History's Greatest Conspiracy Theories

By Phil Plait | November 20, 2008 8:44 am

The UK newspaper The Telegraph has an interesting slide show of their pick for the top 30 conspiracy theories. Before you ask, the Moon Hoax rated number 4.

I have not heard of many of them, and some shouldn’t even be on the list. Roswell is there, but not UFOs in general. And please, chemtrails? This is one of the lamest CTs of all time, along with crop circles. Feh. But it’s rather fun to read them all in a row. People believe funny things.

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to James Oberg.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Skepticism

Comments (79)

  1. Well, you didn’t actually expect anything about CTs to be highly intelligent and well thought out, did you? 😛

    As a jet pilot, I’ve been accused of the chemtrails. Like all CT woo woo believers, they are indeed a special breed. Lameness does not factor it.

  2. Quiet Desperation

    Is there any conspiracy concerning web sites that insist on placing their content into little boxes that take up lees than 25% of my monitor? How about one concerning black text on a dark gray background. Who designs these sites?

  3. Michelle

    Aaah, AARP. Some douche on a local radio here won’t shut up about it. Said it’s what they used to keep good skies over the China olympics… sometimes people crack me up

  4. Dan Veteran

    You mean these aren’t all real. : (

  5. silvermike

    Why would we have a top secret plan to fight global warming? Wouldn’t we be trumpeting it from the mountaintops if we had a wacky plan to solve the problem without really investing?

  6. I like watching crazy rainbow lady’s videos on youtube. She’s a chem trail and HAARP weirdo.

  7. Mighty T

    Fun list and a good read. My personal favourite off of there? Philadelphia Experiment, because it sounds like the set-up for some very strange movie or videogame.

    That’s actually quite funny because the Chinese DO have an actual and real – if I’m not mistaken on the name – Ministry of Weather Control. I can’t find a link right now but it was big news before the Olympics and not just the ravings of some conspiracy nutter. Basically they just fire flak shells from old anti-aircraft guns loaded with a mixture of who knows what into clouds, trying to either make it rain or stop it from raining.

    I’ve always found it a bit amazing that when there’s actual interesting stuff out there like this people need to insert their own layer of crazy on to it for no apparent reason, just to juicy it up a bit.

  8. grmcdorman

    Interesting that they claim the 9/11 CTs are growing, when by all appearances at JREF they are shrinking and becoming increasingly marginalized (not to mention loonier, which is a real accomplishment).

  9. Jack Mitcham

    Even though I’m a skeptic, there are some of these CTs I say are plausible.

    “Pearl Harbor was allowed to happen.” I see this one as plausible. The country wasn’t behind joining the European war, and war is generally good for the government. All they had to do was act surprised of an attack they already know was going to happen to change popular opinion.

    The Peak Oil one… “The oil industry is aware of vast reserves of untapped oil, but does not utilise them in order to maintain the illusion of scarcity, they claim. ” Doesn’t OPEC admit to doing just that? They basically say “Oil isn’t scarce enough, so we’re going to stop producing it for a while.

    Lastly, Operation Northwoods was an actual conspiracy, not just some wacky hypothesis.

    Then there is only one thing I will say about global warming: While I understand that anthropogenic climate change is real, I believe that governments around the world are more concerned about accumulating power for themselves than doing anything real about it. They may exaggerate certain aspects to push forward a specific policy, and downplay other aspects to keep a different policy.

    Believing that government is always looking out for your own best interest is even crazier than some of these CTs.

  10. I wasn’t really aware of how vocal the 9/11 nut cult was until I went to New York City in 2007 and saw them running some sort of protest by the pit.

    While I tend to think the Bush administration failed to pay proper attention to intelligence about Middle Eastern terrorists over the summer of 2001, it’s a much bigger leap to think the Bushies were in the middle of the conspiracy.

  11. grmcdorman

    2007 was the peak year for the 9/11 CTers, by various measures posted on JREF. (One example: Traffic to their sites peaked in Sep/Oct of that year, and has been declining ever since.)

    Most of the remaining ones on JREF “discussing” this are pretty much of the “don’t confuse me with any facts, my mind is already made up” variety. Nothing exists that can convince them their ideas are wrong.

  12. Gary Ansorge

    Sheesh! Talk about convoluted thinking!

    People(CTs) seem quite good at keeping contradictory ideas in separate compartments in their little pointy heads. I wonder how they manage to get ANYTHING done. Last time I looked, there were 50,000 centenarians in this country, a population which is expected to grow to 600,000 by 2050. Doesn’t that seem to contradict the idea that SOMEBODY is intent on making the population SICK?

    I expect if our genetic research figures out how to extend the useful/healthy portions of our lives to the maximum genetic limit, some CT will explain it all away by saying that’s just so (governments/pharmaceutical companies) can have a population dedicated to buying their meds.

    Yeah?SO? If the meds allow us to live long and prosper, how is that expense bad?

    Maybe I’ll get back to the CTs after I hit 120 years of age.

    GAry 7

  13. Quiet Desperation

    Michelle : Aaah, AARP. Some douche on a local radio here won’t shut up about it.

    Yeah! Darn those retired people! :-)

    Jack Mitcham: there are some of these CTs I say are plausible.

    Hmm. Interesting.

