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Published On: Wed, May 13th, 2015

4 Famous Conspiracy Theories the World has Known

Conspiracy theories have been around for as long as there have been people to create them. Historical records show conspiracy theories circulating during almost every century, but the rise of the Internet has led to a larger array of crazy ideas than ever before.

No longer the purview of the tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoids, conspiracy theories have gone mainstream. It seems that every big news story spawns a flurry of theories—some far-fetched but some disturbingly plausible. Below are four conspiracy theories that have been popular over the years.

Red Planet Rover on Mars Discovery Channel photoEarlier this year, NASA released in intriguing photo that caught the attention of some of the least conspiracy minded among us. It seemed to show the shadow of a space-suited astronaut leaning over the Curiosity rover and doing some kind of maintenance. Did we have a man on Mars? And was NASA covering it up?

Check out the photo below.

The Internet exploded. In an age where information travels faster than thought and photos can be shared with hundreds of people by simply opening Instagram anytime and anywhere on any mobile device through a trustworthy carrier, such as on the Galaxy S6 Edge, it only took hours for the theory to spread. On closer examination, the “astronaut” is nothing more than parts of the rover itself, but some diehards insist there’s a conspiracy.

The Apollo Moon Landing Never Happened

This idea has been alive longer than some of us reading this post. Believers in this idea point to the lack of stars in the sky, the flag the astronauts planted behaving in a “strange” way, and shadows supposedly falling in the wrong direction for the light source they’re cast by—in this case, the sun. It’s been suggested that the moon landing was filmed on a Hollywood sound stage, with the full cooperation of NASA and possibly others.

Recently Nvidia claimed that it had examined photos from the 1969 mission with 2015 technology and could prove that the shadows did not in fact come from an artificial light source but from the sun. The company also said that after digitally adjusting the exposure of the photo, the stars in the sky were visible.

photo/Brandon Jones at Universal Studios Orlando 2012

photo/Brandon Jones at Universal Studios Orlando 2012

A UFO Crashed in New Mexico

The Roswell Incident,” as it’s known, is one of the more compelling conspiracy theories of the 20th century—and to date, it has never been successfully debunked.

Sometime during the first week of July 1947, a Roswell rancher rode out to check on his flock of sheep and instead found a large field of wreckage surrounding a trench gouged into the ground. The debris was unlike anything he had ever seen before and was reported to the local Army Air Force base which quickly sealed off the area and gathered up the wreckage. The Air Force sent out a press release stated that the wreckage of a crashed “flying saucer” had been found.

The next day the press release was rescinded, and the press was told that the debris was instead the wreckage of a weather balloon. Today, the Air Force claims it was the wreckage of a high-altitude balloon that was part of the top-secret Project Mogul. However, the official story conflicts with eyewitness accounts in a myriad of ways, leaving the question of, “What was it, really?” open to interpretation.

Nicolas Cage is a 140-year-old Vampire

One of the more outlandish conspiracy theories of the decade, this story arose in 2011 after a Civil War era photo bearing a striking resemblance to the actor surfaced on the Internet. The photo was found among other Civil War photos by Seattle antique dealer Jack Mörd. He listed the photo on eBay with a starting price of one million dollars, justifying the astronomical price tag by claiming it was proof that Cage is in fact a vampire.

Mörd said he believed that Cage was “some sort of walking undead/vampire … who quickens/reinvents himself once every 75 years or so,” and offered potential buyers to allow the photo be examined by an expert. Unfortunately, he removed it from eBay before that could happen.

According to Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. But, the simplest explanation is seldom the most exciting. Conspiracy theories are much more fun. And, sometimes, they even turn out to be true.

Guest Author: Shaun Chatman

Curiosity Rover casting a shadow. Conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, have pointed out that the shadow near the left-hand side of the picture is clearly a technician, working on the rover in some way, shape or form. photo/ NASA

Curiosity Rover casting a shadow.
Conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, have pointed out that the shadow near the left-hand side of the picture is clearly a technician, working on the rover in some way, shape or form.
photo/ NASA

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