Conspiracy Theories


by J.D. Rhoades

The Twin Towers were brought down on 9/11, not by by terrorists
flying hijacked airliners, but by controlled demolition engineered and
paid for by the Bush Administration.

Man never landed on the moon; the whole thing was faked on a California sound stage.

JFK was killed, not by one man acting alone, But by the CIA. Or the Mafia. Or the CIA and the Mafia. Or something.

We do love our conspiracy theories. On dozens of crackpot
websites, in hundreds of endless drunken barroom conversations, in thousands of conversations at  dinner tables, people
love to talk about the secret forces that are behind  the havoc and
misery we see.  The truth is out there, they just know it.

The government is keeping an alien spaceship and the bodies of its crew at Area 51 in the Nevada desert.

Marilyn Monroe was murdered to keep her from spilling the beans about her affair with JFK.

Someone once developed a car that can run on water, but the oil companies have been covering it up to protect their profits.

Pop culture reflects our love of conspiracy theories. Look at some of the biggest bestsellers in
recent memory. THE DA VINCI CODE  spawned a horde of imitators and an
entire subgenre of nonfiction books purporting to "debunk" its
fictional premise that there’s a secret society made up of some of history’s greatest luminaries, all keeping the real story of Jesus a secret.   Robert Ludlum was one of dozens of writers who made
entire careers out of telling us scary stories about multinational conspiracies and the brave spies who thwart them. And what, after all,
was the Harry Potter series but one huge fictional pulling back of the
veil between our own mundane Muggle world and the secret world of magic
that exists just out of our view?

And movies and TV shows are full of conspiracies: "The X-files", "24", "Lost, " etc. there was even a middling good Mel Gibson movie called "Conspiracy Theory" in which Mel played a crackpot who thought secret cabals ran everything. As it turned out, not much of a stretch for old Mel, acting wise.

Advertisers are putting subliminal mind-control messages in their ads and in TV shows to force you to  buy products.

is actually run behind the scenes by the Jews/the Bavarian
Illuminati/the Freemasons/The Trilateral Commission/shape-shifting
alien reptiles.

Elvis, Tupac Shakur, and Andy Kaufman are actually alive. Paul McCartney, however, is dead.

did a panel (ably moderated by Barry Eisler) at the last Thrillerfest
on the subject of conspiracy theories. One of the questions was–and
I’m paraphrasing here– "do you believe in  conspiracies
in real life?"  Some members of the audience looked a bit
startled, and some were visibly disappointed  when I piped up and said
"no, I believe in stupidity, randomness and  chaos. That’s what causes most of the misery in the world."

I think they were
unhappy because people want to believe in order. They want to believe
there’s a reason for some of the awful stuff that happens, even if that
reason is based in evil. They want to believe someone’s in control,
even if that person (or persons, or shape shifting alien reptile) is malevolent. We
want a culprit. At least that gives them something  to fight against.
There’s no fighting stupidity and chaos. You can send Luke Skywalker
after Darth Vader; sending him after Larry, Moe and Curly would be

And thus, THE DA VINCI CODE. THE X-FILES.  And so on. 

And the truth is, even though I believe stupidity and chaos are more to blame for the bad stuff in the  world, I like  good conspiracy fiction (even some bad, cheesy conspiracy fiction) as much as the next guy.

So what do you believe in? Big Evil or Big Stupid? What’s your favorite conspiracy theory? Do you believe it, and why? What’s your favorite fictional conspiracy?

33 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories

  1. Jude Hardin

    “I believe stupidity and chaos are more to blame for the way the world is…”

    Sure, that’s what you want us to think. You’re really one of THEM, aren’t you?

  2. J.D. Rhoades

    Heh. I went back and edited that a bit this morning because it did seem a bit of a downer. It’s not all stupidity and chaos. There is a lot of that, though.

    But yes, I am one of them There’s a meeting at the docks tonight at 11:00. The password is “schmendrick.”

  3. Joyce Tremel

    In the words of Dark Helmet from Spaceballs, “Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.”

    Seriously though, I don’t believe in big conspiracies, but I do believe there’s evil in the world. Just read the news headlines.

    I can’t think of any favorite fictional conspiracies at the moment. Not enough coffee yet this morning!

  4. Will Bereswill

    Stupidity is rampant and evil is out there, both smart and stupid.

