What Lies Below, Day Thirty Eight
Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”
Welcome back to What Lies Below! I’m Rob, the ‘Conspiracy Iceberg’ is a massive meme of 1,100+ increasingly obscure and strange topics, and we’re covering the whole thing 13 at a time. Today we’re in the Seventh of Twenty tiers, so let’s get started.
ALIEN ABDUCTION=BIRTH/ABORTION TRAUMA — This one kind of explains itself for me, huh? Occasionally someone pitches the idea that people’s alien-abduction stories are a sort of primordial repressed memory of birth or time in the womb, but re-interpreted and filtered by their mind and sort of shoved to the surface. Not a widespread belief.
WRECK OF THE TITAN — ‘The Wreck of the Titan’ by Morgan Robertson was originally named ‘Futility’ and was published in 1898. It was a short novel about a massive cruise ship named the ‘Titan’ that hit an iceberg and sank. The Titanic sailed and sank in 1912(after which, “Futility” was renamed and rereleased as “Wreck of the Titan” to capitalize). Pretty wild! He even predicted a lot of stuff about the size of the ship, how certain things would work on it, etc. Robertson claimed not to have any precognition or anything, just that he knew a lot about ships. There are so many books written every year that I guess now and then this sort of thing is bound to happen, but this still seems like…wayyyy past the coincidence line.
ORIGINAL “JEFF” — This is a mix of Lost Media and Internet Legend, I suppose. ‘Jeff The Killer’ is the main character of some very early and well-known ‘creepypasta’(online scary stories) that first started appearing probably around 2008~ somewhere. As with most of these characters, he appears in various stories by various authors and so he is re-interpreted from time to time. That said, he’s basically a spooky serial killer with a revolving assortment of special powers. The image associated with these stories is a heavily edited photo of someone with a Joker-style smile and very round, odd eyes.
It’s not so much the character or stories that this is about though, I don’t think. Eventually, a real mystery spawned around all this: where the hell the photo had come from. People claimed it was a photoshopped image of a teen girl that had been used to bully her, but that story may have been entirely made up. A guy claiming to have been the originator of the stories claimed to have just done it with a mask. Other people did examinations of the photo and what were allegedly other, less-edited versions of it, and found what they believe is the original person it was made from — but never figured out who that was. Later, the image was found to have first appeared not with the creepypasta but in some Japanese youtube video a year earlier — but no one seems sure where the video took it from. The mystery goes on!
Folks love mysteries like this because like, it feels like with enough work you MIGHT just be able to figure it out yourself. You get to flex your internet-detective skills guilt free, and it’s big time clout if you can figure out something like this.
KATY PERRY=JONBENET-RAMSAY — We’ve had enough of these by now that you know the drill. This one is pretty popular, though. It has all the usual stuff — photographs with pictures drawn on them, vague timelines, age discrepancies, you name it. Why was this done? As usual, something about using her as a brainwashing agent and making money. Sometimes these track better than others, this one really doesn’t.
FLATLAND UFO THEORY — At first I thought maybe this was a typo of ‘Flatwood’, the small town involved in one of the better-known UFO/Alien sightings. But I don’t think it’s that; seems too big of a typo and the wording suggests this is its own(more obscure) thing. There is a book from the late 1800s called ‘Flatland’ which takes place in a completely 2-dimensional world. When characters encounter a 3-dimensional sphere it blows their minds and they think it’s God or something. The idea is that the same thing might be happening when we see UFOs and similar phenomenon: these are things existing in who knows what dimension. They can intersect with our own, but not in a way we can really fathom or make sense of.
THE GIGA-FUND SCANDAL — So, if you google this there are a few things that come up. But I’m pretty sure it’s a specific thing all sourced from one old-school website that is just like pages and pages of somewhat hard-to-follow rambling. This is how most old school conspiracies worked. It was great. It was like a filter; if you didn’t have the fortitude to make it through 10,000 words you didn’t get to play.
The theory is all over the place, CIA and the Bushes and the Clintons and 9/11 and somewhere in there a great many billion dollars are fabricated and moved around. I honestly can’t do it justice. It’s peak early-2000s conspiracy stuff. I’m going to link it here. Right click it and open it in another tab and read it for yourself. I don’t see it referenced much anymore, but it stands as a testament. http://studimonetari.org/u/articoli/thegigafundscandal.htm
LOST RUSS MEYER AND RAY HARRYHAUSEN COLLAB — Lost media piece. This one…I really don’t know. There is an allegedly a collaboration between these two called “Prehistopless”. There’s a poster floating around, but everything I can find about this sources to 4chan discussing this item’s placement on the iceberg. I can’t find much more than that, be it searching the film title or alleged quotes about it or anything else. It’s possible; this kind of weird little film was made all the time. But one would think that some clip or scrap would have surfaced by now.
