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    9/11  
  • There are almost as many claims circulating about 9/11 as there are about the Jews (and the two aren't mutually exclusive, as shown below), and while they're nowhere near as widespread as they used to be, they retain a high profile on the internet.
  • The "9/11 Truth Movement" was spawned by two major sources — the amateur documentary Loose Change (freely available at your friendly neighborhood YouTube), and the French book L'Effroyable imposture (sold in America as 9/11: The Big Lie). Alongside the JFK assassination theories, this is probably one of the most high-profile conspiracy explanations in the Western world. Unlike many conspiracy theories that play to the fears of one fringe of the political spectrum, this one crosses political lines to appeal to both the hard left and the hard right — though, of course, each side's explanation for the "why" tends to differ. (More on that below.) Everybody, whether or not they believe the theory, has probably heard of it, seeing as how it has been given mainstream press and support by such celebrities as Rosie O'Donnell, Jesse Ventura and Charlie Sheen. The theories reached their zenith of mainstream acceptance around 2006-2007, fueled by widespread disillusionment with the Bush Administration and the War On Terror; coincidentally or not, their popularity has significantly receded since Bush left office.

    The following is the Cliff Notes version of what is generally the most popular conspiracy explanation, as presented by the above two works:
    • The World Trade Center Towers (the Twin Towers) allegedly collapsed as a result of explosives planted within the building before the disaster, as well as thermite charges that cut through the building's support beams. The night before the attacks (in most versions of the story), the conspirators allegedly tore open the walls on the floors where the planes crashed, packed them with enough explosives to drop the buildings while simulating a plane crash, rebuilt them, and painted them so as to hide the evidence in a single night without being seen. The planes, meanwhile, were remote controlled. The theory claims that the damage caused by the plane crashes and fires alone wasn't enough to significantly damage the buildings' structures to the point of total failure, with many proponents claiming that 9/11 was the first time in which steel-framed skyscrapers collapsed due to fire.
      • These arguments conveniently neglect two major factors, factors which NIST had, in fact, published but which theorists conveniently never mention. First, fire softens steel asymmetrically, which causes the beams to buckle and bend, dramatically reducing structural integrity as a result. In fact, a sufficiently large fire would actually cause less buckling, which would make it less likely for the tower to collapse had the fire actually been larger. Two, this is the first and only time a steel skyscraper has been allowed to burn internally for that long without any water or, indeed, any attempt to control the fire whatsoever. The water pressure to the area had been cut off due to the initial damage (to say nothing of what said damage did to the buildings themselves), preventing the internal sprinklers from mitigating heat build-up on the inside of the building and stopping fire-fighters from having any effective means to fight the fire. The Beijing Cultural Center Fire, which is often cited by Truthers as being proof that a steel skyscraper can't collapse due to fire, blazed for five hours and was being fought with water the entire time (and hadn't just been struck by a jumbo jet traveling at or above cruising speed). WTC Tower 7 (see below), however, burned completely uncontrolled for seven and a half hours before collapsing.
      • Also, one of the main things that usually help to protect steel-framed buildings from collapsing due to fire is large amounts of thermal insulation surrounding their major structural components. Although the WTC towers did in fact have this sort of insulation covering their load-bearing columns, much of it was knocked off the columns in the original impacts. These were columns that were already carrying about three times the load they would normally have been carrying, due to said impacts destroying approximately two-thirds of the columns in each tower.
      • In fact, you don't even have to soften the steel in a building (let alone melt it) to destroy the structure. One cause of structural collapse fire-fighters are trained to recognize is that steel beams expand when heated (as does almost every substance in existence); expanding a few centimeters (which is easily done by a beam the length used in large buildings) can cause the joints between vertical and horizontal beams to fail and/or push out load-bearing walls, weakening them and increasing the odds of collapse.
      • Also, the largest building ever demolished took weeks to prepare, openly, with crews working 24/7, and that wasn't even the size of WTC 7, much less the 110-story towers. The largest steel-framed building took months. For an experimental, covert planning, it would take even longer, and still have a near certain risk of discovery - unless the conspirators pulled a cross between Bavarian Fire Drill and Beneath Notice, but there's been no word of obvious construction in the buildings beforehand.
      • Not even just "near certain" risk. One of the steps to prepare a skyscraper for demolition involves removing interior walls on most if not all floors, and exposing the structural girders to the naked eye (as the charges have to be placed directly against the girders). It is impossible not to notice this in progress unless you literally never enter the building at all or unless you are blind. Since we know the WTC wasn't closed down to all traffic for weeks before 9/11, therefore it was not prepared for demolition. note  It's also been asserted that the security company was run by George W. Bush's cousin, which is wrong in more ways than we have room to explain.
      • Any CD would have to take into account the plane impacts, which would have random, unpredictable effects and risk destroying or disrupting any charges.
  • World Trade Center Tower 7 was another skyscraper in Lower Manhattan that collapsed on 9/11, but often goes unheard of due to the higher-profile collapses of its neighbors. It caught fire as a result of falling debris from the Twin Towers. Conspiracy theorists have latched onto the collapse of WTC 7 as proof of a conspiracy, mainly due to the fact that it was a part of the WTC complex and collapsed without being hit by any planes. They will point out that the FDNY had been given orders to "pull it" shortly before the collapse, a phrase which they interpret as meaning "pull the building down." However, if one was to look at photos of the building shortly before it collapsed, they would notice that one side of the building was completely engulfed in flame, and that chunks of the building were falling off. Also, it is more likely that "pull it" was an order to pull all firefighters out of the building, as they knew that it was unstable. Such theories also tend to ignore that, while Tower 7 wasn't hit by any planes, it was hit by large pieces of rubble from the much larger North Tower which was collapsing all around it.note  Also, as mentioned above, the building had fires burning on multiple floors for nearly 8 hours before collapsing.
    • And, as with most other conspiracy theories out there, part of why they reject the official finding is just that - it's the "official" finding, looked into by the same people that pulled the job off to begin with. Nevermind just how many people would need to be in on such a conspiracy and never-ever say a word about their involvement. For example, over 2/3rds of the FBI was involved in the investigation. If the conspirators could pull off 9/11, they already have enough power that they don't need to.
    • The term "pull it" is not commonly used in demolition. In fact, it's only used in Verinage, where it involves literally pulling the walls out with large cables. The person who made the "they made the decision to pull it" claim, Larry Silverstein (more below), was the owner of the Towers, and is Jewish, bringing in the Jewish conspiracy theorists as well. Oddly enough, the fact that he made the claim publicly and openly, in a manner totally inconsistent with a conspiracy, seems to be ignored.
  • The Pentagon was allegedly hit not by an airliner, but by a cruise missile or an unmanned fighter jet. The main evidence used to support this claim is the alleged lack of passenger jet debris at the crash site (even though such debris was recovered), and claims that the hole in the Pentagon was too small to have been caused by a 767 (even though the evidence all suggests that the aircraft "landed short" and thus did not strike the building directly).
    • And, if you look at the picture, the hole is actually EXACTLY the right size for a plane to hit if its wings were sheared off from "landing short".
      • The "Hole is too small" crowd also tends to compare the Pentagon damage to the strike damage of the Towers, completely ignoring the fact that the Towers were ordinary office buildings and the Pentagon was a steel-reinforced concrete fortification whose original design specs included "Must be able to survive direct shelling by enemy battleships should any make their way up the Potomac."
      • Also, the plane impacted on the E-Wing, close to where the Secretary of Defense's office is located. For obvious reasons that is the single most heavily armored part of the building; indeed, extra reinforcement was built into and around it after the Oklahoma City bombing, as protection vs. truck bombs. Speaking of which, if the military was involved, this meant that some of the people working in the Pentagon were presumably known and might even have been friends of the conspirators, increasing the chances of someone defecting.
      • There are claims that E-Wing was closed for renovations at the time, which would be convenient if the goal was to allow themselves to be attacked while mitigating losses. However, this is false.
    • It's not like a 767 is that hard to get if you have the resources to buy a cruise missile. There is no need to fake an airplane hitting the pentagon trusting that not a single tourist happens to be taking a picture at the time when you could just.. fly an airplane into it.
    • And it's worth noting that any speculation as to how the Pentagon could have been used in the conspiracy completely ignores the dozens, if not hundreds, of independent eyewitnesses who all described exactly what the official story says: A passenger jet came out of the sky and smashed into the Pentagon. The evidence here convinced two renowned Truthers to admit years later that a passenger jet had indeed hit the Pentagon and there was no other way to interpret the evidence.
  • There are two competing theories as to what happened to United Airlines Flight 93. One theory claims that the plane was shot down by the Air Force over Pennsylvania, while the other claims that it was safely landed in Cleveland. Both versions claim that the debris at the crash site was planted, and that the calls from passengers had been faked.

    The lack of debris is largely attributed to the way the plane landed, which was something of a nose dive going a few hundred miles per hour into the ground (thus why the crash site is nothing but a large crater). Such an impact would have disintegrated most of the plane. Although, apparently many Conspiracy Theorists don't care to adhere to physics. If there were no plane-like parts there, there was no plane. A photograph taken by a woman who lived near by and heard/felt the crash of a huge cloud of smoke rising from the direction of the crash site is frequently dismissed as being doctored by the internet. The woman is still harassed by conspiracy theorists even today, all for taking a picture.

    Sometimes, theorists will cite that there is a discrepancy of the location of the crash site as reported in proximity to a nearby lake. There is actually no discrepancy, and it was fictitiously "created" by plugging directions into Mapquest from the lake to the crash site, which gives directions based on road miles traveled, rather than as the bird flies.
  • Many 9/11 Truthers argue that our air security's lack of response to the 9/11 attacks was due to a stand-down order or some other form of induced paralysis. In fact, some Truthers equate the situation as the Mathias Rust situation racketed Up to Eleven. However, NORAD did respond. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts were sent to holding positions off the coast of Long Island, and fighter jets from Langley Air Force Base 130 miles south of DC were sent north chasing a phantom Flight 11 that was reported flying south toward DC (after it had crashed into the North Tower). Also, if they had shot down the planes, there would be about 130 tons of flaming airplane debris indiscriminately hurtling towards New York City, Washington, D.C. and their suburbs. It would have been like the Columbia Disaster happening right on top of those cities.
  • In general, when you come across a Truther, there will be two types of arguments that they put forth. The first is the claim that the towers were destroyed in a controlled demolition because it is impossible for the crashed airplanes to cause the collapse of the buildings, either at all or in the way that they did. Expect falsehoods and misrepresentations such as "jet fuel can't melt steel beams" "it fell at free-fall speeds" and "it was a symmetrical collapse" to be thrown around. The second, and less common type of argument is the argument from supposed "evidence", such as remnants of explosives in the rubble, girders that were deformed or blasted into surrounding buildings, or "modifications" on the aircraft, that indicated they were military or controlled remotely. The first is obviously hokum, and are usually justified from linear extrapolations of flawed logic, in other words they have no idea what a skyscraper collapse should look like or what would cause one. The second is easily disproven because the evidence is either nonexistent or completely misinterpreted. Both are quite easily shown to be false if one simply views the footage from the disaster itself, which show no detonations or explosions, an asymmetrical collapse note , and collapse that is naturally much longer than free-fall speed. Hence the popularity of "at or near free-fall speeds", to provide wriggle room. If challenged to provide known CDs that fell at free-fall, Truthers will inevitably clam right up.
  • Larry Silverstein, owner of the WTC, made money on insurance for the complex. Problem is, he didn't. He had an insurance policy, but he originally wanted a much lower one, and was pressured by his stockholders to increase the amount. His lease was such that he still had and has to make payments on the destroyed buildings - more money than most people will ever see - and overall, he actually lost money. Truthers also get rather coy when asked whether it was Larry who approached the government conspirators, or the conspirators who approached Larry.

Now that the "how" is out of the way, let's get into the "why". As stated above, this is where the left-wing and right-wing versions of what happened diverge. But first, the similarities that they still share. Both of them cite a paper by a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which called for regime change in Iraq and a return to a militaristic foreign policy but acknowledged that it wouldn't be politically feasible without "a catalyst like Pearl Harbor." Many of the co-signers of the document went on to high positions in the Bush Administration. According to theorists, this is proof that the 9/11 attacks had been planned for years. The counter-point is that this doesn't prove they had foreknowledge, only that they may have simply seized an opportunity which they potentially foresaw. In addition, it has been claimed that there was an unusual surge in short-sellingnote  on airline stocks in the week before 9/11, causing unknown parties to get rich off the attack. (The 9/11 Commission investigated and supposedly debunked this claim.note )

Now for the chief differences. The left-wing theory plays into distrust of big business by pinning the conspiracy on high-ranking people within the Bush administration and the energy industry, who supposedly wanted to create a rationale for invading the Middle East to secure the oil reserves in that region (Iraq being home to vast oil reserves, and Afghanistan being along a valuable route for a planned pipeline). They would orchestrate a series of attacks on American soil, and then blame them on Islamic terrorists in order to whip the people up into a pro-war fervor. This idea raises the question of "why didn't they do that in the Gulf War?", which, in its realized extent, went much better for the USA in regards to both public opinion and factual losses.note  Think Loose Change.

  • A small variant of this focuses on the WTC 7 collapse by noting that it contained major investigative field offices of the Securities and Exchanges Commission and the Secret Services, as well as field offices of the IRS and a major undercover operation for the CIA. This gained traction when the subsequent decades saw the failures of several major financial institutions - the allegation being that destroying the files in building 7 was the actual target and the remainder of the attack was a decoy.
  • It's also asked why the bad guys didn't plant fake WMDs in Iraq, which should be comparatively easier than murdering thousands of people on Americans soil, with, literally, American Airlines. No theories have been advanced.

The right-wing theory, by contrast, plays into distrust of government and of international institutions like the United Nations. 9/11 was rapidly incorporated into existing theories of the New World Order, The Illuminati, the 'globalists', etc. as part of their plan to foist a communist/fascist One World Order onto the globe. (For more on that, see below.) This theory traditionally focuses on anti-terrorism measures like the USA PATRIOT Act and similar laws in Britain and elsewhere that were passed after the attacks, viewing the entire situation as having been designed to get the people accustomed to the idea of living in a Police State. One of the chief proponents of this theory is radio talk show host Alex Jones.

And then there's the crowd that even the other 9/11 Truthers find infuriating. In the Arab world and in various racial supremacist and anti-Semitic circles, it is alleged that the Jews (or more specifically, the Israelis) were the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks, pulling them off in order to rile up the US and get them to fight against Iraq on their behalf. This theory is so persistent that "JEWS DID WTC" has become an internet meme. One element of this theory, disseminated by various Arab media within mere days of the attacks, is that Israel allegedly contacted four thousand Jewish employees at the WTC, warning them not to show up for work that day. In reality, based on data from WTC companies' employee records and the medical examiner's office, between ten to fifteen percent of 9/11 victims were Jewish, which roughly corresponds with the percentage of New Yorkers in general that are Jewish. Another part of it claims that a group of Israelis who were involved in, and busted for, an art student scam around that time (the "dancing Israelis") were actually Mossad agents, either planning the attacks or tracking the terrorists.

And then there's the really fringe explanations. One theory claims that no planes crashed into the Twin Towers, and that the planes that people saw were actually holograms. There also exist theories claiming that the buildings had been destroyed with "micro-nukes", with "nano-thermite" or with orbital Kill Sats, and (of course) a theory claiming that aliens were behind 9/11. One woman has even blamed rap star Sean Combs (a.k.a. Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, Puffy, etc.) for the attacks, and tried to sue him for a trillion dollars. (For what it's worth, "P. Diddy [insert devious act here]" is now an internet meme.)

A comparatively mundane theory fingers the Saudi royal family as the true culprits, providing financial backing, coordination, and religious justification to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to launch the attack. This theory is endorsed by none other than Zacarias Moussaoui, a man who had been fingered as a potential "20th hijacker" for the plot and is currently serving a life sentence in a supermax prison in Colorado, as well as by former Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey and even by members of the 9/11 Commission, who claim that the 28 pages that were redacted from the official 9/11 Commission Report were redacted to avoid incriminating the Saudis.

Some of the first 9/11 theories even implicated China or The Mafia as the perpetrators; the former theory even inspired a book in December 2001, before the more popular theories took root. However, neither explanation really caught on with conspiracy theorists.

There's also the popular, if less grandiose, conspiracy theory that the mainstream account of the attacks themselves is accurate, but that the government knew of the attacks in advance and allowed them to happen because it was politically advantageous (similar to claims that Franklin D. Roosevelt had foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor). This defines such an essential division amongst 9/11 hypothesizers that they are categorized by this division. LIHOPers speculate that the US government Let It Happen On Purpose whereas MIHOP theorists believe they Made It Happen On Purpose. By far, most 9/11 hypothesizers are LIHOPers rather than the Vocal Minority of MIHOPers. Like with the "MIHOP" theory, no evidence has arisen that the government had definitive foreknowledge of 9/11; while there were warnings in the months before the attacks, most of the evidence seems to suggest that they were ignored out of the perception Bin Laden wasn't going to attack there at the time rather than malice. And such warnings tend to be of general nature ("bin Laden wants to hijack aircraft") and remember that before 9/11 hijacking an airplane meant a Hostage Situation, not large scale suicide bombing.

