There was a time when conspiracy theorists were laughed at and derided. But from FIFA corruption to the Iraq War and the Westminster Child Abuse allegations, conspiracy theories may not be quite as wacky as we first thought. Here’s our guide to some of the world’s greatest conspiracy theories.
Have you seen the trails of white vapour that are left across the sky when a passenger aircraft goes by? Well, rather than think that it is the water vapour ejected by the jet as it flies through the sky, there are a huge number of people on the Internet across the world who believe these chemtrails have a far more sinister purpose. In the USA especially, the belief is that they are part of a government plot to spray the citizens of the USA with mind control drugs as part of a plan by the New World Order.
There are lots of people out there who think that the whole idea of global warming is wrong. Not like many who think they see a flaw in a science, but because the whole thing is a hoax. Conspiracy theorists believe that the whole idea of global warming has been introduced by the New World Order to soften up citizens to accept higher taxes and greater government controls.
If you remember the 80s, you can’t help but remember the hard-hitting AIDS adverts that were all over the TV. But some people subscribe to the theory that was put forward by Dr. William Campbell Douglass that HIV was a virus that was genetically engineered by the World Health Organisation and used by the CIA (or KGB depending on who you read) to control the growth of the world population.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
America is the world leader in conspiracy theories so it is no surprise that when 500,000 plastic containers (that look like coffins) were spotted on land owned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, it wasn’t really surprising that conspiracy theorists started to think that the area was set to be a concentration camp for the incarceration of US citizens in a state of martial law. They suggest that the financial crisis will be used as an excuse to bring such measures in.
The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
A natural disaster? Not according to some people in Asia. A popular theory in parts of the continent is that the Tsunami was the result of nuclear experiments by India, America and Israel brought about by India’s nuclear arms race with Pakistan. Apparently, these three countries want to see the extermination of the rest of humankind!
In many parts of the world, fluoride is added to the water supply to help stop the spread of tooth decay. However, there has been some evidence that the fluoridation of water can have other, less positive side effects. Some think that the fluoride can help reduce intelligence, so is being used by the New World Order to dumb down the population of the world, which will help them bring in their policies to rule the world as they so wish.
Was the attack on Pearl Harbour known about before it happened? Some conspiracy theorists believe that President Roosevelt, with the public unwilling to enter the Second World War provoked the attack on Pearl Harbour, knew it was going to happen and did nothing about it, to provoke outrage in his own country and allow him to enter the USA into the war. As it goes, not one of the more outlandish conspiracy theories in our list, as it is thought that the Allied forces had broken and intercepted many of the Japanese coded messages.
We’re often told that oil is running out, that we are passed the period of ‘peak oil’ and it is the fact that demand is outstripping supply that keeps prices high. Conspiracy theorists, however, think that the big oil companies and certain governments are aware of vast reserves of oil and perpetuate the myth of the scarcity of oil to control world markets and keep the price high.
The July 7 London bombings
Remarkably, some people think that the July 7 London bombings were orchestrated by the UK government. Conspiracy theorists point to several different reasons, including CCTV tapes that they claim have been doctored and that the explosions didn’t supposedly come from bomber’s backpacks but from underneath the Tube trains attacked.
Did you know Paul McCartney died in 1966? Does Paul McCartney know? According to conspiracy theorists, Paul died and was replaced by a lookalike who has played him ever since. They cite hundreds of pieces of evidence, including statements that you can supposedly hear when playing songs backwards, symbolism in various lyrics and album covers as well as the fact that McCartney is the only barefooted Beatle on the cover of the Abbey Road album. We think he probably just lost his shoes.
Who was Shakespeare?
Who was the real William Shakespeare? There are lots of different theories, including Christopher Marlowe, Francis Bacon, and Edward de Vere. There is astoundingly little actual evidence of who Shakespeare was, which is surprising really given his fame and prolific output.
