Part of the reason conspiracy theories are so tempting to so many people is that sometimes, they turn out to be terrifyingly accurate.
One Reddit user asked:
We're absolutely not encouraging, condoning or supporting any currently popular conspiracy theories, but we all need to be honest with ourselves. Current outlandish conspiracy theories seem plausible to some people because past outlandish conspiracy theories were factual:
Project Mk ULTRA, aka CIA mind control program.
That stuff is terrifying.
One of the people believed to be a researcher involved in MKUltra was Henry Murray, a famous psychologist and professor at Harvard. He was responsible for developing the field of Personology and developing some early profiling tests.
He's also partially responsible for driving the Unabomber off the deep end.
During the 50's and 60's, he was commissioned by the US government in order to condition pilots in case they get captured if their planes get shot down so they don't reveal secrets under torture. Unfortunately, he tested these theories to fine tune them on students which meant just screwing with them.
In a separate experiment, which the Unabomber was a victim of, worked like this - students were instructed to write an essay summarizing their personal philosophy on life and underlying principles, then went into a room expecting to debate philosophy with a fellow student. They instead faced an interrogation by a far more experienced opponent, whose sole purpose was to attack and ridicule their beliefs at length. Since one of the main goals of the experiment was to induce stress and upset the subject as much as possible, it's not surprising that many students came out feeling traumatized.
A Little LSDlsd GIFGiphy
Operation Midnight Climax
Us government hired sex workers to dose "johns" with LSD to test mind-control capabilities. Then, they expanded the program to dose citizens at restaurants and other public places.
Sex workers and LSD sounds like fun... Until you murder a 12-year-old girl and have no memory of it. Yes this actually happened to one of the victims.
If you're someone who's never done psychedelics and get dosed without you willing.. Man depending on the dosage I can only imagine what the toll on the psyche be...
It could cause a total breakdown if you thought it was just you going insane.
Leave Britney Alone
The #FreeBritney conspiracy.
I saw so many people on Instagram especially that were just convinced that all her weird Instagram videos were cries for help because she was being controlled by the scenes and thought it was kind of a ridiculous theory, but with everything that came out in her court cases in the later half of 2020, it seems like all of that was actually correct.
Britney Spears really was in an abusive overbearing conservatorship for over a decade.
I heard the court ruled in favour of the father because he has increased the value of her assets... So they couldn't say he was a bad at looking after her interests.
Basically, Britney Spears isn't a "legal adult" anymore. You know how kids can't take care of their own stuff and have to have their parents make decisions for them? That's basically what happened to her. Her father is her guardian (meaning he gets to control her money, legal stuff, everything about her life), and there's no real way for her to free herself because she doesn't have the legal options to do that, nor do they think she's supposed to be allowed to decide that ("She's mentally ill, what does she know?" type of reasoning).
She was put in that kind of situation in ~2007 when she had a severe mental health episode, since it was believed that she couldn't take care of herself due to her mental illness. Her family takes advantage of her vulnerable position and takes control over everything in her life, including locking her up, censoring her, pushing her to do stuff she doesn't want to, and making sure she can neither leave nor ask for help. The only reason we know about it is because her fanbase noticed subtle cries for help and other signs that something is wrong. It was a huge thing, and the story was more or less confirmed shortly after.
She's not even asking for freedom. She's just asking her father to be removed as conservator, not for the conservatorship to be ended entirely.
CIA vs JFK
The CIA proposed "Operation Northwoods" to JFK.
It was a literal false flag attack on American soil perpetrated by Americans but framed up to start a "popular" war with Cuba. The CIA wanted to kill Americans (shooting down passenger planes, gunning down people in the streets, etc.) and blame Cuba as an excuse to start a war.
It was around this time and Bay of Pigs that Kennedy supposedly said he would "smash them into pieces and scatter them to the wind." (Meaning the CIA)
That was a man with convictions... and giant brass balls, to be honest.
The way I remember hearing it is someone came to him about Operation Northwoods as a way to instigate a war with Cuba or the Soviets or both. Kennedy was horrified and he kind of lost it and decided to try and take down the CIA.