Finally, we can't end this without mentioning the pilot of the The X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen, which involves a conspiracy plot almost identical to 9/11, plus the MIHOP conspiracy theory about it (a hijacked plane hitting the World Trade Center as a False Flag Operation). Said pilot aired six months before 9/11. Of course, the actual cause was mundane; the idea of using planes as improvised weapons dates back to the early 20th century (i.e. Japanese kamikaze), and the World Trade Center had already been subjected to a terrorist attack in 1993. Indeed, the very scenario of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center or another skyskraper, as a terrorist plot or as an accident, had been in consideration for decades prior to 9/11, and the idea of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center was actually thought of when it was being designed and constructed. note 

    Aliens 
  • The Greys: the "stock" perception of aliens in Western culture, having replaced Little Green Men in The '60s. Short, with skinny bodies, gray skin, big heads, small (or non-existent) mouths and noses, and enormous black eyes. Often blamed for alien abductions.
    • Sometimes, Greys are just one of several alien races that visit Earth. Other common ones are Reptilians (humanoid reptilian creatures, possibly related to the "reptilian humanoids" described below), Nordics (humanlike aliens that resemble Nordic/Germanic/Aryan racial images, sometimes called Pleiadians for the Pleiades Star Cluster that is their supposed origin, and who are sometimes theorized to have given advanced technology to the Third Reich), and the less common Cyclops aliens (one-eyed humanoids occasionally associated with triangular spacecraft who have allegedly been sighted in numerous South American countries). And many more.
    • A less publicly popular conspiracy theory states that many reported cryptids such as Chupacabra, Sasquatch, the Dover Demon and Mothman are in fact alien creatures, who are either seen when they visit Earth, are aliens stranded on Earth, or are the result of genetic engineering with alien genetic material.
    • One not-entirely-serious theory is that the cryptids are the domestic pets of the aliens and that Earth is the intergalactic equivalent of a rest-stop and doggy-toilet. The aliens stop here so that Fido can go walkies and do his business and, bless him, play with the local animals, isn't he cute?
  • Several prominent world leaders and royals (most notably George W. Bush, Queen Qlizabeth II, and Hillary Clinton) are claimed by some (such as David Icke) to actually be shape-shifting "reptilian humanoids" who are trying to destroy humanity. They are frequently associated with the Illuminati.
    • Or, that many of them were born nine months after the Roswell Incident, suggesting alien baby-daddies. This is similar to the plot of the TV show Roswell, in fact.
    • Icke believes many of the other conspiracy theories on this page, most notably the ones in the Jews/Israel folder such as The Elders of Zion. Except that instead of Jews they are reptilians, as the writers were supposedly using Jew as a more acceptable code word for lizard people. This has led some people to believe that Icke is an anti-semite using lizard people as a more acceptable code word for Jew.
  • No theory about the aliens is complete without a government cover-up of their existence. The Roswell crash, the Majestic-12, and the circumstances behind Project Blue Book, among others, are often cited as proof that the government is concealing the existence of extraterrestrial life. The Men in Black and Area 51 are often involved. Expect a joke about "weather balloons."
    • Area 51 already has plenty of conspiracy theories circulating about it being the secret storage place of the government's recovered extraterrestrial wreckage and alien reverse-engineering projects, but a more recent one suggests that Area 51 is actually nothing of the kind, but is in fact a distraction for where the government keeps its real extraterrestrial wreckage storage facilities and alien reverse-engineering projects. A more prosaic one is that the alien stories were deliberately spread to help muddle sightings of the various advanced (but conventional) aircraft being tested there.
    • Similar conspiracy theories are present in Russia, in the form of the Kapustin-Yar airbase. Theories range of alien craft or Nazi secret projects relating to aliens were stored there, to an out-and-out air war between the Soviet Air Force and alien aircraft.
  • Some speculate that much of our current technology (particularly electronics) came from reverse-engineering captured alien spacecraft and technology.
  • The Ancient Astronauts theory claims that Earth's ancient civilizations and religions were created or inspired by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens visiting Earth thousands of years ago. Therefore, most of human civilization consists of worship of these ancient visitors. This theory was first popularized in 1968 by Erich Von Däniken's book Chariots of the Gods, and has since been ripped off by countless TV shows, games and movies.
  • Some people even believe the UFOs are not even alien. Instead they are some sort of experimental craft made by Americans/Nazis/Soviets (yes, well into modern day, involving hidden arctic bases that continue the research). Supposedly the idea of aliens is a cover story and/or people mistaking the craft for aliens.note  Some go so far as to suggest that aliens like The Greys are humans that have been modified (surgically and/or genetically) to either hide that that they are human or as a requirement to actually pilot the craft.
  • There's been reports that both the moon and Mars have ruins on them. Some of these ruins are truly bizarre, such as two crystals, 7 and 4-miles tall respectively, a colossal submarine-looking thing just sort of being there in a crater, and what is apparently a castle floating 9 miles above the lunar surface, suspended from nothing by a sometimes visible cable. What absolutely does not help quell the conspiracy is that the area northeast of the Ukert crater (where the majority of these things are supposed to be) appears to have been sloppily photoshopped out of the Google Maps moon version. Also on Mars, there's apparently several complexes of ruins near the infamous "face" formation. Here's plenty of information for you to look over. Strangely, there seem to be no alternate explanations for the majority of these, possibly because the conspiracy isn't well known enough to have detractors.
    • The typical explanation for these is just that the brain is good at picking signals out of random noise, particularly in low-res photos such as these. The Face of Mars looks a lot less like a face when you look at it in high detail or at a different angle.
    • Juan José Benítez, a famous Spanish UFO researcher and novelist produced a series named Planeta Encantado (Enchanted Planet), one of whose episodes turned around an allegedly secret video filmed by the Apollo XI astronauts, who found alien ruins on the Moon and detonated it with nuclear weapons. The video turned out to be a fraud (Warning, site in Spanish).
    • One really out-there theory is about the Martian moon Phobos. Its orbit characteristics lead Russian scientist Iosif Samuilovich Shklovsky to declare it was most likely hollow, as they indicated it was extremely light. This in turn led some, most notably Fred Singer, science advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower, to declare that if Phobos was hollow then it might have even been a massive artificial satellite created by the ancient Martians. Even though this theory has since been proven incorrect and current research indicates that Phobos is not hollow (at least not entirely), there are still plenty of people out there saying that's no moon.
  • America invaded Iraq for Ancient Alien artifacts, namely a Stargate. No really, I'm serious it's a theory.
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    Disasters 
  • 9/11 has so many conspiracy theories surrounding it that it has its own entry at the top of this page.
  • The demise of the Hindenburg has long been bait for conspiracy theories. The crash had it all: a doomed liner of unprecedented size and luxury, involvement with the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler himself, threats and warnings that the airship would be destroyed over America, and an enduring mystery of just how the crash happened. Theories of sabotage were so rampant, for all intents and purposes Nazi Germany believed the crash was a conspiracy against them. Of course, no evidence of a conspiracy or a bomb was ever found.
  • The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil — 168 dead — until 9/11 six years later) has a multitude of conspiracy theories surrounding it, many of which have the "official" perpetrators (Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols) simply be the "fall guys" for the U.S. government/Islamic terrorists/[insert favorite conspiracy group here], who instigated the bombing for their own nefarious reasons. Never mind that McVeigh and Nichols were angry at the government for their mishandling of the infamous Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents that had occurred several years previously...
    • Some people still think Saddam Hussein masterminded the McVeigh plot.
    • One of the more interesting versions of the conspiracy is that al-Qaeda was involved. There was a "John Doe II" reported at the time of the bombing, who bore no resemblance to known conspirator Terry Nichols, and whom the FBI later claimed had never existed — even though artist sketches of him had been leaked. John Doe II looked distinctly similar to José Padilla, an American-born al-Qaeda operative who was captured and received a train wreck of a trial and a media circus.
    • An arguably more likely conspiracy is that the Aryan Republican Army, a Jesse James-esque white supremacist gang working at the time, was involved. McVeigh was a known associate of convicted bank robber and ARA member Michael William Brescia, and the ARA had connections to various far-right Christian groups and neo-Nazi skinheads — groups which would have spurned the help of al-Qaeda. In addition, ARA member Richard Lee Guthrie, Jr. resembles pictures of "John Doe II", and was the subject of an FBI investigation, but hanged himself in his jail cell with a bedsheet noose before he could be questioned.

      One variation on the "Guthrie was John Doe II" theory (as detailed here by Cracked) claims that the FBI, in its search for Guthrie, accidentally nailed the wrong man — Kenneth Michael Trentadue, who looked almost exactly like Guthrie, right down to a similar tattoo. When he died in custody (hanging from a bedsheet, again like Guthrie), his body was so badly bruised that his family suspected that the authorities had tortured him badly enough to drive him to suicide. The theory goes that the FBI's dismissal of there being a John Doe II, rather than a cover-up of "who was really behind OKC", was a cover-up of their own botched investigation.
    • Like the 9/11 attacks, there were also allegations of government foreknowledge without actual involvement. A common Urban Legend in late 1990's Oklahoma was a "friend of a friend" government employee at either the Murrah building or the IRS building in Tulsa being told not to go to work that day.
  • The 7/7 London underground bombings are claimed to be a False Flag Operation in order to continue support for British participation in the War on Terror and growth of the goverments powers. The disaster has its own equivalent to Loose Change called 7/7 Ripple Effect by "Muad Dib" note . Claims include:
    • That bombs were planted underneath the trains due to what they thought they saw in the blast patterns and injuries.
    • That security footage showing the bombers going into the stations was faked since at a one point it looks like one of their heads disappears behind a hand rail in the back ground really due to the poor quality of the camera.
    • That the bombers couldn't possibly reach the bombing locations by the time that they did (conspiracy road trip recreated this and found they could).
    • Or the claim that the bombers couldn't create such a bomb in their homes (again conspiracy road trip got an expert showing not only was this possible but the explosion left a similar blast pattern).
    • That the bombers were actually unwitting pawns tricked into carrying back packs onto the trains or killed at Canary wharf. Theorists often say that they were actually kind people, emphasising any testimony that agrees with them no matter how biased or fake.
  • The 2011 earthquake in Haiti was allegedly man-made, using HAARP (see "Atmosphere and Weather" below), underground bombs, or some other type of "earthquake machine." The motive? Some say it's to acquire Haiti's oil, others say that the US planned it in order to acquire a base in the Caribbean to oppose Cuba and Venezuela, and still others say it's to distract from the supposed imposition of martial law in the US. Never mind there is already a base in Cuba - Guantanamo Bay - under a permanent lease that can only be ended by mutual agreement meaning it never will be ended, because the US has no reason to close down Guantanamo.
  • Theories abound regarding the crash of TWA Flight 800 — "officially" caused by a fuel vapour explosion in the Boeing 747's CWT (Centre Wing Tank), but the exact cause of the explosion is undetermined. The most common theory says that it was shot down with a missile, either by a terrorist or by accident as part of a Navy training exercise. This theory is not supported by the NTSB because 98% of the wreckage was recovered, and a large part of the fuselage reconstructed, and not a trace of any missile impact was found. Other theories say that it was the result of a terrorist bomb on board, or electromagnetic interference from a nearby fighter plane. Some claim that the Clinton administration ordered a cover-up so Clinton wouldn't look soft on terrorism during his re-election campaign.

    The most prominent proponent of the conspiracy line was Pierre Salinger — formerly President John F. Kennedy's press secretary — who didn't have much convincing evidence, but garnered attention because of his former job. Much of the suspicion around the crash was formed because the FBI aggressively pursued a criminal investigation, much to the chagrin of the NTSB working alongside them, and did discover some explosive residue on the wreckage, but then had to backtrack and admit that it was a miniscule trace that had come from a package used to train drug sniffer dogs. The missile theory was partly started by reports from several witnesses who saw an object climbing into the sky and then heard a loud explosion. Investigators concluded that they had seen the nose-less wreck of the 747 climbing and stalling in the sky and, because light travels faster than sound, then heard the initial fuel tank explosion.
  • Similarly, EgyptAir Flight 990, which the NTSB concluded was caused by the co-pilot, Gameel Al-Batouti, who intentionally crashed the plane as a means of committing suicide (on the theory that if he died in a mysterious plane crash, his family would not face the odium of having had a relative commit suicide). However, in Egypt—where belief in conspiracy theories is stubbornly persistent and widespread—many believe that the plane was shot down by the US military by accident, or perhaps by the CIA and Mossad on purpose for some reason. Of course, the flight data recorder clearly indicates that the plane did not suffer any explosions or missile strikes, and instead flew into the sea. To explain this, the conspiracy theorists allege that the US authorities secretly found the flight data recorder, changed it, threw it back into the sea, and reraised it publicly a few days later. Unlike TWA 800—where there were a few tiny shreds of odd goings-on in the investigation for the conspiracy theorists to latch on to—this one appears mostly motivated by the reluctance of most Egyptians to accept that someone could not only commit suicide, but kill 217 other people to cover it up.
  • The Tunguska event. Possibly not a "disaster" since nobody died, but it fits here better than anywhere else. And, hooo boy, are there conspiracy theories about it, suggesting everything from a UFO crash to a rip in space-time to the work of Nikola Tesla. Indeed, there's a whole trope based around it.
  • Some have claimed that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was planned as part of a plot to discredit offshore drilling. Some people are saying that radical environmentalists or the Obama administration did it to advance an environmentalist agendanote , while others claim that it was caused by OPEC to keep America dependent on foreign oil. While radical environmentalists have been known to engage in eco-terrorist attacks against polluting industries (sometimes with negative consequences for the very environment they were trying to protect), it would be disingenuous to claim that oil companies like BP weren't fully aware of this and on the lookout for any attempt to destroy their property. If eco-terrorists or an OPEC nation had bombed the Deepwater Horizon, BP would've known about it and turned the attack against the culprits.
    • A variation claims that the spill was carried out as part of Their plan to depopulate the world by destroying the fisheries of the Gulf Coast. Another one claims that the North Koreans blew up the rig in order to strike at either the US or the rig's manufacturer, the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Heavy Industries.
    • A similar theory popular among some right-wing activists alleges that ecoterrorist groups and actions are actually being bankrolled by mainstream conservation organizations in order to make them look better by comparison.
  • The sinking of the Titanic has produced a number of conspiracy theories, including a prominent one that circulated a few years back that the ship that was called the Titanic was actually its sister-ship, the Olympic. As the story goes, the White Star Line, which owned them both, swapped the names as part of an insurance scam Gone Horribly Wrong. Expeditions to the resting place of the Titanic have brought back conclusive evidence that the ship at the bottom of the Atlantic could not possibly be the Olympic, but the theory persists.
    • Another theory that had grown in prominence enough to be accounted by Titanic discover Bob Ballard involved the California, which was a mere fifteen miles away and could have helped. The official story is her radio operator had gone to bed and thus could not receive distress signals and the flares seen were taken as a party for the Titanic's maiden voyage. The conspiracy involves the idea of a third ship in between the two, possibly an illegal whaler that documents says was supposed to be in port. Science says it might have been a trick of the light but some believe that it may have been a ghost ship, a witness to the sinking based on the claims God Himself could not sink the Titanic, and that idea had led to several horror stories that suggest supernatural forces were responsible for the sinking.
  • In the aftermath of the Beslan school seige, former FSB agent and defector Alexander Litvinenko claimed it was a false-flag operation by the Russian government, claiming that many of the terrorists were known to Russian authorities and a few were even released from custody shortly before the attack. Others have claimed that the weapons the hostage takers used were planted in the school beforehand. It's worth noting that Alexander became the center of his own conspiracy theory after his mysterious poisoning death involving radioactive polonium-210.
  • The crash of the Polish presidential plane in Smolensk on April 10, 2010 has spawned many different conspiracy theories, promoted mostly by right-wing kooks. According to them, the plane was a) taken off course by a spoofed radio beacon signal, b) taken off course by poison gas planted on the plane, which caused the pilots to lose orientation, c) shot down by the Russians who used helium (which is heavier than air, according to the conspiracy theorists) to reduce the plane's lift to make it crash or at least to generate massive amounts of fog, d) shot down by the Russians who used other means of fog production, e) shot down by the Russians who planted a bomb on the plane, f) shot down by the Russians who used a HAARP-style orbital weapon, g) after the crash the Russians proceeded to dispatch KGB agents to shoot the survivors, h) any or all of the above, all on behalf of a) Vladimir Putin, who controls the current "puppet" government of Poland, or b) Vladimir Putin, in cooperation with the current government of Poland. (Background.)  Of course this is claimed to be an outrageous conspiracy theory by kooks who claim that the plane that crashed in Smolensk was empty, and the passengers have been kidnapped in Poland and then taken to Russia, where they either remain imprisoned in a Gulag or living in luxury sponsored by the Russian government. And let's not even start about those claiming that a Tu-154, as a modified bomber, would smash through trees unharmed.
    • The mildest version of the theories posits the crash was caused by neglect on part of the Russian airfield crew, subsequently mopped under the carpet by the Russians with silent agreement (either out of fear or poorly-timed goodwill) of the Polish government.
    • The disturbing part of it is that it has been proven that, at the very least, somebody's severely neglected his job during the clean-up: despite the identification efforts, the victims' bodies have been switched around in the coffins, the claim of which had been dismissed as the kooks' paranoia right until the exhumations two years later.
  • The Jonestown mass suicide, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and hundreds of his People's Temple followers killed themselves in Guyana, was allegedly not a suicide at all. The commonly accepted version of events is that Jones understandably feared consequences for the fact that they just murdered a U.S. Congressman, leading him to panic and command many of his followers to commit suicide and coerce or force less willing cult members to do the same. Conspiracy theorists have different ideas on what it actually was:
    • A CIA massacre designed to silence a large group of leftist dissidents. This one gained traction within the Soviet Union, along with related claims that Jones and his followers were planning to emigrate to the USSR. note 
    • A cover story for a US operation to remove a Soviet base in the region.
    • A CIA mind control experiement in the vein of MKULTRA that went wrong and was subsequently "cleaned up".
  • Within hours of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, at which two pressure-cooker bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring over a hundred more, there were individuals on the Internet (including, perhaps unsurprisingly, Alex Jones) claiming that the attack was orchestrated by the US government as a False Flag Operation.
    • The bombings were also supposedly a distraction so that the American public wouldn't notice Congress passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would allow the U.S. government to view Internet traffic information and which has been compared to the failed SOPA and PIPA bills. The FBI supposedly were the actual bombers and framed the two suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers. There were also people believing that, since the brothers are of Chechen descent, that it is part of some Chechen invasion plan (either Chechnya is planning on invading the U.S. or the U.S. wants to invade Chechnya).
    • Another theory, espoused by Glenn Beck, claims that a Saudi national (who had been an early "person of interest" before being let go on lack of evidence) assisted the Tsarnaev brothers in the attack, that it was connected to a larger terrorist group rather than just the work of a pair of lone nuts, and this is being covered up for whatever reason.
    • And there's the "Free Jahar" crowd who think Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, or "Jahar" as they call him, is innocent on the basis of his incredible hotness. Needless to say, this group is dominated by teenage girls.
  • After some "creative" interpretation of the footage some have decided that the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility was hit by a missile or space debris.
  • As proof that conspiracy theories have been with us for a good long time, here are two from the Revolutionary period of France:
    • The "Pacte de Famine" theory arose after the deregulation of the grain market under King Louis XVI and Finance Minister Jacques Turgot, alleging that Turgot had made a number of shady back-room deals to keep France's food supply in the hands of the rich (in exchange for a whole lot of money from special interest groups) and starving out the poor. The deregulation led to rioting and looting, and contributed to Louis XVI's legendary unpopularity that culminated in revolution and... well...
    • By 1832 the Monarchy had been restored and Louis-Phillipe was on the throne, and he quickly became very unpopular himself, not in the least because an epidemic of cholera spread through the country in that year. Conspiracy theories again rose up that the government had poisoned the water supply as a form of population control, and they reached a head at the death of General Jean-Maximilien Lamarque, often considered one of the only decent people in Louis-Phillipe's government, of the disease; speculation that he'd been poisoned for his opposition to how the government was handling the epidemic helped spark off the ultimately failed June Rebellion in Paris, a rebellion immortalized in Les Misérables.
  • As of July 2015, a conspiracy theory is beginning to emerge that the Israelis were responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH-17 in the Ukraine. This may say more about wider mistrust of Israel and its motivations elsewhere in the world.
    • This is far for from the only conspiracy theory doing the rounds about MH-17. Other theories include it having been shot down by an Ukrainian fighter jet, or that MH-17 never was there at all and the wreckage and victims either don't exist or are actually the wreckage and victims of MH-370, dumped in the Ukraine for some nefarious reason. The fact that both the Russian and Ukrainian governments are all too happy to blame each other for the attack doesn't help matters much either.
  • The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lampur on route to Beijing has also prompted numerous conspiracy theories about precisely what happened to it. Among them is that North Korea kidnapped the flight and diverted it into North Korea for unknown, presumably diabolical reasons.
  • When Flint, Michigan, decided to stop buying its water from the City of Detroit'snote  system (which drew on Lake Huron and the Detroit River) to the Flint River to save money, it eventually led to mass lead poisoning in the population, thanks to an aging pipe system and mismanagement of the transfer. Given those facts, plus evidence that at best complaints about the bad water were ignored, and that this was in Flint, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden cities in the state and a majority-minority city (according to the 2010 US Census, over half of Flint's population is African-American), many have theorized that the city was trying to drive the population out with poisoned water so they could redevelop the land and remake Flint as a wealthy college town. Others suggest that they deliberately ignored the crisis to force everyone to use bottled water...and the wife of the Chief of Staff of Michigan just so happens to be a spokesperson for Nestle water...
    • Not helping matters (and providing more fodder for the conspiracy theorists) is the fact that one of the first persons to file a lawsuit against the government was killed around the same time a foreman for the Flint Water Treatment Plant died under 'mysterious circumstances'.
  • On March 30th, 2017, a fire caused a portion of Interstate 85 in Atlanta, Georgia to collapse. While a homeless man was charged with setting the fire, many conspiracy theorists have claimed that the suspect was scapegoated.

