‘Paul McCartney is dead’ and 10 more conspiracy theories – The Week UK

In the post-truth internet age conspiracy theories seem to be blossoming. Here are some of the most intriguing and bizzare:

One of the most unusual pop-culture conspiracy theories concerns a member of the Fab Four. Beatles legend has it that Paul McCartney secretly died in 1966, at the height of the band’s fame, and that the other three members covered it up by hiring someone who looked and sang like him.

Beatlemaniacs point to numerous clues in the band’s later albums as proof of this. The Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is, they claim, awash with “Paul is dead” clues such as the lyrics to A Day in the Life, which featured the line “He blew his mind out in a car” and the recorded phrase “Paul is dead, miss him, miss him,” which becomes evident only when the song is played backward. Lennon also mumbled, “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” although he later denied there was any hidden meaning in the lyrics and what he was actually saying was “cranberry sauce”.

Much is also made of The Beatles’ use of imagery after 1966. The original cover of 1966’s Yesterday and Today album featured the Beatles posed amid raw meat and dismembered doll parts – “symbolising McCartney’s gruesome accident” says Time Magazine. The magazine also claims that “if fans placed a mirror in front of the Sgt Pepper album cover, the words Lonely Hearts on the drum logo could be read as “1 ONE 1 X HE DIE 1 ONE 1.”

Most famously, there is the Abbey Road album cover in which John Lennon, dressed in white, leads a “funeral” procession across the street. Ringo follows in black as a mourner with George in jeans representing a grave digger. Paul McCartney walks out of step with the rest of band and barefoot as, some had it, he would have no need of shoes in the afterlife.

Music legend Elvis Presley died on 16 August 1977 – or did he? If the latest conspiracy theory is to be believed, the King of Rock and Roll faked his own death and now works as a groundsman in Graceland.

Grainy footage of a bearded man has been posted on YouTube by “The Shadow”, who claims the figure is an 81-year-old Elvis.

In the caption for the video, which has been viewed nearly 700,000 times, The Shadow writes: “He raises his 2 fingers to the top of his left head as a proof of life signal. In Chaldean Numerology the numerical value of V sign in Numerology is: 9. Proof of life!!!….he told us he is alive with the simple V sign. Number 9 ,’I’m Alive’ He is giving us a clue that he knows we are all there watching him and to his most loyal fans that he is indeed with us.”

While some say the claims are “idiotic” and Elvis should be left to “rest in peace”, the belief that the King is out there looks unlikely to fade away.

Ever since HIV/Aids was first identified in the US in 1981, rumours have persisted as to its cause and origin.

One of the most outlandish theories that has nevertheless captured the imagination of conspiracists is that the deadly virus was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans on the orders of US president Richard Nixon.

It boasts a number of high-profile supporters including former South African president Thabo Mbeki who once touted the theory, “disputing scientific claims that the virus originated in Africa and accusing the US government of manufacturing the disease in military labs” says Times magazine. Meanwhile, a number of prominent scientists, including former Nobel Peace Prize Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai, have also backed the theory.

There is evidence that the CIA connection was, in fact, created by the KGB as part of a Cold War disinformation campaign to discredit the US.

Dubbed Operation Infektion, the USSR published letters from “anonymous US official sources” in scientific journals and newspapers throughout the 1980s claiming that virus was a CIA experiment gone wrong. This initially remained within the medical community but as the epidemic grew, the theory took hold and persists to this day.

Despite this, most scientist and doctors agree that the virus jumped from monkeys to humans somewhere in the Congo during the 1930s.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on 8March 2014 and has yet to be found despite an extensive search operation.

A little more than four months later, on 17 July 2014, another Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17, crashed in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border after apparently having been shot down by a missile.

To most people the two tragedies looked like a terrible coincidence, but to conspiracy theorists there are no coincidences and MH370 and MH17 were in fact the same plane.

Worldtruth.tv is one of the many sites that argues that MH370 was hijacked and flown to US military base Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

The “US propaganda machine” then staged the shooting down of MH17 so that the Russians would lose credibility.

The theory fails to explain why the same propaganda victory could not have been achieved, assuming it was desired, simply by shooting down any passenger aircraft over the Ukraine-Russia border.Read our in-depth article on MH370 conspiracies here.

