Why spend those late nights in Tisch actually studying for your finals when you can spend them wracking your brain about all the glorious — and sometimes terrifying — conspiracy theories that people have managed to come up with? If you’re looking to do a lot of thinking while still maintaining a low level of productivity, then look no further than this list of the top 10 conspiracy theories, in no particular order.
1. The first spot on this list has to go to one of the most well-known conspiracy theories out there: that Stanley Kubrick, director of the trippy 1968 science fiction film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” faked the 1969 moon landing by Apollo 11. Believers go further, saying that the 1980 film “The Shining” is essentially a confession by Kubrick that the whole moon landing was a hoax. This all happened before any of us were born, which makes the story much easier to believe. After actually watching “2001: A Space Odyssey” and being confused for days after, I think anything’s possible.
2. “Paul is dead” refers to a conspiracy theory that Paul McCartney died in a 1966 car crash and was essentially replaced by a look-alike. Believers say that playing Beatles records backward and listening for symbolism in the lyrics provide evidence for this theory. Just think: every hour you spend listening to a backward Beatles’ tracks is one less hour of torturous studying you have to do.
3. The Jesus conspiracy, explained in “The Da Vinci Code” (2006), was my first introduction to the world of conspiracy theories. This theory states that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, and that this lineage continues on today. There’s just something about the possibility that things are not quite as they seem that makes conspiracy theories, no matter how ridiculous they might be, so appealing.
4. [Insert famous person here] is part of the Illuminati. Essentially, the Illuminati is a shady group of elites who secretly have complete control of the world. Their end goal is to establish a New World Order — a totalitarian world government. People rumored to be part of this group include Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Beyoncé and the Pope. I mean, there are worse things than having Queen Bey run your life, right?
5. If you want a response to someone who chastises you for not recycling, look no further than the global warming conspiracy theory (even though it’s not really related). Some people believe that global warming isn’t a real thing and that all these “scientists” telling us it is are part of the hoax.
6. A ridiculous favorite of mine is that the 1999 film “American Pie” predicts the Satanic-Communist Takeover of the United States. Believers have gathered evidence from both the movie and the song by Don McLean, which includes the phrase “bye bye America” and some other verses that have been relentlessly overanalyzed to fit the theme of a Satanic-Communist Takeover. It may not make sense, but none of these ever really do. That’s what makes them great.
7. While we are on the subject of Satan, another lesser-known conspiracy theory is that April is the Government’s Blood Sacrifice Season. The group of believers for this particular theory think that there is an unusually high number of tragedies that have happened in Aprils past and, therefore, there must be a shady conspiracy to explain it. They believe that, in April, rituals disguised as tragedies are performed to sacrifice people to the demon god Baal.
8. Two words: Reptilian. Elite. Yes, there are some out there who believe anyone holding a position of power or influence is actually a shapeshifting reptilian alien. Though I would be quicker to believe in the Illuminati than the reptilian elite, it’s pretty hilarious — and terrifying — to imagine Queen Elizabeth II as actually just being a giant lizard.
9. This list wouldn’t be complete without some mention of aliens. There are rumors that an alien spaceship landed in New Mexico and, although the U.S. military lied and said it was just a weather balloon, was taken into Area 51. According to this theory, the U.S. government has been researching alien technology and aliens themselves ever since. As Giorgio Tsoukalos, the inspiration for the history channel alien meme, would say: “Is such a thing even possible? Yes it is.”
10. Last, but certainly not least, there is the Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory. The premise is simple: everything (yes, everything) is a conspiracy. How meta.