What Lies Below, Day Five
Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”
Welcome back! I’m Rob, here to guide you wanderers of the weird down the ‘Conspiracy Iceberg’ that’s been floating around the shadowy corners of the web. I’ve come to learn that there are multiple versions of this particular iceberg, with most seemingly building on the last. The version I’m working with appears to be the definitive list, though, with jusssst about every strange and weird topic out there at least making a brief appearance. We’re still on Tier 1, which seems to be checking off most of the better-known and obligatory stuff before we really get into the gooey guts of it. As always, some items can touch on sensitive topics so consider that a content warning. And feel free to reach out for me if I got something wrong, if you’re an alien or vampire or something, or if you want me to come talk on your podcast! That’s right, I’m ready for the big time already and it’s only day five!
MYSTIC QABALAH — The Mystic/Hermetic Qabalah, which sounds like but is not quite the same as Jewish Kabbalah(although often used interchangeably), is an old occult philosophy that is extremely influential on most modern occult and magical practices today. Things like the Golden Dawn are based on it, where even things like Wicca draw upon it in various ways. Fairly well-known stuff like the Tree of Life and Tarot are big in Hermetic Qabalah, and it’s all very complex and regimented. As with any of this very high-minded ritual mysticism, it is very complicated and mixes all sorts of practices, forms of divination, forms of meditation, forms of magic, and so on. It’s more than just a religion or doing magic, but becomes a school of thought and discipline that combines just about everything. This isn’t a good format for talking about such a big complicated system, but it isn’t really a conspiracy — though elements of it appear in just about any occult practice or related theory.
RODS — Rods are sort of UFOs but also maybe spirits or paranormal lifeforms or anything else you want them to be, or also maybe just weird effects on photo or film. They aren’t usually considered ‘normal’ UFOs of the traditional sense, so they’re usually relegated to the interdimensional craft realm of discussion. They were once a hot topic when UFOlogy itself had a bigger market share of the conspiracy community, but now aren’t really a thing.
FLAT EARTH — You already know this one. Earth flat. Sometimes it’s just a disc with ice walls, sometimes it’s a huuuuge disc and we’re just one isolated ‘puddle’ of many. It often comes paired with other things like Creationism. Got a big surge of popularity of late because it became a meme that a bunch of people pretended to believe in, which caused other people to mock them, which created a sort of feedback loop. As long as adopting a belief guarantees someone some attention, even negative attention, there will always be people who will structure their life around them. There’s plenty of good docs out there on this and I don’t need to spend more time on it. NEXT!
LOST CIVILIZATIONS — This could be anything from Atlantis and/or Lemuria to entire eras of humanity(or human-like life) that rose and fell, either concurrently with our own or before what we consider civilization even got started. This can also refer to less conspiratorial subjects such as the Mayan Empire. Lost Civilizations are often associated with Ancient Alien theories, and they’re often thought to have had advanced technology that was either later discovered by us or lost and only reinvented centuries later. Too broad to get into here, but I’m willing to bet a lot of specific ones will pop up further down the iceberg.
PAUL IS DEAD — Old urban legend suggesting that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced. People believed the Beatles were hiding clues in their lyrics and album artwork, such as Paul being barefoot and a little different on the Abbey Road cover. The Beatles management said it was all nonsense but the Beatles themselves were probably far from above purposefully goofing with people. For a relatively small conspiracy that grew before an internet hive-mind could work on it, this one has a surprising amount of “evidence”.
QUANTUM IMMORTALITY — Hoo boy. Alright, so think about Shcroedinger’s Cat: the idea that there’s a 50/50 chance a cat sealed in a box is alive or dead, so it theoretically exists as both. Now pretend you’re in that box and there’s a 50/50 chance it’ll kill you. Some version of you always survives, and will always survive, and therefore you become in a sense immortal. It’s a thought experiment and I’m explaining it badly, sue me. Interpretations of quantum science pop up a lot in modern metaphysics, or as justification for the way UFOs or even magic work. This is the kind of thing that high people love to watch Joe Rogan go “whoah, huh. wow man” about but it isn’t really a conspiracy.
BILDERBERG — ‘The Bilderberg Group’ is a gathering of super-elites who occasional get together to make determinations about how to steer the planet. And that may sound like standard conspiracy-illuminati boilerplate, but it’s a real thing! It gets its name from the hotel they first met at in the 50s and, yes, they are still doing it today! Royalty, CEOs, powerful politicians, influential media figures, etc — they all go into a super secure room once a year and have secret meetings and then leave and pretend to hate one another again! It’s super fucked and they do it right in front of us! THEY’RE LAUGHING AT US!
Obviously the Bilderberg Group is the source of roughly a million conspiracy theories from every corner. Even people without conspiratorial mindsets get a bad whiff from it. There aren’t many NWO/Illuminati theories out there that don’t somehow consider the Bilderberg Meetings as at least some part of it.