    Disinformation 
  • Fake news conspiracies have been gathering a lot of steam in the mid to late 2010s, where the mass media is supposedly involved in a cover up, smear campaign or staging a disaster whether it be terrorism, foreign policy or politics. Some more specific examples are below, and there have been fake news reports or satire news, tabloids, ect. However the fake news conspiracy proposes that all the mainstream media and reports are part of staging a terrorist attack, claiming a mass murder that never happened, trying to bring down someone famous.
  • Some believe that certain conspiracy theories are being deliberately spread by Them in order to control the opposition and divert attention from what's really going on. Considering that Them are, well, Them, this is entirely possible. Examples:
    • Some have claimed that the government is behind most UFO and alien conspiracy theories, using them as a shield for their own black projects. Alternatively, They plan on using widespread belief in aliens to orchestrate a fake "Alien Invasion" using their advanced technology to Take Over the World.
    • As stated above, the main 9/11 conspiracy theory (thermite in the towers, missiles hitting the Pentagon) is claimed by some to be an effort to a) deter theorists from examining the use of energy weapons and holographic "planes" in the attack, and b) deter ordinary people from examining 9/11 at all, as the main conspiracy theory is easily debunked. Alternatively, many other 9/11 conspiracy theorists believe that the "holograms and energy weapons" theorists are themselves a form of disinformation, meant to make people take less seriously 9/11 conspiracy theories in general.
    • Various entities (governments, corporations) are deliberately pushing conspiracy theories about themselves in order to cover up their own incompetence, and/or to make themselves look vastly more fearsome and "in control" to the people than they actually are. This was South Park Mystery of the Urinal Deuce episode's satirical 9/11 conspiracy theory — the government is backing the entire Truth Movement so that people who refused to believe the official story wouldn't think that it had its head up its ass before and during 9/11.
    • A deputy leader of Al-Qaeda has accused Iran (which is Shi'a dominated as opposed to their mainly Sunni group) of making the 9/11 theories (see 9/11 folder). Supposedly to undermine Al-Qaeda's credibility and eventually take over.
  • Some of Alex Jones' critics accuse him of being a disinformation agent/shill, as he doesn't go after the critic's personal "Them" of choice (the Vatican, the Zionists, etc.). Other prominent conspiracy theorists get this as well.
    • This happened when Alex Jones and Peter Joesph (maker of the documentary Zeitgeist), two conspiracy theorists with very different views on the Powers That Beshort explanation , have an interview. They start out well enough in Part 1, but skip to Part 4 and behold the madness!
    • Alex Jones himself accused David Icke of being a shill for pushing the reptilian humanoids conspiracy theory, supposedly to discredit his fellow theorists who also believe in aliens.
  • Similarly, any Conspiracy theorist who claims that the "System" or "Them" are falling instead of growing stronger, most notably Benjamin Fulford, Drake Bailey and David Wilcock's infamous "Mass Arrests" hoaxshort explanation  It doesn't help that much of the sources used by supporters of Fulford, Bailey and Wilcock as well as by these conspiracy theorists themselves are even less credible than much of the sources used by most of the well-known conspiracy theorists (much of these sources used in the Mass Arrests conspiracy came from New Age 2012 "Ascension" material and spiritual channeling and mediums).
  • One that is poping up around disasters is the claim that the witnesses, victims and their families of the disaster are actors. Specifically actors who participate in disaster drills such as Crisis Actors. These groups run drills using make-up and actors to simulate disasters to train and evaluate the emergency procedures for many organizations (they can often be seen on the news programs before major events such as the olympics when the police and military want to show off). Claims of this happening include:
    • After the 7/7 London bombings Peter Power's volunteered information that his company Visor Consultants was running a simulation based on previous bombings on the London underground on the same time-period. Though he strongly asserts that the simulation was only done inside an office building, with people sitting in a room. Fake footage was only used for the outside effects, and therefore could in no way be confused with the attacks. Yet theorists still took this as proof that the disaster was a False Flag Operation.
    • After that there were claims about the Sandy Hook that nearly everyone involved was an actor. Most notably was Gene Rosen (who sheltered six children during the shooting) with claims that he was part of the screen actors guild (a person with the same name but a different description is a member). This has led to him be harassed for saving the life of several children.
    • After the Boston Marathon bombing there were similar claims about the victims, specifically a man who had lost his legs was supposed to be a pre-exsisting amputee military veteran because the theorists felt that the injuries didn't look "real". Why they needed to fake people going to a major event that was filled with people anyway is another question.
    • And the conspiracy theorists keep going: the second Paris or Brussels is reported the first thing they do is put up the same videos, simply changing the location of the attack, in a sense doing the exact same thing they accuse The Government, The Man, The Immuninati, ect of doing. The logic behind the idea is not completely warped, as Snopes explains here, but similar to Loose Change someone had gone to the trouble of searching photos and videos until they came across a similar looking person they can use to make their claim.
    • The left-wing equivalent (although right-wingers do occasionally believe this) of the "X Shooting was a False Flag Operation to take our guns" is the idea that mass shootings are false flag operations to distract the media and the populace from the "real issues".
    • The July Nice attack has conspiracy theorists start manipulating video and images so they are of very bad quality, before claiming the poorly digitized footage or photo may look like a dummy or animal, maybe. Why they have to be manipulated in the first place is another question.
    • After the Fort Lauderdale shootings conspiracy theorists had taken a new approach: suggesting a triple agent who was a soldier planted by ISIS and he pretended to be a terrorist to make the UN look bad and discredit anti gun law changes. ISIS, a death cult who has declared war on the entire world, who live and die for wholesale murder regardless of race or religion, wanted a fake terrorist attack to discredit laws that would make the world safer.
    • It's back: after the June 2017 London attacks and even before with the ones in March some have gone back to the good old fake news crisis actor stand by, except this time claiming the people behind the conspiracy want you to know that it is a fake news crisis actor conspiracy and who is behind it because...reasons, maybe they want conspiracy theorists to question and expose said plots, at this point even the theorists come across as confused.
    • The February 2018 Florida mass murder had some skeptics jump on the hoax conspiracy even as the news was airing, without giving a reason for it or evidence to show, suggesting the motive is attention seeking, put a controversial video out on a hot button issue so they can try and make a name for themselves.
  • A variety of sites, internet stories and Facebook memorial pages have been claimed to have been set up before the incident they were made for, suggesting some sort of fore-knowledge of what was going to happen.
  • The Report from Iron Mountain was a Sixties counterculture book written by Leonard Lewin as a Stealth Parody of Vietnam-era military think tanks, and was convincing enough that, until it was revealed to be a hoax in 1972, even Lyndon Johnson thought it was an authentic document written by a secret government panel (he reportedly "hit the roof" when he read it). Given that it fooled the President, it stands to reason that there remain people who believe that it was authentic, and that it was only claimed to be satirical as a means of damage control. It basically stated that war was a necessary part of the economy and served to divert collective aggression, and that society would collapse without it. Therefore, in the event of peace, they recommended that new bodies be created to emulate the economic activities of war, including Blood Sports, the creation of new enemies to scare the people (including alien invaders and environmental destruction), and the reinstatement of slavery.
  • Those who believe in the Rapture (see Religion and Apocalypta below) tend to believe that following the Rapture, the various world governments (even the ones that are ostensibly Christian) will invent some story to explain why every Christian on the planet suddenly disappeared in order to keep people from recognizing it as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and converting to Christianity. Many believe that these governments are aware that the Rapture will happen and are already preparing their cover stories. To that end, all mention of aliens, from Roswell to E.T. to legitimate scientific discussion of life on other planets, is an attempt to prepare the world to accept the idea that the Rapture was actually a mass alien abduction. That's the most popular one, but virtually any conspiracy theory that could explain a mass disappearance has also been used to fulfill this role.
  • WikiLeaks is getting this as well; people are starting to claim that they are a plant for the CIA or the Mossad making the world willing to attack Iran. As with a lot of theories, this is because information in the cables contradict their own theories/ideals. Except, as Paul Craig Roberts and others have noted, some of the "data" in those cables is just really dialogue between officials, and they are just expressing opinions or otherwise not exactly dealing with facts. Unfortunately for Wikileaks's credibility, some of that stuff in the cables is absolute garbage that was proven as such long before Wikileaks even came into the picture. It also doesn't help that Information Czar Cass Sunstein was calling for a government propaganda front posed as intelligence leakers or independent experts around that time.
  • Prominent Russia Today reporter Abby Martin, despite allegedly being a 9/11 truther has come under fire for disinformation recently from many conspiracy theorists due to her not believing in many other conspiracies outside of alleged False Flags such as chemtrails and the Boston Marathon/Sandy Hook conspiracies. At the same time she herself has also accused the conspiracy theorists of disinformation as well in focusing on outlandish conspiracies to distract people from conspiracy theories that do have a degree of truth in them.
  • Edward Snowden has been accused of being a government "controlled opposition" (essentially pretending to be a conspiracy theorist while acting to make them look bad and undermine them, "No of course it wasn't Obama behind the 9/11 attacks, it was clearly Fox to greenlight 24 and their terroist news, everyone who does not beelieve this without evidence is in on the conspiracy.") for his whistleblowing on the NSA by conspiracy theorists because of the allegation that most of the information in the NSA leaks had actually been public knowledge (or at the very least strong speculation) for years and due to the amount of media coverage he got and the fact that he somehow fled to Hong Kong and later Russia, while Chelsea Manning was captured and sentenced to 35 years for her leaking of the Iraq War Logs.
  • Also, don't try to bring up any websites that make their business proving or disproving various claims. They're obviously in on every single one of those conspiracies, and thus confirm the conspiracies deemed "safe" to reveal, and "debunk" the conspiracies that are actually real, but can't be publicly acknowledged as existing.
    • For that matter, some conspiracy theorists even treat the idea of evidence or validating their claims as offensive. Asking questions about why there is disinformation, why holograms of planes with controlled explosives and not real ones, ect are met with hostility. In their minds it's almost like the rules of facts and evidence do not apply to them, they said it so it's true and they have no need to justify or prove anything.
  • A frequent argument against conspiracy theories is that if the supposedly-omnipotent government couldn't even keep conspiracies like Watergate and, in more recent years, the various warrantless wiretapping scandals a secret, then how could they possibly guarantee the success of things like a 9/11 false-flag or the New World Order, which would require the bribery or assassination of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people to successfully keep under wraps. The typical conspiracy theorist rebuttal is that the government deliberately allows the masses to learn of the occasional comparatively small-scale conspiracy or scandal to create the illusion of incompetence; the really important conspiracies they can keep hidden just fine.
  • In October 2018 in the lead up to the mid term elections a number of bombs were sent to Democrats, Liberals, critics of Trump. His supporters immediately claimed false flag, Barack Obama was behind it. When the bomber was arrested and shown to be a pro Trump anti Democrat extremist, even with the paraphernalia in his van and his own admission on trying to make it look like a false flag Trump's voters deny the facts in favor of saying he was obviously really working for the Democratic party rather than working for Trump to make the Democrats look bad.
  • Speaking of the 2018 midterm elections Trump and Fox News created a fear campaign over a migrant caravan making it's way through Mexico. According to them this was waves of foreigners who were criminals, drug dealers, pedophiles, murderers, terrorists, ISIS, Bad Hombres, and they were trying to invade the United States. It reached the point of two hundred million dollars being spent to deploy soldiers to block the path of the caravan and stop them from entering. The disinformation comes from Fox and Trump listing all the diseases the members of the caravan had, drumming up fears that the migrants would use their own bodies as bioweapons to infect the people of the United States...except some of the diseases no longer exist and after whipping voters into a paranoid frenzy after the election Trump and Fox lost all interest, almost like the caravan was just a convenient excuse to scare voters.

    Famous People 

X lives, or X died later than They claim.

