Throughout history, unexplained events — hell, even thoroughly explained ones — haven’t been immune to skepticism. And when it comes to skepticism on the Internet, an idea can become a long-standing conspiracy theory overnight.
Given the Internet’s massive influence, some of these theories are downright ridiculous, but they remain stronger than ever. Here are five bizarre online ideas that just don’t really hold up under scrutiny…
Katy Perry = JonBenét Ramsey?
With the 1996 murder of JonBenét Ramsey still unsolved, the case has been subjected to plenty of speculation. The newest not only ties Ramsey to Katy Perry, but suggests the late 6-year-old is the singer. Lol.
This theory is multifaceted, but in essence, some strange folks believe that Ramsey was never murdered and that she grew up to become the pop star. And that both knew the words to “God Bless America” — kind of a stretch.
The Kernel breaks this whole thing down further, reporting that believers argue that Perry’s parents resemble Keith Hudson and Mary Perry, that Ramsey has hauntingly similar features as Perry (shown in the video above), and that her death by strangulation is a tell-tale sign that Masonic forces were at play. Seems reasonable.
Sandy Hook = A Hoax?
One of the more controversial Internet theories questions the validity of the Sandy Hook Massacre. Soon after the tragedy claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, some folks began floating the idea that the incident was carried out by Adam Lanza, but that the others involved were “crisis actors” who were working to promote anti-gun rhetoric.
Some thought that news stations’ confusion following the massacre indicated that the entire thing was staged. One of their main points is that it was reported that a Bushmaster version AR-15 rifle was used during the shooting yet also found in the trunk of the car. Snopes pointed out that this was quickly cleared up and that it was actually a shotgun located in the car.
Some of the sicker concepts pushed forward included questioning how Lanza could have shot that many frantic young children given their speed, and that President Obama took photos with one of Sandy Hook victims a few days after the shooting (video above). While many dismiss the whole thing as hogwash, a few higher-profile people, including an Oregon Sheriff and a Florida college professor, made headlines for buying into the theory.
Chemtrails = Sinister Tool Of The Government?
With more airplanes in the sky than ever, seeing vapor trails up there is pretty common. Well, most of us believe it’s a vapor, but in this day and age even that reality isn’t safe from scrutiny. Some believe planes’ contrails are actually dispersing chemicals created by the government, which control the weather, electromagnetic waves — and even our minds. Proponents call this “vapor” chemtrails, and it’s basically this generation’s water fluoridation conspiracy theory.
Though this theory began online in the ’90s, it’s made a resurgence in the last few years. Looking at any comment section involving this phenomenon and you’ll see no shortage of the words “shill” or “sheep.” And if you go deeper, you’ll see how those enlightened people combat chemtrails: by spraying vinegar into the sky.
Despite the chemtrail hysteria, it is the butt of a ton of jokes. In 2014, VICE told the story of Chris Bovey, whose plane had to make an emergency stop. Prior to landing, the plane let off some fuel to lighten the load, as shown in the video above. Bovey sold the video as proof of chemtrails … and theorists ate it up. “It’s a lack of basic scientific understanding,” he commented. “It’s [chemtrails] just completely debunked. There’s zero evidence—zilch.”
Malaysia Airlines MH-17 = Malaysia Airlines MH-370?
In March 2014, Malaysia Flight MH-370 disappeared over the South China Sea with 239 people on board. Months later in July, 298 people were killed in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 when it was shot down in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, 30 miles from the Ukraine-Russia border.
A combination of factors, including the fact that the crashes involved the same airline, the reality that MH-370 was never recovered in full, and how close the two incidents occurred helped birth the conspiracy that MH-370 is MH-17. It’s believed that officials smuggled MH-370, transformed it into a MH-17, then made it explode to frame Eastern Ukrainian rebels. And the victims? They were already dead before the plane went down. And why would this whole thing be carried out? For the U.S. and Ukraine to garner public support against the rebels. And if you want to delve into it more, it has to do with the ever-imminent World War III.
And one recent development has dealt this theory a huge blow: that this weekend a piece of MH-370 might have been recovered off the coast of Mozambique. And Australian officials confirmed its location is consistent with drift theory.
Tupac Is Alive … And In Cuba?
If the Katy Perry/JonBenét Ramsey theory wasn’t a big enough doozy, here’s another: Tupac is alive, and he’s living it up in Cuba.
Fans believe the late rapper has let us in on this secret through his music and brief public appearances. A week after being shot, Tupac died in September, 1996 of internal bleeding. After his death, his mother Afeni Shakur commented, “In the end, [Tupac] chose to leave quietly,” which some people took to mean that he knowingly left the public spotlight.
What helps fan the flames is that the rapper’s aunt, Assata Shakur, has asylum in the county since 1984. “As the rapper began to re-emerge last year—anticipating Obama’s move to open diplomatic channels to Cuba before the end of his presidency—Tupac put monetary safeguards in place,” Gawker’s Blackbag wrote. And to keep financially sound, the very alive Tupac sells his audio rights to record labels to this day. It’s…possible?