    (QD checks his exits)

  14. MarshallDog

    I had never heard of the plastic coffins conspiracy theory, but I think that might be my new favorite. It’s just baffling to think of someone seeing a bunch of big plastic bins and leaping to the conclusion that they must be part of a plan to put Americans in concentration camps.

    I disagree that chemtrails does not belong on this list. Again, it’s something that’s so lame it’s almost brilliant. Chemtrail CT’ers see clouds in the sky and assume it’s part of a government conspiracy to poison the atmosphere. Can you imagine anything not being viewed as a conspiracy in a chemtrail believer’s head?

  15. Garrett

    Why isn’t holocaust denial on the list? Maybe because those crazies say that the holocaust was a conspiracy?

    Anyway, it was a pretty good list, and an enjoyable read.

  16. Matt

    Re: Jack Mitcham

    “9. Operation Northwoods – A genuine conspiracy” – they admit it is a genuine conspiracy. The wacky hypothesis is that it is connected with JFKs assassination and 9/11.

  17. AS a member of the Illumenati (cadet, still awaiting my 42nd-degree Mage badge), I have nothing to say.


    Seriously, some of these are laughable at best and very, very sad at the worst. The universe routinely hands us greater and more interesting mysteries to solve, yet some people have to dream up crazy stuff anyway…

  18. Plastic coffins? Why on earth would you use those? If it’s in Atlanta, trust me, someone will find a way to screw up the conspiracy. Trust me.

  19. John

    I didn’t think Jesus having a child was that crazy. He spent a lot of time with Mary, so is it crazy to think he had sex with her?

  20. Dave Hall

    Plastic coffins? Is that because the oil conspiracy is making it too expensive to fuel crematoria? Is Rubbermaid in on it?

    I liked the line in the flouridation section where one of the side effects is dumbing down the public.

    Hmmm, Maybe there is something to that one . . .

  21. Grizzly

    My “pet” conspiracy theory:

    JFK was assasinated by a whack job named Lee Harvey Oswald. Acting alone, with one gun from the Texas Book Depository building. He may have told a couple of people ahead of time.

  22. I’ve met a few Chemtrail believers. They have levels of personal stupidity that are hard to match, even by moon hoaxists. The same people also believe fluoridation is part of the chemical conspiracy, so #30 and #24 can be related.

    #20 (peak oil) is one of the more believable ones. It could be argued that if we are at/near/past peak oil, that oil companies – in order to protect their position in the world markets – would be developing new energy technologies that they can control… effectively migrating us off oil to some other energy that they can make money from. They aren’t doing that, so one might be inclined to think that they know something about untapped oil reserves that the general public does not. Or we are at/near/past peak oil and the oil companies could be run by morons who can’t see past tomorrow.

    The ones I’d never heard of:

    #26 – plastic coffins. Ok, I can kind of see how the visuals of this one combined with runaway imaginations would leed to a conspiracy theory.
    #19 – elders of zion. That was a new one for me.
    #18 – Wilson – never heard of any of that one

  23. Ben

    I met a guy once who believed in the fluoride in drinking water conspiracy, and he may even have had interesting points to make about experiments with lab rats and such, but I was too distracted by his REALLY BAD teeth.

  24. Dave Svoboda

    I think there’s things not well explained by common explanations around many of these.

    Many people criticize W for continuing to read to the kindergarten class when “Rome Was Burning”, but I think a better question is why the Secret Service wasn’t moving him, when it was known by them that an attack on the country was happening with commercial airliners, and his location had been reported on the news. That’s a grave risk to his person, it seems to me, and I’m not even a paranoid Secret Service agent. I’m not saying it was a major government conspiracy, I’m saying that 9/11 needs an explanation like “bad astronomy” has for the moon landing SCT.

    As far as JFK, I’ve shot a Carcano before. It’s a bolt-action rifle, and the one I shot had a rather fiddly bolt. Check out how fast the shots come on the video. That’s some SERIOUS fast bolt work. Especially having to re-aim each time. I know Oswald was a trained Marine marksman, but damn!

    As someone else said, the FDR conspiracy about Pearl Harbor is not so implausible. FDR was certainly visibly in favor of intervention in WWII, unlike the majority of Americans. FDR was using the US Navy to blockade the Japanese islands at the time, starving them of resources, which was the professed reason for Japan’s expansion into China and other places in the first place. FDR was also at the time rebuffing Japan on the diplomatic front. It wouldn’t have taken any great imagination to suggest that such a provoked Japan would respond militarily. Perhaps the Pearl Harbor location was a surprise, but the fact of a sneak attack certainly couldn’t have been too shocking to FDR, and certainly not as he represented in his morning “day of infamy” address.

  25. Dave Svoboda

    Oh, SCT = “Stupid Conspiracy Theory”

  26. RL

    I don’t really think the Pearl Harbor conspiracy is that plausible. Could I imagine using a Japanese attack to change the minds of people about joining the war? Yes. But to know that an attack was coming and let almost the entire Pacific fleet get wiped out would seem a little foolish. The same purpose could be solved by ambushing the attack when they got close. I just don’t buy the logic there. (And, yes, the CTs who push that one have retorts but I still disagree).

    I did not know about the plastic coffins but the conspiracy that the US government was using the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina to mask the dumping of mass executions from concentration camps was trumpeted by Cynthia McKinney when she was running for president.

