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Pop Culture Conspiracies Blur The Lines Between Fact and Fiction

Crackpot conspiracy theorists are no longer relegated to sharing their marijuana-infused ideas on the basement couch while eating Twinkies. With the Internet, it’s easier than ever to unlock your mind and reveal the truth (as you see it) to the masses. With social media and pop culture infusing at an alarming rate, it’s only natural for conspiracies to crop up about everything from childhood TV shows and movies to celebrity babies and musicians—and sometimes they even get confirmed.

Right now, childhood fans of Disney are grappling with the world-shattering news from Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker that the street peddler at the beginning of the film is actually Genie. So we’ve gone to the dark corners of the Internet to track down five of the strangest conspiracies on the web. Trust us: you should spend hours reading a goldmine of theories, only a quick Google search away.

The Chemtrails Are Real Theory

Last summer, conspiracy theorists found a hero in Kylie Jenner. The rising star of the Kardashian clan tweeted a meme to her millions of followers about chemtrails. With one tweet, she joined a number of other celebrities who have looked up to the heavens searching for answers to life’s biggest questions.

The chemtrail conspiracy has been around for decades. It centers around the idea that trails of condensation left by high-flying aircrafts are actually made of chemicals that can do everything from poison crops to control the weather. In an age of NSA surveillance and Snapchat security flaws exposing your badly angled nudes, it feels good to believe in something like chemtrails. It’s unlikely that the trails are anything more than the equivalent of an airplane fart, but that isn’t stopping celebrities and crackpot theorists from blaming it for the downfall of civilization. We suggest they take a break, and instead look at the evidence that airplanes are in a feud against birthday parties and have been purposefully shitting on them as an act of war.

The North West Illuminati Theory

It’s no secret that North West is the biggest celebrity baby since Blue Ivy. She’s a superstar and, with Kanye and Kim as her parents, she is destined for greatness—but what if she’s also destined to destroy the world in a fiery apocalyptic pact with Satan? Conspiracy theorists across the Internet went into a frenzy two years ago when they found out that her name was North West. They immediately began linking her to The Illumati, the underground organization supposedly that controls the world and runs the careers of Rihanna, Jay Z, Chris Brown, and many other celebs.

According to the theory, northwest on compass points to 333 degrees. Sound the alarm, because if you double that it becomes 666, which is the devil’s number. North and west also create a 90-degree triangle. Triangles are huge in devil culture, and tie into the “all-seeing eye” that appears on the back of our demonic American currency. With logic like that, and the fact that Kanye West is definitely a confirmed member of the Illuminati, it’s time we cast a good side-eye at North West and keep a lookout for the horns to start sprouting out of her head.

The SpongeBob Squarepants Nuclear Testing Theory

Did this make Bikini Bottom?

As far as childhood television conspiracies go, Spongebob Squarepants remains one of the kings of crackpot theories. It’s no surprise, given that the show is about an underwater civilization of talking animals that features a squirrel in a glass dome and a whale whose dad is a crab. Everything from the seven deadly sins to drug addiction and suicide have been linked to the show.

One of the longest-running theories for the show links the town of Bikini Bottom to Bikini Atoll, an island in the Pacific Ocean where twenty-three nuclear devices were detonated as a part of a series of nuclear weapon tests conducted by the United States. The theory is that the residents of the town were affected by the nuclear radiation from the bombs, and mutated into sentient beings with the ability to communicate. If a sponge can wear pants and work a minimum wage job for years without complaining or asking for a promotion, we can believe that the underwater town is actually real. Spongebob must feature more mutants in its cast than all the X-Men films combined—just don’t ask how Sandy went from Texas to the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Avril Lavigne Died and Was Replaced Theory

Disappearing freckles and a darker hair color? Clear evidence that Avril died and was replaced by a doppelganger.
Disappearing freckles and a darker hair color? Clear evidence that Avril died and was replaced by a doppelganger.

He was a sk8r boi and she said “see ya later boy” — because she died. According to a passionate and surprisingly large segment of the interwebz, everyone’s favorite pop punk princess is part of one of the biggest cover-ups since Paul McCartney’s faux death in 1966. Years before she would go full crazy and marry top ramen-haired Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, the singer allegedly killed herself in 2002 and was replaced by a doppelgänger who’s been masquerading as OG Avril ever since. The evidence hinges on the lyric from her song ‘Slipped Away:’

“The day you slipped away / Was the day I found it won’t be the same… It wasn’t fake / It happened, you passed by / Now you’re gone.”

The theory originated on a Brazilian blog and contains really convincing side-by-side photos analyzing her arm freckles and life decisions. If you’ve ever felt bad about avoiding midterms by watching an entire series on Netflix, you can rest easy, because at least you didn’t spend hours creating an elaborate hoax about Avril Lavigne. The blog’s creator explicitly states that the “blog was created to show how conspiracy theories can look true,” but that hasn’t stopped the Internet from embracing it as fact. So did Avril die in 2002? Probably not. But it does remain the most convincing argument for why she allowed herself to be legally tied to Kroeger for two years.

The Stephen King Killed John Lennon Theory

The resemblance is pretty uncanny but Stephen King is more unlikely than the Queen of England to be the real killer of John Lennon.
The resemblance is pretty uncanny, but Stephen King is more unlikely than the Queen of England to be John Lennon’s real killer.

You may want to sit down for this one, because it’s the absolute wildest theory we read on our hunt for truth. Legend has it that Mark David Chapman didn’t kill John Lennon on that fateful night in 1980. It was actually renowned horror writer Stephen King who shot the gun. Chapman was just an actor hired to take the fall for the murder so that King could go on writing novels and basking in the secret glory of killing one of The Beatles.

The theory is the brainchild of one Steve Lightfoot, whose entire life has become a quest to convince the world that it’s true. He’s spouted off his version of history for years, and even interrupted a 2009 Sarasota City Commission meeting to tell the awestruck crowd that Stephen King shot John Lennon. If you’re asking why he would ever murder someone and then have it covered up, you should probably have known the answer was “because the government.” See, Richard Nixon tried and failed to have Lennon deported because the Beatles frontman was spreading antiwar rhetoric to his millions of fans. The link, according to Lightfoot, is that Chapman and King look eerily similar. As you can see, they do bear some resemblance if you squint enough, but so do Stephen Hawking (as portrayed by Eddie Redmayne) and I. If you’re down and want to read more, you can check out a 24-page booklet with more information for the low price of $5 on Lightfoot’s website.

It’s important to remember that everything you read on the Internet is definitely true. The X-Files is a documentary, Beyoncé was never pregnant, and we’re all part of an elaborate multiverse that we only notice when we have deja vu. Open your eyes, sheeple. The truth is out there.

Photos via Weird Al Yankovic, Twitter, United States Government, Youtube, Brazil, and Steve Lightfoot. 

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