That goes in to the conspiracy that the CIA was involved with his assassination shortly after
The rumor that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (which is what got the US involved in the Vietnam Was) was fake turned out to be true.
It wasn't "fake" so much as a big embellishment. It was obviously still cynical and dishonest, but it wasn't an entirely fabricated incident, which I think it is often taken to be.
There were two incidents, the first on was nv troops firing upon us ships and the second was just a storm, So they are partially correct.
The official line from those in command during the incident was "playing with ourselves in the dark".
OK Buddy SureSeth Meyers Ok GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
Some customer I talked to somehow ended up on a rambling tangent about how he was part of a mission in the Vietnam War, where they were controlling the weather on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.. Yeah, okay buddy, sure.
I looked it up later and it turns out Operation Popeye actually happened.
I didn't hear about this because I wasn't born at the time, but Martha Mitchell whose husband was involved in the Watergate Scandal.
She tried to tell people but was called crazy and mentally ill and her husband and others eventually had her drugged and held hostage in a hotel for months. Later almost all the things she claimed were confirmed to be true.
Mental health professionals have to be aware of the Martha Mitchell Effect.
Unarmed and Unprovoked
Not the strangest but the British army murdered 14 unarmed civilians during a peaceful civil rights march in my city, Derry, northern Ireland in 1972. The official line for years was that the victims were armed and had attacked the soldiers first.
The Sun "newspaper" in the UK printed a story the next day portraying the soldiers as heroes and the victims as terrorists. The government eventually admitted about 10 years ago that none of the victims were armed and the killings were not provoked.
Makes it hard to believe anything the government or media say.
The Pigford case where the USDA systemically eliminated Black farmers because of racism in the 80s and 90s.
None of the people involved were punished. The agency targeted and eliminated Black farms, paid the highest civil rights lawsuit in history out of taxpayer money, and those responsible are still employed or collecting a government pension.
I've never heard of this lawsuit wtf?
This is mind bogglingly recent.
The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male was ethically horrendous.
When the study began (1932), there was no established treatment since the relevant antibiotics did not exist, so the idea of following a cohort of untreated subjects to see what happens to them was a reasonable idea.
However, the subjects were misled about their diagnosis, what the study was doing for them, and how long the study would last.
And then later, when antibiotics became available that could treat syphilis effectively, the study continued without providing that treatment and just let the disease "run its course."
There's also a lingering fear of vaccination in African immigrant populations due to forced sterilization and other medical experiments that happened historically.
"Chemicals are turning frogs gay!"
Not quite true, but close.
It turns out if you dump a bunch of (now banned) chemicals into the habitats of amphibians, which determine sex through hormones rather than chromosomes, then they can spontaneously change gender or be hermaphroditic.
Alex jones "they are turning the frogs gay". While his assertion that the goverment is trying to turn frogs gay an purpose is probably not true. The commonly used herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females and render them infertile
Civil Rights Leaders
Basically, the FBI was conducting surveillance and running disinformation campaigns against civil rights leaders in the 50/60s, and were at least in part responsible for the assassination of Fred Hampton and possibly MLK.
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A good conspiracy theory has just enough grains of truth in it, and is just this side of impossible enough that maybe, just maybe it might be plausible.
It should also probably not be something easily disprovable (looking at you, flat earth.)
One Reddit user asked:
... and honestly, a lot of this makes sense. Hmmm.
Manufactured ConspiraciesAlways Sunny Fx GIFGiphy
Conspiracies are being actively manufactured and promoted as a way to hide actual bad stuff.
These days it is hard to actually hide something - a single leak and everything is all over the internet next day. However, if you make sure that internet is full of conspiracy theories, it is easy to dismiss any leak as 'more nutjob stuff'.
If MK-Ultra leaked today, would anybody except for most hardcore conspiracy theorists believe it?
An English King In Italy
I believe Edward II escaped and went to Italy. He was not laid to rest at his very public funeral.
His son, Edward III, had reason to believe his father was alive and there is some truth to the Fieschi letter. Mostly, I think Edward III's relations with the Pope convinced me.
