Conspiracy theories thrive in a society that rejects objective realities.
When the facts fail to align with beliefs or wants, people turn to fantasy, drawing from their imaginations to concoct hypothetical validations to support their thinking.
While most of us shy away from these illusions, a startling (and somewhat disturbing) number of people actually embrace these theories. Those most ardent supporters disseminate the claims with the hope of building enough traction for them to be discussed by the main stream media. Too often, they succeed.
The JFK Assassination. A faked moon landing. President Bush orchestrating 9/11. Obama’s forged birth certificate. Global warming is a hoax.
There are some even more outlandish conspiracies that have been embraced by a surprisingly large segment of the population.
A Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey conducted last year examined the percentage of Americans who believe in conspiracy theories while accounting for their political affiliations.
“Even crazy conspiracy theories are subject to partisan polarization, especially when there are political overtones involved,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. “But most Americans reject the wackier ideas out there about fake moon landings and shape-shifting lizards.”
Most, but not all. Below, we explore the 10 craziest conspiracies that prevail in our skeptical culture.
1. A New World Order – 28% (87,895,931 Believers)
More than a quarter of Americans believe that a secret society of powerful elites have hatched and embarked on a plan to launch a full-scale, global takeover. These conspiring individuals plan to install an authoritarian world government using their abundant influence and ample resources, breaking down national barriers.
This theory has inspired some interesting spinoff conspiracies, while incorporating other more enduring ideations, including global takeover campaigns plotted by the Freemasons, Illuminati, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Fourth Reich.
One of the more interesting spinoffs is known as “Project Blue Beam,” a theory first popularized by journalist Serge Monast, who mysteriously died of a heart attack within weeks of another journalist who was also exploring Project Blue Beam at the time. It is reported that “neither had a history of heart disease.” Eerie…
Project Blue Beam is supposedly a NASA/Illuminati collaborative effort to “implement a new age religion with the Antichrist as its head.” The theory suggests that without first establishing a universal belief in a new age religion, the New World Order cannot succeed.
In order to compel people to follow this new Antichrist figure anointed by NASA’s top brass, the conspirers have already engineered earthquakes and faked various scientific discoveries. Eventually, they will launch a gigantic “space show” using holographic images projected into the sky by lasers, accompanied by three-dimensional sounds to convince the masses that God is speaking to them.
If the voice of God isn’t enough to compel people to subservience, the government will use electronically augmented two-way communication relying on ELF, VLF and LF waves that will broadcast the voice of God straight to the minds of an unsuspecting public.
Better grab your tinfoil hats.
While 28 percent of people believe in the New World Order conspiracy, another 22 percent have yet to make up their minds on it. That means that a full 50 percent of the population considers the idea to be plausible.
God bless America.
2. President Barack Obama is the Antichrist – 13% (40,808,825 Believers)
This theory has a bit of a political edge to it. In total, 13 percent of respondents stated their belief that President Obama is undeniably the Antichrist, while an additional 13 percent of respondents waffled on the issue.
The divide between Republicans and Democrats on the question is interesting to note. Of those who believe that the President is the Antichrist, 38 percent identified themselves as conservative, while 17 percent considered themselves liberal.
Apparently, these Republicans can’t be satiated by arguments disparaging Obama’s job performance. They need him to be the spawn of Satan, as well.
3. Lizard People Run Our World’s Governments – 4% (12,556,562 Believers)
Yes, you read that correctly. A segment of our citizenry, larger than the entire population of Ohio, believes that “shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies.” An additional seven percent of the population thinks the theory has some merit, but hasn't made up their minds one way or another.
I’ll allow you a moment to process this information.
For those skeptics out there, there’s plenty of proof abound online. Just this week, more evidence surfaced that suggests Justin Bieber is actually a shape-shifting lizard himself. Actually, it would explain a lot if he were.
4. The Sinister Reasons behind Fluoride in Our Tap Water – 9% (28,252,264 Believers)
“The government needs to stay the hell out of my water,” goes the rallying cry of this mistrustful bunch.
Nearly one in 10 Americans believe that “the government adds fluoride to our water supply, not for dental health reasons, but for other, more sinister reasons.” I can’t help but wish there was a follow-up question asking participants to elaborate on these “sinister reasons.”
Does the government plan to turn us into a communist-fighting, army of zombies that strikes fear in our adversaries by flashing sets of pearly-white teeth? Is fluoride secretly a cancer-causing agent that is being disseminated to the masses to control population growth?