Elvis faked his own death
One of the more popular conspiracy theories and one that is still popular today is the one that states Elvis Presley did not die in 1977. Many fans are of the belief that he faked his own death, unhappy with his status as the world’s biggest celebrity and all that such adoration brings with it. One of the main reasons is that there is supposedly a spelling mistake of his middle name Aaron, as well as hundreds of sightings of him all over the world. Is he still alive today? Who knows? Some people think so, and there have been pictures of a man calling himself Jesse (the name of Elvis’ dead twin) who does bear an uncanny resemblance to The King…
Was Diana murdered?
Pick up a copy of the Daily Express and you’ve still got a 50% chance you’ll get a headline about the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales even after all these years. Despite numerous investigations and an official enquiry, no evidence has been found that points to whether Diana was murdered. The theory is that MI5 were unhappy with Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed, a Muslim, as they thought that this could be a threat to the future of the monarchy. There’s very little evidence to support such a hypothesis, but in the light of some of the cover-ups over the past few years, it’s a conspiracy theory that will remain for a long time.
Popularised by the authors of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln and then subsequently by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, the Jesus conspiracy rests upon the assertion that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, had children and their descendants are now living under the protection of a secret society called the Priory of Sion. The theory, however romantic has many, many holes in it and the Priory of Sion has been proved to be a hoax. If Jesus did marry and have children, it’s not how this theory suggests it is.
The Illuminati and the New World Order
This conspiracy theory rests on the existence of such secret groups as the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group and other similar organisations. Apparently, they are plotting to rule the world as one, with one government and one leader. The way they do this is through the manipulation of the media and financial markets, mind control, social engineering, and propaganda. The NWO is said to be signified by the pyramid, a symbol, which you can see in various forms, such as the Great Seal of the United States and Denver Airport.
The Moon landings
Since Neil Armstrong set foot upon the Moon, there have been lots of people saying that the moon landings were fake. In the race to the Moon against Russia, it is said that NASA used a whole host of tactics to falsify the fact that they had never made a successful moon landing. Conspiracy theorists point to such things as the flag on the Moon moving in a strange way and shadows falling in the wrong direction. Scientists have published extremely detailed rebuttals of each and every one of the claims that are used to prove the falsity of the Moon landings, but such theories exist more than ever.
This starts with a fact. Something did crash at Roswell in 1947. But, what? That’s what started off one of the greatest conspiracy theories of all time. The US authorities originally did record that it was some form of UFO. This, however, was hastily retracted, and the story according to the US Air Force has changed throughout the years. On the actual night of the crash, several witnesses report seeing things in the sky and many more report metal debris on the ground. More recently, Walter Haut, public affairs officer employed by the military at the time has written a signed affidavit saying he saw alien corpses and an alien craft.
Still to this day, nobody is quite sure what went on at Roswell. If it wasn’t a UFO, it must have been one of the US Air Force’s most secret test craft. Maybe one day we’ll know, maybe not.
No list of conspiracy theories would be complete without the murder of John F Kennedy. On November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas, John F Kennedy, the President of the United States of America, was shot dead by Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was later shot dead whilst in police custody by Jack Ruby.
There is a lot of evidence for the conspiracy theorists to feast upon. Why was Lee Harvey Oswald killed almost instantly after the shooting took place? Were there three or four shots? Was there more than one shooter? What was Jack Ruby’s role? Who was behind the shooting? This is one conspiracy theory that we may never get to the bottom of.
Perhaps the greatest conspiracy theory of all. On that day, the world watched live as terrorists attacked New York’s World Trade Centre and Washington’s Pentagon by crashing hijacked passenger aircraft into them. Al-Qaeda almost immediately held up their hands and admitted the attack, but just as quickly came the conspiracy theories. Several independent investigations have indicated that structural weaknesses caused by the crashes were responsible for the towers coming down, but many people think there were bombs planted in the Twin Towers themselves to aid the downing of the towers.
These theories have been fuelled by the testimonies of some people inside the Twin Towers themselves, who said that they heard explosions below the area of where the aircraft hit. Some of these testimonies come from Fireman and Police Officers.
The debate still rages on today, and probably always will.