    And my town doesn’t flouridate the water. We’re on to that trick.

    Given that some of the other conspiracies listed seem weak, I’m a little surprised to not see others listed. Like the one about Bruce Lee not being dead (like Elvis) is not there. And no mention of Majestic 12…that used to be a biggee I thought.

    And what about the CT that people were voting for Sanjaya to keep him on American Idol just to muck up the works?

  27. grmcdorman

    One of the points [i]against[/i] the Pearl Harbour conspiracy theory is that, at the time, all the naval strategists were focused on the big battleships as the core of the fleet – you know, all those ships that got badly damaged and sunk that day. It was, in fact, the progress of the Pacific war that showed just how powerful carriers can be (especially Midway).

    Only the carriers were out – and even then, apparently at least one would have been in the harbour if it hadn’t got delayed (don’t recall what the delay was, a mechanical malfunction?)

    With respect to the “plastic coffins”: Fully investigated in a thread in JREF: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=118619

  28. Sarcastro

    Lastly, Operation Northwoods was an actual conspiracy, not just some wacky hypothesis.

    As was MK-ULTRA. And like ON, it’s where the CTs take the real conspiracy that turns it into nuttiness.

    The Moon Hoax theory is old and tired. It’s the “We met aliens when we landed on the moon” theory that is teh real hawtness

  29. Hmmm… Methinks Pearl harbor was not in 1942 as they claim.
    It’s a conspiracy to retcon history.

  30. JoeSmithCA

    I think Nasa is hiding evidence that there really are martians on Mars and have sabotaged the European space agenciy’s rover so that they could protect the knowledge that the martians really do exist. No wait, I’ll have to work on that conspiracy, dicovery of life on mars would invoke congress to dump tons in NASA’s lap. Hmmmm… I’ll work on this one and get back to you :)

  31. Ad Hominid

    Ok, Pearl Harbor conspiracy supporters, what was the advantage to letting it happen, as opposed to readying the Pacific Fleet to meet the attack? Would a warning to Pearl Harbor have kept the Japanese from launching this attack or the simultaneous attacks in the Phillipines and Malaya? You claim that this was all to get us into the war. What course of action would have stopped the Japanese offensive short of war?

  32. Davidlpf

    At least they have not discovered the truth yet.

  33. Ad Hominid

    Some years ago, I received a death threat in the mail in response to a satirical item I had written about CT believers.
    The person who sent it believed that federal agents were conspiring against him and preparing to take away his right to keep and bear arms.
    In sending me a death threat, and signing his real name, he brought about the very thing he feared: Federal agents, in the guise of postal inspectors, did in fact come to his house, arrest him, and take away his guns, for good.

  34. Grand Lunar

    Most conspiracy theorists seem to hang out at YouTube.
    Some of these ideas I heard of, others are new.

    Apollo hoaxers think their numbers are growing, and that NASA’s days are numbered thanks to their efforts.

    I’m surprised they haven’t approached Hollywood with a script yet with their fantasy.

  35. Curious

    Can anyone tell me why some days planes are criss-crossing the sky, clouding it up in a couple of hours with a gray dirty cover? And the white sticky stuff that attaches to cars, trees and shrubs, what is that? This happens a lot over our little town. If it’s commercial flights polluting our skies this way then we really have to wake up. Don’t we care about our own and our children’s health and the future of our beautiful planet? I’m not a CT but I think it’s better to be aware and investigate about what is happening than just sit and write cynical messages. Right?

  36. The fluoridation conspiracy doesn’t belong on there! It’s true!

    Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water? On no account will a Commie ever drink water, and not without good reason.
    Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face? I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!

    Props to all you who recognize the greatest movie of all time!

  37. kuhnigget

    @ Grand Lunar:

    “I’m surprised they haven’t approached Hollywood with a script yet with their fantasy.”

    Your eminence, perhaps you forget (the forgettable) “Capricorn One”? If, for no other reason, the riveting performance by Orenthal James Simpson.

    Okay, okay, it’s that overhyped Red Planet, but still…same idea.

  38. John Phillips, FCD

    Senethior459, coinci’dentally’ (sorry couldn’t resist, OK, I’ll just get my coat :) ) there was a Peter Sellers biopic on telly only the other day. I always knew he was a little eccentric’, shall we say, but I never realised that in real life he was as strange and disturbed a character as any of the characters he or anyone else played in the film, even General ‘Buck’ Turgsdton.

  39. Mark Roberts

    Grumble, grumble. Sent a letter to The Telegraph editor:

    Sir – Your article and slide show “History’s greatest conspiracy theories” repeats as fact a major falsehood that’s been spread about events at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (which you list as the #1 conspiracy theory): “Many witnesses – including firemen, policemen and people who were inside the towers at the time – claim to have heard explosions below the aircraft impacts (including in basement levels) and before both the collapses and the attacks themselves.”

    Only one person, a former World Trade Center janitor named William Rodriguez, claims to have heard and felt an explosion in the the north tower an instant before it was struck by American Airlines flight 11. Mr. Rodriguez began making this claim in 2005, only after repeatedly complaining that his actions on that day had not been given enough attention by the media. He told an entirely different story to collapse investigators in 2004, which did not involve any explosion before the building was struck. His new claim is not supported by his own supervisor, by other workers who were present, or by any other evidence.

