What Lies Below, Day Fifty Seven

Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”

7 min readMay 7, 2021
Poorly drawn MS Paint image depicting items from the article

Hello! Since we’re halfway through the Iceberg, let’s recap: there are a number of memes called ‘the conspiracy iceberg’, each containing a varying assortment of increasingly bizarre and obscure urban legends, cryptids, conspiracies, and so on. I kept bumping into a huge one, to my knowledge the biggest version of it, with 1,100+ items split unevenly between 20 tiers. There are plenty of discussions online about them, but they’re scattershot or incomplete. So I, a longtime traveler in these odd spaces, thought I’d give it a shot.

These are bite-sized entries, not full writeups. I bang out 13 a day and I keep it brief. Some are duds, some I genuinely do not know/cannot find anything about. If I completely blow it on something, yell at me! If you know more about something, tell me! If you like a subject and want to learn more, go poke around — I bet some youtuber or writer has done it far more justice than I have. And, of course, if you’re an extra-terrestrial, dimensional traveler, possessor of ancient occult lore, or a vampire: please get in touch.

Let’s go!

A grassy path between lush shrubbery and trees leads to a stone sculpture with ornate carvings and inscriptions.

SHUGBOROUGH INSCRIPTION — Inscription on a monument in England. No one is sure what it means. It got dressed up in a bunch of Holy Grail stuff due to a sort of ‘speculative history’ book, but no one has been able to really figure out a hard link. Lots of folks still trying to solve this one after hundreds of years.

USENET RUMOR MILLS — Back when the internet was good, Usenet was our closest thing to social media. And folks, usenet ruled. If you remember the most chaotic days of Craigslist, amplify that significantly and replace about 75% of the ‘normal’ people with even more conspiracy nuts, computer nerds, and trolls. It was a wild place. It was Times Square or St Mark’s in 87' vs Times Square or St Mark’s in ’21. Anyway, there’s no specific ‘thing’ here, but Usenet churned out rumors about everything(especially the sort of things old school 80s nerds liked: star trek, computers, etc) and managed to get a lot of people to believe them. That’s it. Bring this back. Restore the internet to circa 1997 immediately.

CORPORATE BLOOD RITUALS — I have seen people talk about how behind successful corporations are serious occult phenomenon involving high-level rituals, sacrifices, etc. This can tie into the whole idea that branding, marketing, etc are just mega-sigils being worked upon us. Which, yeah maybe. Capitalism running on the blood of the exploited isn’t a particularly conspiratorial viewpoint, but this jazzes it up a little and it’s not like these rich assholes don’t wind up in weird cults and other activities.

HINDU MILK MIRACLE — In the 90s there was a big hubbub over statues of Ganesha in India allegedly ‘drinking’ offerings of milk. This became a big thing very quickly through word of mouth and lots of people tried to replicate it, with mixed results. It was explained away as capillary action and the craze faded pretty quickly — though new cases pop up now and then.

PORT ARTHUR COVER-UP — Port Arthur is the location in Tasmania where a guy named Martin Bryant did a mass shooting that killed 3 dozen people and wounded many more. This resulted in particularly strict gun control laws in Australia and naturally spawned the obligatory conspiracy theories. You know the drill by now: inside job perpetrated by shady government actors or a mind-controlled patsy in order to justify disarming the populace. The evidence is mostly speculation and conjecture, but it has its believers.

UNFAVORABLE SEMICIRCLE — A few years ago a YouTube channel popped up and started uploading a lot of videos very rapidly. They ranged from seconds to hours long, had random number titles, and were generally just distorted images or some pixels, set to either silence or weird sounds. People started digging into it and then it got suspended. It reappeared, then deactivated, and then reappeared yet again(though there’s debate about whether or not its still the real one). To this day there is still a community trying to discern what this was all about. It could be a test channel (like Webdriver Torso above) but doesn’t feel like it. If it was part of an ARG, no one ever found the connection.