    The MythBusters took on the moon landing myth. BUSTED. They broke all the comnspiricy theories. Maybe they need to take on the JFK myth to see if they wind up mysteriously missing.

    Looks like theories are emerging that Dr. Bruce Ivins, the army doctor that committed suicide as the FBI closed in on him for Amerithrax. Some think he’s a patsie.

    Good stuff JD. Personally I think aliens are behind InBev’s takeover of Anheuser-Busch.

  5. J Winter

    My pet conspiracy theory, no more or less valid than any other on the subject, is that Oswald not only missed, but he just happened to pick the wrong day to take a bad potshot at JFK, and that the mob, incensed how the Kennedy clan paid them back for their support, took advantage of the fact that presidents still rode around in open-topped cars.

    Unfortunately, while this idea has the requisite lack of evidence to support it to be a good conspiracy theory, it’s so mundane and possible that it elicits little more than a big yawn.

  6. Dana King

    Chaos, stupidity, absolutely. With added doses of selfishness and short sightedness.

    Sure, there are conspiracies, but not at the levels some people like to think. They can’t get past a certain size. Sooner or later someone gets drunk, wants to impress a woman, needs money. Vast conspiracies are limited by the stupidity, selfishness, and short sightednesst that cause our miseries. I call it a wash.

  7. Zoë Sharp

    I’d love to believe there’s some evil mastermind behind all the world’s ills.

    But looking at the sheer inefficiency of governments everywhere leads me to believe no-one could successfully pull it off.

    Hardly a week goes by without someone from MI5 or MI6 leaving their laptop full of secrets in a wine bar, or selling a camera on eBay that contains pictures of classified documents.


    Quite depressing really, isn’t it?

  8. Tammy Cravit

    As inept as our government is at so very many things, it stretches credibility beyond the breaking point to believe they could successfully execute so very many conspiracy theories and keep them secret for so long without ANY evidence leaking out.

    There’s a saying, which I first read in a Tom Clancy book but which I’ve subsequently heard from a couple of military friends (I live near an Air Force base), which says that the chances of something staying secret is inversely proportional to the square of the number of people who know about it. (Translation for non-mathheads: If twice as many people know about something, the secret is four times more likely to get spilled.)

    The number of people it would have taken to blow up the WTC on Bush’s orders, or to hide a UFO at Area 51, is simply impractical from a secrecy standpoint. Heck, even the stuff that DID go on at Groom Lake, NV didn’t stay completely secret forever, and it was a lot less exotic than UFOs.

    Of course, maybe someday I’ll meet a shapeshifting reptilian Jewish alien in a bar, who’ll greet me in reptilian Hebrew and we’ll have a lovely conversation about the Talmud and world politics.

    Stranger things have happened.

  9. pari

    Sorry, JD et al,But I believe in all kinds of goofy things, depending on my mood; they make life more interesting and give me a sense of magic in the world.

    In some ways, believing in God is believing in a conspiracy theory.

    The Wizard of Oz is another.

    . . . and don’t get me started on Diebold.

    My most basic precept is that we can’t know much of anything for sure. So of the possible explanations out there, I usually pick the ones that are most fun or that resonate on a deep level.

    I’m going back to my lair now.

  10. JT Ellison

    Having worked in the government, I must say I fall on the side of the stupidity and chaos. Yes, there are “secrets”, but plenty of people know them. Real evil does exist, but it ain’t coming from Washington.

    That said, I have created an off the books entity for Baldwin to play in. It’s fun.

  11. Stacey Cochran

    I don’t believe in conspiracy theories like these, and I tend to think that we as humans are clumsily fumbling through our lives… (some more clumsily than others perhaps.)

    However, I do think that life on a fundamental level has astonishing order to it. Even the most chaotic natural environment (e.g., dispersion of plants and trees in a rain forest, pedestrian flow in midtown Manhattan, distance of galaxies from one another in the universe, T-cell dispersion in the human circulatory system) all have incredible symmetry and order… but on a level that few people are conscious of or ever think about.


  12. Rob Gregory Browne

    I believe in conspiracies. Not necessarily the ones you spoke of, but they certainly exist. Years ago I worked in legal defense and saw evidence of criminal conspiracies all the time. If they happen on a small scale, I see no reason to believe they don’t happen on a grand scale as well.

    The invasion of Iraq is a perfect example of small group of people working together (conspiring) to deceive the public and achieve economic gain for themselves and their cronies.