I also think the circumstances of the funeral arrangements were pretty suspicious. The variety of deaths Edward II was rumored to die don't exactly convince me he died at Berkeley Castle.
Oh and there's a part of Italy with an oral tradition that they once had an English king for some years.
People are taught wrong information about nutrition on purpose.
Definitely true. I read a rage inducing book (Unsavory Truth by Marion Nestle) that talked about this. There are companies in the food industry that basically go out and shop around for "scientists" to link their product to good health, and one of the examples was how the strawberry industry was shopping around for studies linking strawberries to positive health effects. A few days after reading that, I saw an article linking strawberries to good digestive health.
Also, I once saw an article about how ER doctors who snacked on nuts were healthier than those who didn't. At the very bottom of the article, buried in a wall of text was "this study was funded by the nut growers of America"
The Coup And The Crackdown
The 2016 Turkish coup d'etat attempt to overthrow Erdogan was planned by ... Erdogan.
It was such a badly organized coup that failed so easily while Erdogan's support was on peak. No way someone else planned this coup with the goal to succeed. The coup made it possible for Erdogan to crack down on any opposition as well as unpleasant journalists or just anyone who was in his way.
Three Times Is Enemy Action
I could believe that Epstein would kill himself. I could believe that the guards had been online not doing their job of checking on him. I could believe that the cameras in a very important prisoners cell went out of service.
There is no possible way all these things happened on their own at the exact same time.
M16 had a saying Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
I believe that the societal norm of the "American lawn" was propagated to keep us from growing food on our property and keep us consuming.
This is kinda true. The idea of a lawn filled with grass and other non-edible plants was perpetuated by social elites (in the United States and elsewhere) to show others that they were so rich they didn't need to grow their own food. Essentially, they could afford to waste space.
Leave Britney Alonesad britney spears GIFGiphy
Britney Spears is being controlled by the people around her... I don't usually believe in such crazy theories, but there's just something about this one that makes me believe it. She looks and acts like a prisoner, and she's said and done a lot of questionable things. I know it's a crazy one, and I really hope it's not true, but that woman looks so broken...
I'm pretty sure it is. I follow some at least somewhat credible "free Britney" Instagram pages, and they post a lot of news articles, history of the conservatorship, and even the court transcripts. The transcripts I've seen, state that Britney wants to stay in the conservatorship but she wants out of her dad's control and possibly that other chick (Lou I think?), too.
It's even been insinuated in court documents that she doesn't control her social media, either. It would definitely explain all the BIZARRE posts she makes.
I truly can't understand it. As of late, her conservatorship has received media attention, and her fans and even some celebrities have proclaimed "Free Britney".
While I know a judge has to remain as unbiased as possible when making these ruling, the "court of public opinion" will still have an effect. Yet it hasn't on the judge(s) she's gotten.
Now, I don't know all the cold hard facts like the courts do. But on a high level - why does a 37 year old woman need to be controlled at every aspect of her life? It makes zero sense to me.
To me the conspiracy was always that she was actually mentally fine and capable (and always was - where the very public breakdowns prior were bad but not based in mental issues beyond remedy) and didn't need a conservator but was basically being held in one against her will for the money.
It makes no sense to me that the girl is apparently too f*cked up to make even the most minor life choices, but somehow well enough to perform in a successful Vegas show.
Like, if she's mentally incapable, how is she mentally fit to have a high profile career in such a high pressure environment? And how is her Father, who is collecting all the money, not being scrutinized for it?
A Never-Ending Cycle Of Hotdog Eating
Hotdog companies and hotdog bun companies agreed to sell non matching amounts of their products. When you finish all of your hotdogs you will still have buns left over so you will go buy hotdogs for those buns. Thus perpetuating a never-ending cycle of hotdog eating.
Who says they aren't both owned by the same mega corporation?
I won't fall to capitalism! I eat my hotdogs cut up with a fork, like a true adult-baby
The Same Forces
I read a lot of comments months back written by people wondering when Ghislaine was going to "get Epstein'd". Given the nature of her involvement with Epstein and mutual acquaintances and the nature of her actions and decisions, certainly she's as despicable a criminal as Epstein: why is Ghislaine Maxwell still alive?