PIZZAGATE — A spiritual successor to Satanic Panic for the modern internet age, and an immediate precursor and parent-conspiracy to Qanon. While pizzagate didn’t just crawl out of the ground fully formed one day, it more or less coagulated into what we know it as in 2016~. John Podesta got hacked and people dug through his emails and came to the reasonable assumption that they were full of coded messages suggesting he was part of a giant pedophile ring which was based at least partially in a Washington D.C. pizza place named “Comet Pizza”. All sorts of conspiracy theorists, trolls, and far-right people jumped on it for reasons ranging from genuine belief to “for the lols” and it snowballed with alarming speed. Someone even went to the pizza place with a rifle and took a shot or two, not to mention an endless tide of death threats and harassment aimed at anyone who could be even tenuously associated with it(and eventually, aimed at anyone the conspiracy theorists didn’t like on a given day).
Pizzagate became so big that it began to collapse in on itself, but the “massive pedo ring” core ideology survived and became a massive part of Qanon doctrine, evolving in some factions to include Satanic Ritual Abuse, cannibalization, adrenachrome addiction, and so on. A brief-lived ‘Save The Children’ hashtag appeared during the 2020 election season which was functionally identical to pizzagate but now the accusations included children being secretly shipped in furniture boxes by online retailer Wayfair. Pizzagate is going to be with us in one way or another for a very long time.
MULTIVERSE — I hope you’ve gathered by now that I’m not equipped to break down all the quantum theory behind multiverses. A lot of very smart people think they’re possible or even definite, and either they are things that are basically other dimensions or are just other universes like ours that all inhabit the same larger ‘space’. Sometimes conspiracy theories touch on multiverse theory when it comes to UFOs, but honestly they usually don’t get this far out. It’s too broad to really do any justice to on here; enough with these giant overarching concepts!
BIBLE CODE — The ‘official’ Bible Code is the original Hebrew text of the Torah supposedly predicting future events. Over time, this definition has sort of loosened as more and more bits of the Bible have been claimed to contain codes by one group or another. The Bible Code isn’t so much hidden meanings behind words, as it is coded sequences and placement of letters — i.e. the fifth letter of every paragraph, or every 10th letter on a page, etc. A lot of people are REALLY into Bible Code, and it’s one of those rare conspiracies that often is held by people who are otherwise not really into conspiracy stuff at all. As with most of these kinds of things, if there’s enough letters on a page and enough pages with letters, you can eventually work backward to force the math to at least draw one vaguely-correct ‘prediction’ out of it.
ALEISTER CROWLEY — Aleister Crowley was and remains the most famous occultist of modern history, even though he was at his peak all the way back in the early 1900s. He’s kind of hard to explain, and people are divided on him. Sometimes he’s described as an arrogant showman who was like a magic-themed cross of Jordan Peterson and Rasputin, sometimes he was a rock n’ roll occultist who occasionally took breaks from drugs and sex to write heavy philosophy and form new religions. He was extremely prolific, and his fingerprints are still clearly visible on virtually the entire modern occult ‘community’, far beyond just his own religion of Thelema. There’s probably an OTO(Ordo Templi Orientis) near you if you live near any population center, in fact. He led a hell of an interesting life and there’s more than enough articles, videos, etc out there if you’d like to know more. As far as conspiracies, he’s linked to just about any of them that involve secret societies or magic or the like; it’s hard to unravel the man from the myth these days. While he definitely was genuinely into this kind of thing, he also was not above playing up certain things for the press — and the press/populace was happy to go into histrionics every time he did anything.
I don’t know why this tickles me, but his ashes are buried in New Jersey. It’s kind of perfect. Maybe that’s why Jersey has the most weird stuff by square foot of any state. But I digress!
IRAQ FOR OIL — Unless there’s some secret meaning I couldn’t find, this just suggests the war in Iraq was started for oil. Which is what happened. NEXT!
SKINWALKERS/GOATMEN — ‘Skinwalkers’ are a retelling of Navajo folklore that has slowly but surely become a sort of cryptid/urban legend. The original folklore is fairly complex, but the version that has been popularized in modern conspiracy culture is a person(or sometimes an entity) that can either turn into or possess animals. They are powerful, spooky, scary, and generally evil. There is a place in Utah called ‘Skinwalker Ranch’ which is well known for UFO sightings and somehow got the name attached as a result. As of now, some rich guy owns it and has it totally locked off for no apparent reason — as one does.
Goatmen are not the same thing, but online ‘creepypasta’ culture has kind of lumped them together. Goatmen are more akin to some kind of fae, insofar as most folklore goes, than anything else. Unless, of course, this means ‘Goatman’ — which is the name given to any number of cryptids who look exactly like you’d expect and pop up in various U.S. States.
That’s all for today. We’re slowly getting through Tier 1, and also almost through all the obligatory well-known stuff and things that are so broad as to defy fair description. See you tomorrow!