THOUGHT REFORM TOTALISM — A book published in the 60s by Robert Lifton, dealing with mind control. But like, less a hypnosis metaphysical sort and more a brainwashing/propaganda sort. It was written mostly throughout the 50s and was largely targeted at alleged Chinese tactics, both toward their own citizens and outsiders. It details various criteria, defining them and giving examples. A lot of it is what you’d expect: control the environment and all input, create what appears to be mystical/religious phenomenon that conform to your message, use specific jargon, etc. A lot of the things detailed are used by cults. The book also originated the ‘thought terminating cliche’, which is a commonly used and believed thing that people will just reflexively say to dismiss wrong thinking. These tactics appear all over the place and, while Lifton’s targeting of China was well-timed with US anti-communism hysteria, they are carried out by every government, by large corporations, religious structures, cults, even social cliques. The terminology is now so widespread that everyone accuses everyone else of it all the time regardless of ideology or issue.
RHIZOMES — A rhizome is a plant with widespread, creeping horizontal roots that will interweave with one another and create large networks. They’re common and not particularly weird; I think this is here because there’s a philosophical train of thought based on them. Rhizome thinking is (I may be goofing this up, do not yell at me!) about finding all the weird and non-intuitive ways things can be connected. Think of the stereotypical wall in a conspiracy theorist’s home, covered in newspaper clippings and pictures and things with strings and circles connecting stuff. It may make no apparent sense in traditional hierarchies to connect some song lyrics, the weather, and a plane crash together — but there may be a rhizomatic connection.
TIMECUBE — It’s about TIME this was on the list! OH ho ho ho, ah hah hah hah-
Anyway, Timecube was an O.G. of the weird website genre and stuck around for some time. It was famously incomprehensible and disjointed; a series of seemingly endless pages absolutely packed with text and images related to the author’s all-encompassing theory of time, space, the universe, and everything. Otis Eugene Ray started it up in the late 90s and never gave up on his theories; passing away only a few years ago.
The basic gist of Timecube is that time doesn’t work the way we think it does and virtually everyone and everything is in on the conspiracy. What we call a day is actually four distinct days, for example. But it also touched physics, philosophy, and a lot of other things. Ray was a true believer through and through, and over the years got enough renown for this site that he would speak at universities and even attracted fans. I can’t do the whole saga justice, but there are videos and articles out there that really lay it all out.
The Timecube site unfortunately went down shortly after Ray died; but it is backed up and archived in various places so a quick google will bring you to it if you’re curious. It’s worth a look; TimeCube is a piece of internet and conspiracy history.
DEEPWEB BOXES — You’re probably familiar with ‘mystery boxes’ that became all the rage online. You’d pay X amount to a company and they’d send you a sealed box of whatever goodies the company was into, be it cosmetics or video game stuff or toys or just about anything. Some were more niche than others, but the trend itself was extremely popular and created a huge secondary trend of YouTubers doing unboxing videos of these things.
Then there’s the ‘Deepweb’: a large portion of the internet invisible and inaccessible to standard search engines and browers; you can only access it through specialized software like TOR. It’s a sketchy, weird place where anonymity is key and urban legends are boundless. It’s perhaps best known for the availaibility of…well, basically anything money can buy can be bought there — regardless of legality or morality.
Enter the Deepweb Boxes. These are mystery boxes allegedly sold by people on the DeepWeb, and videos started popping up on YouTube of people unboxing these — sometimes complete with spooky stories about how they picked up the box at some creepy location. These boxes are full of all kinds of weird stuff: bloody clothes, tools, unknown pills/powders, items like phones and tablets, stuff with occult imagery on it, etc. Honestly, most of it feels real fake. Now whether the video itself is fake or the items are just made to look spooky when in reality they’re random junk, who knows.
That being said, genuine weird and bad things do happen on the Deepweb and it is absolutely possible someone hanging out there would sell a box like this with genuine nasty shit in it. I just feel like it wouldn’t end up on some overly dramatic youtube video with 5m views.
FBI DID THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING — This one kind of explains itself, huh? The main gist is that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had a lot of contact with the FBI prior to the Boston bombing and may have been, among other things, an informant. Tsarnaev’s movements in the years leading up to the event, including expensive flights for an unemployed young man, raise some questions — and the FBI had contact with him as early as two years prior to the event. This contact increased as time went on. From there forward, it’s largely conjecture: did he crack under pressure, was he knowingly carrying out orders, was he tricked into carrying it out, etc.
PHANTOM KANGAROO — There have been a multitude of phantom kangaroo sightings all over the world, and the name is a bit misleading. It’s more a suggestion of kangaroos appearing where they shouldn’t be, not ghost kangaroos. Which is a bummer. This has happened in Europe, Asia, and the US. Often it happens in tight clusters, which lends credibility to the idea of escaped pets/performance animals. Some of the sightings have been pretty legitimate, and photos/videos do appear online sometimes. If you encounter a kangaroo, do not goof around. They will mess you up. Seriously, kangaroos are bad news and will kick your ass.
This was a fun one. The Timecube definitely deserves a seat on the iceberg, as does that weird JeffTheKiller story. I think we’re still in the realm where most “I’m into weird stuff” people are familiar with most of this, but slowly getting deeper.