    It would be extremely surprising if sounds like explosions were not reported after the impact of one or both aircraft. Nearly all of these descriptions come from people who were inside the north tower when the south tower was hit or when it collapsed. These people did not know what was happening outside their building (most were in enclosed stairwells). Additonally, the buildings were disintegrating from the inside after the aircraft impacts, with elevators and debris falling down shaftways and structural steel failing. In published accounts at least 16 people described as “like bombs” or “like explosions” the sound of people who had jumped or fallen from the buildings hitting the ground.

    Conspiracy theorists take these witness and victim accounts out of context to try to falsely revise history. Repeating false claims as fact only aids a misbegotten cause. A correction would be appreciated.

    Mark Roberts, Brooklyn, New York

  40. Mark Roberts

    @ Curious “Can anyone tell me why some days planes are criss-crossing the sky, clouding it up in a couple of hours with a gray dirty cover?”

    Planes follow their assigned flightpaths. There’s nothing unusual about them leaving contrails that criss-cross the sky. Contrails are ice crystals that dissipate like any other icy clouds. What else do you think should happen to them?

    The absurd “chemtrails” idea requires aircraft designers and manufacturers, airlines, and thousands of mechanics and support personnel worldwide to be in on it. For what purpose? I’ve yet to hear a remotely rational explanation for what these sprays are supposed to be or do or who they’re supposed to affect (and who gets the antidote?). It’s pure nuttery. You’ll note the the chemtrails proponents will make wild accusations but wouldn’t dream of hiring a plane to take air samples where there are lots of contrails. Why let facts intrude on a good conspiracy theory.

    If you think there’s something unusual being deposited on the streets of your area, why in the world are you fretting about it here? Take a sample and have it tested by the health department. Will you?

    Criticizing others for posting here while you do nothing about what you believe may be a real problem strikes me as being extremely hypocritical.

    If you possess intellectual curiosity and think there’s a mystery at hand, then be an investigator, not a conspiracist.

    Will you do that?

  41. Chemtrails is (are?) certainly among the lamest of the conspiracy theories, but it’s notable in that it’s by far one of the most popular at the moment. I think web 2.0 is to blame. Even on YouTube alone the moon landing hoxers can argue using more or less only 40-year-old NASA footage everybody’s already seen, but any yahoo with a camera on their cel phone these days can make videos of contrails, post them to YouTube, and scream MORE PROOF CHEMTRAILS EXIST! There are literally thousands of videos posted to YouTube by these believers.

    For a couple weeks I tried (for fun) calmly and rationally explaining contrails in some of the videos’ comments and wow, these guys are REALLY paranoid. I was accused of being a paid government “disinformation agent” several times.

    My favorite skeptic resource on chemtrails is http://contrailscience.com/ as it is a blog written by an amateur pilot with an interest in weather. The chemtrailers have a lot of strange ancillary beliefs that fit in with the conspiracy theory like regarding the involvement of HAARP and the presence of toxic levels of barium and aluminum and so on. Contrail Science covers most of these, generally tackling an issue per post in excellent detail. It’s really quite informative and educational even to a skeptic like myself.

  42. kuhnigget

    @ Mark Roberts:

    How dare you, sir, demand rational behavior from the great unwashed (if “curious”) masses! Don’t you know such would be pointless anyway? Of course, the local health departments are in on it!


  43. Mark Roberts

    @ Jack Mitcham: “Lastly, Operation Northwoods was an actual conspiracy, not just some wacky hypothesis.”

    No, it was just some wacky ideas put on paper as possible pretexts to invade Cuba. It wasn’t an “operation” in any way. The ideas were cooked up by Chief of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer, an extremely rabid anti-Communist, and were immediately rejected when presented to Robert McNamara. This was not long after the ill-conceived Bay of Pigs fiasco.

    That said, we pay our military to brainstorm, game, and sometimes train for, all sorts of scenarios. For example, we’ve had plans to invade Canada should that be necessary. That doesn’t mean Canadians should be moving their military might to the U.S. border.

  44. Mark Roberts

    @kuhnigget: Sadly, the chemtrails theory does require the health departments and official and independent environmental testing agencies of the entire world to be in on it.

    “Curious” spoke of some polluting substance and didn’t mention chemtrails per se, so let’s hope he/she hasn’t gone too far down the path. The important thing, Curious, is not to mention “chemtrails,” planes, or black helicopters when asking for the stuff to be tested. If in doubt, bring it to an independent lab (but your health dept. will likely be cheaper).

  45. Mark Roberts

    Me again. Sorry.

    grmcdorman said: “2007 was the peak year for the 9/11 CTers, by various measures posted on JREF. (One example: Traffic to their sites peaked in Sep/Oct of that year, and has been declining ever since.)”

    Actually, that was 2006.

  46. Didn’t ST:NG do a version of the Philadelphia Experiment in the episode The Pegasus?

    As for a global warming conspiracy…if there wasn’t one before, I have a feeling that once certain folks recognized the economic impact of the opening of the Northwest Passage, they also realized the importance of keeping it open. Not that I’m sure anyone will be able to do much about it one way or the other at this point.