  • Elvis Presley. This one is a classic, but since it's been so long since his death, and since this theory has appeared so many times, it's mainly invoked now as a parody of conspiracy theories.
  • Anastasia Romanova and her relatives. Here is a list of people who claimed to be surviving members of the ill-fated Romanov familynote . See Did Anastasia Survive?.
  • Tupac Shakur, thanks to all of his posthumous singles. Alternatively, see below.
  • Andy Kaufman. Being a notorious prankster, many people assumed that his announcement of terminal illness and subsequent death were just his latest pranks. Seeing as he hasn't reappeared in over three decades, his death was more than likely real. (Of course, many of his fans would say that faking your death and coming back after three decades would be his kind of joke, so you never know...)
  • Adolf Hitler fled to the South Pole (and from there inside the Earth) or the Moon in a Reichsflugscheibe. And is still alive at over 120. Living under the Earth is apparently very healthy, what with the lack of UV radiation. See also under Secret History and Ancient Civilizations.
    • A less sci-fi theory is that Hitler simply fled to South America (usually Brazil or Argentina) and is living/lived out his life there. The body found in his bunker was his double. Since many Nazi officials did flee to South America, this one is a little easier to believe than most.
  • Until we see photographic evidence, Osama bin Laden is still alive. And when we see photographic evidence... it's obviously been 'Shopped.
    • Alternately, he actually died sometime around 2002/3, as per below. The person in the videos supposedly of him released after his "death" were either pre-recorded or in the cases where the person obviously would have to have specific knowledge of recent events, either was one of many he made predicting certain events that coincided with current events or it's simply a body double, often pointing out minor facial differences (often used as the "smoking gun" is the "double's" nose is bigger/smaller among other things, never taking in account that different cameras, focal length and zoom, and even aging can make two pictures of the same person look a little different).
  • Michael Jackson. There's a documentary that can be seen on Netflix claiming that he faked his death and is still alive.
  • Jim Morrison of The Doors. He told his friends beforehand that he was planning to fake his death, move to Africa, and live amongst the primitives. There was also the part where the only two people to see his body were his girlfriend, Pamela Courson (who committed suicide a few years after Morrison's death), and a doctor who signed Morrison's death certificate so illegibly that his identity was never determined.
  • Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, while not as widespread, has also had rumors circulated that he paid off the Washington Police to help fake his death and is roaming around America as a drifter.
  • Some more rabid fans of hide believed that he faked his death and would reemerge in society and/or that he would return from the dead in some way 10 to 12 years from his death in 1998. Most of those seem to have been convinced otherwise since this didn't happen (at least in the "faked death or rose from dead" ways) Many of them seemed to move toward less literal views of his survival shared by fans who do acknowledge his death, involving Reincarnation or channeling or becoming an angel or such, after this, but some still remain committed to the belief - which actively hurts his survivors when the more Loony Fan of them lash out at them for "lying" that he died.
  • Stand-up comedian and satirist Bill Hicks not only faked his death, but got plastic surgery and re-emerged under a new identity: conspiracy radio host Alex Jones.
  • Muammar Gaddafi. Most claims that he's still alive say that the video of him shortly before his death is a body double.
  • Shortly after Heath Ledger died following the release of The Dark Knight theories began to circulate that he had in fact faked his death as a publicity stunt for the film and for increasing his own chance of winning the Oscar for Supporting Actor, which he would then triumphantly reveal himself alive to collect. As it happened, Ledger did win the Oscar, but did not reappear alive at the ceremony.
  • This theory once applied to J.P. Richardson (a.k.a. The Big Bopper) when rumors circulated that he had in fact survived The Day the Music Died while Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens did not. Eventually, however, his son disavowed any such knowledge of such rumors and they were soon forgotten.
  • Similar rumors abounded of John Wilkes Booth living long after assassinating Abraham Lincoln and that Booth killed himself in 1903. Like the Big Bopper, such rumors were disavowed and eventually forgotten.
  • It is commonly believed that Martin Bormann was last seen in a tank in Berlin just a few days after Hitler's death — if it did happen (see above). Some people believe that Bormann, probably the most senior Nazi not accounted for in 1945, fled to Argentina. He was pronounced legally dead in 1972, when what were confirmed to have been his remains were found.
  • A crackpot came out with a theory that murdered child pageant queen JonBenet Ramsey did not die (because the 'death' was a symbolic one in a Masonic ritual), and grew up to become Katy Perry. The 'evidence' supplied is tenuous at best. Example: They have to be the same person cause they look similar, and their respective parents look similar, and they both know the song "God Bless America".
  • For many years after his death it was rumored that the body of Walt Disney, or some part thereof, had been cryogenically preserved. This was either wishful thinking on the part of fans who wished he could continue making cartoons, or by people who assumed a multi-millionaire like him could cheat death. Never mind how his death certificate, family, and tombstone say otherwise. Nowadays, this is a common subject of fiction and humor, but few actually believe it.

X was murdered, or X did not die as They claim.

  • Kurt Cobain, frontman of Nirvana. A supposed murder disguised as a suicide. Supposedly, the killer was working on the orders of either his wife Courtney Love or his record company.
  • hide, lead guitarist of X Japan. Also alleged to be murder disguised as suicide or accident, despite everything from a coroner's report to his best friends' arguments to the contrary. Everyone from the Yakuza to Yoshiki to his unnamed girlfriend to all three have been blamed repeatedly.
    • A slightly more potentially valid murder theory centers around hide's brother Hiroshi. Slightly more valid because Hiroshi had a motive (profiting monetarily from hide's death far more than he may have had hide lived) and opportunity (he and the girlfriend were the last people seen with hide before death)
  • Pope John Paul I. Supposedly killed by The Mafia, the Freemasons, or by a conspiracy within the Church because he threatened to reveal the shady dealings of the Vatican's bank.
  • At the time of James Garfield's assassination, rumors began to circulate that the gunman, Charles Guiteau, had been put up to it by Garfield's Vice President (and therefore successor) Chester A. Arthur, though they died off rather quickly. Guiteau himself believed that Arthur would pardon him out of "gratitude" for giving him the nation's top job. Spoiler alert: he didn't.
    • For some background; there was a major schism in the 1870's-1880's Republican Party between a faction known as the "Stalwarts" (led by New York Senator Roscoe Conkling; and which Arthur was part of) and the "Half-Breeds" (which Garfield's predecessor; Rutherford B. Hayes, and perennial candidate James Blaine were part of); with the main division being over "civil service reform"note . Notably, Garfield had been nominated in 1880 as a compromise candidate.
  • For those with bugbears about fractional reserve banking and the Federal Reserve Abraham Lincoln was killed because he wanted to introduce "Greenback" dollars that were out out of the banker's control.
  • There's no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a conspiracy of Southern sympathizers. That said, several alternate theories of the assassination exist: that he was assassinated on orders of Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government note , or that Edwin Stanton or other Radical Republicans engineered Lincoln's death to institute draconian Reconstruction of the Southnote . Conversely, Radical Republicans accused Andrew Johnson of orchestrating Lincoln's death to take office and derail Reconstructionnote . Many find John Wilkes Booth's death before trial suspicious, ignoring that virtually every other conspirator was arrested and tried without divulging evidence of a greater conspiracy.
  • The death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris, ostensibly the result of overzealous paparazzi and a drunk limo driver, is essentially the British version of the JFK assassination in terms of it being conspiracy fodder, with all manner of people saying that she was actually murdered. Unlike the JFK assassination, though, there does exist one common culprit that stands out: The British Royal Family, who allegedly did not want her marrying Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian Muslim. A related theory claims that Diana was pregnant with Fayed's baby, and that the royals did not want a half-Egyptian Muslim to be a future king's half-sibling, usually for racist reasonsnote . Diana was actually quoted as saying she thought Prince Charles wanted her dead, so there is that.

    Other culprits behind Diana's death include:
    • The United States, because she opposed the use of land mines (of which the US made a profit from).
    • Israel, because they feared her siding with Israel's enemies or converting to Islam.
    • Diana herself. Either she faked her death and is still alive somewhere, or she intended to fake her death but it went wrong and she died.
    • The eponymous character from Golgo 13 was tasked with the death of Dodi Fayed, with Diana being collateral damage. The work supports the theory of the The British Royal Family being behind the hit, with their members being opposed to the marriage, fearing that Fayed would employ his influence to exert control over the family.
  • Robert F. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, was allegedly brainwashed by the CIA's MK-ULTRA program. More than a few authors who have met Sirhan feel that he encourages this in the hopes of getting his conviction overturned. There are even claims that Kennedy was shot by a second gunman, even though Sirhan shot him at point blank range with a handgun.
    • Some believe that the assassination was orchestrated by the Chicago Outfit. The story goes that Joseph P. Kennedy made a deal with Chicago kingpin Sam Giancana to help his son John F. Kennedy become President. In exchange, he would deter his other son, Robert, from prosecuting the mob. The Mafia held up their end of the bargain, but Robert accepted the post of Attorney General and used it to intensify his war on organized crime, which understandably pissed off the mob.
  • While we're still on the subject of deaths involving the Kennedys, one would be remiss not to mention the Chappaquiddick incident in 1969, in which a car driven by Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy went off a bridge while leaving a party on the island, drowning his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy was sentenced to two months in jail after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an injury without informing police; this sentence was later suspended, but the scandal badly damaged Kennedy's reputation and torpedoed his Presidential ambitions. A number of alternative versions of the events exist, claiming that Kennedy had been either set up, hadn't been in the car at the time, had attempted to deflect blame to others, or had orchestrated Kopechne's death in order to cover up some prior crime.
  • The assassination of John F. Kennedy, of course, has its own section below.
  • Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing (see Science and Technology) or was part of the Illuminati and was killed for putting clues of their existence in his films.
  • Bill Clinton attracted a few during his presidency. Many of these have resurfaced thanks to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
    • Vince Foster, deputy White House consul. Supposedly murdered on Clinton's orders to prevent information on the Whitewater scandal from leaking. Rulings by the United States Park Police, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the United States Congress, Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske, and even Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr (the driving force behind Clinton's impeachment) aren't enough to satisfy some detractors.
      • This especially became problematic in May 2016, when Foster's sister wrote a scathing editorial in The Washington Post decrying Donald Trump for using Foster's death for political gain. As she points out, Foster was burned out over the firing of employees in the White House travel office. He was also clinically depressed, and his sister had given him a list of potential shrinks to talk to a few days before his death.
    • It doesn't stop with Foster. There's an entire "Clinton body bags" list that keeps making the rounds, a list of 47 people supposedly put to death on orders of the Clinton administration. Like the "9/11 was an inside job" theories, it reads like Internet detectives trying to outdo each other in ridiculousness, because it stretches credibility to believe A) that a U.S. president could somehow secretly order the murders of dozens of American citizens without being found out, ratted on, prosecuted, impeached, or even so much as accused of such crimes by members of Congress, including staunch political opponents, and B) that a U.S. president could flawlessly carry out such atrocities while demonstrating complete and utter fallibility (if not gross ineptitude) in the face of other, more mundane challenges (e.g., Clinton's inability to squelch accusations of sexual improprieties and avoid impeachment). Deconstructed by Snopes here.
    • Closely related is the death of Ron Brown, who had been the first black leader of the Democratic National Committee and later Secretary of Commerce under Clinton before the plane he was on crashed in April 1996. The conspiracy rumors began circulating due to the fact that Brown was under investigation at the time for various corruption charges; thus resulting in claims he was killed (either due to the crash or beforehand, with the crash serving to cover up the murder) to prevent him from ratting out the Clinton administration.
  • During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was Pizzagate, wherein fake news sites and anti-Clinton conspiracy theorists alleged that a D.C. pizzeria was being used by Clinton fundraisers as a front for a pedophilia ring.
  • Nikola Tesla was killed to stop him from completing some new technology such as free energy source by electrifying the atmosphere.
  • Tupac Shakur, mostly because a) they never found his killer, even though he was gunned down in plain sight on the Vegas Strip after a Mike Tyson fightnote , and b) his record label collected every demo he'd ever done and kept releasing "new" albums for years after his death. The most common culprits for who ordered the hit are:
    • Marion "Suge" Knight. Tupac got involved in a fight between Knight's entourage and some Los Angeles gang members in town for the Mike Tyson fight. One of the gang members, Orlando "Babylane" Anderson, was the top suspect in the investigation of Tupac's killing, but he had been shot and killed in an unrelated incidentnote  before the police could apprehend him. Shakur was also owed royalties by Knight and may have been planning to move to another record label.
      • "Evidence" used to put forth this theory is that Tupac almost never went out in public without a bullet-proof vest, and that Knight had hurried him out before he could put it on/told him not to for whatever reason.
    • Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace. The two had a longstanding beef over a shooting Shakur believed Wallace was involved in, and Shakur involved Wallace's estranged wife in their feud. Wallace's death soon after opened up several other conspiracy theories, one of which seemed to have hit paydirt when the LAPD Ramparts scandal broke. (See below.)
    • The Illuminati because he was talking about their evil actions in The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory and They Don't Give a Fuck About Us though Tupac stated that he did not believe in the Illuminati. Instead he believed that the theories distracted from real problems, such as racism and social inequality.
  • Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, as mentioned above. Author Randal Sullivan (who wrote a book on the murders of both Biggie and Tupac) accused Suge Knight of conspiring with David Mack, an LAPD officer of the notorious Ramparts CRASH unit, a convicted bank robber, and alleged Death Row security employee, to kill Wallace and make his death and Tupac's appear the result of a fictitious East Coast/West Coast rap rivalry. Mack was a fan of Shakur's music, and owned a black Chevrolet Impala SS similar to one sighted at the shooting. Another, far more bizarre and highly unlikely theory (and only believed by very few) says that Kimberly "Lil Kim" Jones ordered Wallace to be killed, in spite of the fact that he was both Jones' father figure and lover.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Even several of his relatives have opined that James Earl Ray was a fall guy, and that King's death was actually a hit by his longtime enemies, the FBI. Ray himself claimed that the real killer was a man known only as "Raul." The fact that the FBI had long been wiretapping and attempting to discredit MLK has only thrown fuel on the fire.
  • Malcolm X has his own page.
  • Mere hours after his death from an apparent heart attack, conspiracy theories about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia started, mainly by conservatives worried about his replacement for the Court, a decision that could upend the Republican Party. Despite his death ruled a heart attack by a conservative Texas judge, the cause agreed upon by the police, his doctor, and his own family, (not to mention medical records showing him in poor health) rumors have been made about the possibility of him being poisoned or asphyxiated. Theories thus far have ranged not only of the President wanting him killed, but rumors that Bill and Hillary Clinton may have orchestrated Scalia’s killing in an attempt to stifle a possible Supreme Court ruling over the former Secretary of State’s email controversy. Former President G.W. Bush has been fingered by a few theorists who say he wanted to prevent him from "revealing the truth" over 9/11, and one questionable website claims that the - what else? - Illuminati, headed by the “not-really-dead” Leonard Nimoy, is behind the murder, claiming that "Illuminati supporters such as gun control activists, marijuana propagandists and the recruiters of sodomy are likely to immediately benefit from the Justice’s death.” Some have even claimed that Scalia was sacrificed as part of a Satanic ritual in order to secure Clinton's election as President.
  • Fred Hampton, a Black Panther leader in Chicago who was killed in a police raid ostensibly related to the deaths of two cops in a shootout with the Panthers. While the culprits behind his death are public knowledge, some believe that the raid was specifically targeted at Hampton in order to intimidate the Panthers and take out one of their best organizers.
  • Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People's Party. Widely believed to have been assassinated on orders from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
  • Marilyn Monroe:
    • Like Kurt Cobain, a supposed murder disguised as suicide. Among those implicated in her death are the FBI (because they believed her to be a security risk), the Kennedys (to cover up her supposed affair with JFK or RFK, or both brothers)note  , and The Mafia.
    • Another theory (put forth by her biographer Donald Spoto) asserts that Marilyn's death was neither suicide nor murder, but due to medical malpractice on the part of her therapist Dr. Ralph Greenson (as well as her housekeeper, Eunice Murray, who was working closely with Greenson) and that the two covered their blunder up to protect their careers and reputations.
  • Gary Webb, a journalist who claimed that the Contras in Nicaragua, with backing (or at least a blind eye) from the CIA, had been heavily involved in cocaine trafficking in The '80s in order to raise money for their activities, sparking the crack epidemic. Some have claimed that his suicide in 2004 was actually a CIA hit done to silence him.
  • Jimmy Hoffa. Interestingly, while some people claim government involvement, few really argue against The Mafia being behind it. The real conspiracy is where they buried him. Answers are as broad as the old Giants Stadium to the bottom of Lake Michigan.
  • Karen Silkwood, a labor activist who claimed that workers at nuclear fuel production facilities were being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, and was herself contaminated at the Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site. Some claim that the car accident that killed her had been orchestrated by the Kerr-McGee Corporation, owners of the site and other nuclear facilities.
  • John Lennon. Some argue that Mark David Chapman was "programmed" to kill Lennon by Them, who feared the possible consequences of him reactivating both his music career and, more importantly, his political activism after five years of seclusion. The Catcher in the Rye usually figures in these theories as some kind of "trigger".
    • This man believes that Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) was Lennon's gunman, hired to do so by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and that clues as to his involvement can be found in his books.
    • A few people also believe the doorman to the Dakota had connections to the CIA and the Bay of Pigs invasion, and let him kill Lennon.
  • Osama bin Laden was allegedly killed years before his reported death in 2011 and kept on ice, and his swift sea burial after Seal Team Six got him was to prevent "independent" examination of the body. Given that facial recognition and DNA confirmed his identity, one wonders why the theorists' extraordinary level of proof wasn't called for with, say, Saddam, or any other bad guy.
    • In the words of Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers, "Barack Obama will go down in history as the first black person ever to have to prove that he killed someone."
    • There was even a popular (though quickly debunked) claim that Obama initially refused to authorize the SEAL mission, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff went behind the President's back and ordered Bin Laden's assassination on their own.
  • There is a quite popular theory of the accidental death (murder by his own government?) of Ludwig II of Bavaria, who mysteriously drowned in Lake Starnberg, after being removed from power. The circumstances of his death were highly suspicious, and many have alleged that he was murdered by his political enemies. The most plausible theory based on his autopsy is that he had some sort of panic attack (he suffered from various mental problems, including paranoia and possible schizophrenia), attacked his physician who was with him at the time of his death and both fell into the lake ; the physician drowned, Ludwig suffered a heart attack or stroke due to the very cold water.
  • Amy Winehouse was killed by the Illuminati. Why? Because one of them "tried to mold [her] into a big triangle shape", which she refused.
  • The cause of movie star Bruce Lee's death was never clear. Some doctors believe it was caused by an allergic reaction to Equagesic (a brand of painkillers he took), but a physician who had treated him before did not believe that the medicine was involved. Due to his iconic status and untimely death, many fans suggested that foul play had been involved, many believing that members of Chinese organized crime groups had put a curse on his family. One version suggested that he had been inflicted with a deadly martial arts technique called "the Quivering Palm" which allows the practitioner to will the victim to die days after actually striking him. (There is no proof that this technique is anything more than an Urban Legend.)
    • And then there are those who have said that he just felt that Earth had run out of people close to his level, and he walked to the afterlife to look for a Worthy Opponent.
  • Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. One day in December 1967, after a few drinks and a tough day at the office, Holt plunged into the surf at Portsea to impress a woman generally considered his mistress... and disappeared without a trace. Theories about what happened to him range from suicide, to having faked his death, to having been killed and/or kidnapped by the Chinese or the CIA.
  • Among the many theories regarding the final flight of Amelia Earhart is that she was doing the flight as part of a recon effort for the US government to spy on the Japanese. The Japanese shot her down, and she was either killed in the crash or died as a prisoner, with the US not doing anything to rescue her in order to maintain plausible deniability. The current theory is that she crashed on a desert island in the Kiribati archipelago.
    • In 1970, author Joe Klaas published a book titled Amelia Earhart Lives, claiming that New Jersey resident Irene Bolam was Earhart having assumed a new identity. The theory was easily disproved by the public records of Bolam's life. Incidentally, Ms. Bolam was not amused and sued successfully.
  • Andrew Breitbart, a conservative journalist/pundit and online New Media mogul who died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A number of his supporters claim that he was poisoned on orders of the Obama administration to silence his activism, and more specifically, to stop him from releasing incriminating videos from Obama's college days. It's worth noting here that, according to his relatives, Breitbart had been having heart problems for a number of years before his death... and the aforementioned videos not only were released just weeks after his death, but turned out to be pretty tame, all things considered.
  • Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler who killed himself, his wife and his son in a case of Pater Familicide. Some have suggested that the whole thing was set up by Nancy Benoit's ex-husband, Kevin Sullivan, as revenge for her divorcing him to marry Chris. Many versions throw on elements of Satanism as well, claiming that Sullivan was a high-ranking member of a Satanic church. Sullivan actually played a Satanist character in his 1980s heel run in Florida, but there's never been any evidence it was anything more than a character.
  • Ananda Mahidol, King Rama VIII of Thailand, was found dead in an apparent murder made to look like a suicide, and three of his servants were convicted and executed for the crime. However, almost no one seems to believe they did it, and alternative suspects range from his brother Prince (later King) Bhumibol Adulyadej to his regent. Just as varied are the theories about motive: among those who believe Bhumibol is the prime suspect, for instance, guesses range from an accident while cleaning the gun to an active, malicious attempt to gain the throne.
    • Similar claims have been made about Prince Alfonso of Spain, who officially shot himself by accident. The theorists claim that he was actually shot by his older brother, Prince (again, now King) Juan Carlos. Unlike the theories about Ananda, however, this one is universally considered to have been accidental if true, likely because Juan Carlos would've had no motive (he was higher in the line of succession than Alfonso).
  • Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, leader of a famous and successful protest campaign to stop the Shell oil company from polluting his tribe's ancestral land. Nobody really doubts the official story behind his death (he was executed for a murder he didn't commit in a Kangaroo Court); the real question is precisely who was involved. Quite a few people believe that the Shell corporation essentially ordered the government to silence him so they could have the land back. In 2009, the Shell company lost a wrongful death lawsuit and had to pay his family millions, so this one may just be more than speculation.
  • Journalist Danny Casolaro, who claimed he had uncovered proof Ronald Reagan was in on the Iranian Hostage Crisis and a connection between the aforementioned crisis and several other contemporary scandals, a conspiracy he called "The Octopus". His death in 1991 by means of slashed wrists in the bathtub was ruled a suicide in two separate autopsies, but some, including many of his family members, believe the CIA or organized crime killed him to stop him from revealing what he knew.
  • Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was assassinated on February 28, 1986 while walking home from a cinema. Often called the Swedish version of the JFK assassination, especially because it's still unsolved — more than 130 different people have confessed to the crime. Some of the accused include:
    • Christer Pettersson, a junkie who had previously been convicted of manslaughter, and who was named by Palme's wife (and, later on, some criminal associates of his) as the killer. He was convicted of the crime in 1988, though he was later acquitted on appeal, and he died in 2004 officially not guilty.
    • Victor Gunnarsson, a political extremist who had been associated with a number of radical groups, including the LaRouche movement, and whose home was found to be filled with anti-Palme propaganda. He later moved to the United States, where he was murdered by an ex-cop in 1993.
    • South Africa's apartheid government. A week before his assassination, Palme had made the keynote address to the Swedish People's Parliament Against Apartheid, which was attended by several members of the African National Congress, calling for the elimination of the apartheid system.
    • The Swedish armaments company Bofors. They had allegedly made some under-the-table bribes in order to secure a lucrative contract to sell howitzers to the Indian Army, and they had Palme assassinated after he found out and threatened to leak the information.
    • The Red Army Faction, a West German leftist terror group. Palme had been Prime Minister of Sweden during the RAF's failed siege of the West German embassy in Stockholm. The RAF was one of the many that took credit for the assassination, claiming that it had been performed by someone named the "Holger Meins Commando".
    • Roberto Thieme, a Chilean neo-fascist who was part of a far-right Chilean political party called Patria y Libertad (Fatherland & Liberty). Allegedly, he wanted revenge against Palme for granting asylum to large numbers of Chilean leftists after the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.
    • A conspiracy among right-wing elements within the police department.
  • Michael Jackson's prescription drug overdose death, according to a theory espoused by his sister La Toya, was an assassination masterminded by bigwigs at his record label Sony and This Is It concert promoter AEG Live when the former were unable to buy his stake in both the valuable ATV (Song) Publishing Catalog and his own work from him. The theory also claims Sony previously attempted to ruin him by sabotaging the promotion of 2001's Invincible and getting him charged with child molestation in 2003 (see below for more). According to La Toya, Michael often told her "they" were trying to ruin and even kill him for his holdings. But as a skeptical Nathan Rabin points out in his review of her memoir Starting Over (which discusses her theory in depth):
    "Did corporations like AEG and Sony stand to benefit from Jackson's death? Of course. But Jackson was also a longtime drug addict who’d been risking death for years. If his business and personal affairs were out of order, that may have been because he hired his nanny to manage him and he was out of his mind on heavy-duty pills."
    • Or he was killed by The Illuminati either to provide a distraction to the masses for their nefarious plans or because he was speaking out about their evil control of the entertainment industry.
  • Dag Hammarskjöldnote , the Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953 until 1961, when he died in a plane crash over Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia) while on his way to to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to negotiate a ceasefire between UN peacekeepers, the DRC, and the breakaway state of Katanga in the southeast. The Western powers, particularly the Belgians (the former colonizing force in the region), had large stakes in the mines and resources of Katanga, and they backed that region's independence movement, concerned that the DRC would nationalize the mines. Allegedly, they had Hammarskjöld's plane shot down out of fear that he would side with the DRC.
  • Pat Tillman, a football player who famously turned down a $3,000,000 contract in order to serve in Afghanistan, where he died. He was initially assumed to have been killed by the enemy, but further investigation revealed that accidental friendly fire was the most likely culprit. The fact that basically every piece of evidence related to his death has mysteriously disappeared, however, has led some (including decorated military man General Wesley Clark) to theorize or at least consider the possibility that Tillman was in fact deliberately murdered by his own squadmates for his vocal opposition to President George W. Bush, and that the killing was covered up by Bush's administration.
    • Adding to this, there was, in fact, a cover-up involving the manner of his death. (friendly fire v. hostile fire)
  • John Dillinger, according to crime writer Jay Robert Nash, lived out a comfortable retirement in Oregon; a fall guy took the bullets outside the Biograph.
  • The murder of Patrice Lumumba, generally considered the last decent President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is claimed by some to have been ordered by US President Dwight Eisenhower, who allegedly feared Lumumba's friendliness with the Russians could provide a gateway for Africa to be overrun with Dirty Commies.
  • Paul Wellstone, a Democratic US Senator from Minnesota who, in 2002, died in a plane crash with his wife and one of his children. Wellstone had been one of the most outspoken opponents of a war with Iraq, and some have suggested that the plane crash was orchestrated by higher-ups in the Bush administration (including Dick Cheney) in order to silence him. The official story states that the crash occurred because the pilot was Too Dumb to Live.
  • The nationwide news blackout of Lori Klausutis's dead body found in Joe Scarborough's Florida office, summer 2001, in the middle of the Condit-Levy media rage. The Northwest Florida Daily News was the only newspaper to reasonably cover the case. The Klausutis articles have been removed from the archives, and also from Google's cache. The nationwide news blackout, plus the deletion from the archives, is offered as evidence of a conspiracy.
  • Zachary Taylor died in 1850 from cholera, apparently contracted from eating raw fruit at a Fourth of July event. For over a century, many believed that Taylor's political opponents, namely proslavery Democrats, poisoned him for opposing the Fugitive Slave Act and threatening military force to prevent secession. This belief was widespread enough that in the early '90s, forensic scientists exhumed Taylor's body to test for poisons. They found none and confirmed the "official" story.
  • Warren G Harding didn't die of a heart attack, but was poisoned either a) by his wife as revenge for his extramarital affairs, or b) in an attempt to cover up Teapot Dome and other scandals emanating from his administration.
  • A rather interesting theory relates to an attempt on the life of then-President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami in February 1933. The would-be assassin, an Italian immigrant named Giuseppe Zangara, stood on a wobbly chair in the audience of a speech Roosevelt was making, and shot in the general direction of the President-elect. He managed to get a few shots off before he was tackled to the ground, but all of them missed Roosevelt. However, at least one shot hit the Mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, who was standing next to Roosevelt; Cermak ultimately died of the injury.

