What Lies Below, Day Two

Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”

Poorly made MS Paint drawing showing crude representations of items from the article.

Hello! I’m Rob, a student of the strange who may have gotten in over his head. The “Conspiracy Iceberg” is a list of 1,100+ increasingly odd and obscure cryptids, legends, theories, and other odd things. I’m going to do a baker’s dozen a day until we’ve finished the whole damn thing. As a blanket content warning: I avoid grisly details, but some of the theories on the iceberg deal with sensitive topics. As always, reach out to yell at me if I get something wrong or you have something new to share — from time to time even I won’t know or be able to dig anything up about a topic!

CREATIONISM — Specific details may vary from person to person, but the idea that the Earth was created more or less as-is a relatively short time ago(usually about 6,000 years). This is virtually always attached to a corresponding religious belief, most famously Christianity. Creationism almost always contains other conspiracies to prop it up, like saying fossils are all fake and planted by Satan and/or the Illuminati. Flat Earthers are often Creationists. A significant amount of people who are in charge of nuclear weapons and government budgets also believe this, or are willing to pretend to for votes.

MANDELA EFFECT — This is a false memory writ large, a phenomenon in which a lot of people share a specific memory that isn’t accurate. The ‘mandela effect’ example that made the most waves online is the Berenstain Bears/Berenstein Bears: a series of children’s books lots of people remember as being spelled ‘Berenstein’ despite it being ‘Berenstain’. While this could just be because ‘-stein’ is a much more common thing and a lot of young brains just made the mistake before mostly forgetting about it, lots of people decided it was actually proof there was a merging of universes or split timelines or, my personal choice, simulation theory. Another well known case is people remembering Shaq starring in a movie called ‘Shazaam’, when the title was actually ‘Kazaam’.
The Mandela Effect is more popular than you might think. It’s pretty close to reaching mainstream-level fame and there are whole online communities dedicated to “discovering” and analyzing them.

This is only the first 25%. We’ve got a long way to go, friends.

SINGULARITY — The Singularity is hard to define because what actually happens when we reach it is mostly just speculation. The concept is that technology is continuing to advance at an exponential rate, and at some point this will get so fast and advanced that it…well, does SOMETHING wild. Usually, the Singularity involves some sort of ascension of humanity into a higher form of life that leaves behind our organic nature as we merge with technology and technology itself becomes indistinguishable from magic. On the other hand, sometimes the singularity is the beginning of a Matrix scenario or some other thing in which AIs wipe us out. The Singularity is a bit of a moving goalpost, generally always about ~25 years away.

MH370 — Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was a passenger plane that went down March 8, 2014 with about 250 people on board. The resulting search was a huge media circus, but the plane was never found aside from a very little bit of debris that washed up on the shores of the Indian Ocean. This has led to so many conspiracy theories that it would need a whole article to break them down. The leading ones are: hijacked by virtually everyone from ISIS to North Korea, captured by the US and landed at Diego Garcia or shot down by the US near there, ‘vanished’ as part of an acquisition of valuable technology/passengers, brought down purposefully by the crew, shot down by Iran, was actually the plane shot down over Ukraine later that year, temporal/spacial anomaly, and of course aliens.

HYPNOSIS SELF HELP — Not really a conspiracy. Self Hypnosis is a popular self-help tactic used for things like weight loss or quitting bad habits. Think meditation but with a purpose in mind, so basically energy-work/magic for people who don’t want to sound weird at parties.

UFOs- I mean, what do you want from me here? Unidentified Flying Objects, usually thought of as alien ships but sometimes referring to experimental human aircraft, time-travelers or interdimensional vessels, even sometimes as distinct life forms.

SUCCUBI — Kind of loving that this list jumps from something as plain and mainstream as UFOs to something as out-there as Succubi. And this is only the first tier! Succubi are either demons or spirits depending on your preference, but are always female and usually use sex to either gain power or feed or kill. The reason it’s on this list, I’m guessing, is that trying to figure out how to summon a succubus is a very popular pastime in paranormal/occult forums that aren’t tightly moderated. It often has a veneer of shitpost on it, but they will throw together some half-ass rituals, sigils, and even research into specific variations of succubus folklore and myth. Stories abound of some fledgling occultist who claims to have caught the attention of a succubus and is now suffering the consequences. So if you ever think a fictional work is too silly for having someone summon something they know will try to kill them, I assure you it’s more accurate than you’d think. As with virtually any type of entity with a demon-flavor to it, there’s also a requisite theory that the Vatican and other religious institutions secretly do battle with them all the time.

ORBS — Sometimes Orbs can refer to the little glowing spots you’ll see in photographs. Some think these are evidence of spiritual activity. I’m guessing this meme is referring to the UFO-flavored Orbs, however. These UFOs appear, as you might expect, like glowing orbs of light or energy. Orb-UFOs are usually thought to be more interdimensional things or even living entities, as opposed to traditional starships.

CHEMTRAILS — Those lines you see left behind planes are in fact a nefarious alchemical mix of any number of things. The chemtrails may or may not be meant to sterilize, feminize, or sicken us. A lot of conspiracy theories are really worried about us being “feminized”, by the way. Someone might think that’s kind of revealing about people who worry about it, but I’m no expert! Chemtrails may also be part of experiments, may be meant to dumb us down, may be used to make us docile, you name it. Chemtrails are usually just one ingredient of a larger conspiracy; a tool operated by various shadowy Powers That Be in order to conduct whatever bad thing is happening. This isn’t to say the US government is above spraying bacteria over a major city without informing the public, though, which is exactly what they did to San Francisco in the 50s. For real! Whoops!

A police-sketch style image of a man’s face, asking “Ever Dream This Man?”
A police-sketch style image of a man’s face, asking “Ever Dream This Man?”

‘THIS MAN’ — Better known as ‘Have You Ever Dreamed This Man?’, a meme attached to a police-sketch style drawing of a man’s face. This first appeared via a website in the late 00’s and quickly became big on imageboards and forums; it’s managed to hold some traction ever since even though it was sorta-kinda-but-not-100% revealed to be a hoax by one of the people running the website. The story goes that a psychologist drew a composite sketch of an anonymous man some of his patients had seen while dreaming, and the theories as to what he is and why he’s there spin out from there. It exists in conspiracy/paranormal forums now as basically a meme, or a way to troll newbies.

RIPPEROLOGY — This is just the term for people who study Jack The Ripper. Not to say there aren’t conspiracies about who he was, of course. People say he’s been everything from a demon to a royal(but I repeat myself, wakka wakka), though most of them have been pretty solidly debunked.

BIBLICAL ALIENS — No standard version of the bible talks about aliens, but some interpret stories of angels and demons and other supernatural phenomenon to really be talking about them. This often but not always ties into ‘Ancient Aliens’ theories.

HOLLOW EARTH — The less popular sibling of Flat Earth, Hollow Earth has a lengthy history. Sometimes the hollow inside contains places like Atlantis or Shamballa, sometimes it is the inspiration for various religious underworlds, and sometimes aliens live there. There are various indigenous people with folklore suggesting subterranean origins of their people, too. There are a lot of variations of Hollow Earth — everything from it being entirely hollow to being riddled with caverns and tunnels. Some say we actually live on the inner concave surface of the planet. There’s been a surprising amount of papers and books and even ‘expeditions’ based around this theory.

That’s all for today; see you tomorrow!

Day One ← → Day Three