Over the course of the next month, The Signal is going to get weird. With the 70th anniversary of the Roswell UFO Incident just around the corner, we’ll be bringing you a regular series of content dedicated to celebrating tales of conspiracy and fringe science. So, put on your tinfoil hats and join us as we enter….THE COMET ARCHIVES.
This first installment in the series will look at 16 real-life conspiracy theories that many people believe, but that would probably be more at home in a science-fiction movie. So take a look at the list below, and try not to question everything you think you know.
1. Aliens Crashed at Roswell and the Government Covered It Up
Where else could we possible start but here? For 70 years, many have believed that a craft from another world crashed in the New Mexico desert and that the government covered it up. It’s even believed that alien bodies were recovered from the crash site and stored elsewhere along with the wreckage of the ship. The witnesses who first saw the wreckage swore it was extraterrestrial, and the army officers first on the scene originally reported they had recovered a downed flying saucer. They then changed their story to say it was a simple weather balloon that went down in the desert, with test dummies acting as the bodies (though why a weather balloon would contain test dummies is anyone’s guess). In the ’90s, after the Cold War had ended, the military changed their story again to say that the object was a top-secret balloon meant to monitor Soviet nuclear weapons testing, but many are still convinced it was aliens.
2. The Moon Landing Was Faked
The Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969 still stands as mankind’s greatest achievement, but a surprising number of people are convinced it never happened. The claims for this conspiracy are numerous, with believers pointing to the position of the American flag, lack of stars in the sky, and other perceived anomalies in photographs that they say depict an elaborate hoax shot on a soundstage. The belief was that the landing (and subsequent moon missions) were faked by the U.S. Government in order to win the space race agains the Russians, which up until that point we were losing. Some theorists even think legendary director Stanley Kubrick, who was fresh off directing the revolutionary film 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968, shot the faux footage for NASA.
3. Area 51 Has Aliens
Area 51 is the monicker given to a top-secret military base in Nevada. How secret is it? Well, despite decades of existing in pop culture, the government didn’t officially acknowledge it was a real place until 2013 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005. The actual purpose of the base has still never been revealed, and security is such that civilians and most military are not allowed on the premises. This level of secrecy is likely the reason behind the fantastical theories surrounding it. It’s widely believed that experimental aircraft and weapons are tested at the site, and conspiracy theorists believe these experiments are based on reverse-engineering done on crashed UFOs that are housed at the site. Many even believe that the UFO and alien bodies from Roswell now reside inside Area 51.
4. The Earth Is Flat
One of the first things people are taught in schools is that the Earth is round, but it seems like a growing number of people no longer buy that fact. This strange conspiracy theory has gained steam in recent years thanks to high profile believers like rapper B.o.B., NBA star Kyrie Irving, and even Shaquille O’Neal (who later claimed he was joking). The theory suggests that the Earth is flat, and all pictures and scientific data suggesting that the Earth is round are part of an elaborate worldwide government conspiracy. Why would the governments and scientists of the world would want to mislead the entire population about the shape of the Earth? I have no idea, but a surprising number of people think they are.
5. Chemtrails Are Poisoning You
If you’ve ever seen a plane fly across the sky, you may have noticed that they sometimes leave a visible trail in their wake. You may have even noticed that these trails sometimes may appear to stay in the sky for a long time after the plane has left, leaving white streaks across the sky. Most of us don’t think anything of it, but many people believe these trails are sinister in nature. Called “chemtrails” by proponents of this theory, the idea is that these are chemicals routinely released by the government for various reasons. Some think the chemtrails are meant to poison the population, while others believe they serve to sedate the mind and make people easier to govern. What do scientists say? That the trails are nothing more than ordinary water-based contrails that stay in the sky for long periods of time when the atmospheric conditions are right. But if scientists are willing to lie about the Earth being flat, then surely they’ll lie about chemtrails, too, am I right?
6. There’s an Alien Base on the Dark Side of the Moon
It’s only ever possible to see one side of the moon from the Earth, since the two objects rotate in conjunction with each other and the same side of the moon is always facing the Earth. Therefore, the so-called dark side of the moon (which still receives sunlight and isn’t really dark) has become a hotbed for speculation. The most outlandish theory suggests that an alien base is set up on the far side of the moon, and the government knows about it and is covering it up. Believers point to what they see as unusual structures seen in NASA photographs as evidence, while NASA insists the structures are nothing more than rock formations manipulated by shadows. Of course they’d say that.
7. The Denver Airport Is a Secret Bunker for the New World Order
The Denver Airport is admittedly very strange. Completed in 1995 and running $2 billion over budget, the airport has some notably weird features. There’s a blue statue of a mustang outside the airport with glowing red eyes, which some believe is meant to represent the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse — and which actually fell on its sculptor and killed him. There are also very bizarre murals with disturbing imagery, including skull-faced Nazis, which people think symbolize the coming of the New World Order — a popular conspiracy theory suggesting that a small group of elites are attempting to control the entire world. Adding to the weirdness is the airport’s dedication stone, which features a prominent Freemasons symbol as well as an inscription attributing the building to the “New World Airport Society.” But most bizarre of all is the claim that there exists an elaborate bunker and network of tunnels beneath the airport, claims which were first made by construction workers who helped build it. Theorists think this underground base is meant to be an emergency habitat for elites in the case of population-cleansing disaster that they would initiate as a way to bring about the New World Order.