    The historical consensus is that Zangara was mentally unstable and trying to kill Roosevelt for reasons hazy even to him (he had some involvement with anarchism and made anarchist statements on arrest, but it's not really clear that he though of the shooting as an attempt at propaganda of the deed until he was already arrested). However, there is some evidence (not much, but some—which, admittedly, is more than you can say for most conspiracy theories) that he had been hired by Frank Nitti—successor of Al Capone as head of the Chicago Outfit—to kill Cermak, not Roosevelt. Cermak, you see, was a progressive Democrat who had initiated a crackdown against organized crime in Chicago, which of course pissed Nitti off mightily. There isn't a whole lot to support this other than Zangara being Italian-American in the 1930s (and therefore knowing some people with Mafia connections), but at least some historians do buy it.
  • Alternately, Franklin Roosevelt didn't die of a stroke, but was murdered(through poisoning) by either Winston Churchill or hardline anti-Communist elements in the US, or both combined for being too accommodating towards the Soviet Union (and was replaced by the more stringently anti-Communist Harry Truman). Said forces were also claimed to have engineered the downfall of Vice President Henry Wallace as well so Truman could take over, due to his own pro-Soviet stances. Perhaps not surprisingly, Joseph Stalin apparently believed this story.
  • Admiral Mike Boorda, the Chief of Naval Operations in 1996, who officially died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His suicide note stated one of the reasons he did it was an expose on him was imminent to be released questioning the validity of his combat action ribbon from Vietnam, claiming the ship he was on at the time never earned it, and speculated that as an enlisted personnell clerk at the time, had the opportunity to forge his own record. Conspiracies suggest he was murdered to avoid the scandal vice him killing himself to do so (among others), citing shooting oneself in the chest is an odd and uncommon way to kill yourself via gunshot and various handwriting experts that claim the note looks to be a forgery. These are often tied to the Clinton Administration's "death list."
  • There is a conspiracy theory in Latin America that claimed that Hugo Chávez was killed by the CIA, who either assassinated him when he would have recovered from cancer, or infected him with cancer in the first place. It has been used by both the Venezeulan government along with leftists with ties to conspiracy theorists such as Stephen Lendman.
  • General George S. Patton, one of the greatest American commanders of World War II, was anticlimactically killed in a car accident a few days before he was due to ship home. The fact that Patton was one of the most vocal opponents of the use of the atomic bomb on Japan has led to some theories that the accident was in fact a hit by the Truman administration. Other variants claim that Patton's eagerness to fight the Soviet Union led to his demise.
  • T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) died in a motorcycle accident in 1935, swerving to avoid two children biking along the same road. Like everything else about Lawrence's life, his death soon became mired in controversy. Supposedly Lawrence was murdered by either British military intelligence (for alleged fascist sympathies), by Nazi leaders (for his connections in the British government) or, perhaps inevitably, by Zionists (for supporting Arab independence). Few historians take these claims seriously, though they inspired one sensationalist biography (T.E. Lawrence by Desmond Stewart) and Matthew Eden's novel The Murder of Lawrence of Arabia. A more mundane theory suggests that Lawrence committed suicide, but none of his friends suggested he was in a depressed, let alone suicidal, state of mind.
  • Louis le Prince, a French inventor famous for filming the oldest surviving motion picture, and who is sometimes thought of as the creator of the film medium as a whole. One day in 1890, he got on a train bound for Paris from Dijon... and never got off, leaving no evidence behind of what became of him. There are four main theories as to his fate:
    • He committed suicide aboard the train due to the stress of the messy patent dispute with Thomas Edison he was involved in;
    • He was murdered on Edison's orders for the same reason;
    • He voluntarily went into seclusion due to being gay and his family covered this up;
    • OR he was killed or allowed to commit suicide by his brother for the inheritance money. The brother was the last person to see him alive and was the main proponent of the suicide theory, raising the question of why, if he knew his brother was suicidal, he didn't try to help him.
  • Continuing with the Big Bopper theory above, it was possible that he may have been shot and killed (though most likely accidentally) by Buddy Holly and that the pistol Holly had fired at him actually caused the crash. A 2007 autopsy of his body revealed "massive fractures from head to toe" caused by both the firing of the pistol and the resulting crash.
  • Record producer Joe Meek inexplicably shot and killed both his landlady and then himself with a shotgun in 1967. Although few can dispute how he killed himself, why he killed himself has ranged from him being clinically depressed to the fact that he "hadn't had a hit for two years" but may have been linked to his homosexuality, which the British government declared illegal at the time but legalized shortly after Meek's death, or an ongoing lawsuit that he felt certain to lose over his composition "Telstar" for allegedly ripping off "La Marche d'Austerlitz" from Austerlitz (despite the film being released only in France and Meek posthumously winning said lawsuit).
  • Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition killed himself by firing his pistol twice and then cutting himself elsewhere. Or was he murdered by the Madison administration after his strong ties to Thomas Jefferson faded? A biography of Lewis titled Undaunted Courage takes the former but speculates that the latter may have happened.
  • Judy Garland died in 1969 of what was believed to be an accidental overdose of sedatives. Rumors soon circulated that this overdose was intentional and that she was in fact murdered by her husband, Vincente Minelli.
  • As with the above theory on him, John Wilkes Booth was not killed by the Union Army in Virginia a little less than two weeks after the Lincoln assassination. The man who was captured was a lookalike and the real Booth was killed immediately after fleeing into the Maryland countryside, where he died early the following morning just before his victim expired.
  • Alan Turing allegedly poisoned himself by biting into a cyanide-laced apple due to his homosexuality in 1954. He may have actually been killed by the British Government for the same reason, as homosexuality was not legalized in Britain until 1967.
  • The Burr-Hamilton duel may have actually been set up by Thomas Jefferson, as he actually didn't care for either one. His hope for this was that it would simultaneously ruin the Federalist Party's success with the death of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's future for killing him.
  • The death of former Los Angeles Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom was officially ruled to have been the result of an accidental drowning in the spring of 1979. However, a 1983 PBS edition of their news-magazine Frontline titled "An Unauthorized History of the NFL" charged that Rosenbloom (an avid gambler) had actually been murdered by an assailant with ties to bookies.
    • Depending on the theorist; some speculation exists suggesting that the drowning death (following a car accident) of the host of that particular edition of Frontline; NBC News correspondent Jessica Savitch, later that year was a hit by those tied to the NFL.
  • Alabama Governor George Wallace was shot and seriously wounded by Arthur Bremer during his 1972 presidential campaign. For the rest of his life, Wallace believed that Bremer was the tool of his political enemies, whether liberal Democrats, Civil Rights leaders or Richard Nixon. These theories gained widespread exposure (if not acceptance) when Gore Vidal wrote an essay in 1973 questioning the official version of events; Los Angeles Times writer Jack Nelson went further, claiming that Bremer met with Nixon's operatives Charles Colson and G. Gordon Liddy shortly before the assassination attempt. Nixon's obsession with Wallace as a potential rival gave these theories surface credibility. For his part, Nixon tried framing Bremer as a radical leftist by planting George McGovern campaign literature in Bremer's home.
  • Amiram Nir was a prominent Israeli journalist and adviser to former Israeli prime ministers Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir, and who also found himself entangled in the Iran-Contra scandal (during the now famous CBS Evening News showdown between anchor Dan Rather and Vice President George H.W. Bush; Rather pointed out that Nir warned the Vice President during a trip to Israel in July 1986 that the United States was dealing directly with forces linked to the Ayatollah Khomeini. Nir was killed on November 30, 1988 in a plane crash (official cause was due to engine trouble); but the combination of the Iran-Contra link, Nir having told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward of Watergate fame he was looking for the best way to sell his story and several documents related to the Iran-Contra scandal being stolen (including a break-in at the home of Nir's widow) led to speculation that Nir had met with foul play.
  • Prince Jochi, eldest son and heir of Genghis Khan, died before his father under circumstances that remain murky to this day. During Jochi's life it was widely rumored that he was illegitimate, and several of Genghis's generals had been none-too-subtly hinting that they would rebel if Jochi became Khan; as such, some historians believe that Genghis himself had Jochi killed to avert a possible Succession Crisis.
  • The John Birch Society blamed Senator Robert Taft's death on Dwight D. Eisenhower, who supposedly gave him cancer by placing radioactive chemicals in his chair. Taft and Eisenhower had been rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 1952, and Taft was a hero of the right wing for his anticommunist, isolationist politics.
  • The 1999 murder of BBC reporter Jill Dando was officially ruled to have been done by a man named Barry George; who was convicted but later was cleared after an appeal and retrial, resulting in the case remaining unsolved. Speculation on Dando's death have run the gamut of a Yugoslavian terror connection to a revenge killing by a hitman hired by someone convicted after an investigation on BBC's Crimewatch (hosted by Dando) to even speculation (particularly after Jimmy Savile was posthumously exposed as a serial pedophile) that Dando had been targeted for assassination because she was digging a little too deeply into a pedophilia ring at the network.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Regardless of the fact that Amadeus is Based on a Great Big Lie, there is still some speculation that Antonio Salieri was in some way responsible for Mozart's death.
  • There are three prevailing theories surrounding the death of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, who was officially killed while attempting to escape from Colombian police on a rooftop near his hideout, with the final fatal shot through his ear delivered by a Colombian police sniper:
    • The first, and most widely believed of the conspiracy theories, is that he was executed while gravely injured as he attempted to escape from his hideout. The theory goes that due to reasons such as the rage they felt at losing their comrades in the war against Escobar, or on the orders of political higher-ups who worried that Escobar would reveal embarrassing secrets about the Colombian government's co-operation with Escobar or other members of the drug cartels, the Colombian police summarily executed Pablo and later created the story that he had been killed by a sniper's bullet while attempting to flee or kill police officers.
    • The second claims that Pablo, realizing that he was likely facing a hellish prison sentence, or even fearing that he would be tortured to death for information, shot himself when he knew he couldn't get away. The Colombian government then created the story that they had killed him in order to save face. This theory is forwarded most prominently by Juan-Pablo Escobar, Pablo's son.
    • The third claims that Escobar was killed by a sniper's bullet, but that the bullet was fired by a sniper who was a member of either the CIA or U.S Military, most popularly in the case of the later explanation, the U.S Army's counter-terrorism unit, A.K.A the Delta Force. It was no secret that the CIA and the U.S Military had been assisting the Colombian authorities in dismantling the Medellin Cartel, and this theory apparently has been floating around the U.S Special Forces community for well over two decades.
  • While no accusations against the US were made, some think that Josef Stalin was murdered by his interior minister Lavrentiy Beria who allegdly boasted about finishing him off. Some think it was motivated by Beria trying to take power for himself (Stalin's successor was ultimately Nikita Khrushchev, who incidentally had the notoriously depraved Beria put to death at first opportunity), or that Tito manipulated him since he was hellebent on keeping Yugoslavia out of Moscow's reach, something that angered Stalin to no end.
  • In late 1972; United Airlines Flight 553 crashed in Chicago, IL; killing among others Illinois Congressman George W. Collins, CBS News correspondent Michele Clarknote  and Dorothy Hunt; the wife of E. Howard Hunt (who was involved in the break-in that sparked the Watergate scandal that had not yet fully exploded at that point. While the official cause was ruled as pilot error; most of the theories was connected to Mrs. Hunt's presence; particularly considering she was carrying $10,000 worth of $100 bills; leading to theories that the plane was sabotaged to silence Hunt. At least a few theories also suggest the plane was targeted due to Clark's presence; with the rationale of that theory being that Clark might have been about to blow the whistle on White House involvement; thus accelerating the downfall of President Richard Nixon.
  • The strange case of Duval Countynote  sheriff's deputy Sam Smithwick was charged and convicted of the murder of KBKI radio reporter Bill Mason, who had devoted several recent radio newscasts to exposing Smithwick's connection to local prostitution. Smithwick was eventually sentenced to life in prison but was found dead the day he was scheduled to meet with former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson - who had narrowly been defeated in the 1948 Texas Democratic Senate primary runoffnote  by Congressman and future President Lyndon Johnson. The official ruling was suicide; but the fact that Smithwick was previously involved - under the direction of Duval County's boss, George Parr - in producing what was known as "Ballot Box 13" (a box containing 203 votes; all for LBJ and all in alphabetical order); raising suspicions both of that Senate race being stolen by LBJ (who gained the nickname "Landslide Lyndon" after winning that runoff by a combined 87 votes) and speculation that Smithwick had been murdered.
  • Noted rapper Eazy-E (a.k.a. Eric Wright, of N.W.A. fame) discovered he had contracted AIDS after checking himself into Cedars-Sinai Hospital in February 1995, and died just over a month later from complications due to the illness. Since then, numerous theories have been bandied about in regards to the suspicious circumstances around his death:
    • The most common (and likely) explanation is that Wright contracted the disease from one of his numerous sexual partners, as he bragged about sleeping with many women in public and in his songs. However, numerous tests conducted on various women who had slept with the singer (including his wife, Tomica, several mistresses and women who came forward) all tested negative for the virus. There are also theories that Death Row Records founder Suge Knight hired an HIV-infected hooker to sleep with Wright. Additionally, different parties have different explanations of how Wright looked in the months leading up to his death. In an interview with Angele Yee, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony member Krayzie Bone said that Wright didn't display any outward symptoms of the virus when he was diagnosed, while a later 1994 appearance on Yo! MTV Raps showed that Wright was thinner than normal.
    • Others (including NWA manager Jerry Heller and Eazy's own song, Lil Eazy-E) have suspected foul play, with the most notable theory stating that Suge Knight injected Wright with HIV-infected blood. This was seemingly pushed by a 2003 interview with Knight on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in which the mogul seemingly bragged about it being a slow death and referring to it as "the Eazy-E thing". This theory gained additional traction with the release of Straight Outta Compton, which features a scene that hints that Knight and several thugs did something to Wright (a scene which Heller and Eazy claimed never happened, as archive interviews suggested that he was threatened by four men but never beaten and allowed to leave unscathed).
    • From here, the theories start getting a bit more ridiclous. Some segments of the rap community, along with Eazy's daughter Ebie Wright, claim there was some kind of cover-up related to Eazy''s diagnosis and death, with the latter attempting to crowdfund a documentary about the subject. The theory suggests that the doctors at Cedars-Sinai not only did nothing to lessen Wright's condition (including the usage of antiviral meds), but that Wright's room was kept segregated from the hospital with more and more guard/police protection, that his house was suspiciously raided just a few days before he died, and the whole matter of his death was partially/fully orchestrated by a group that was hostile to him, including his wife Tomica.
    • Others believe that both Wright and Tupac Shakur (discussed in further detail above) were targeted by the Jewish Defense League, based on court records that were unsealed in 2011. While the documents make reference to extortion attempts and death threats, it is unclear if any other evidence would corroborate the story.
    • Former Ruthless Records rapper Frost has gone on-record as saying that he believes Wright was infected with HIV-positive acupuncture needles, though there are a number of problems with this (namely, acupuncture needles don't go deep enough into the skin and probably couldn't carry enough blood to spread the disease). Other spinoff theories related to this suggest that Wright was injected after getting involved in a motorcycle accident, and/or being forced to go into acupuncture as a result of the accident.
  • In August 1967, Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles, died of a sleeping pill overdose. Although it was officially ruled accidental, there are some people who believe that Epstein's death was either a murder or a suicide.
  • Seth Rich, an employee of the US Democratic Party who was murdered in Washington, D.C. at the height of the exceedingly controversial 2016 Presidential election. While the case is still under investigation, this hasn't stopped some, particularly on the far-right, from alleging that his death was the result of a hit placed on him by his own party to prevent him from blowing the whistle on some unknown serious transgression from Hillary Clinton's past.