  47. Whups.. I forgot to check out the other conspiracy theories before paying my two cents regarding chemtrails.

    #28 – AIDS made in laborotory

    This is actually a credible hypothesis if you take out the malicious intent to create the virus and replace it with well-intentioned people screwing up. Wikipedia has information on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPV_AIDS_hypothesis

    #22 – The Philadelphia Experiment

    I’ve known of this one for ages and that picture made me LOL.

  48. @Mark “garvy” Roberts
    You should know when the 9/11 peak was.

  49. Davidlpf

    The link in my name was for another post.

  50. Davidlpf

    sorry mark that was suppose to be gravy.

  51. IVAN3MAN

    Hmm… nobody yet has mentioned the Alternative 3 plan.

  52. Justin

    I didn’t see HAARP mentioned on this list. Ionospheric heaters are capable of long range communication to heating the ionosphere, thus manipulating weather (patterns).

    I have even read very convincing arguments that a directed microwave and gigahert-wave from HAARP, stationed in northern Alaska, was what blasted the World Trade Centers to the ground, after the airplanes didn’t do the job on their own.

    Though, I can see where this is (very) technically possible, I think it pretty unlikely. But I can see where HAARP and its counter-parts could easily be blamed for the increase in severity of weather patterns, from typhoons in Burma, to hurricanes in New Orleans.

    These devices are very capable of heating the atmosphere around a hurricane to direct to or from other locations. The means are there, the only thing left is desire. In the aformentioned examples, oil pipelines from Iraq and Kazakstan across India, through (at the time, an uncooperative..) Burma, and into Vietnam to meet the demands for its planned auto-industry. Or with Katrina taking out the aging oil refineries, that were replaced (paid for by insurance policies) or rebuilt using new technologies, guaranteed to last another 30 years.

    This is a very powerful weapon, its power is scalable, hence it being referred to as a Scalar Weapon, and thus far more devastatingly capable than nuclear weapons or even biological… as it could very easily lead to the use of both (in retaliation, or due to the breakdown in civil systems that defend against outbreaks of disease due to the devastation brought on by such weapons). It gets no where near enough press.

    For reference go to the following link, or do a google-search for Owning the Weather.
    Fast forward to 27m and being to watch from there. This will give you great technology for not only stearing a hurricane or major weather pattern, but will lead immediately into a scene explaining HAARP, and its capabilities of heating a 400sq mile area of the ionosphere up to 50,000 degrees Farenheit.

    A very devastating weapon, a very secret weapon, and a very capable weapon which its use could explain for a vast number of unexplainable events of the last decade. Insert any conspiracy you like.

    heres the link:

  53. Curious

    I first noticed in 1999 (living in Europe then) that the pattern and amount of the contrails had shifted noticeably in just a few months. I don’t think it’s possible that this suddenly can happen. This is when I became aware of that something is happening in our skies. I have investigated the issue since this and have read hours and hours in order to try to find an explanation about what’s going on. To be curious about what is happening in our environment doesn’t mean that one has to be a CT, this just means that one is keeping oneself from ignorance. The sticky stuff that falls from the sky has been tested and it contains among other chemicals aluminum and barium. I cannot deny what I see with my own eyes and I have pictures taken where this stuff is hanging from the trees outside my window. Do you really think this sounds OK? How does this effect us and our children? Aren’t you worried about how this effect the environment?
    And I am NOT saying that this is called chemtrails or a that it’s a CT. Just that it is. Look up and ask yourself if it looks normal. How can water vapor trails turn into rainbow colored clouds, much like the shimmer of leaking oil on the pavement? I never saw this before 1999.

  54. IVAN3MAN


    How can water vapor trails turn into rainbow colored clouds, much like the shimmer of leaking oil on the pavement? I never saw this before 1999.

    I would suggest that you check out these links:

    Cloud Iridescence

    Iridescent Clouds

    An Iridescent Cloud Over Colorado

  55. Jeffersonian

    Good stuff, Phil. 10Q 4 the link.

    #30 – I have a friend who’s convinced Chemtrails are real. He can’t be convinced they are ice crystal contrails and when I explained how cold the air was 25,000 above where he was standing (in the high-UV Colorado sun), he held out his hand and said “I duuno. It feels pretty warm out to me…”!

    #29. I’m totally surprised this isn’t higher. Almost all of my relatives, half the poeple I know, most xtians and every single evangelical I have ever met all subscribe to this CT. Just turn on talk radio or Fox News and you will hear it before long. It should be #2.

    #25. is frightening because there are likely a few million America/Israel-hating Muslim readers in that region who believe exactly what was published.

    #24. If this were true, it would explain the entire rest of the list.

    #23. Libya already claimed responsibility for this and paid billions in reparations.

    #21. “President Franklin Roosevelt provoked the Japanese attack on the US naval base in Hawaii in December 1942”.
    Well duh (basically). In July 1939, the U.S. terminated the 1911 U.S.-Japan Commercial Treaty followed by cutting off oil, steel and rubber shipments to Japan. Then the Panama Canal was closed to Japanese ships. (All for reasons, of course). Pearl Harbor was, in part, a retaliation for this as well as a strike to remove ships from blockading Japanese oil imports from the Dutch East Indies. Looks like they could have worded #21 better (uh, ’42?).