The “reptoid hypothesis” is a conspiracy theory which advances the argument that reptilian humanoids live among us with the intention of enslaving the human race. It has been championed by former BBC sports presenter David Icke, who believes the likes of Bob Hope, members of the royal family and former US presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton are part of the “Anunnaki” race who came to earth for “monatomic gold”.

Critics accused Icke of anti-Semitism, alleging that his talk of reptiles was code for Jews but he clarified that the lizards to which he referred were literal, not metaphorical.

Remember the classic Paul is Dead conspiracy? The theory that Paul McCartney was killed in a car accident at the height of the Beatles’s fame and replaced by a lookalike? Well, the 21st century music industry now has its own twist on the tale. And in keeping with its modern origin, it’s a little more tech-savvy.

In recent years, a small but vocal subculture has argued that the Beyonce we all remember from the days when she was lead singer with Destiny’s Child has been replaced by a clone.

The outlandish theory was first spotted by The Root, which shared the following screenshot of a Facebook post showing the supposedly clear physical difference between the ‘old’ Beyonce and her cyborg replacement.

The Daily Dot has unearthed a video uploaded to YouTube showing the pop goddess at a basketball game behaving in a way considered a little bitclone-ish.

It’s far from the first conspiracy theory to involve Queen Bey, who was accused of faking her pregnancy and is frequently identified by Illuminati enthusiasts as one of the leading players in the so-called New World Order. But as far as we can tell, it’s easily the wackiest.

In 1947 claims that an “alien spacecraft” had landed in Roswell, New Mexico, were dismissed by the US military, which said the alien craft was merely a weather balloon.

Ufologists believe the spacecraft was taken into Area 51 a division of Edwards Air Force Base and the US government has been researching alien technology and life forms on the site ever since.

Video footage of an alleged “alien autopsy” has been shown to be fake, but Area 51 is known to be a secretive and heavily guarded base. The reasons, however, may be more earthly than the conspiracy theories suggest: the U-2 spy plane, and several other top-secret aircraft, were developed and tested here.

On 11 September 2001, four planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and two of them were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, killing 2,996 people.

However, some believe that the attack was an inside job, orchestrated in order to cement the US’s place as the top global power or to secure the oil reserves in the Middle East.

Another theory is that the building’s owners were responsible for the event (they stood to gain $500m in insurance profits). For more detail, read our feature on the top ten 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Neil Armstrong’s giant leap kicked off one of the most persistent conspiracy theories of the 20th century – that the 1969 landings, and all those that followed, were faked by Nasa and that no human being has ever set foot on the surface of the moon.

Even though there is substantial evidence to the contrary (including moon rocks brought back to Earth and manmade objects left on the moon) some remain adamant that film director Stanley Kubrick was hired to produce the footage after his experience on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In November 1963, John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US Marine who defected to the Soviet Union before returning to the US, was accused of the crime but was shot dead before he could stand trial. But was he just a scapegoat? Did the real killers get away with murder?

No official investigation has turned up evidence of a conspiracy, but theories implicating everyone from the KGB to Jackie Kennedy continue to circulate. Read more about the JFK conspiracy theory here.

To the most dedicated conspiracy theorists, none of these plots on their own is sufficient to explain the sustained malevolence of the world in which we live. Instead, each one is a manifestation of what RationalWiki describes as “an interlocking hierarchy of conspiracies”, in which all the world’s events are controlled by a single evil entity.

It is a complex and self-reflexive premise: if it is correct, then it must be the case that awareness of the Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is itself a part of the conspirators plan and so, of course, is this list.

Even the most rational people buy into conspiracy theories as a way of reacting to uncertainty and powerlessness in the modern world, says the New York Times. “Believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular,” the paper says citing a 2010 study.

US psychologist Rob Brotherton, the author of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories, says many as 90 per cent of people acknowledge entertaining one conspiracy theory or another. “Given a handful of dots, our pattern-seeking brains can’t resist trying to connect them,” he says.

But Brotherton also suggests we shouldn’t be so quick to reject even the stranger notions. “Dismissing all conspiracy theories (and theorists) as crazy is just as intellectually lazy as credulously accepting every wild allegation,” he writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“If you had claimed, in the early 1970s, that a hotel burglary was, in fact, a plot by White House officials to illegally spy on political rivals and ensure President Nixon’s re-election, you might have been accused of conspiracy theorising,” he says.

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‘Paul McCartney is dead’ and 10 more conspiracy theories – The Week UK

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: David Icke |

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