8. There’s a Joint Alien/Army Base in New Mexico
You didn’t think Area 51 got all the aliens, did you? However, there are some key differences between that base and this one. For one, there’s no evidence that the Dulce Base actually exists. It’s purported to be an underground base near the town of Dulce, New Mexico that is a joint alien/U.S. Military venture. Yes, instead of the U.S. Government experimenting on alien bodies like at Area 51, the Dulce Base is said to be run by aliens in conjunction with our government, with the goal of course being to subordinate the population. The theory was first put forth by conspiracy theorist Paul Bennewitz in the 1980s, and has somehow gained traction in the larger conspiracy community despite a lack of convincing evidence.
9. Project MKUltra Is Controlling Your Mind
Project MKUltra was a classified CIA mission that looked into ways to control peoples’ minds. Beginning in the 1950s, the project went about doing this in various ways, with the most notorious being administering LSD to unwitting civilians. The controversial program was supposed to have ended in the ’70s, but some believe it continued. In fact, they think that mind control techniques are constantly being implemented on a mass scale through the media, and especially through pop culture. They claim a successor to MKUltra called Project Monarch selects children, like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, to mold into vessels for their sinister subliminal messages. That would certainly help to explain the odd behavior of the aforementioned celebrities.
10. HAARP Controls the Weather
The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP, was a military-funded research program devoted to research the ionosphere with the goal of developing new types of communication that operated from 1993 to 2014. Sounds pretty boring, right? Well, some conspiracy theorists think the program’s actual purpose was to control — and weaponize — the weather. The main reason for the theory seemed to be HAARP’s secrecy and unwillingness to be open to the public, which separated it from other similar research projects.HAARP has been blamed for the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, and the 2010 Haitian Earthquake, but now that HAARP has shut down, you’d think that would’ve stopped the conspiracies, and yet they still rage on.
11. The Government Uses Fluoride to Make You a Zombie
The U.S. Government began adding fluoride to public drinking water in the 1940s as a way to prevent tooth decay among the population, but it wasn’t long before conspiracy theorists started looking for other reasons as to why Uncle Sam was force-feeding them chemicals. In the 1950s and ’60s, theories abounded that the fluoride was part of a Communist takeover plot, since they professed that routinely ingesting fluoride would make one docile and easily susceptible to governing. After the Red Scare ended, the Communist part of the theory left but the rest remains intact today, only now it’s the U.S. Government who’s hoping fluoride will make citizens dopey and easily manageable. Judging by the amount of anti-government protests in the streets lately, I think it’s safe to say it’s not working.
12. The Montauk Project Ripped a Hole in the Space-Time Continuum
Beginning in the 1980s, it was alleged that a series of top-secret government experiments had been taking place at the Montauk Air Force Station on Long Island, New York. The experiments — which are said to have grown from the rumored 1943 “Philadelphia Experiment” that supposedly successfully rendered the USS Eldridge invisible — are alleged to have ranged from typical mind control experiments to more extravagant tests involving time travel, teleportation, and other dimensions; all of which were aided by a supposed portal torn in the space-time continuum in 1983 caused by the experiments.
14. Bohemian Grove Is an Occult Gathering
Out of everything on this list, including the Denver Airport, Bohemian Grove probably has the weirdest stuff going on that is verifiably true. It’s a private all-male campsite in Northern California that hosts a two-week getaway once a year for many of the world’s elite. Presidents, politicians, and rich businessmen routinely gather at the campsite, and they do some pretty bizarre stuff. Most notable is a ceremony called the Cremation of Care, where attendees symbolically burn a coffin in front of a 30-foot-tall owl shrine while reciting a pledge. Now, any secret gathering of world elites is going to lead to conspiracy theories, but the pseudo-pagan rituals that go on at Bohemian Grove lead some to opine that the leaders of the world are in fact Satanists who show their true colors at the camp. Of course, the simpler explanation is that a bunch of rich and powerful guys will act really immature when they think no one’s watching.
15. The Berenstain Bears Are From A Parallel Universe
Most people, including myself, remember the Berenstain Bears as the Berenstein Bears. But all evidence suggests that the characters’ name is spelled stain, not stein, despite seemingly no one remembering it that way from their childhood. So what gives? It’s known as the Mandela Effect, a mass false memory, but the explanation behind why it exists is where the conspiracy comes in. Some think that the Berenstein spelling does in fact exist — in a parallel universe — and that people who remember it are actually seeing glimpses into this other dimension, which has sense merged with our dimension. Far out, man.
16. Reptilians Control the World
This has got to be the craziest theory of all, but it’s also one of the most widely-touted among conspiracy-theorists, so here goes. Based on the teachings of David Icke, this theory posits that the world is controlled by shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from another world. They live under the Earth and eat gold; the descendants of their hybrid children masquerade as our world leaders and elites (Queen Elizabeth II is probably the most infamous reptile); they project what we perceive as our reality from bases on the moon and Saturn; they control all of the major world governments, religions, and institutions; and their ultimate goal is to bring about the New World Order. Based on the outlandishness of his claims, critics have said Icke, who in the past has expressed anti-Semitic views, uses reptilians as a metaphor for Jews or globalists, but Icke denies this. He insists that he actually believes reptile aliens are controlling the world, and believe it or not, so do a disturbing number of other people.