-911AD) were just invented. Illig thinks that the creation of this history was a conspiracy between Holy Roman Emperor Otto II and Pope Sylvester II. They turned to forgery to make up documents that purportedly told the history of these invented centuries. Surprisingly this theory has not caught on with academic historians. Or maybe they’re in on it. For the moment students will still have to study Charlemagne.
8 Kubrick’s The Shining & The Moon Landings
Stanley Kubrick was a master director who controlled every detail of his films. If it appeared on screen then he meant it to be there. According to some conspiracy theorists it was Stanley Kubrick who faked the Apollo moon landings and they can prove it from clues he left in The Shining. Kubrick would have been ideal for faking the landings, they claim, as he was filming 2001: A Space Odyssey around the time of the missions.
In The Shining there are several images of rockets. Danny, the son, wears an Apollo 11 jumper. Various other aspects of the film are given special significance. The snow that traps the family is the Cold War with Russia, forcing the space race on. Stuffed bears are the Soviets. One room number is changed to 237 from 217 in the books. The moon is 237,000 miles from Earth!
Actually the moon is, on average, 239,000 miles from the Earth. That was just shoddy research on Kubrick’s part.
7 The Moon is Fake
The theory that the moon landings were faked is surprisingly wide spread. Buzz Aldrin has even had to defend his mission to the moon by punching a conspiracy theorist who called him a liar. But most people who look up at the night sky tend not to doubt the very existence of the moon.
There are a variety of theories that the moon is not what it seems. They range from it being a physical object (a hollowed out base for aliens) to not existing at all (a hologram). Some fall in between with the moon being a huge balloon with an image projected on it. There is no telling how far back the attempts to trick the world go. Perhaps the moon started as a mythical “night sun” and people were later compelled to create one for… well, the reasons are not very clear.
6 Water Fluoridation
In Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove a General goes crazy and begins to think that fluoridation of water is all a Communist plot. His proof? You never see a Commie drink anything but vodka! So is fluoridation a plot to compromise our precious bodily fluids? Doctors will tell you fluoride is added to water to prevent dental cavities.
Since the 1940s there have been those who argue against it on scientific or moral grounds. In the 50s and 60s, at the height of the Red Scare the idea that it was a communist plot against America was actually believed by some. They link fluoride to health problems like Alzheimer’s disease, kidney problems, cancer, AIDS, and low IQ.
5 Pyramids Are Grain Stores
Why were the pyramids built? Stuffy old historians and archaeologists will tell you that they were meant as tombs and memorials to Pharaohs. Ben Carson, brain surgeon and one time front runner for the Republican presidential nomination, will tell you different. The pyramids were built to store grain.
In the Old Testament when Joseph dreams about a coming famine he convinces the Pharaoh that grain should be hoarded to feed the people in the coming lean years. According to Dr Carson it was in the pyramids that the grain was stored. It is an old idea. St Gregory thought the grain was tossed into the pyramids from a narrow opening at the top. The problem is that the pyramids are not hollow. It would be a bit of a waste of effort to make a huge stone grain store with hardly any room for grain. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to design a grain silo more efficient than that.
4 Clinton Body Count
According to the Clinton Body Count theory the path of Bill and Hillary to the White House has been over the corpses of many of their associates. People who have worked with the Clintons have turned up dead and many see a pattern.
The Clintons are apparently masters of bumping people off. Their methods range from faking robberies that turned into murders, to sabotaging cars, to crushing people with trains, to causing leukaemia, to inducing a heart attack in a 300lb chain-smoker. Depending on which body count list you look at the Clintons have lost 50 to 80 close associates in ways that are apparently mysterious. Nay-sayers will point out that over decades in public life the Clintons must have amassed thousands of people who worked with or for them and that the Body Count is just a statistical reality.
3 Jade Helm
In 2015 Texas governor Greg Abbott called out the Texas State Guard in defence of Texans’ safety, constitutional, and property rights. Who was he defending them from? The US government.
In 2015 the US military performed large scale training exercises, called Jade Helm. When news of these manoeuvres was released many saw it as an attempt by the government to seize control of large parts of the country. A map of the exercises rather unwisely labelled portions of the nation as "Hostile." Some thought Jade Helm was an effort to impose martial law on areas that were not supportive of the Obama administration or to give Obama a third term in office. Others connected it with an apocalyptic asteroid collision that was rumoured to be about to take place. In the end martial law was not declared, nor did anything come crashing to Earth.
2 CERN is Summoning Osiris
CERN is the large European particle collider that has brought about huge leaps in our understanding of the universe. It may also be bringing about the return of an Egyptian god.
The theory goes that CERN is a vast stargate-like device which will allow Osiris to cross over from the underworld. In Egyptian mythology an item referred to as the Ta-Wer acted as a bridge between the world and the afterlife. Often it is shown as a ship and believers in ancient aliens have likened it to a spaceship. Now others believe that CERN is a recreation of this bridge. Could CERN be using the huge energies of particle collision to tear a hole in the fabric of space time to allow Osiris to cross into our world? There have been theories that wormholes could be produced…
1 AIDS is A Hoax
Since the discovery of AIDS and the HIV virus that causes it millions of people have died. The science seems clear cut: HIV causes AIDS and AIDS is deadly. There are those who would dispute each of those facts.
There are those who claim that HIV does not exist. Others claim that the immune system is able to combat the virus and that AIDS is caused by something else. Some even claim that AIDS is caused by the antiretroviral drugs used to combat the virus. AIDS, if it exists at all they say, is entirely man made. And of course there are those who claim the HIV virus was created in a lab to target various groups of people.
Thabo Mbeki, second president of South Africa, invited AIDS and HIV deniers on to his AIDS advisory board. The New York Times estimated that Mbeki’s failure to act on HIV lead to the death of around 300,000 people.
One magazine, Continuum, was set up and run by AIDS deniers to publicise their views. The magazine stopped publication in February 2001 following the deaths of all editors and contributors to AIDS related illnesses.