Ghislaine Maxwell's father, Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch, otherwise known as Robert Maxwell, was a Czech-borne Jewish freedom fighter - he was a Jewish man who fought Nazis and in all likelihood helped secure the existence of the Israeli state early on. That's a pretty big part of understanding his later political, commercial, and (alleged) intelligence connections.
He later turned into a publishing magnate and paper media/publishing powerhouse who was a possible triple-turnaround Mossad-MI6-KGB faux-spy stooge. He defrauded his own corporate empire (resulting in its collapse after his death), and was possibly assassinated before his body was dumped over the side of his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, while it was berthed in the Canary Islands.
I bet that the same forces that got to Ghislaine's dad are the ones either protecting her, or who have lost interest in her.
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It's easy to see how the many unsolved mysteries of the world easily grab our attention and hold on to it once we learn about them. There was a whole long-running television series dedicated to the subject, after all.
It doesn't take much to get lost down the research rabbit hole on a slow afternoon researching your favorite mystery, trying to find the answer to what really happened.
Reddit user the-salt-of-dungroon asked:
The Voynich Manuscript. It's a book that's totally undeciphered, and written in an unknown language, with pictures of plants that aren't any identifiable plants, and other strange things like women coming out of pipes. It's carbon dated to the 1400's but nothing else is known about its origin, and all attempts to figure it out have been debunked.
In some cases they took artistic liberties but a lot of it is just a bit crude and limited in color
An obscure one I learned from Unsolved Mysteries: the 1987 Arkansas murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, the Boys on the Tracks
True Crime Garage did a brilliant 4 part series on this. Highly recommended listening to it, some of the twists and turns in this story are unbelievable and everything points to some very shady characters in high places being involved.
I hate to be cliché, but I really want to know what's in Area 51.
To be honest? I think it really is just an experimental aircraft testing site. Lots of old reports and descriptions of UFOs from the area are super consistent with modern day stealth bombers. Plus, who knows what kind of secret things they could have made that we don’t even know about?
Sounds right. A massive government cover up seems incredibly unlikely. Not because they wouldn't..just because there's way too much in-fighting and incompetence for anything to stay secret for this long.
Brian Shaffer’s disappearance from a bar in Columbus. There is no footage of him leaving the bar at all that night, despite there being footage of the one entrance/exit all night (even capturing him leaving and going back into the bar prior to closing).
He was a good looking med student who had everything going for him and he was 6’2”... not likely that he’d get grabbed without someone noticing or become victim to a random attack.
He was never located and his phone even rang three times once when dialed. His friend refuses to sit for a lie detector and there is speculation that Columbus PD thinks he may be alive.
It just feels so sinister.
The Villisca Axe Murders because a whole family and a couple of their kids friends were violently murdered via axe. The killer was never caught (I'm assuming because it happened in 1912). I'm going to school for forensic investigation and one of my friends told me about how one of her professors had made her class write a paper analyzing the murders and stuff (I had to do a paper on the important evidence of the O.J. Simpson trial).
What happened to [Australian Prime Minister] Harold Holt?
I’ve been to that beach where he went missing a few times. It’s scary dangerous how rough the water is even on relatively calm days. It’s got lots of rock ledges, thick seaweed and washing machine water flows. I think he was crazy just to think of going swimming there.
There’s another theory that he was picked up by a Russian or Chinese Submarine.
Typical Aussie sense of humour moment - a swimming pool is named after him!
Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Would do anything to learn what actually happened on that flight.
Just goes to show how big the ocean is that even a 777 can just disappear forever in it's depths....
There are a lot of undeciphered languages out there. A large portion are because the languages either grew up in isolation or didn’t leave any descendants. I often wonder what those languages recorded that we’ve never seen.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft of $500 million worth of art on March 18, 1990.
There's a reward of $10 million for return of the stolen art from Boston's museum.
