From doppelganger theories to CIA/FBI conspiracies to secret societies dipping their mitts into entertainment, there’s no shortage of conspiracy theories when it comes to the celebrity world. Given that we know so little of celebrities as people when they’re away from the limelight, it makes sense that we’d suspend our disbelief as much as we do.
With the recent allegations regarding seemingly every big Hollywood exec and his postman, the time’s never been more ripe to throw back the curtain on the entertainment industry’s shady dealings and weird practices. While we can’t go into the full sordid details of all of these conspiracies here, we can point you in the direction of some subjects you can go nuts reading about in your spare time. That’s really the fun of conspiracies, isn’t it?
It is strange, when you look at it, just how many gigantic celebrities have lives, and even deaths shrouded in mystery. Kurt Cobain‘s death has been picked apart in multiple documentaries, with a former Seattle PD chief even recently saying he wants the case re-opened. That’s really what it is with these conspiracies, they wouldn’t be believable at all if they didn’t contain a kernel of truth, or at least played on our suspicions. Spooky stuff.
15. Stanley Kubrick Faked The Moon Landing
If anyone could have faked the 1969 moon landing, it was probably Stanley Kubrick. The conspiracy goes that Kubrick was tapped to fake the Apollo 11 and 12 moon landing footage, due to his skill as a director. It’s believed that Kubrick was working with a few ex-Nasa employees during the production of 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and that’s also often listed as a “gotcha” fact. Various “Experts” have pointed out that the flag on the moon’s surface in the Apollo footage appears to flap in the breeze, that no stars are visible in the background, and that the shadows of people and objects are “Wrong.” If you want another look into this heady conspiracy, check out the documentary Room 237, Which theorizes that Kubrick hid clues about his involvement in faking the moon landing in The Shining.
14. Beyonce Doesn’t Have Collaborators, Just Captives
Songwriter Sia Furler has written hits for Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen, and many other popular singers. Sia is also notoriously publicity-shy, hiding her face in almost every public performance with her trademark blonde hair. The fact that her face isn’t often seen may have kicked off the rumor last year that Beyonce had, in fact, kidnapped the “Chandelier” singer, and was forcing her to write songs from a basement in some undisclosed location. I mean, makes sense, right? What makes for better songwriting inspiration than the thought of somehow gaining your freedom if you can crank out a few #1 hits? The smoking gun? Well, Sia did make a tweet, saying “Hope Everyone Likes Pancakes,” and the first letter of every word spelled out “HELP.” Right. Glad she’s free now.
13. She Was A Skater Girl, She Said See You Later, World
Does the name Melissa Vandella ring a bell? No? Well, that’s probably because she (allegedly) goes by Avril Lavigne these days. Allegedly (we’re going to be using this word a lot), Avril Lavigne was so distraught over the death of her grandfather after her uber-successful first album, 2003’s Let Go, that she took her own life. Her record company panicked, hiring Vandella to learn every one of her songs, mannerisms and facial tics in order to perfectly replace her, so they could continue the Avril franchise and sell a few billion CDs. The evidence? Well, uh, some fans think that Avril used to have more freckles on her arms and alluded to her death in a few lyrics. That’s basically it. The blog where this theory originated later said they made the whole thing up, but some “Fans” still believe.
12. Lady Gaga’s Big Takeover
This one’s a little juicier. Lina Morgana was a promising 19-year-old New York singer, who a certain Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga) was working for as a backup dancer and songwriter. Details are sketchy but in 2008 Morgana was partying on a Staten Island rooftop one minute, and jumping off of it the next. According to this particular conspiracy, Morgana was tossed off that roof by a careerist Gaga, who would later rip off Morgana’s unique look and style. Sounds like a bunch of mean-spirited conjecture, but Gaga’s been known to bite styles before (*cough* Madonna *cough*). Although murder’s a pretty big jump for any sane person, it’s a little suspect that Lady Gaga’s career took off in a big way mere weeks afterward, while Lina Morgana doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Hmm.