So many unanswered questions.
5. The Government Uses Television to Control Your Mind – 15% (47,087,106 Believers)
I always knew there was something nefarious about “I Love Lucy.”
Fifteen percent of Americans believe that the “media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to television broadcast signals,” with an additional 15 percent unsure either way.
The theory comes from a series of experiments conducted by Herbert Krugman in 1969 that examined the effect of television on an individual’s brainwaves. According to the Truthstream Media:
“Krugman monitored a person through many trials and found that in less than one minute of television viewing, the person’s brainwaves switched from Beta waves — brainwaves associated with active, logical thought — to primarily Alpha waves. When the subject stopped watching television and began reading a magazine, the brainwaves reverted to Beta waves.”
Truthstream uses Krugman’s findings to suggest that “the time may come when the mass media may create special programs to help people modify certain attitudes or behavior… this means that passively learned material has an important ‘advantage’ which some have also associated with so called subliminal perception, extrasensory perception, or hypnotism.”
Perhaps it’s time that I start picking up a book, instead of the remote.
6. The Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries Invent New Diseases to Grow Profits – 15% (47,087,106 Believers)
We can’t be sure if there’s any correlation between the 47 million people who believe in television mind control and the 47 million who believe that “the pharmaceutical industry is in league with the medical industry to ‘invent’ new diseases in order to make money,” but it sure is a strange coincidence…
Apparently, Pfizer and the Cleveland Clinic aren’t concerned with making the world healthier, but are, rather, engaged in a massive conspiracy to perpetuate the new cycles of disease and cash in on the results.
Who ever heard of restless legs syndrome before Big Pharma rose to prominence? Those diabolical lab techs at Johnson & Johnson must be behind this growing epidemic.
7. The CIA Distributed Crack to Inner Cities – 14% (43,947,966 Believers)
In doing my best Kanye West impression, “Ronald Reagan and the CIA don’t care about black people.”
A healthy chunk of Americans – 15 percent beyond a doubt with another 30 percent who think it is conceivable – believe that “the CIA was instrumental in distributing crack cocaine into America’s inner cities in the 1980s.”
This belief grew from a 1996 three-part series of articles by the San Jose Mercury News concerning the crack cocaine epidemic and the Nicaraguan Contra Army, titled “Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion.”
The article suggested that “the CIA and other agencies of the United States government were responsible for the crack epidemic that ravaged black communities across the country,” and that the “government had protected (Nicaraguan drug traffickers who funneled money to the Contra army’s war effort) from prosecution and either knowingly permitted them to peddle massive quantities of cocaine to the black residents of South Central Los Angeles or turned a blind eye to such activity.”
Mercury News later denied making these allegations in the article, according to a review of the incident conducted by the Justice Department.
But who can trust the Justice Department, another arm of the distrustful government, to maintain impartiality in matters like this? Sigh.
8. Airplane Exhaust Contrails Are Actually Dangerous Chemicals Sprayed Into the Sky by the Government – 5% (15,695,702 Believers)
Thirteen percent of Americans either fully believe or are willing to consider the possibility that “the exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons.”
Better grab a quality gas mask. The government is apparently injecting our air with some hazardous materials. It’s so obvious. The government is using airplanes to accelerate global warming so as to usher in an apocalyptic age and coerce us to embrace their New World Order. The more I delve into these conspiracies, the more they start to make sense.
Maybe I should wrap this up soon.
9. Bigfoot is Real – 14% (43,947,966 Believers)
This is a classic. Couldn’t pen an article about conspiracy theories without throwing in something about Bigfoot.
Only 72 percent of the American public shuns the idea that Bigfoot might be real. The remaining 18 percent still hold onto the hope that the elusive hairy giant is our yet-unconfirmed missing evolutionary link.
The idea resonates with mainstream audiences. So much so that Spike TV now airs a show called “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” where participants hunt for definitive proof of the creature’s existence in order to win a multimillion-dollar prize.
10. Osama Bin Laden is Still Alive and Kicking – 6% (18,834,842 Believers)
Apparently, Seal Team 6 failed to put a bullet into the world’s most notorious terrorist’s skull -- well, according to six percent of the population, anyway.
An additional 11 percent is willing to consider the idea that the 9/11 mastermind is still toiling away in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or at a Rotary Club event in Colorado.
These truth-seeking Americans won’t be satisfied until we see a body. Where’s the proof, Obama? What happened to those “photographs” of the body?
I weep for America.
Top Photo Courtesy: Deviantart