D. B. Cooper.
The fact that the moment he jumped out of the 727, nothing about him was ever uncovered again. Did he die? If not, what happened to him?
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "🤐" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.
The world's governments have done some horrifying things, both during war and peace times.
Many of the worst of these didn't come to light until the documents about them were declassified.
Reddit user GayDarknessSpirit asked:
*Content Warning: This article contains mention of suicide, murder, war crimes, and other unsavory subjects.*
The Pentagon papers and the Afghan Papers.
The former show that President Johnson deliberately lied to the American people and Congress about the Vietnam war and conducted an illegal, secret bombing campaign in Cambodia. A country we were not at war with. To this day unexploded ordinance still kills and maims Cambodians.
The Afghan papers show that: "U.S. policy under presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump failed to bring peace and modernization to Afghanistan, but also that policymakers were aware that such an outcome was unlikely — all while emphasizing progress in public."
Take a look at a bunch of nuclear accidents. We have lost bombs, left security for launching them so lax that pizza delivery guys have shown up and nearly bombed ourselves...
The Katyn Forrest Massacre. After the joint invasion of Poland by Germany and the USSR, the Russians executed 22,000 Polish officers and buried their remain in mass graves in the Katyn Forrest. Years later, some of the bodies were discovered. The Soviets decided to cover up the atrocity by claiming it was the Germans that did it, based on a German pistol found in the area. Many people had their doubts but this was the Soviet Union, you couldn't just openly question the state. Just before the collapse, the truth was finally revealed.
15 file cabinet drawers were filled with paperwork detailing the FBI spying operation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Detailing just how far the FBI is willing to go to discredit a single man simply because the director doesn't like his politics. Similar, yet more refined, harassment has been used on others since then - usually resulting in people losing jobs, homes, family, friends and sometimes even requiring they flee the country in order to escape FBI harassment.
COINTELPRO was a series of covert and, at times, illegal projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting, and disrupting American political organizations. FBI records show that COINTELPRO resources targeted groups and individuals that the FBI deemed subversive, including feminist organizations, the Communist Party USA, anti–Vietnam War organizers, activists of the civil rights movement or Black Power movement (e.g. Martin Luther King Jr., the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party), environmentalist and animal rights organizations, the American Indian Movement (AIM), independence movements (such as Puerto Rican independence groups like the Young Lords), and a variety of organizations that were part of the broader New Left.
The story of how this became known to the public is absolutely fascinating! Four or five people basically walked into an FBI office, and looked important enough that no one cared, and then snuck in at night and just stole all the s*** they could fit in a bag. They kept seeing this weird word "COINTELPRO" and they were like "coin telpro?. Then, they sent it to a journalist, where shit got wild, and the FBI had a meltdown. They wrote a book about it, but (I wanna say the NYT mad it?) there's a really good video on YouTube with interviews from the people who actually got the documents.
not a clue if it were declassified, terrifying? maybe, disgusting? yes
Unit-731 - Japanese testing on people, kidnapping, amputations and reattaching limbs to different parts without any anesthetic to name some stuff they did.
The Japanese colonel in charge traded his research results (which were largely useless) with the Americans for amnesty. He died without any form of punishment.
Operation Northwoods; A plan for a false flag operation that came from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense in 1962 and given to JFK who turned it down. The plan called for the CIA to commit terrorist actions against US Civilians across the United States and frame Cuba, allowing us the right to invade and depose Castro and the communist government there. It was declassified and can be found online at the JFK Library. Terrifying that no one knows or seems to care that this was suggested by our government to the President.
Project Sunshine, where the US Government bought remains of dead infants, to test for radiation. When they took limbs from them, the parents were never told. One mother wasn't allowed to dress her daughter for her funeral, because doctors had removed her legs, and didn't want her to find out.
MKUltra. Partially illegal, forced mind control experiments utilizing psychoactive drugs, conducted by the CIA in 1950s/60s.
