Updated: Feb 3
The Illuminati, associated with the pyramid and an eye in the middle, is sometimes used to explain government conspiracy theories. Starting during the Revolutionary War, it is often used by theorists to explain away unusual or bizarre scenarios.
By Tara Bailey
-Did you Know-
→ Did you know the definition of conspiracy theory is a belief that some covert influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event? It’s defined easily, but the levels of conspiracy theories are vast. Some conspiracies can be viewed as logical, harmless, while others will send you down the rabbit hole, and many conspiracies will leave you stuck in the sunken place.
Who are the manufacturers of conspiracy theories? Easy enough to ask, harder to pinpoint because conspiracies have been around since man created fire. Who are the people susceptible to believing in conspiracy theories?
Research by Josh Hart, associate professor of psychology, suggests that people with certain personality traits and cognitive styles are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. The research was published in the Journal of Individual Differences. According to Hart, "These people tend to be more suspicious, untrusting, eccentric, needing to feel special, with a tendency to regard the world as an inherently dangerous place."
He also stated, “By and large, people gravitate toward conspiracy theories that seem to affirm or validate their political views. Republicans are vastly more likely than Democrats to believe the Obama ‘birther’ theory or climate change is a hoax. Democrats are more likely to believe that Trump's campaign ‘colluded’ with the Russians.”
→ Did you know Pittsburgh is home to a 60-year-old conspiracy theory? The B-25 mystery ghost bomber.
A 15-foot-high, medium bomber goes missing in the 20-foot-deep Monongahela River and the plane wreckage is never recovered. Pittsburghers ask how could this be? Conspiracy theories suggest the bomber carried dangerous cargo for the U.S. military and they retrieved the plane under the cover of night.
Another theory placed the bomber as transport for a UFO from Area 51. Despite organized searches and hi-tech sonar scanners, the B-25 “Ghost Bomber” remains a hometown conspiracy theory.
→ Did you know an unusual phenomenon where a large group of people remembers something differently than how it occurred is called the Mandela Effect? It’s named after those who fervently believe Nelson Mandela died in prison when he didn’t.
For example, many youths who grew up in the 1990s would testify that a movie called “Shazaam” starring the comedian Sinbad as a blue genie was real movie. Today, those same kids are adults and insist they can recall what the actors looked like in movie advertisements and what the VHS cover looked like. Yet, nobody can locate a physical copy of the supposed flick.
→ Did you know some of the most popular conspiracies relate to government cover-ups and elaborate murder plots?
What’s your take on some of these commonly speculated theories?
• James Earl Ray recanted his confession of his alleged role in murdering Martin Luther King Jr. Ray claimed his confession was forced and that the FBI and CIA were the masterminds behind King’s death.
• Speculation circulated after 9/11 says it was an inside job orchestrated by the Bush Administration.
• Well-known rapper Tupac Shakur did not die in 1996 and instead went into hiding in Cuba.
• Galileo was wrong, the earth is flat, and NASA knows it.
• Elvis Presley sightings fuel conspiracies that he did not die but went into hiding.
• Cuba’s Fidel Castro conspired to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.