X is dead, or X died earlier than They claim.

  • This article from Cracked goes into detail on several cases where people believe that a famous figure died and was replaced by an impostor.
    • The "Paul is dead" theory, arguably the most famous of these, claims that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and that an impersonator replaced him in The Beatles. Rumors of this theory were supposedly "hidden" in the group's later songs. This one was invented in 1967 by a student newspaper writer at Drake University in Iowa as satire, but was later picked up by others and taken seriously. McCartney himself later titled one of his live albums in 1993 Paul is Live as a cheeky homage to this theory.
    • Miley Cyrus was allegedly murdered and dumped in a desert east of Los Angeles for refusing the sexual advances of pedophile executives at Disney and asking to be released from her contract in response. Her look-alike is the reason for her drastic Hotter and Sexier turn in the '10s.
    • Avril Lavigne, shortly after the release of her second album Under My Skin in 2004, fell into a depression after her grandfather died and killed herself, and was replaced by her body double afterwards.
    • Eminem was approached by The Illuminati in 2005 about joining them. When he refused, they had him killed in a car crash and explained it away as him going into rehab, buying them time to find a replacement and train him to rap like Slim Shady.
  • Rudolf Hess, a chief Nazi official during World War II, was allegedly captured and killed in Scotland in 1941 in a vain attempt to boot the British out of the war or make them surrender. The Hess sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nuremburg Trials five years later was actually another Nazi official posing as him.
  • Josip Broz Tito, Croatian-born leader of the Yugoslav partisans and life-long president of socialist Yugoslavia (ruled from 1944 until his death in 1980), always had difficulties pronouncing Serbo-Croatian. It was rumored that he was killed before, or during, World War Two and replaced by a Doppelgänger who later ruled the country. Rumors wore down in the 2000s, at least until U.S. reports from the Cold War were de-classified and made public in 2013. One of those reports stated that, based on his heavy accent and speech impediment, he was most likely either Polish or Russian, which gave new life to the old conspiracy theory.
  • Johnny Depp was subject to these rumors for years. Not until recently, however, did the matter truly rise amid his disastrous marriage with Amber Heard.

Other

  • US President Barack Obama:
    • The "Birther" movement claims that President Obama is not a natural-born American citizen, which would make him ineligible for the position he currently occupies. The name "Birther" comes from the fact that they believe his birth certificate to be a forgery, and that his real birth certificate (which he is supposedly hiding) proves that he was born in Kenya/Indonesia/wherever. This rumor was started during the 2008 campaign by some of the angrier supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who were upset that she was losing the Democratic primary to Obama, and was picked up by many on the far-right fringe (most notably Donald Trump, who went on to succeed him as President) after Obama was elected. In order for this claim to work, it would require either a) planning by Them going back half a century (Honolulu newspapers reported his birth), in a time when the idea of a non-white President was laughable, as well as a lot of natural charm, brilliance and political success on the part of their supposed puppet to actually get elected 47 years later, or b) Obama not only successfully forging his long-form birth certificate, but also fabricating those newspaper announcements, fabricating his college records, bribing immigration officials, and bribing or fooling election officials.

