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Of Recent Note

Credit: Brian Williams

It’s a Conspiracy

With the anniversary of the “moon landing” and the continued clamors of the birthers, conspiracy theories are in the news again. Here are our favorite shadowy plots.

Each month, we pitch a new question to our staff and readers. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, email it to us. This month we asked: What is your favorite conspiracy theory?

Llewellyn Hinkes

Pepsi may have killed Kennedy for Cuba and Reagan may have been a reptoid, but my all-time favorite conspiracy theory is still the Communist plot to fluoridate water. Unlike the Pepsi and reptoid myths, this one had a substantial audience back in the 1950s. I’m still not sure I completely understand it. It has something to do with Communists wanting to sedate and poison people—for what, I’m not sure. To prepare for invasion? If they already control the government, why would they need to invade? And isn’t tainting the water supply with a low-level cavity-prevention additive a convoluted way to go about this? And what does it have to do with turning Alaska into a Jew-run Siberian work camp for mental defectives? Somehow Scientology gets involved, and, what might seem like an innocuous fear of chemicals turns into a dental New World Order. It makes you wonder what all those chemtrails are really for.

Lauren Frey Daisley

This June, my husband and I took a trip to New Mexico, where we saw Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Bandelier National Monument, and Roswell. One of these things is not like the others. That’s to say, Roswell completely lacks natural beauty. But no one goes there because it’s pretty. People go there for 27-dollar alien snowglobes and a chance to read up on the history of what is now my favorite conspiracy theory. After wandering past streetlamps with large, ovular eyes painted on them, we spent the better part of an afternoon (OK, an hour) reading affidavits and newspaper stories that consistently recounted the crash landing of small green men with pads on their fingers. The reports of an un-meltable silver polymer and an I-beam marked with unreadable symbols seemed credible. And the personal stories of threats from the F.B.I. were actually very sad. Am I convinced there are aliens? Who knows, though it seems like hubris to think we’re all there is. More to the point, I now believe there was some sort of coverup back in the ‘40s. Government, if you are listening, you can totally tell me what really happened.

Kevin Guilfoile

Not a conspiracy theory so much as evolution; still, the crow grudge is as frightening as, well, a Hitchcock film:

Apparently crows will not only hold a grudge against you, they can tell all the other crows in the neighborhood that you’re a horrible person and all of those crows will remember your face and squawk at you every time they see you—even years after you were mean to the first crow.

Bridget Fitzgerald

There is one longstanding conspiracy we have all been forced to accept, despite its constant interference in our daily lives. We are reminded of it often—less so in the summer, perhaps, but still, it is out there, haunting us, a mystery no one can solve. It never fails—you put all your laundry into the washing machine, you move it to the dryer a short while later, and somehow, when you’re folding, you’ve got three mismatched loners hanging out at the bottom of the basket. What the hell, socks?

Chris LaBrunda

My favorite conspiracy theory has always been the Aurora project, a secret hypersonic spy plane to replace the SR-71. Everyone loves crazy James Bond-style gadgets and secret government technologies, but the Aurora is one of the few with an ounce of credibility behind it. After all, the SR-71 was classified for years before being made public, and it’s a reasonable assumption that our government would continue to develop our spy plane capabilities now that the SR-71 is retired. Sadly, the Aurora probably doesn’t exist, but I think I’m attracted to the mystique of the legendary Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, where super-scientists and engineers labored for decades on secret technologies needed to defeat the Soviets during the cold war. I love reading about secret military weapons projects like the Pluto nuclear-powered rocket and the Davy Crocket tactical nuke bazooka. The story of the first spy satellites, known as Corona, is also a great read—wherein the C.I.A. and the Air Force were butting heads over who should have control over the project and over the National Reconnaissance Office.

Leah Finnegan

Judging from the testimony of the late, hardscrabble musician Eldon Hoke, a.k.a. Il Duce, in the 1998 documentary Kurt & Courtney, I’m fairly certain the Courtney-Love-conspired-to-murder-Kurt-Cobain theory is one of the best out there. The circumstances surrounding the deaths of both Cobain and Il Duce are suspect. Cobain’s suicide note was signed in an uncharacteristic style; judging by the amount of heroin in his body at the time of his death, skeptics doubt he could have even managed to hold a gun. Several days after Il Duce claimed on film that Love offered him $50,000 to kill Cobain, he was hit by a train near his home in Riverside, Calif. Only an evil doctor like Courtney Love could cause the deaths of two such cultural treasures. And as long as she and/or her legend lives, I shall, in a faraway corner of my mind, be obsessed with what really happened to Kurt and Duce.