11. Project MKUltra And Hollywood
A true classic of the tinfoil hat-wearing crowd, this one does actually have some roots in reality. Project MKUltra was a mind control project carried out by the CIA from the 1950s to 1970s, their stated goal being the development of mind control and interrogation drugs to be used on soldiers and even politicians. Sounds pretty intense, right? Well apparently it was, and the mind control allegedly didn’t stop with Navy Seals, or according to some, it never stopped at all. Celebrities such as Britney Spears, Johnny Depp, and many more have been alleged to have been victims of this programming in order to make money for their handlers with no questions asked. Sounds pretty insidious, no? Well, consider that Roseanne Barr has literally said that “MKUltra rules in Hollywood” on Russia Today television, and if you can’t trust the best sitcom mom of the 90s, who can you trust?
10. Hollywood Is Full Of Time-Travelling Vampires
In 2017, we’ve been finding out that Hollywood is full of a lot of different types of questionable people. Guess we can add vampires and time travelers to that list, because according to some eagle-eyed photo collectors, Hollywood is being invaded by, at the very least, lookalikes of some top stars. The one who most often gets mentioned is, of course, Nicolas Cage, who admittedly does bear a striking resemblance to his civil war counterpart above. The fact that he played a fake vampire in 1988’s The Vampire’s Kiss just makes this one more fun. Other celebs like John Travolta and Matthew McConaughey have had similar doppelganger photos pop up online, so either Hollywood is some kind of den of ageless creatures of the night, or Back To The Future was a documentary. Guess we’ll never know.
9. Lorde’s Age? Lord Knows
If it’s impolite to ask a lady’s age, it’s probably super impolite to suggest that she’s at least 20 years older than she claims to be, right? Lorde was only about 17 when “Royals” was a #1 hit, and the sophistication of her lyrics and mature style seemed to belie her age. With that in mind, it makes sense that someone would come out of the woodwork to debunk something about Lorde, in this case, the conspiracy is that she’s been lying to us all along about her age, and is actually in her 40s. Apparently, attempts to get copies of her birth certificate have been stonewalled, and facial recognition software seems to put her at about 38 years old. Good thing those apps are foolproof.
8. Tupac: Still Alive, Just In Cuba
Every rap music fan knows that hip-hop lost one of its best in 1996 when Tupac Shakur was gunned down in the East Coast/West Coast feud, so it’s no surprise that a lot of his fans and even the general public don’t want to let the guy go. Given that his label’s been releasing music steadily since his “Death,” it’s no wonder that people think he’s still alive and kicking. It is a little fishy that Tupac apparently didn’t have a funeral, but it’s a bit of a stretch, even if he was allegedly spotted partying in Cuba last year. The idea of Tupac being alive is a bit of a running joke at this point, even being parodied in a famous Chappelle Show skit where a new recording of Tupac somehow describes what’s happening in a nightclub. What’s unsettling about this one is, if Tupac wasn’t killed, what was he running from? The mob? Rival gangsters? The cops? Or maybe … The Illuminati!
7. Illuminati On Your Mind, Soul, And Body
If you’ve ever vegged out on pop culture stuff on YouTube, you’ve likely seen these videos. You know the ones, with titles like “Jay-Z sells his soul to the Illuminati,” etc, etc. The thing is, there actually WAS a secret society in the 1700s that called itself the Illuminati whose goal it was to form a one-world government, which they would of course rule with an iron fist. Some believe this group still exists and most big stars are members, and that they not only control the film industry and music but all governments as well. However, buying in is something of a devil’s bargain, as once you get (massively) paid off, you not only have to attend the Illuminati’s “Eyes Wide Shut”-style parties and partake in their mysterious and dark rituals, but you have to make music videos throwing up their triangle logo hand signals and rocking Egyptian-themed clothes. I’ve heard of worse deals.
6. Don’t Mess With The CIA
Marylin Monroe was the preeminent starlet of her time. From Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to The Misfits, Monroe is still one of the most iconic celebrities ever, which ensured that her death in 1962 would still be hotly debated years later. The conspiracies run deep with this one, from the first police on the scene saying that there was no water glass for Monroe to have taken pills with, to the number of drugs in her system being several times more than a lethal dose. But if it was a shady death, who would kill Marylin Monroe? Books and documentaries have been made about the case, but a commonly held belief is that John F. Kennedy had an affair with Monroe (some say his brother Bobby did as well), and Marylin Monroe simply “Knew too much.” The CIA became a heavily suspected culprit recently when a CIA agent on his deathbed claimed to be her assassin. Intrigue!