    #20. There’s truth in this one, historically, too. It’s Economics 101.

    #19. Another scary one given the level of superstition & Anti-Zionism in that region.

    #17. In the days after 9/11, when I lived downtown (Denver), we had scrambled fighter jets circling us and, yes, black, unmarked helicopter(s) “appeared”. Tons of people saw them. Since a flight ban was in effect isn’t it obvious who they were? Made me feel safer.

    #16.Would it be that outlandish? Look at the South Ossetian War and information that’s coming to light about early triggers.

    #11. Or some would call it NAFTA.

    #10. They make it sound like this didn’t/doesn’t exist but the conspiracy happens when people attribute other events to the program. (Disinformation? The Pentagon learned how to deal with war protestors during Vietnam and now actively engage in this during conflicts. It’s not CT, it’s business-as-usual in the Cheney tent.)

    #9. If stuff like this wasn’t actually proposed and contrived by our nation’s supposed great-thinkers-in-charge, then CTs wouldn’t have so much fuel for their woo.

    #8. Everybody knows he just ran afoul of Chuck Connors. That’s always bad advice.

    #6. The 4 authors of the New Testament gospels are silent in their tales regarding what the historical figure -who may have walked the Earth up to a century before them- did between being a toddler and 30-yr-old, so who’s to say? Nobody will ever know. What’s most likely? The authors of Mark and John assume nothing was known until he appeared on the scene at about 30 yrs old. The dude who wrote Matthew discusses the child (not a baby, mind) being visited by wise men (not “3”, mind) and then, bam, he’s 30. Luke has shepherds visiting the Nino and then bam. He preached against family (Matthew 10:35; Luke 12:52; Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26; Luke 9:61; Luke 11:27; Matthew 12;46; Luke 8:19; Mark 3:21), so maybe he was a deadbeat Dad!

    #5. You have to go to the end of that hall to see that DIA mural; more interesting and progressive than your average milquetoast public art. The artist (Leo Tanguma) actually explains his murals on his website.

    #2. The fact remains that if Oswald was the only shooter, he terrifically skewed the odds of accuracy and speed.

    #1. “At the milder end of the spectrum are the theorists who believe that the US government had prior warning of the attacks but did not do enough to stop them.” People who worked in the building told me in the mid-90s that, considering the repeated attempts, terrorists would eventually succeed in condemning or dropping at least part of the WTC. A Boeing engineer told me around that same time that a 747 could potentially bring down a central-core design such as these. It’s well known that certain people in official federal positions were entirely aware of the threat. But, realistically, if you shut down the WTC the threat would reappear elsewhere, making this statement somewhat moot.

    A popular one they missed : Kurt Cobain didn’t commit suicide.

  56. Jeffersonian

    “I didn’t see HAARP mentioned on this list.”
    It’s on there at #27.

    “I can see where this is (very) technically possible”
    Technically- perhaps, technologically- less likely. Capable of being manufactured in secret- very unlikely. HAARP sits right out in the open. I’ve driven right past it.

    “It gets no where near enough press.”
    I’ve seen technical press, political press, but if you’re saying CT-skewed press, then there’s probably a reason. Give them some time, though. 😉

    “A very devastating weapon, a very secret weapon, and a very capable weapon which its use could explain for a vast number of unexplainable events of the last decade.”
    Except HARRP isn’t very secret, isn’t a weapon (it’s a research device with a 3.6 mW signal in the HF band), and is not a source of explanation for “unexplainable” events (for example…?).

    It’s not the only example of an Ionospheric Heating Facility being used for research around the world. There are several. At a mere 3.6 mW , I wouldn’t worry. If the device was was heavily modified into, say, a comsat disrupter, the cost involved and people involved would make it global news and subject to popular controversy (aside from that which the project already received). It would be a poor location anyway.

  57. Jeffersonian

    “I have investigated the issue since this and have read hours and hours in order to try to find an explanation about what’s going on”

    This would hopefully include a meteorology class at the collegiate level. How much meteorology did you study BEFORE 1999? There are so many elements that make up our weather. Consider humidity, temperature layers, natural particulate, agricultural particulate, seasonal variations, changes in barometric pressure, the jet stream, the flow of moisture, generators that vary from the Gulf of Alaska to local bodies of water, disruptions caused by mountain ranges, etc. There are atmospheric conditions you may never witness and conditions you may only see one day in your lifetime.
    R U saying that :
    a) Barium is falling out of the atmosphere and collecting in trees in your town? (Look up how Barium occurs.)
    b) This has been tested and proven true
    c) It managed to not make the news yet you found about it
    d) It’s commonly known but the source of origin was never investigated

  58. Mark Roberts

    @Curious: “The sticky stuff that falls from the sky has been tested and it contains among other chemicals aluminum and barium.”

    C’mon, man, don’t play games. Who did the collecting? What else did it contain? In what percentages? What are the hypotheses or determinations of the source? Where is the public outcry in your area (if this is coming from high in the sky it must be happening over a very wide area)?

    Link us to the collection reports, the lab reports, the independent corroborating reports, the news accounts, the photos of it dripping from trees. If this is really happening, it’s a very big deal, right? This goo is everywhere! You’ve been slimed, dude!

    Right? So why do I think you have none of this information?