Dave Gilson

So many to choose from. I have a soft spot for the idea that Jews control the world, though I’m disappointed that the rabbi forgot to give me the secret password at my bar mitzvah. I’m also becoming a fan of the theory that Michael Jackson was killed by a C.I.A. death ray. But here’s my overall favorite: A long time ago, powerful aliens known as the Anunnaki built the ziggurats in what is now Iraq. They also built stargates: portals for intergalactic and interdimensional travel. Somehow, after the god-like aliens left Earth, the stargates went unnoticed for centuries. Until Saddam Hussein came along and realized what they were. Once George W. Bush caught wind of this, he made up the whole W.M.D. story so the U.S. could invade Iraq and get its hands on the alien technology. Could Dick Cheney’s “undisclosed location” have been Alpha Centauri?

Michael Rottman

My childhood fascination with mind control came to a head (as it were) with the discovery of subliminal messages. They could be anywhere, reliable sources claimed, manipulating your desires from behind the scenes with speed and stealth. When I was 13, my friend Donnie and I used my double-deck cassette player to run a barely audible message over a song and played it for his sister, thereby implanting the desire to get Donnie a glass of milk. (The song? “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie—rapper of choice for subliminal tests.) It didn’t work, and we did not become puppet masters. Worse, the subliminally driven consumer hordes didn’t turn out to be half as cool as the robotic legion I’d imagined. But all that’s going to change as soon as my plans come to fruition…

Nicholas R. Soto

Some people say it’s a hare-brained “theory,” but I’m telling you: The dinosaurs are a hoax! In the early days of the Republic, the government was in need of some cash and decided to tap into an inexhaustible resource: the gullibility of its citizens. First they charged for admission to see the bones, books, dark daguerreotypes, and authentic dinosaur skin top hats. Merchandising really kicked off after WWII of course, but the worst part of it all? They’d like to tell us the truth but can’t—not as long as the Commission (six members that include the Astors, the Finkelsteins, and Ronald McDonald) pull the strings of global economy from their dark lair in Le Havre. So close your eyes everyone, eat your dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, and forget your puppet government is laughing at you all the way to the bank. How do I know this is true? Look around you man, look around you.

Erik Bryan

Oh my God, you guys! Have you heard about the lizard people? I only heard of them recently, when they were written in on ballots during the Franken/Coleman recount. The people who wrote in “lizard people” were probably joking, but there are those that appear to actually believe. According to these nutjobs there’s an ancient race of shape-shifting reptilians controlling all global events since the dawn of humankind. The great thing about this conspiracy theory is how it creates a master theory out of other loosely related conspiracy theories (like the belief that the Illuminati, a conspiracy theorist’s darling, has always been controlled by reptile-like aliens, and the eminently discredited, anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion). David Icke, former footballer and BBC host, seems to be the creator of this theory, and has gone on record as saying that he is the “son of God,” and that George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, the British royals, and a host of news anchors, among others, are actually lizard people. From space. Who control what we see and hear. To create human strife. Because our fear and negative emotions are their food. This Icke guy has sold thousands of books and regularly sells out speaking engagements. Would a crazy liar regularly sell out speaking engagements? And with dozens of videos like this online, is there any possible explanation other than lizard people?


David Davies

Swine flu was concocted in a lab by the U.S. government in order to create widespread panic, allowing the Jewish-Republican-Techno-Primitivist-cannibal-baby-raping-phermaceutical-pushing Shadowy Cabal in Charge of Everything That Happens Ever to force their puppet Obama to roll out vaccinations on a mass scale, which would be tainted by mercury/lead/lithium/fluoride in order to destroy your immune system/teeth/freewill/love of God, America and apple pie/brain, as a culmination of their plot which began with the crucifixion/discovery of America/Great Depression/nuking of Japan/Sept. 11, thus allowing them to secure their stranglehold on the world and bring about their satanic-pagan-fundamentalist-Christian-tree-hugging-communist New World Order as a shadow government ruling through the U.N. It’s all true: I saw it on the internet.

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers