Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory; yes, even you, ‘Mr I-believe-in-science-and-facts-and-pure-logic-and-reason’ standing at the back there, don’t pretend you don’t every so often allow your mind to wander and think: “well, what if?…”
And Redditors, smart bunch that they are, are no different to the rest of us and, in a recent thread, discussed which of those classic theories out there they actually, genuinely believed in, and why.
Let them try to convince you.
1. JFK was assassinated by members of his own government
This is a classic of the genre. According to one theory from redditor ‘MrGneissGuy’:
‘The CIA worked with the mob to assassinate JFK and LBJ covered it up. The Cuban missile crisis is one of the factors that lead to it but they killed him because he turned his back on the labour unions that got him the presidency and the Feds let it happen and eventually joined in soon after he tried to destroy the federal reserve. My grandfather swears that this is the true story and will go into a timeline of events and side stories of what he thinks happened. Lee Harvey Oswald had a CIA handler before the assassination.’
2. Kurt Cobain was murdered
Plenty of redditors have cast doubt on the reported story that the Nirvana frontman took his own life, with ‘aslightlyusedtissue’ pointing to what some claim are discrepancies in handwriting on Cobain’s supposed suicide note.
3. The lottery is set up to catch time travellers
The confusingly-named ‘Free-Real-Estate’ has the lowdown here:
‘The chances of winning are so small that the only surefire ways to win are, to be obscenely lucky, or to know the numbers beforehand.
‘The only possible way to know the numbers is to know the future, the only way to know the future is to have been there.’
‘If a person wins the lottery they will come forward, it’s guaranteed. Now you have bait for time travellers and you question each winner accordingly. The people who aren’t time travellers then have their memory of the interrogation wiped and are given their money.’
Seems pretty watertight. Apart from all the extra questions it raises.
4. The NFL’s ‘Deflategate’ scandal was a decoy to stop people talking about concussion
As ‘TheFriesOfHorus’ argues:
‘I’m late to this, but I truly believe that the NFL will do anything possible to divert media attention from CTE studies to less damaging drama. There was a time when CTE studies were gaining traction in the public eye, Seau killed himself, other CTE victims/their families were speaking out, and a Will Smith headlined CTE movie was coming out, and what happened next? Deflategate.
’Biggest star in the league, on one of the league’s most popular teams gets railroaded. There’s iffy evidence and the entire situation around Deflategate was dubious. Yet it seemed to be endlessly talked about for months and months, and dominated most NFL discussion. It (Deflategate) also kept popping back up whenever something bad happened related to CTE or NFL executive decisions (even came back from the dead when the Rice video came out). Deflategate is the main one I feel most confident about, but recently, the kneeling debacle seems to coincide with the announcement of researchers finding a way to detect CTE in living patients (eta: Aaron Hernandez also shown to have CTE as a user mentioned below)’
5. Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun didn’t die in 1945, but actually escaped to South America
The first rule of the internet is that any conspiracy theory thread will eventually lead to someone talking about Hitler. Here’s ‘Fallenangel152’
‘I’m not sure i believe it, but the History show Hunting Hitler made a very good case. They found evidence every step of the way that major high up Nazis escaped Berlin to Spain, and took a u-boat to Argentina via the Canary Islands. They found people every step of the way claiming to have seen Hitler. We know nazis escaped, it’s just whether Hitler was one of them.’
6. George RR Martin has already written the last book in the series ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, but will only release it posthumously for fear of a backlash from Game of Thrones fans
‘Obviously it is not a guarantee that there would be any backlash. However, a lot of people (I agree with these people, sometimes) think that the pressure of finishing such a popular and beloved series of books has somehow affected how he feels about it,’ says ‘vsr5694’
‘For example, he keeps pushing back book releases/deadlines/etc. So this leads people to speculate that the fact that he has taken so long and has taken on so many different projects other than finishing ASOIAF points to him being disinterested. That’s where my theory comes in. He has it all figured out and is just waiting until he dies to release it in order to avoid any dealings with fans/media/critics.’
7. Michael Jordan’s ‘retirement’ was actually a suspension
‘He was a known gambler,’ claims aceishere.
‘The NBA found out he was betting on games. They worked together to cover it up by him just going to play baseball instead of announcing that the biggest name in the sport was betting on games.’