5. JonBenet Perry
The death of tiny beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996, captivated North American audiences. The conspiracies around her passing are too numerous to go into here. But what if she didn’t die at all? What if there’s a huge pop star with an even HUGER secret? Ok, so Katy Perry being what JonBenet Ramsey would have grown up to resemble makes some kind of sense, and after all, they were both in showbiz. Really though, this is pretty disrespectful to the Ramseys, even if Katy admittedly kind of looks like them. Either way, this one doesn’t have much weight to it but had surprising staying power, even being covered by various media outlets, instead of being buried straight away, like it probably should have been.
4. Don’t Mess With The CIA: John Lennon Edition
John Lennon was easily the most mercurial Beatle, growing a creepy beard, hanging out with out-there performance artist Yoko Ono, and staging “Bed-ins” because he didn’t feel like getting a regular job. Lennon must have had a bit of truth mixed in with his hippy-ish ramblings though, because the FBI was keeping quite a file on him by the time he was living in New York City and writing songs like “Imagine.” Adding a juicy layer to Lennon’s sad assassination in 1980 was the idea that his killer Mark David Chapman, was a Manchurian Candidate, in other words, that he’d been programmed by the CIA to whack Lennon after he stated that they invented LSD, something the CIA would rather him not have made public. The CIA can create zombie assassins? Now that’s unnerving.
3. Whoa Dude, There’s More Than One Andrew W.K.
Dude, this one’s not a party. When Andrew W.K. burst onto the rock music scene in 2001 with his debut “I Get Wet,” he put himself over as the preeminent party dude du jour. However, a dark cloud has since been cast over his party-centric career, as it’s come to light that a shady figure known only as “Steev Mike” has been credited in some unspecified role on every record, and has been said to be the real figure behind “Andrew W.K.” Less an individual than a performance art concept, it’s alleged that multiple people have “Played the character,” of Andrew W.K., which makes sense when you consider his stylistic changes from hardcore party metal dude to a classically-influenced piano man, who later became an inspirational speaker. This one probably holds the most water so far, as almost any greasy long-haired dude could look the part. The talent might be harder to fake.
2. Don’t Mess With The CIA: Bob Marley Edition
Reggae and pop music icon Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981. Doesn’t really seem so noteworthy, cancer’s sadly been pretty common throughout human history. What’s not common are cancer-causing boots, allegedly given to Marley by documentarian Carl Colby, whose father was a CIA agent who allegedly (there’s that word again) orchestrated his assassination. When Marley was shot and injured in his home in 1976, the CIA had also been considered as a possible culprit as the shooters were never identified. But wait, cancer-causing boots?!? Yeah, allegedly a poisoned copper wire sticking into the boot caused the toe cancer that eventually spread and did Marley in, all in an attempt to destabilize the left wing Jamaican government of the 1970s, which Marley was against. The CIA don’t mess around. What will they think of next, exploding cigars? Oh, wait …
1. Another Dude’s Been Paul McCartney For A Long, Long Time
Who is Billy Shears? Depending on who you ask, he’s either the leader of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on that record’s title track, or Sir Paul McCartney himself. The idea that Paul died in a car crash and was replaced by a lookalike dates back to 1967, when a Beatles fan zine ran a small blurb about Paul’s minor, real-life car crash. Some zealous fans decided that since Paul looked a little different as the years passed by, he’d died in the crash, pointing to backmasked lyrical snippets from Beatles songs as evidence. “Revolution #9” in particular is said to contain the backwards phrase “Turn me on, dead man.” Even Paul being the only barefoot Beatle on the Abbey Road cover was considered solid proof. If you’re the type who likes deep-diving into these conspiracies, look no further than “Paul is dead.” Just don’t plan on doing anything else all weekend.
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