DUDLEYTOWN — A small abandoned village in Connecticut. There isn’t anything inherently bizarre about it, but these sorts of places become very thick in urban legend and spooky stories in a hurry. Abandoned places in New England states are always wreathed in lore about satanic rituals and witch killings and hauntings and even some skinwalkers or cults; this one is no different. Unfortunately none of it is particularly juicy or substantial. I think maybe Dudleytown stands out because there aren’t as many of these in CT? Or there aren’t as many people in CT into weird stuff? Like, there are a hundred of these types of places in Jersey that are all thoroughly documented and no one online seems to ever mention them.

GRAND UNIFIED CONSPIRACY THEORY — I mean, this is just what it sounds like and honestly pretty common. There were always theorists who basically signed on to every single conspiracy they heard, but I think it’s fair to say that the majority sort of stuck to individual things or categories: flat earth, JFK, UFOs, etc. The internet started drawing all of these things together pretty quickly and for the first time made it possible to make some real money and gain some real clout by being all-in on everything. Qanon really pushed this forward in its attempt to be a big-tent theory that found a way to include virtually everything in its narrative at some point.
So anyway, in short: a conspiracy theory that wraps up everything into a single (often very convoluted) belief, putting the illuminati and UFOs and false-flag tragedies and time travel and flat earth and atlantis and so on all together. The old school conspiracy stereotype of a chain-smoking middle aged recluse with mirrored sunglasses and an unkempt beard tend not to be less into this than the newer bread of foo-foo new age facebook moms who manage to go from ‘yoga looks neat’ to complete 39th-dimension conspiracy theorist in a month somehow.

The third of four quarters of the conspiracy iceberg, hundreds of conspiracy topics are written on it and divided into five tiers.
We’re in the midst of the thickest bit right now, but we can almost see the light!

ANTIMEDICINE — Kind of vague but in general, again just what it sounds like. People take this to varying levels, obviously. You have your entry-level stuff like anti-vaxxers and the “dont take a pill for your headache, just smear this goop on your feet and chew this bark in a dark room for 3 hours” crowd, then you get into the “germ theory isnt real diseases dont exist” crowd, then the “medicine is actually the thing making you sick” crowd. There’s generally no singular thread among them beyond the idea that a nebulous bad guy is using varying types of medicine to either harm or exploit people. Again, kind of just people discovering how capitalism works via the longest and curviest road possible.

ETHNOPSYCHIATRY — Just a broad term for looking at how different cultures(past and present) looked at mental illness, how they treat it, and so on. There are corners of the new age and occult and conspiracy communities who will do this from time to time, i.e. certain mental illnesses are actually a sign of divine influence. Modern paranormal discussion areas sometimes almost romanticize certain conditions as being more akin to cool super powers than conditions to be treated.

FLOATING CITIES — A futurist idea in which, you guessed it, we’d make floating cities. The technology behind them varies but is usually something we haven’t quite figured out how to do yet. Sometimes they’re libertarian paradises free from any government, sometimes they’re an answer to overcrowding or environmental concerns, etc. Not really THAT weird to be this deep.

HEL-WOOD — A convoluted thing based on, as far as I can tell, just some old imageboard posting. “Hel” here referencing the Norse Goddess and also standing for Hollywood, because Hollywood is secretly the center of whichever sinister conspiracy you choose. Not much to dig into, unless I’m totally oblivious to another context.

FACIUS CARDAN’S VISITORS — Cardan was a 15th century smart guy who knew Da Vinci. According to him(or rather, a book from his son who Facius regularly told all this to), Facius hung out once with a bunch of glowing dudes(either aliens or spirits, depending on your opinion). The visitors were advanced, long-lived, and appeared in vaguely humanoid form. There’s a lot of questions remaining about it — with the usual split between people thinking it was just a scam or an attention-seeking ploy and people thinking it was some sort of alien projection or dimensional travelers.

Good mix today. Let’s see where the second half takes us, friends.