Project 100,000. In the early years of Vietnam, Robert McNamara, created Project 100,000 as a way to draft those who previously failed to meet military mental and medical standards. This included a lot of Americans with an IQ below 70. Majority of these men didnt have above a 9th grade education and were, in a sense, a lot like Forrest Gump and Gomer Pyle. Because of obvious learning disabilities and difficulty understanding these "Morons" were mostly given jobs on the front lines of the war.
It was worded as a service project and they were told it would help them gain skills needed to live a better life after the service. In reality they were cannon fodder for the DOD, and died at a much higher rate than their nondisabled counterparts. These men largely couldn't read, wrote, or understand why they were in Vietnam or what they were there to do. They suffered more cases of Post Traumatic Stress, lower unemployment rates, and higher rates of divorce and suicide than non NSM veterans. Very sad story of the government taking advantage of it's own citizens
Every single group has the friend: wildly adept at the far reaches of the internet, clearly doesn't consider that texted links are time stamped so we know they were freaking out at 3:37am, and refuses to trust photographs.
But the wild, outlier, believe-every-conspiracy types are not the focus here. There are plenty of people that, for some reason they can't quite put their finger on, believe one very specific conspiracy theory.
And it's often the bizarre, almost trivial ones that take hold in these cases. A Reddit thread dedicated to plumbing the depths of those flashes of paranoia did not disappoint.
u/ComprehensiveMenu1 asked, "What conspiracy theory do you believe is true?"
The Long Con
Every so often, big sock companies make subtle changes to their design, so that when you buy new socks, they'll never match your old ones.Giphy
Explaining Crazy Away
The majority of celebrity Scientologist joined for networking purposes but then found themselves in over their head.
No More Vacations For Me. Ever.
Crime in big tourist cities like Las Vegas is systematically underreported in order not to hurt businessGiphy
Toothpaste advertisements show way too much toothpaste on the toothbrush so that you'll use more toothpaste than you need therefore causing you to buy toothpaste more often.Giphy
And Here I Thought It Was Just To Make Us All Look Dumb in Airpods
That the phasing out of the audio jack on mobile phones is to force customers to keep Bluetooth enabled as often as possible to enhance Bluetooth tracking in stores/malls so they can sell that data on to advertisers
Michael Jordan's first "retirement" was an unofficial suspension for betting on basketball.Giphy
The Ol' False Throwback
New Coke was purposely shi**y in order to drive up demand for classic Coke.
Otherwise It's Just Straight Sexist
Women clothes don't have pockets so that they'll buy a purse.
On Shore Tax Havens
High art galleries are just a way for organized crime to launder money through high priced art pieces and "charitable donations." That's the reason you see pieces like 2 solid colored canvases side-by-side make $43 million.Giphy
The queen is only still alive out of spite to outlive her son.
Zero Chill On This One
FRUIT OF THE LOOM HAD A CORNUCOPIA ON THEIR LOGO. THEY NO LONGER HAVE A CORNUCOPIA ON THEIR LOGO. BIG UNDERWEAR WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE IT WAS NEVER THERE.
Flat earth websites were started as a practice arena for online manipulation. If they were able to convince people of such an absurdity, then people could be convinced of anything.
A One-Man Conspiracy
I believe that my husband only drinks Diet Dr Pepper bc he knows I don't like it, therefore won't take a sip of his when he gets one at the gas station.Giphy
Stevie Wonder isn't blind.
The Propaganda Machine
The US army have a bigger influence on Hollywood action movies than you think in order for people to be influenced at a younger age to join the army.Giphy
Why Elders Are Important
FDR killed himself, and this was initially reported by media (including to soldiers abroad via radio). Hours later, story changes to brain hemorrhage and is continued to this day.
Grandmother and other relatives remember going through department stores and hearing first announcement about suicide
Leave it to Conspiracy Theorists to Get Extremely Meta About Everything
Conspiracy theories are actually deliberately diffused to keep the people busy thinking about stupid conspiracy theories rather than thinking about what is actually going on.Giphy
Biggest Bust in Sci Fi History
Jar Jar Binks was intended to be a Sith lord. However he was so hated from episode 1, George Lucas scrapped the idea.
Britney Spears is bring held captive by her dad's legal hold on her mental stability.