What Lies Below, Day Fifty Five

Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”

6 min readApr 30, 2021
Poorly drawn MS Paint image depicting items from the article

Welcome back! This is What Lies Below, a daily(more or less) drop of 13 items from the night-endless “Conspiracy Iceberg” meme. There’s about 1100 items on the version I’m working with(the most ‘complete’ one I’m aware of) that are split into 20 tiers. We’re just about halfway through the tier list, and have finished more than 700 items so far!

REX 84 — “Readiness Exercise 1984”. This was a real thing! They even put the ‘1984’ in the name! We make jokes here, but I mean sometimes the conspiracies are really this cartoonish! This was a thing that ‘came out’ in the 80s but who knows how many earlier iterations of it there were. It was a plan on detaining large numbers of US citizens that were “security threats” due to subversive behavior Real bad! They still have plans like this!

ONEWORLDNESS — So this seems to come from a paper by Emily Apter, which suggests the term as a way people(especially conspiracy theorist types) see the world. Kind of paranoia but not quite. It helps people tie together all the things going on around the world into a single unified theory; and the increase of social media and 24/7 news has helped this along. I suppose you could apply this to those people who not only think every single disaster, election, celebrity death, etc are conspiracies but think they are all part of one larger plot.

A black computer screen with old school green text listing “CAIMEO AI” in ascii art and spelling out that it is classified.
Proof of CAIMEO, allegedly.

CAMIEO — As spelled, this is a cosmetics brand. I think they mean “CAIMEO”, which is on online urban legend. This has been around for several years, based on screenshots and logs that will get posted here and there — but there seems to be a recent uptick in interest. Anyway, CAIMEO is allegedly a very advanced AI that ‘lives’ somewhere in the deepweb and can be communicated with. As with a lot of deepweb legends, stories and even screenshots will appear from time to time but the trail of evidence is generally pretty ephemeral. It’s possible that the recent interest is a result of people interested enough in the old legends to actually try and create a chatbot ai that can do what CAIMEO supposedly does.

185 PTERODACTYLE — I really don’t know. This led to a delightfully old school Angelfire website about a military outfit that served in Vietnam. The site seems to just be what it looks like, and hasn’t been updated in a decade. I can’t find any cryptids that seem to fit, so I don’t know what to tell ya!

MEREOLOGICAL NIHILISM — Just kind of a weird philosophy, not that far-out. But okay! Uh, so you think the phone or computer in front of you is made of a bunch of various parts — circuitboards, glass, plastic, etc. And those things are made of smaller parts, on and on down to quarks and maybe beyond. But if you followed this philosophy, no, that’s just a sort of lump of quarks in your hand that has caused you to perceive it as a phone — but no such “composite” item actually exists.

What appears to be a screen capture from surveillance footage. It is night. Cars are parked outside some sort of large building. In the lower center of the image there appears to be a thin “stick figure” shaped humanoid cast in shadow.
One of the images often associated with ‘Living Stick Figures’

LIVING STICK FIGURES — A sort of cryptid. They don’t always look like traditional stick men, but always appear to be flat, i.e. two-dimensional. This is not a particularly popular cryptid, but here and there you hear stories of sightings. Kind of like the ubiquitous ‘shadow people’ people see, but more clearly defined and flat. I’ve seen an alleged photo or two but they never seem terribly convincing.

ICBM DECOY — I don’t know. I mean, there are ‘decoy’ warheads on some ICBMs that separate to throw off ABMs(anti-ballistic missiles). But I think maybe what this is inferring is the occasionally suggested ‘ICBMs are fake’ idea. Just big hollow tubes we throw around for show as part of the “war is manufactured” theory.

BREATHARIANISM — You’ve probably heard of this crew. It’s basically exactly what you think it is. People who idealize and believe in the idea that, perhaps after a lot of work, you can get yourself to a point where you live without food or drink. Now, there are divisions within those who’d be called ‘breatharians’. Some think they manage on just air, but a lot more think it’s a sun-gazing thing where energy/light/prana/etc comes down from above and nourishes them. Sometimes this energy is coming from space aliens! People have died trying to do this! Most of the ‘leaders’ of various Breatharian communities get outed as frauds or just fade away. There’s a lot of halfway-breatharianism in the larger New Age community, though, where people say they supplement their diets with energy(sometimes they even suggest receiving it via exposing your butthole to the sun!).

DOOR DOGS — I suppose this counts as a cryptid type. A folklore thing from Africa and Europe that is basically a small pointy dog is seen following people around when they’re about to kick it. Generally, the soon-to-be-dead person cannot see the dogs and so only other folks see this bad omen.

MELONHEADS — United States urban legend that appears in various forms, usually in the rural areas of fairly boring states. The melonheads are, depending on your flavor, escaped patients of a psych ward or hospital, former orphans with some sort of disfigurement, mutants of some sort, or the result of deep inbreeding. They are unsurprisingly said to lurk somewhere near spooky, rural roads in the middle of nowhere — scaring or chasing people who come near. Pretty standard scary story stuff given larger life by the internet combining a lot of regional urban legends into a larger cohesive thing.

Old manuscript painting of a ship sitting on a fish-filled sea. Two sailors lower a clear barrel-shaped submersible by chains, in which a figure sits observing the ocean life.

ALEXANDER’S DIVING BELL — We think the ‘bathypshere’ didn’t show up until fairly recently in human history and allow humans to study underwater, but there are stories that Alexander the Great did it way earlier. There is writing from his time to suggest that very basic versions were used, i.e. a diving bell being basically a box full of air brought down with a person — trapping air in it for them. Seems pretty likely.

UFO WITNESS ‘SUICIDES’ — The whole ‘if anything happens to me, investigate it’ trope is big in every conspiracy theory corner. It’s no different with UFO people, where there is a somewhat higher than expected rate of suicides among people who’ve had direct contact with UFOs. Some people think the government is responsible, a smaller faction think it’s something the aliens are doing — i.e. a psychic connection forcing people into action, or a hidden ‘killswitch’ implanted in the people.

STAB WOUND FUCKING — I’m guessing this is some urban legend about something people saw on the Dark Web but I’m gonna go ahead and not google it. NEXT!

And on that uh, unique note, we are wrapping it up for today! 56 will be the last entry on the 10th tier, officially completing the first half of this incredible list.