  59. Mark Roberts

    @ Justin: “I have even read very convincing arguments that a directed microwave and gigahert-wave from HAARP, stationed in northern Alaska, was what blasted the World Trade Centers to the ground, after the airplanes didn’t do the job on their own.”

    I do hope you’re joking. If not, this is officially the stupidest idea ever put forth on planet Earth.

    I suggest you look up the actual power output of the Alaska HAARP. Then consider if you had something similar but, say, a billion times more powerful, how you would go about beaming that from Alaska, into the ionosphere, and onto specific points of the Twin Towers, and onto nothing else. Undetected. Be sure to report your results here.

    Feel free to hypothesize about why these super-devious superpeople would need to use such a supertechnology to augment an al Qaeda terrorist attack.

    Good luck. If you get stuck, let me know. I’ve already done this homework, just for poops and giggles.

  60. Mark Roberts

    @ Jeffersonian: “#2. The fact remains that if Oswald was the only shooter, he terrifically skewed the odds of accuracy and speed.”

    Really? What were those odds for his three shots at that close range, one of which missed entirely?

    And why is such accuracy and speed so easily reproduced with the same type of weapon (albeit no testing has been done on an actual presidential target)?

  61. Lao Tzu

    One crazy CT is missing on the list: The theory that a dictator named Saddam Hussein has access to weapons of mass destruction and that therefore his country has to invaded. Can’t remember right now who came up with that nonsense couple of years ago, but quite a few people seemed to believe it at the time.

  62. Bart

    What a coincidence! Just been involved in this Facebook slanging match with a chemtrail kook (I know, a waste of time), and then Phil posts his remark about how lame a CT the whole chemtrail thing is! How sweet, I should forward the link to this page to my kook. He’s not taking it from me, maybe because I’m only a chemist, so perhaps he might take it from an astronomer, what with, you know, astronomers generally being more knowledgeable about things that happen above our heads. Somehow I doubt that he will though.

    My kook reminds me of the Black Knight from Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. All his limbs hacked off, but still kicking up a fuss from down on the ground. :-)

  63. Gary Ansorge

    Justin:Wiki reference to HAARP:
    “at an altitude between 100 to 350 km (depending on operating frequency), in a small volume a few hundred meters thick and a few tens of kilometers in diameter over the site. The intensity of the HF signal in the ionosphere is less than 3 µW/cm², tens of thousands of times less than the Sun’s natural electromagnetic radiation reaching the earth and hundreds of times less than even the normal random variations in intensity of the Sun’s natural ultraviolet (UV) energy which creates the ionosphere”

    This low level of energy(3 Micro watts/cm^2) would in no way result in the following:
    “HAARP, and its capabilities of heating a 400sq mile area of the ionosphere up to 50,000 degrees Farenheit.”
    since the sun regularly dumps several thousand times as much energy into the atmosphere w/o such heating.

    The numbers just don’t add up,,,and see how easy it is to find that info,,,took me all of 20 seconds.

    Gary 7

  64. Jon

    @ad hominid

    I got a great laugh from your comment!

    I’m surprised the Federal Reserve didn’t make it on. Granted, I don’t know the first thing about it, but I know that there are conspiracy theories about it.

  65. Since there are so many “chemtrail” experts around here, maybe one of them can answer this. According to the FAA, no contrail should stay in the air longer than 5-10 minutes. Why is it that some contrails stay in the air for hours while expanding into larger clouds? Anyone who lives in Los Angeles can witness this regularly. I’m hoping there’s an easy answer…

  66. Jeffersonian

    @Mark Roberts
    And why is such accuracy and speed so easily reproduced with the same type of weapon (albeit no testing has been done on an actual presidential target)?

    I see your point. Mine could have been better worded. Dave wrote:
    @Dave Svoboda
    I’ve shot a Carcano before. It’s a bolt-action rifle, and the one I shot had a rather fiddly bolt. Check out how fast the shots come on the video. That’s some SERIOUS fast bolt work. Especially having to re-aim each time. I know Oswald was a trained Marine marksman, but damn!

    Which is the point I was making. It’s the people that have experience with this gun that have explained to me how hard it is to do what Oswald may have done. I understand Oswald was a skilled, trained marksman but there was still a degree of luck involved. The House report found the odds to be high, that it wasn’t easy to consistently reproduce the results, right? Factor in that he shot from a distracting environment (with other workers around). Given the distance involved and the action as Dave described…would you be entirely surprised if the documents were opened and we found the statement “it’s not unlikely Oswald did not act alone”. It may be most likely that he acted alone, but ‘m not sold that it’s a 100% probability.

  67. Mark Roberts

    I suggest you spend less time selling “conspiracy theory clothing” and more time researching. Is profiting from ignorance really that tempting? You’ll find that the FAA made no such statement, nor has any science or weather organization that I’m aware of. And remember: if someone does make an incorrect statement, physics and chemistry don’t care.

    Again, try to fit your chemtrails nuttery into ANY framework that makes any sense and doesn’t involve a conspiracy of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Let’s hear it.

  68. Mark Roberts

    @ Jeffersonian: If you see this, I strongly recommend Vincent Bugliosi’s most recent book. It’s big, but it’s quite thorough. If it doesn’t convince you that Oswald was the only gunman, I doubt that anything will.