8. The ‘creepy clown epidemic’ a few years back was intended as viral marketing for IT, but copycat clowns took it too far so the producers backed out of it
9. The 2009 Champions League semi-final between Chelsea and Barcelona was rigged
Ah, now we’re cooking with gas. Definitely not just a poor refereeing performance, according to the theory put forward by mattress757:
‘It seems to me that every referee who has spoken of Tom Henning Ovrebo - the referee that night - they cannot explain how such a previously good ref made so many obvious poor decisions. Chelsea should have had 4+ penalties. Based on the law of averages you would expect to get at least one in a game you have 5+ appeals.
‘I believe UEFA told Mr Ovrebo “no penalties for Chelsea”, as they knew we would have a counter-attacking game, and Barca’s defence was makeshift with Yaya Toure playing centre-back. Of course they had no guarantee this would work, but it ended up being well and truly enough.
‘The smoking guns for me are the Abidal red card - when fouls are committed outside of the box Mr Ovrebo was only too happy to do his job properly, even arguably overstepping the line when it came to this incident. For me it screams “this is all I’m allowed to do to make things fairer”. The other one is the last appeal - Ballack’s shot that’s saved by the clearest of handballs by Samuel Eto’o. Mr Ovrebo is right there looking straight at it - and before there’s even an appeal he’s already begun the movement of swiping his arms out, or as it’s known to refs “cutting the grass”, which means “I have decided there is no penalty, and even my linesman cannot now tell me it is a penalty”
‘It was a clear con job, but because it was perpetrated by the people in power, it gets covered up and eventually forgotten.’
10. Princess Diana did not die in an accident
A lot of death-related stuff here, huh? Here’s what HiddenRonin says:
‘I’m a sceptic at heart and don’t have much time for conspiracy theories. Moon landing fakery? 9/11 inside job? Roswell? All bunk in my mind.
‘But the death of Diana was always fishy to me. The car driven by the Pap was never found. The security footage from the tunnel wasn’t available due to a malfunction. A test confirmed that if the driver was as drunk as the official line stated he wouldn’t have been able to walk to the car, which CCTV footage clearly shows him doing.
‘As I say, it may have all been a tragic accident, but I have my doubts.’
11. The ‘goddamn hotdog bun conspiracy’
You tell ‘em, ajthecreator
‘Hotdog companies purposefully have a different number of hotdogs than hotdog buns so we either waste some or by more of both’
And, as aquagrunt adds,
‘A hot dog packet is 10 dogs while a hot dog bun packet is 8 buns, once I run out of buns I need to get more, then I run out of dogs for my buns so I need more dogs ad infinitum. It’s a conspiracy I say!’
Is nothing sacred?
12. Yuri Gagarin was not the first cosmonaut in space
A classic of the genre, but still very believable even with the passage of time, as CaptainAdaw explains:
’There were soviet cosmonauts before him but they couldn’t be brought back/died. The USSR covered it up.’
’Well they did have a nasty habit of only numbering successful launches so it would appear they had a 100% success rate… That and Soviet rockets were death traps’
jholla_albologne is on board:
’I believe this one too. I remember reading that some Finnish radio enthusiasts listened to a lot of the communications and heard several instances of capsules and rockets failing and killing the cosmonauts. They tried to go public, but nobody listened to them without proof. I believe they claimed a woman was the first person in space, but she died during re-entry so the Soviets buried the mission’s records.’
However, with one Redditor pointing out that Valentin Bondarenko’s death was covered up, the appropriately-named speaksonlythetruth writes:
’The thing is they did… but we still know about it. So how likely is it that they covered up a lot of ones we haven’t found out about? It’s like the 9/11 conspiracy thing…coverups like these would have required hundreds of people to stay quiet, even after the fall of the USSR… and no one broke?’
Hmmm. Good point.
13. The government actually supports the wildest conspiracy theories
Yes, you read that right - the government is, counter-intuitively, actually feeding conspiracy theories. But why?
’The government secretly gives support to crazy, incredibly ridiculous conspiracy theories (such as “Flat Earth”) to make people less likely to believe the more reasonable ones (military industrial complex)’
mindthefuture has something even more insidious:
’I think flat earth is useful for discrediting possible troublemakers in future. Similar mindset of questioning given things that gets some sucked in to flat earth, applies also to figuring out real shady issues. Had someone found a actually inconvenient fact regarding anyone in power, but they had a flat-earth phase in their youth, then anything they say can be ridiculued and discredited.’
washuchan is convinced:
The bodyguard of lies theory. It would make sense to circulate a bunch of semi-plausible conspiracy theories surrounding something outrageous you want hidden, especially if the truth is even more outrageous than the conspiracy theories that are obfuscating it.
(Main image: NASA/body images: Rex)