      For the record, under current laws, anyone born to an American citizen is also a natural-born American citizen, no matter where this occurred. The President was born before this law was implemented, but even under the statutes he was born under, he only needs to spend a few years in the United States to claim natural-born citizenship; his academic record alone validates that claim. Some claim that being a natural-born citizen isn't enough — you must actually be born in the US to run for President. This is in spite of the fact that the Constitution does not make such a requirement, only requiring a) either natural-born citizen status or being a citizen of the US at the time the constitution was ratified (the latter doesn't apply anymore, but it's why George Washington was allowed to be president despite not being a natural born citizen), b) having lived in the US for fourteen years, and c) being at least 35 years old. Even if there were a "born on US soil" requirement, there is ample evidence confirming that Obama was born in Hawai'i.
    • One variation of the conspiracy theory claims that, since Obama's father (a native of British Kenya) held British citizenship at the time of his son's birth, then Obama holds dual US and British citizenship, which they feel would make him ineligible even if he was a natural-born citizen. Problem is, there is nothing in the Constitution saying that dual citizenship makes a candidate ineligible, and even if there was, the 14th Amendment to the Constitutionwhich says  would override it. Other claims allege that Obama's mother had renounced her US citizenship and, by extension, her son's (she hadn't, and even if she did it wouldn't have affected Obama's status), that a trip by Obama to Pakistan in 1981 could only have been accomplished with a foreign passport due to an alleged ban on travel between the US and Pakistan (no such ban existed), and that Obama's enrollment in a school in Indonesia in his youth could only have been done if he wasn't a US citizen at the time (living outside the US as a minor, as ruled in Perkins v. Elg, does not cause you to lose your citizenship).
    • Another variation claims that Obama being born in Hawaii means that he's not a natural-born citizen, the argument being that Hawaii is not legally part of the US, but rather, is an independent kingdom under US occupation — and therefore, nobody who was born there can claim natural-born US citizenship unless they meet one of the other requirements for it. The fact that Hawaii is as much a state as Ohio is lost on the people making this claim. And as shown above, he does meet the criteria.
    • Amusing bit of trivia — Obama's 2008 opponent, John McCain, was born in the Panama Canal Zone (or Panama itself, some believe), meaning that, by some variants on this theory, he too is ineligible to be President. Of course, this ignores the fact that his father was a serving US naval officer, stationed in Panama, which means that McCain automatically is a natural-born citizen (though retroactively; the laws allowing for this were only passed after he was born).
      • Another amusing bit of trivia: even when Trump himself had come out and said he lied about Obama some of the extremist Trumpiologists/anti Obama activists defy this confession and still maintain that Trump's lie is in fact truth and said just to appease leftists.
    • This issue also arose when George Romney, Governor of Michigan (and Mitt Romney's father) ran for President in 1968, since he was born in Mexico to American parents. However, Romney dropped out of the race before it became an issue. A similar event occurred when Ted Cruz decided to run for president: Cruz was born in Canada. This has led to a lawsuit and a debate on what 'natural born citizen' means. (He's considered a US citizen because his mother was one when she gave birth to him, but the Constitution specifies that the president must be a 'natural born citizen'.)
    • One moderately well-known politician and statesman, Sir Winston Churchill, could legitimately have claimed US citizenship via an American-born mother. Would there have been such an uproar about his being born overseas had he tried standing for public office in the USA? And the British people were not in the least concerned by his being 50% foreign ... the question never arose. Maybe more important things got in the way, but even then U.S. law at the time of the marriage of Churchill's parents would have resulted in the loss of his mother's U.S. citizenship. A 1963 U.S. law made him an "honorary" U.S. citizen.
    • Ironically, when the Birthers produced a birth certificate of their own claiming that Obama had been born in Kenya, it was found to be a forgery, due to several instances of shoddy research. For one, it listed his birthplace as "Mombasa, Republic of Kenya", even though a) in 1961, the year of Obama's birth, Mombasa was a part of Zanzibar, not Kenya, and b) Kenya was still a British colony at the time, not a republic. In addition, the format of the certificate bore no resemblance to that used in Kenya at the time. It was shown to be an altered version of a birth certificate issued in South Australia in 1959. Similarly there's a badly photoshopped and anachronistic picture of a Columbia University I.D. that Obama supposedly used as a foreign student under the name "Barry Soetoro"note .
    • Talking about Obama's birth some claim that he was born to unmarried parents or to put it crudely a bastard. Oddly enough most of the claims would make him a natural-born American as opposed to most of the birther claims. These include:
      • That Barack Obama, Senior, and Anne Dunham never married which has created similar demands to the birthers of "release the (wedding) certificate" from those who follow the theory.
      • Or that Obama Sr was a polygamist and already married when he married Dunham thus invalidating the marriage.
      • That he was born from an affair to Frank Marshall Davis because of some contact Davis had with Obama's family.
      • Or that Malcolm X (no really) fathered him and this is usually followed by claims that makes him a militant Angry Black Man.
    • An unrelated theory that some of Obama's more radical detractors maintain is the belief that he is secretly a Muslim who was educated in an Islamic madrassa (religious school), despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (Extreme versions of this theory go so far as to say that he is a Muslim that has been "planted" in the White House by some government or radical group in the Middle East.) Among the evidence that proves otherwise is the fact that his wedding was conducted by a Protestant minister, his children were baptised by the same minister (and there were dozens of witnesses to both ceremonies) and there have been public events where he has eaten food (on camera) that is taboo to Islam. (Not to mention that he works on Ramadan and like most Democrats, publically supports gay marriage, both practically unheard of among Muslims.) In addition, the alleged "madrassa" in Indonesia that he attended was, in fact, a secular public elementary school.
    • Conversely, one theory claims that Obama is actually a closeted gay man who's secretly married to a Pakistani guy. Most of the "proof" for this theory comes from a 1990 article by the Harvard Law Revue, which is not a news magazine, but is in fact an Onion-esque parody of the Harvard Law Review (which Obama was editor of at the time). How Obama could've been married to another man in 1990, fourteen years before Massachusetts legalized gay marriage,note  goes unanswered.
    • A tamer rumor about Mr. Obama, circulated on websites like The Free Republic, American Thinker, and World Net Daily, is that educator and former radical Bill Ayers helped him write Dreams of My Father. There is no evidence to support this claim.
    • A good many people have dedicated YouTube videos to proving that "Yes We Can" backwards is "Hail Satan!" Ignoring the fact that the number of syllables are different, all of the videos point out to the viewers what they ought to be hearing before playing the phrase backwards, thus creating bias. Lovely.
    • One of the more outlandish theories claimed that Bin Laden was killed four years before his death under the Obama administration, and his body had been held until a politically useful time. Which would mean that George W. Bush, as well as who knows how many members of his administration, was complicit in the cover-up.
    • During Obama and Biden's 2008 campaign, people began to claim they were actually moles planted by Osama bin Laden. Why? Because when you put their names together (as they would be on campaign signs and the like), it looks a bit like "Osama bin Laden". Why bin Laden would call attention to the fact that he had the most powerful man in the world under his thumb... generally went unexplained.
    • Then there are some really crazy ones about him, like how the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez funded his election campaign, or this claim that he's The Antichrist (connected to the one about him being a Muslim), or that he planned to start "youth re-education camps" (first suggested by Representative Michelle Bachmann), or even one that claims there was a hidden message in his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention telling America to "Serve Satan". (Probably thought up by a Led Zeppelin fan who believed a similar rumor about "Stairway to Heaven".) People never seem to get tired of thinking stuff like this up.
    • The craziest likely came from Larry Sinclair, a petty criminal specializing in forgery, who spread wild accusations via YouTube involving gay sex, drugs and possible murder committed by the President. At one point reporters apparently took Sinclair seriously enough to attend a press conference he gave, most remarkable for his lawyer's appearance in a kilt, which he explained was intended to secure comfort for his unusually large sexual organs. As he claimed, "Those at the other end of the spectrum find [pants] quite confining." (Reporters quickly stopped taking him seriously after that.)
    • Even First Lady Michelle Obama has been targeted by an outlandish claim. Some say that she ordered her husband's female aide (who supporters of this claim also say was his lover) banished to the Carribean. Everyone involved (including the aide herself) say this is false. Then there's the other outlandish claim that Michelle was born a man and is transgender.
  • Speaking of Obama and Trump one conspiracy that has come out is that despite the seething hatred Trump has for Obama some believe either one is working for the other or the former President paved the way for the current one to take over, such as Net Neutrality and preventing freedom of speech. Never mind that one was open to race and sex and sought sensitivity and the other, seemingly, is opposed to race, homosexuality and gets off on triggering a reaction from what he says and does, according to the conspiracy theorists they're in cahoots.
  • Similar to the Birther theory above, French former prime minister Manuel Valls was at some point accused (mostly by the far-right) of being unqualified due to him being born outside of France and from non-French parents (he is born in Barcelona from a Spanish father and a Swiss mother). The problem: French law states that you can be minister if you have French nationality no matter how.
  • A favorite theory of Andrew Sullivan: Bristol Palin (the daughter of Sarah Palin) is actually the mother of Sarah Palin's son Trig.
  • Similar to Obama, former US President Chester A. Arthur was alleged to have been born in Ireland or Quebec rather than Vermont as he claimed, which would've made him ineligible for the Presidency. Arthur Hinman, the man hired by the Democratic Party during the 1880 campaign to discredit Arthur, wrote a book about it, How a British Subject became President of the United States.
  • There are claims that the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a frame job by his political rivals, namely Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • There are various theories that question whether or not William Shakespeare actually wrote his plays, and if not, who did write them. The most interesting is the Marlovian theory, which supposes that Christopher Marlowe wrote the Shakespeare plays after faking his own murder (possibly for reasons related to national security) in 1593. Another historically popular candidate is Francis Bacon, though the Baconian theory has fallen out of favor in modern times and has been largely replaced by Edward de Vere. Many scholars and fans of Shakespeare frequently point out that these theories, collectively termed "Antistratfordianism," carry an ugly classist and elitist undercurrent - as the latter two were both noblemen and one of the major pieces of "evidence" used by Antistratfordians is that since Shakespeare was born poor, he likely "wouldn't have been smart enough" to write plays (though Marlowe grew up poorer than Shakespeare, whose parents were essentially in the upper middle class of the day).
    • Another interesting variation on the Shakespeare theory posits that there never was any such person as William Shakespeare (despite ample evidence to the contrary) and that he was nothing but a collective pseudonym used by the entire theatre company to which he "allegedly" belonged, with an elaborate fictional backstory created to conceal his non-existence and his public appearances actually done by other members of the company in costume (they were actors, after all). Some even claim that each the inconsistent spelling of Shackspeare's surname were actually codes to indicate which specific member of the company really wrote a given play, even though there's considerable evidence to suggest that such inconsistent spelling was far from uncommon for surnames of that era.
  • Lady Gaga is rumored to be a fully functioning hermaphrodite, possessing working sets of both genders' reproductive organs, despite this being medically impossible (and the fact that she used to be a stripper... you'd think people might have noticed). But you've heard that already. What you may not have heard is the theory that hermaphrodites are caused by incest; the American medical authorities just cover it up. The reason that she was produced in an incestuous manner was part of a secret eugenics program to create the next generation of entertainers.
    • By complete coincidence, she is also under the control of the NWO/The Illuminati, promoting their aims with pop music. Presumably, they felt that the best mascot available to them was an inbred hermaphrodite singer.
    • Similarly, the pop/R&B artist Ciara is said to be a hermaphrodite born with both sets of genitalia who was made into a woman. There is actually a Ciara who was born intersexed and underwent gender reassignment, but this Ciara is not Ciara Princess Harris the singer.
    • Jamie Lee Curtis is often said to have been born a hermaphrodite, and her parents decided to make her a girl. "Proof" of this amounts to little more than "her name would work for a boy or a girl" and her children are adopted (perhaps because she is a Baroness).
  • The Chicago Tribune headline correctly reported the result of the 1948 Presidential election: Thomas Dewey really did defeat Harry Truman. The "President Dewey" conspiracy theory might not be a real one, but it at least gets some facetious references:
    • A 1960 MAD article gave Dewey's term of office as "1948–?" and noted that all records of it were somehow lost or destroyed.
    • Dave Barry Slept Here: "Dewey had defeated Truman, who immediately threatened to drop an atomic bomb on Chicago, so everybody went ha-ha-ha-ha, just kidding, and wisely elected to let the feisty ex-haberdasher have another term."
  • As noted above in the John Lennon reference, The Catcher in the Rye tends to crop up in a few conspiracy theories as a kind of "trigger" for brainwashed assassins. As well as Mark David Chapman, John Hinckley was found to have a copy in his possession after attempting to shoot President Reagan, among others. Of course, independently of brainwashing by Them, it's also quite a popular and influential novel with a wide readership and fan-base composed of many people who haven't shot any celebrities (or, indeed, anyone for that matter), as well as one with subject matter and themes that would tend to appeal to disaffected, isolated, and rather angry loners such as Chapman and Hinckley.
    • Robert John Bardo, who shot and killed actress Rebecca Schaeffer, was also carrying a copy of the novel when he committed the murder, and threw it on a rooftop as he fled. However, he insists that this was a coincidence, and that he was not trying to emulate Chapman.
    • In Conspiracy Theory the main character has a compulsion to buy the book which is apparently part of the brainwashing so that the Government Conspiracy can track their assassins by monitoring all sales of the book.
    • This is parodied in the South Park episode The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs. When Butters reads the titular book, which the other kids wrote as a deliberate attempt to have a similarly controversial bestseller, he goes into a trance and heads off to kill Lennon, and later Ronald Reagan — only stopping when told that they are already dead. After that Butters's own book, The Poop That Took a Pee, inspires a fan to kill the Kardashians. Both Butters and the fan talk about "phonies", a recurring theme in Catcher.
  • The Jack the Ripper murders have created a cottage industry of conspiracy theories—perhaps unsurprisingly, given that many of the details of the case are vague and unclear, not least the identity of the killer (up to and including how many people he killed and how long he was operating). Many of them involve the British government and/or Royal Family, with the argument going that the five women who are most frequently accepted as his 'canon' victims were united by a secret that they shared—usually the existence of an illegitimate heir to the throne with an embarrassing or potentially damaging lineage, usually involving Catholicism—and were silenced by the establishment in order to prevent this knowledge from becoming public. For whatever reason (usually the inherent psychopathy of the person in question), the establishment usually decides to silence these women in an unusually vicious, sadistic, gory, and publicly prominent fashion rather than just, say, clubbing them over the head and dropping them in the Thames. Many theories also incorporate Freemasonry or Jews in some fashion as well.
    • Of course, the fact that the British crown cannot be passed down to the illegitimate offspring of its wearers, meaning that a cover-up wouldn't have been necessary in the first place, is overlooked by the "Royals Did It" faction.
    • On the other hand, another potential 'culprit' suggested was Albert Victor, eldest son of the future Edward VII, who would have been in the line of succession. Despite having strong alibis exonerating him, some theorized that he did it out of madness after an illness, or to silence people that could expose him in a scandal that would threaten his place in the succession (which would be moot anyway since he died before he could reach the throne).
    • Pretty much all of the above is used in the comic book From Hell and its film adaptation. Notably, Alan Moore stated outright that he didn't believe this theory was true, he just thought it made for a good story.
  • The Rothschilds, a Jewish-German old money family with numerous urban legends about them that amount to little more than antisemitism. The most outlandish claim is that their investments and holdings give them a net worth of 500 trillion US dollars and that they alone have 80% of the world's wealth. First, the entire world's GDP is "only" about 250 trillion. Second, there is no centralized Rothschild family wealth. Since the late 1700's when Mayer Rothschild began amassing his fortune, the family has spawned hundreds of descendants across several countries. The currently-living members of the family might be wealthy, but they each have their own careers and endeavors as opposed to The Omniscient Council of Vagueness they're implied to be.
  • The Rockefeller family is a very very very rich and influential American family. Most of the families money came from Standard Oil formed by John D Rockefeller. Standard Oil used innovative industrial organization techniques to form a vertically integrated, multinational, monopoly in the production, refinement, transport, distribution and sale of petroleum and petroleum products. By 1890 Standard Oil controlled 88% of North American oil market and by 1904 the company controlled 91% of production and 85% of final sales. Part of Rockefeller's rise to power was his use of secret agreements and shadowy investments to ruthlessly eliminate all competition. In fact he termed the process of gaining control of a competitor and turning it into a tool of Standard Oil "assimilation". In 1911 the monopoly was broken up by the Federal Government into no fewer than 33 independent corporations deemed small enough not to distort the market; these companies still make up a large part of the petro-chemical market. John D. Rockefeller's fortune was enormous, he was the first billionaire evernote  and if you adjust for inflation he was literally the richest person in human history. Several politicians have been funded from the fortune and many Rockefellers have themselves served in major political roles up to the vice presidency. The family also had a major hand in the formation of groups that encourage world relations such as United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group and others which is a major red flag for those paranoid about world governments. So if a conspiracy has anything about the elite controlling the world you can bet the Rockefeller name is going to pop up.
    • Glenn Beck once claimed that the artwork outside Rockefeller Center (NBC's corporate headquarters and site of many of their TV studios) in New York was intended to glorify communism and/or fascism, as documented here. In reality, the only artwork that was ever on display at Rockefeller Center that can be considered communist-themed, the mural Man at the Crossroads, was destroyed after an outraged Nelson Rockefeller saw the mural's depiction of Vladimir Lenin and ordered it painted over with one of Abraham Lincoln.
      • On a (slightly) less insane note, he has also said that the fasces is an ancient symbol for fascism. It is indeed a Roman symbol for authority, and it was indeed borrowed by Mussolini who named fascism after it, but that's not quite the same...
  • Even Fred Rogers, the host of Mister Rogers and one of the nicest guys you would ever meet, was not immune to slanderous rumors. One common rumor about him was that he was a Vietnam veteran, and according to some, was rather brutal towards enemy combatants. This was untrue; for one thing, Rogers, who was born in 1928, was too old to have served in the Vietnam war. Also, he was working as a puppeteer during the war, so it's not like no one knows where he was at the time.
  • Let's play a bit of Mad Libs. Here's the sentence for you to fill in: "Hitler was ____". Here are the words/phrases you can choose from: "an alien (illegal or from space)". "Gay", "Jewish", "an Aspie", "Communist", "fighting aliens", "Sorcerer", "Mystic", "Psychic", "the owner of the Spear of Destiny", "Framed" and "/is living in South America". Now throw in "and he/the authorities covered it up" and congratulations, you have just described a good chunk of the conspiracy theories about Adolf Hitler.
  • The Illuminati (or the Freemasons, depending on who you ask) is alleged to control the entertainment industry as a means of brainwashing young people into becoming Satanists, with quite a few famous people, including Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Kanye West, being either part of the organization or pawns of it. As the aforementioned list implies, this theory is especially prevalent in the hip-hop community, to the point where one aspiring rapper tried to kill his friend out of a belief that he needed to make a Human Sacrifice to get recognized by the Illuminati. These theories can run into Unfortunate Implications, since they often insinuate that the only way a person of color could be successful is through a secret organization and not through actual talent.
    • Older versions of this theory (especially in The '80s) tended to focus on rock music, especially Heavy Metal, with Christian fundamentalists alleging that bands were putting subliminal messages into their songs in order to lure their young listeners to Satanism.
  • Michael Jackson, thanks largely to the Cult of Personality he built for himself in his lifetime, has especially devoted fans disseminating a variety of conspiracy theories regarding the more questionable aspects of his life and career.
    • Some people (some of them seriously) believe that the two public perceptions of Michael Jackson are literally two different individuals. Someone (possibly aliens) are held to have abducted the handsome black 80s pop star and replaced him with a deformed white humanoid child molester for unknown reasons.
    • The 2002 MTV Video Music Awards were held on his birthday, so Britney Spears presented him with a cake and a treble clef statuette, noting that to her he was the "artist of the millennium"... and Jackson proceeded to give a prepared acceptance speech for an "Artist of the Millennium Award" that didn't actually exist. (The statuette was a gift that each artist attending received backstage; this became grist for a joke made by host Jimmy Fallon, and even a skit with Fred Durst and Jack Black at the following year's show.) MTV's website claims that Jackson misunderstood what was going on. More specifically, friend Frank Cascio claimed in a 2011 memoir that Jackson's then-manager claimed he was getting an award to convince him to go to the show, hence the speech, and despite Cascio's efforts to convince him otherwise; in this telling, Jackson admitted he trusted the wrong person afterwards. But Jackson fans claim that MTV deliberately lied to him to publicly humiliate him. Why? Because they were in bed with the music industry, particularly Jackson's label Sony Music, and like the rest of the non-black mainstream media sided with Sony when he claimed it was racism on their part that caused Invincible to prove a commercial disappointment.
    • His 2003 arrest and 2004-5 trial on child molestation charges was the result of a conspiracy between:
      • Sony Music (out for his music publishing holdings; when he was found not guilty, this became motivation for the above "assassination" claims)
      • Santa Barbara, California district attorney Tom Sneddon (out for revenge after he couldn't get Jackson tried and arrested on similar charges raised by Jordan Chandler in 1993-94 after Jackson settled out of court with him; racism and conservative Christian views are also claimed as reasons he "persecuted" him)
      • The accuser's family (out for money)
    • Wade Robson is a choreographer who, as a preteen, was one of Michael's close friends; he testified on his behalf at the 2004-5 trial and claimed that (though they did share a bed together) Michael never did anything improper to him. In May 2013, he brought a claim against Michael's estate claiming that he had been molested and had falsely defended him in court and in public for years. Cue conspiracy theories: He's just seeking money now that Michael can't defend himself, he's being paid off by concert promoter AEG Live (who handled a Demi Lovato tour he was the creative director of) to deflect attention from the Jackson family's 2013 lawsuit against them over the circumstances of Michael's death (the news broke early in the trial), he's doing it to get back at Jackson's estate and Cirque du Soleil because he wasn't hired to choreograph their tributes to him (Michael Jackson ONE was about to start previews when the news broke), it's a case of false repressed memories, he's been driven to madness by years of lies told about Jackson, etc. This got worse in 2014 when another former child friend, Jimmy Safechuck, joined Robson's camp with claims of abuse just as the posthumous album Xscape arrived, and similar theories about his motives have been raised.
  • A rather lighthearted one: 2014 Grammy winner Lorde is often the subject of a rumor by fans who claim she is Older Than She Looks due to her insightful and rather advanced philosophical statements made in interviews. (She snarkily claimed she was 45 in a pre-Grammy interview for Vanity Fair.) Those who believe this often cite Felicity writer/actress Riley Weston who claimed to be 18, and earned praise as a "wunderkind," before it was revealed she was actually 32. In this case, however, a copy of a birth certificate obtained for $17.02 at the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs claims that Lorde, whose real name is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor, was born Nov. 7, 1996. She was only 17 at the time of the award.
  • Any celebrity that loses even a little bit of weight is obviously gravely ill and trying to hide it.
    • As is any celebrity who's caught on camera looking tired, uncomfortable, or even like their natural, cosmetic-free (hence less "radiant") self.
    • And any female celebrity who gains a quarter-inch around the middle is secretly pregnant.
  • George Soros! Whether the mastermind of the liberal media, leader of The Illuminati/NWO/ZOG, a bankroller for Dirty Communists, a self-serving SOB who broke the Bank of England for his own purposes, or a propagandist for the myth of global warming... take your pick, there's a lot of these!
    • Replace Soros with the Koch brothers and you have a virtually-identical theory on the left.
  • Henry Kissinger is also another one. Secret Zionist infiltrator? Puppet Master of all presidents since Richard Nixon? Leader of the NWO? Leader of the Bilderberg meetings and the Trilateral Commission? Take your pick! It should be noted that these conspiracies aren't as popular in China due to his role in establishing US ties there. (This was even lampooned on the comic strip version of The Boondocks, where Huey tried to report him for imagined wrongdoing, telling the authorities they could find him by asking the guys who gave him the Nobel Prize for Peace.)
  • The Psychopaths Conspiracy: A theory that, in many conspiracy circles, paints the political leaders of the world (even democratic ones) as psychopathic Always Chaotic Evil madmen out to Take Over the World and drive everyone to ruin For the Evulz due to many of the decisions they make, especially in regards to US foreign policy, The War on Terror and the Arab–Israeli Conflict. There's even a Facebook Page run by supporters of this belief. However, while this does have some legitimacy, it is more likely that the more unscrupulous decisions politicians make are made by a combination of some other reason than outright malice.
  • Some Moral Guardians put at least some of the blame for "society's values degenerating" because of Marilyn Monroe being a popular actress who was a size 16. Which is hogwash. She wasn't even close to size 16, and this can be proven simply by measuring her old costumes, which most studios have saved. While Monroe did have unusual measurements, most of her dresses fall into the size 2 to 4 category.
  • One that has gotten popular in recent years is one known as, among other names, The Most Royal Candidate Theory. This one involves the tracing of every one of the U.S. Presidents to show that they are related to various European royals such as Alfred the Great, Charlemagne and more infamously King John of England (of the Robin Hood era)note . The theory is usually related to the various Illuminati beliefs.
  • EVERY US president in recent memory has had the accusations of being The Antichrist, if not the devil himself, levied at them (and probably since the beginning of the nation). Ronald Reagan famously due to connections to "666" (the number of letters in each of his names, also the numerical identifier to his ranch in California). Both Bushes (often combined), Clinton and Obama (as described above) all have had gotten this tag.
    • As well as just being president has always led to an incredible amount of conspiracies about you, either while you are in office or long after the fact. The more famous you are, the more that exist. Some other famous ones are:
      • John Adams was accused of secretly plotting to rejoin America with Britain, and would marry his sons to English noblewomen to consolidate an Anglo-American dynasty. Adams' opponents never bothered to explain why Adams would do this after spending so much time and energy campaigning for American independence.
      • Thomas Jefferson was rumored to be born out of wedlock (then a far more serious issue — he was not, however) and the son of George Washington himself (although the timeline for this to work would have made Washington 10 years old). This was mostly spread by his political enemies.
      • James Monroe lost only one vote in the otherwise unanimous election of 1820. Perhaps this was to establish George Washington as the only "unanimous" President.
      • John Quincy Adams' race against Andrew Jackson in 1824 was so close that the election was thrown to the House of Representatives, where Speaker Henry Clay backed Adams and urged other members of Congress to do the same, which they did. Following his election, Adams made Clay Secretary of State, prompting a firestorm of rumors that the two men had agreed to do this ahead of time. The backlash against Adams' perceived cheating was so great that four years later, Jackson ran against him again and won. And speaking of Jackson...
      • In December 1828, one month after Andrew Jackson won the Presidential election and three before he took office, his wife Rachel died. It was widely speculated that he murdered her, although no known evidence exists.
      • Jackson was also claimed to be the illegitimate son of an Englishman and a black prostitute, a theory gleefully spread by Henry Clay and other enemies during his presidency.
      • The only President to keep his cabinet for a full term, Franklin Pierce may have done so because of the absence of Vice President William R.D. King, who died after only a month and a half in office. Perhaps this was an early attempt at establishing the line of Presidential succession.
      • Being the nation's only bachelor president to date, it is rumored that James Buchanan was a homosexual. Even today his orientation remains questionable. Another potential theory on Buchanan was that he was a bisexual. The latter has sufficient evidence as Buchanan was in fact engaged in his twenties to a young woman who then left him.
      • Abraham Lincoln has long been rumored to have had a homosexual affair as a young man, if not outright gay or bi. While certain letters he wrote and the fact that he shared a bed with another man give them certain credence, others point out the difference in cultures from now and then can explain a lot. Additionally, his religious affiliation has been a point of contention, with some (including his former law partner) claiming Lincoln was a freethinker who disbelieved in the Christian religion (then also far more serious an issue — if so, he kept it quiet). Others have said he was a fairly ordinary Protestant. (Along those lines, there is the [disproven] story of Lincoln being secretly baptized in either the Sangamon or Potomac River by either a Baptist or Church of Christ minister.)
      • So just how did Andrew Johnson escape his impeachment? Dumb luck? The absence of the Vice Presidency? His faithfulness to the Union on the brink of war? Bribery or other coercion of wavering congressmen? Take your pick.
      • A great deal of the story behind choosing Rutherford B. Hayes for the nation's nineteenth President by a single vote — and therefore having the election in question thrown to the House — involved him winning Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina.note  Apparently he must have known how bad Reconstruction had been and wanted the South to know about how he agreed to "end" it in his campaign plan.
      • Warren Harding spent much of his life dodging rumors that he was half-black. (Then also a far more serious issue.) Ironically, his political enemies (and some credulous historians) also accused Harding of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan, based on a spurious account of his being sworn into the Klan in the Oval Office.
      • President Roosevelt is theorized to have both known in advance the attack on Pearl Harbor was going to happen and let it, as well as to have already received the surrender of the Japanese after Hiroshima (and sometimes even before), but ordered the second bombing anyway as a way to send a message to the Russians. (The latter feats would have been particularly tricky, since FDR passed away before even the first A-bomb was dropped on Japan. Harry Truman gave the order.)
      • President John F. Kennedy, along with all the other conspiracies mentioned here, had an affair with Marilyn Monroe, among the more famous of his supposed liaisons with famous women. While there is a lot of documented evidence that JFK did sleep around quite a bit in his presidency, there's none directly linking him to her (his brother Robert, however, has a stronger case for it).
      • Ronald Reagan is rumored to have spent a good portion of his last term suffering from Alzheimer's, with Nancy and/or Vice President Bush making a lot of decisions for him.
      • George W. Bush:
      • Bush's victory over Al Gore in the 2000 election was not only one of the narrowest in American history, but also one of the only elections in which the candidate who won the electoral vote lost the popular vote. As such, theories have circulated continuously since then that the election was rigged in Bush's favor, with much of the speculation focusing on the fact that the deciding state was Florida, where Bush's brother Jeb was governor at the time, giving him the power and a possible motive to influence the election. This theory can be slotted into any grander theory concerning Bush, for instance claiming that The Powers That Be ensured Bush's election so Bush would perpetrate 9/11.
      • Similarly to the above Reagan example, it has been said that many of Bush's important decisions were made by Vice-President Dick Cheney and/or Cheney's friends in the oil industry. This includes the decision to attack Iraq; see "Wars" for more information.
      • One conspiracy on the supposed alien cover up since Roswell is that up to Carter, every president was briefed on it. When Carter made the declaration that he would release any and all information on aliens and UFOs when he ran in 1976, the decision was made the president would only be briefed based on party affiliation (i.e. it has been withheld from Carter, Clinton and Obama, but Reagan and the Bush's were told).
      • The similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are so numerous that it would be easy to say that they have their own conspiracy theory.
  • J. K. Rowling, being the creator of one of the most successful media franchises of the 21st century, naturally has quite a few of these surrounding her.
    • The most famous one, of course, is that Rowling is a propagandist for neopaganism and the New Age movement seeking to lure the world's youth to Satan. In truth, Rowling is a Christian, with the series containing a number of Christian values and obvious Christ metaphors. She even was thinking about the issue before the first book of the franchise was published. This one was big among fundamentalist evangelicals when the books were first coming out, contributing to a number of book burnings in some places, but is largely forgotten today as they've long ago moved on to other targets.
    • Rowling supposedly isn't a real person, but a team of ghostwriters who collectively came up with the Harry Potter series, the person claiming to be Rowling actually being an actor hired to put a human face on the books.
    • The Harry Potter books are Based on a True Story, and Rowling is a squib, who knows about and is involved in the magical world, writing the books as a form of Fiction as Cover-Up. (Some form of this is actually true in-universe, as some of the companion books make reference to a "seven-part biography of Harry Potter", but there's naturally no evidence that it's the case in real life.)
  • Tom Cruise has been claimed to hold "auditions" for his future wife so many times that it's a frequent joke whenever he starts getting romantically involved with somebody.
  • There is a small conspiracy theory that Stevie Wonder is not actually blind and has been covering it up for the past 40 years. These theorists cite instances where he allegedly did something that only sighted people can do, like catch something that fell or know when people are standing next to him. They also conveniently ignore the possibility that Stevie could have some extremely limited sight (i.e. seeing blurry shapes or changes in light) but still be considered blind. They also ignore the fact that, since Stevie Wonder has been blind for his entire life, he has probably figured out some coping strategies.
  • Around the time of the divorce between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, it was alleged that Prince Harry was the result of Diana's affair with James Hewitt and was not Charles's son at all (therefore has no claim to the throne), citing as evidence the lack of resemblance to Charles and the red hair, and even going on to claim that a DNA sequence proving Harry's illegitimacy is a closely guarded state secret. This of course ignores the fact that Harry's looks mainly came from Diana (fun fact, photos released in 2018 show that Harry and a young, bearded Charles look eerily alike). While there's still people (and one play) espousing that theory, it's not very popular now because Harry himself is a very popular royal, Hewitt refuted that claim by saying the affair began after Harry's birth (which was backed up by Diana's former bodyguard), and it's less likely Harry would even reach the throne anyway since his older brother started having children.
  • George McGovern correctly "predicted" that he would lose the 1972 Presidential election.
  • A recurring theory tends to suggest the disappearance of pioneering female pilot Amelia Earhart was due to Earhart flying a plane spying on the Japanese and then being captured, with most theories suggesting she was either executed or survived but lived the remainder of her life under an assumed name.
  • There are occasional claims that Bob Dylan faked his 1966 motorcycle crash, either as a cover story for entering drug rehab (for a supposed heroin addiction) or to spite his manager Albert Grossman, who he felt was overworking him.
  • On a more amusing note, there have been claims that the infamous indecent exposure arrest of kids' show host Paul Reubens was in fact a deliberate Zero-Approval Gambit by Reubens himself in an attempt to rid himself of his "Pee Wee Herman" character and go back to comedy for adults. Ultimately, all he accomplished was turning himself and the character into Memetic Molesters.
  • Some (like Marc Peeters) accuse Elio Di Rupo (the former prime minister of Belgium) of being a pedophile. When will this trope die out?
  • Queen Elizabeth I was widely believed in her time to be a man who dressed like a woman, something some historians even today insist was the case. Their reasoning? She refused to marry. That's all they have. (The true reason may be simple chauvinism, and insistence that no woman could have done everything she accomplished.) The issue of why a British monarch would pretend to be a woman and rule as Queen when simply ruling as King would have been easier, is lost on such historians. They also forget that her father had her mother executed when she couldn't bear a male child, so it seems unlikely.
  • Most Americans have never heard of John Hanson, but many believe he was the first President of the United States, and should be credited as such, not Washington. The fact of the matter is, Hanson was President of the Constitutional Congress, a position that is not, in any way, the same as President of the United States; the President of Congress was a largely ceremonial "first among equals" position with few real duties, and many of the men who held the position resigned out of sheer boredom (Hanson himself wanted to, but was persuaded to stay). The position was more akin to the modern Speaker of the House than the modern President, and the Speaker is in fact far more powerful than the President of Congress was. In fact, Hanson died five years before the actual Constitution was drafted and signed, thus establishing the duties of the Executive Branch.
    • Some take this further and claim he was a black man, and that such neglect is due to bigotry, going so far as to produce a photograph of him - as a black man - to prove it. (Absurd, because photography was not invented in his lifetime.) The photograph in question is of John Hanson, albeit a completely different individual from the President of the constitutional Congress. This John Hanson was involved in the American Colonization Society, which aimed to send all blacks back to Africa, and later became a Liberian Senator.
  • There is some speculation that Richard Wagner's stepfather, Ludwig Geyer, was also his biological father. Wagner himself actually believed this to be the case in his youth.
  • Taylor Swift is actually a clone/reincarnation of Zeena LaVey, the daughter of Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey and a prominent figure within the Satanist movement in The '80s. The resemblance between Swift and a young LaVey has long been noted, but it wasn't until 2016 that it entered full-blown conspiracy theory mode, claiming that LaVey, together with (of course) The Illuminati, had a clone of herself made in the late '80s with the intention of raising her as a propagandist for Satan who would use her music to convert young people to the Dark Side.
  • There's a school of (often overtly misogynistic) English literature enthusiasts who profess to believe that Bramwell Brontë wrote all of the works usually ascribed to his sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, before being murdered or Driven to Suicide by them, and that ever since this has been covered up by an evil misandric female conspiracy.
  • Actress Ariel Winter, known for her role as Alex on Modern Family, is twenty years younger than her sister Shanelle, and was abused by their mother before winning an emancipation suit and being given to Shanelle's custody until she came of age. These facts together have led to theories that Shanelle is in fact Ariel's biological mother, and that their mother's abuse was motivated by resentment at having to pass her granddaughter off as her own.
  • For many years after Guillaume Tell, rumours circulated that Gioachino Rossini was at work on his fortieth opera. This theory was very popular in the 1830's and early 1840's, and some people still believe that such an opera was composednote , but was somehow lost or destroyed and therefore never performed.