    You may find on YouTube a well-known video in which a conspiracy theorist is demonstrating with a Mannlicher-Carcano how it would be impossible for Oswald to have acquired his target, fired, and cycled the rounds as fast as claimed…and in doing so he beats Oswald’s time.

    As for distance, have you been there? It’s shockingly close. There’s often a false perspective in photos and videos because of the wide angle lenses needed to take in the whole scene.

  69. Joker

    Fromthe article no 25 in their list of 30 :

    “A popular theory in the Muslim world is that the tsunami could have been caused by an Indian nuclear experiment in which Israeli and American nuclear experts participated. Several newspapers in Egypt and the Middle East alleged that India, in its heated nuclear race with Pakistan, has acquired sophisticated nuclear technology from the US and Israel, both of which “showed readiness to co-operate with India in experiments to exterminate humankind,” beginning with the heavily populated Muslim regions of southeast Asia, where the bulk of casualties took place. ”

    There’s aproblem here that even the super-paranoid Muslims should be able to see! 😛

    Exterminate humankind? Israelis and Americans and Indians .. Hmm .. Are they not human too even in Muslim eyes ie. they’d be exterminating themselves too…??

    Oh wait, maybe they seriously don’t see us as human. :-( Sigh.

    As the quote goes :

    “Against stupidity the Gods themslves contend in vain!”
    (Shakespeares King Lear or one of the Greek playwrights I think.)

  70. Joker

    Oh & quick reminder tothe humour-challenged Politically Correct mob :

    People and cultures that are ridiculuous and hold stupid beliefs will be faced with ridicule and (justified) accusations that their beliefs are stupid. ‘Coz they are.

    There is such a thing as showing too much respect for other cultures and religions and truly insanely stupid people.

    Dumb is dumb whatever planet you’re on.
    Even on planet PC where you’re just not supposed to say that whats dumb is dumb. 😉

    Having a bit of a joke at their expense is the least & best we can do!

    Its also far, far better than what they’d do to us given half a chance. :-(

    Don’t like my jokes? Don’t laugh at me – no one is forcing you to read me or anything /one else whose opinion varies from yours. OK? :-(

    Sheeeeesshhh …

    (Pre-emptive. Coz I know I’m going to cop it ..)

  71. Joker

    PS. To the other dude from the other thread if you’re reading here too :

    Yes, Islamabad = “Islam -is-bad” & yes there is also a city in Pakistan that’s ironically named “Allahabad or “Allah-is-bad” or somethibg similar.

    There’s also a city called Lahore I’ll just say La is “the” in French & let y’all take it from there .. 😉

  72. StevoR

    Garrett Says:
    November 20th, 2008 at 10:57 am :

    “Why isn’t holocaust denial on the list? Maybe because those crazies say that the holocaust was a conspiracy?”

    Perhaps because it does’nt even make the grade as CT – its even lamer than chemtrails? 😉

    That said, while the Holocaust (or Shoah as they call it) happened its certainly been over-emphasised while similar or worse genocides have had far less attention -Armenians, Russian, Chinese and esp. Native American eand indigenous populations globally suffered as badly or numerically atleast far worse than the Jews did and for longer and yet get none of the massive attention the holocaust does. Yeah, it happened, yeah it was blinkin’ awful, but sadly its far from unique and has been exploited for political ends. Oh & more groups than just the Jews were killed too – Communists, German dissidents, gypsies & others were slaughtered too in case we’ve forgotten.

    There’re also missing the Marilyn Monroe was murdered one too ..

    Interesting list – some seem to be psychological denial or wishfiul /paranoid thinking, others dodgy SF -Political madness ideas.

    Dan Brown (DaVinci code author ) has stories based on the Jesus married (6), Illuminati (5) and refers to experimentalcraft and black choppers (17) aswellas writing fiction about NASA (or the NROP actually) faking thediscovery of life in space. His books arebest-sellers … He may have something to answer for.

    To me some CT’s seem well founded (Operation Northwoods, MK-Ultra, Kennedy plots), some quite plausible (Jesus married, Moscow bombings) some with perhaps a grain of truth coated with hype (Diana and 9-11 something fishy and convenient about both – a “not quite right” factor at play) others just ridiculous and clearly wrong (chemtrails, GW hoax, Moon hoax) ..

    There’s a continuuum of sorts from the pretty likely right or at least something in it to the very definitely loony there..

    I hasten to add that while I wonder about some I don’t really agree in full with any CT. :-)

  73. StevoR-Correctin'

    D’oh typos! Goshdurned dangnabbed dang-blasted typos!

    Corrected here coz Ican’t EDIT. Grr … :-(

    ” Dan Brown (DaVinci code author ) has stories based on the Jesus married (6), Illuminati (5) and refers to experimental craft and black choppers (17) as well as writing fiction about NASA (or the NRO actually) faking the discovery of life in space. His books are best-sellers … He may have something to answer for or be approaching a CT-ist himself.”

    Of course, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there aren’t people out to get you .. 😉

    Oh & Guy Fawkes was the only person who ever entered Parliament with honourable intentions ..

    “Conspiracy Theorie’s : 1, Regular Science 100 trillion” (Or suchlike??) Fry in ‘Futurama’ TV cartoon series.


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