    I think that, in most cases, the conspirators are simply trying to CONTROL thestupidity, randomness and chaos.

    Hell, that’s all any of us are trying to do.

  13. Rae

    I think that one person’s evil conspiracy is, to another, a carefully conceived strategy – which sort of goes to Alex’s point, and to the idea that sometimes there’s malice aforethought and sometimes it’s all just random stupidity and thoughtlessness.

    I believe that there was probably something hinky about Marilyn Monroe’s death and the JFK assassination – whether it was in some sort of planning, or simply a coverup, I don’t know, but it all just never smelled right to me. A few years ago, I read somewhere that some of Jacqueline Kennedy’s papers are, per her will, going to be made public 100 years after her death. I’d love to get a preview of them, because I don’t think I’ll be in a position to read the paper at that point 😉

    And, agree with Louise that MIB is the best conspiracy fiction ever, but it’s followed closely by ‘Network’ – the Ned Beatty scene is one of the all time classics. I’ve attached the YouTube link if you’re interested….

  14. Cara

    JD you wrote – They want to believe there’s a reason for some of the awful stuff that happens, even if that reason is based in evil.

    I go with Louise on the Big Stupid.

    But then how many times have I sat up in bed, shook my husband awake and said ‘it had to be two shots from the grassy knoll, that angle from the Texas Repository window…” and he hits me with a pillow.


  15. Allison Brennan

    I’m with Louise. I loved MEN IN BLACK. I also liked CONSPIRACY THEORY with Mel Gibson (I think) where he produced a newsletter on conspiracies and the four subscribers were all in the CIA or something 🙂

    I’m not big into conspiracy theories and like Tammy, keeping secrets is impossible if a bunch of people know. HOWEVER, I do believe that small conspiracies happen every day. The two people in the office who plot to get someone fired, the guy who hires his major donor’s unqualified daughter, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, etc. Whether they are legal or illegal is another argument. When I was trying to figure out how to make a conspiracy work in PLAYING DEAD, I asked my husband . . . because of the problem of too many people knowing would ruin my idea. So we had three people involved, and all of them had something at stake and at risk, to minimize the chances of any of them talking. (They were all involved in a murder.) When there’s more to lose, there’s a greater chance at keeping the secret longer . . . but SOMEONE will spill the beans if they get caught.

    Like JT, I worked in government and certainly believe that stupidity reigns supreme, along with all seven of the deadly sins. I do think that evil–whether supernatural evil or not–exists. Most criminals are dumb, but there are enough smart ones out there who epitomize evil on earth.

    And I agree with Stacey on the order of the world. It’s amazing, really.

  16. ArkansasCyndi

    Thanks Stephen. Exactly WHY I’m not posting my favorite conspiracy theory. No need to add my name to “the list.” I believe EVERYTHING our wonderful (and truthful) government tells me. After all, the government knows better than I do about everything. 🙂

  17. John Dishon

    I think there is substantial evidence that what happened on 9/11 is not the same as the official version. The 9/11 Commission Report is joke; it doesn’t even mention WTC 7, the third building that collapsed (without being hit by a plane). There’s the way the buildings fell; they look exactly like controlled demolitions. Go on youtube and watch the video of WTC 7 collapsing, then watch a video of any building being demolished. They look exactly the same, the building coming straight down. Fire damage doesn’t cause that.

    There’s the fact that no steel structure has ever collapsed because of fire, anywhere, ever. Except, we are told, the three WTC buildings, on the same day, in the same place. The fires in the twin towers burned for about an hour, while there have been many buildings that have burned for 10+ hours over multiple floors without collapsing. Add to that the fact that airplane fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel.

    Even Jesse Ventura, a Navy Seal trained in underwater demolition, doesn’t think it happened the way the government says it did. And as he points out, what’s wrong with asking questions? And that’s the problem. If you even ask the question you’re attacked as a crack pot.

    Even if the events didn’t really happen the way we are told, that doesn’t necessarily mean our government is responsible for it. But it’s possible. Why not ask the questions and try to learn the truth instead of just blindly believing everything we’re told?

    The government has confirmed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened, so there is precedence for our government lying to us to get us in to war (oh yeah, and WMDs, remember that?)