    Guns 
  • Name a notorious mass shooting committed by a lone nutjob: Port Arthur, Columbine High, Virginia Tech, École Polytechnique, Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary, Charleston, Orlando, the Dallas Cop Killer, Las Vegas, whatever. Somewhere, someone is claiming that the shooter was a patsy for a greater conspiracy (and quite possibly brainwashed), and that the massacre was a False Flag Operation designed to drum up support for new gun control laws to disarm the people and make it harder for them to resist when the Day of the Jackboot comes. If the government didn't have a hand in the shooting, then Obama and/or the Democrats in Congress will use it as an excuse to "take all guns." The fact that gun sales skyrocket after every publicized mass-shooting sadly drives home how deeply people believe in this.
    • The question then becomes which government will do so. Ever since Lincoln was thought to take the guns and the slaves and even earlier every sitting president was feared they would do this. None had. That doesn't stop the conspiracy theorists however who believe they need to arm up in case the police, ATF, FBI, SEAL Team Six, Delta, the 82nd Airborne, tanks, planes, infringe on their Constitutional duty to arm up and have a well regulated militia. The same well regulated militia they intend to fight, who are not allowed to wage war on American citizens.
    • "Birther Queen" Orly Taitz (known for many outlandish conspiracy theories) claimed that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza was under mind control and drugged by the Obama Administration, claiming that the word "assassin" comes from the Arabic word "Hashish", a drug, and such things happen all the time. (Only part of this is true, and even then it is only trivially true. The term "hashish" for the cannabis product is Arabic, being derived from an Arabic word for grass — apparently stoners everywhere think alike — and the word "assassin" does almost certainly derive from the ''Hashshāshīn'', a cult/sect/odd organization that engaged in assassinations in the Levant during the Crusader era, although whether their name has anything to do with the drug is unclear. All this historical talk aside, however, Ms. Taitz fails to provide any connection between this long-dead 12th-century "Islamic" cult, drugs, and a 21st century mass murderer.)
    • Another theory claims that the Aurora killer (James Holmes) and the Sandy Hook Elementary killer (Adam Lanza) were both sons of men scheduled to testify in the LIBOR conspiracy investigation (see "Real Conspiracies"), with the implication that they had been either brainwashed to kill or otherwise framed in order to discredit their fathers' testimony. In reality, neither of the killers' fathers, or the companies they worked for, were associated with the investigation.
    • In the case of the Sandy Hook shooting, there also are people who claim that the shootings didn't happen at all. The "evidence" often essentially boils down to the fact that the parents weren't crying in all of their media appearances, thus they were actors, as well as pictures of still-living children that look similar to the victims. According to them, the parents are actors and the children either aren't dead or never existed.
    • Yet another theory about Sandy Hook is that Israel was behind it as some sort of "punishment" for a perceived worsening of US-Israel relations under Obama. The proof offered for this is usually little more than "Israelis enjoy shooting children."
    • This Cracked article shows just what happened to the parent of one Sandy Hook victim when he became targeted by conspiracy theorists.
    • And it happened again with the Orlando nightclub shooting.
    • Days after the Las Vegas shooting, there were already people claiming that everything wasn't as it seemed. Since Obama's out of office, the going theory now is that this is instead orchestrated by far-left Antifa members.
    • Related to Vegas were lots of conspiracy theory claims that security guard Jesus Campos (who first reported the shooter) was a second shooter or an accomplice. A lot of theories sprung up, actually.
    • After the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting organized protests in support of gun control, many conspiracy theorists claim that they are actors being paid by the Democrats.
  • The Utoya summer camp massacre in Norway, in addition to the usual, also has other theories attached to it, the most common one being that it was carried out to discredit right-wing and anti-immigrant groups in Norway and Europe by attaching them to a high-profile terrorist attack. (The culprit, Anders Behring Breivik, committed the massacre because he felt that Norway's left-wing leadership had sold the nation out to Muslim immigrants; the summer camp was affiliated with Norway's Labor Party.) Others claim that the Israelis, the Freemasons, or Islamic terrorists were behind it, sometimes for the reasons above.
  • Project Gunrunner was an ATF operation that started in 2006 intended to catch gun smugglers trying to take advantage of loose American gun laws, buying guns in the US and then running them to Mexico to sell to the cartels. Project Gunrunner was publicly revealed in late 2010 with the botched Operation Fast and Furious, in which the ATF attempted to let a shipment of powerful weapons "walk" their way into the cartels, in the hopes of being able to bust higher-ranking members rather than low-level smugglers. Unfortunately, not only did the ATF lose the guns, one of them was later used to murder a US Border Patrol officer, causing a firestorm of controversy that was only made worse by Attorney General Eric Holder's attempts to cover up the mess.

    Most mainstream criticisms of Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious chide the ATF and Holder for both acting irresponsibly and attempting to cover up their own incompetence. Some fringe explanations, however, claim that the ATF "lost" the guns deliberately, and that the entire program was meant to fuel the violence in Mexico and on the border, thus providing an impetus for new gun control measures with the stated aim of defusing the Mexican drug war... which would, of course, be another step to a Police State.
  • After the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings and the reelection of President Obama in 2012, many gun stores and ammo manufacturers faced a shortage of ammunition as a result of panic buying by people convinced that these events together would lead to new gun control laws being passed.note  Some people claimed another theory: that the shortages were because the government was buying up ammunition, either in preparation for a coming second Civil War, as a backdoor means of disarming Americans, or both, pointing to what turned out to be normal ammo purchases by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies (mainly to arm and train their own security branches) as "proof". This theory persisted even after ammo manufacturers and the NRA came out and said that the shortages were due almost entirely to civilian ammo purchases. Snopes and Breitbart.com (the latter being no friend of Obama or gun control) both took this one on.
  • The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, an attempt to crack down on the black market small arms trade, has been claimed to be targeted at American gun owners, an attempt to do an end-run around the Second Amendment by using an international treaty to push through gun registration and, from there, the seizure of private firearms.

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