    A couple other odd things: the hijacker’s luggage was kept at the airport, it never made it onto the plane. Nothing unusual there, happens all the time, but the luggage contained a suicide note. Why would a suicide bomber bring his suicide note with him when he knows the plane and everything in it will be destroyed? And the plane was destroyed, yet they were able to recover one of the hijacker’s passports. How did that survive?

    Same thing happened to that flight that was downed in PA. Almost zero plane wreckage (don’t take my word for it, watch the newscasts from those days)yet they were able to recover driver’s licenses from a few people, even though no bodies were recovered. How does that happen?

    Whether you believe it or not, the fact is, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and isn’t it odd that the government doesn’t care about answering them? Look at how little they spent on the investigation they did do (two years later, why wait?) compared with other investigations such as the Columbia space shuttle that exploded.

    Anway, I’ll stop now. But asking questions is not a bad thing.

  18. Jill James

    My favorite fictional conspiracy theories are the medical ones written by Robin Cook. He makes the conspiracy seems totally logical and totally real.

    The husband loves to throw the Moon Shot Conspiracy at me. He knows I love all things about space and nothing irks me like being told we didn’t go to the Moon.

  19. woodstock

    I’ll go with Big Stupid every time. But I understand the lure of believing in a conspiracy. Chaos and confusion can be very very scary, and I’m not immune to being frightened. How comforting, in a way, to have an organized and controlled force behind the scary events we wish we could understand.

  20. J.D. Rhoades

    John, regardless of how it looks from the outside, the amount of preparation required to drop a building into its own footprint would be impossible to conceal. You have to gut the interior for one thing, and wire explosives all over the load bearing structures. In a building fill of people? With no one noticing? Please.

    Building Seven fell because two giant structures collapsed right next to it, creating a seismic event that registered on instruments across the globe.

  21. Jake Nantz

    I’ll go conspiracy for ya. Anyone hear that the AP issued a hush-hush report that they finally got the last of the WMDs out of Iraq, and had to publicly state there weren’t any the whole time so the insurgents wouldn’t know where they were being moved to? ‘Cause I heard it, and it would be hell on the media if it turned out to be true.

    And hey, any egg on the media when they jump to conclusions is all right by me…just ask Jesse Jackson how he feels for promising to pay the Duke “Victim’s” schooling NOW….

    Ok, done with the conspiracies for the night.

  22. John Dishon

    Yeah, I don’t know how you would conceal something like that without people knowing; however, buildings don’t collapse that way unless they are demolished. They just don’t. Even if the twin towers caused the collapse of WTC 7, there still should have been resistance from the building itself when it collapsed. Instead, it went down in six or seven seconds (again watch the video. Looks exactly like demolition). The other two went down in about 11 seconds.

    Plus WTC 7 went down like eight hours after the twin towers did, so if they’re collapse caused the other WTC 7 collapse, why did it take so long? And if there was so much seismic activity from the twin tower collapse, how come none of the other buildings nearby collapsed, only the one that housed CIA documents? Just saying.

  23. Fran

    Wait, wait, are you saying that shapeshifting alien reptiles AREN’T running everything?

    Next you’ll be telling me there’s no tooth fairy (who is obviously a lackey of the dental hygiene industry but I don’t want to hear THAT either, darn it!).

  24. Jim Winter

    “The invasion of Iraq is a perfect example of small group of people working together (conspiring) to deceive the public and achieve economic gain for themselves and their cronies.”

    Well, now, that wasn’t much of a secret, was it?

    And I’ll refrain from the obvious jokes about The Big Stupid, since the target will be gone in about 2 1/2 months.

    My favorite MIB line, more appropriate for the last three weeks of any major election cycle than conspiracy theories, is “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

    Which is why most conspiracy theories fall apart. Too many people.

  25. Ali

    ROFL…..don’t get me started Dusty, especially in a public forum.

    Yes I agree, there is chaos and stupidity around us, but sometimes that is used as the ‘fog’ to hide the truth in plane sight.

    The proliferation of ‘nutty’ theories is used to hide the ones that are real.

    I am just amazed that several really big world events have been manipulated in such a way.

    Paranoia is often a hieghtened sense of reality when it comes to some events.

    Question everything – accept nothing and blind faith in your leaders will get you killed.


    Type in ‘Operation Northwoods’ into Google and follow the trail of links to really see how deep the rabbit hole runs.

    Most people rathet take the blue pill than take the red one, because the reality you see around you may have been manipulated.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *