What Lies Below, Day Thirty Two

Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”

8 min readApr 1, 2021


Badly drawn MS Paint image depicting items from the article

Welcome back! We’re into Tier Six now, and it’s a good mix. Bodes well for the second quarter of the iceberg, I think. One item, the Despair Code, really shows how the little footprints and traces of things we leave behind online can shape conspiracies in the future — sometimes all but manifesting one out of conjecture about it; a chicken/egg thing.

BO WEAVIL JACKSON — He’s a Blues musician who had some very popular and inventive stuff out in the 20s that is still collected today. The weird thing is that no one is sure what his real name is — it could be Sam or James Butler, but that’s not confirmed. Likewise, no one knows where he was born or when. Even more, no one knows where or when he died. He was allegedly found playing music on the streets, cut some albums, and then just de-materialized. He’s not the only mysterious Blues musician from that era who no one can identify, either!

THE MACDOUGALL EXPERIMENTS, 1907 — Also the ’21 Grams Experiment’. Duncan McDougall was a doctor who wanted to see if the soul could be measured as a tangible thing. The means of testing this theory was measuring the weight of people as they died and seeing if there was some sudden loss. This wound up not really proving anything, but a single one of his cases did lose 21 grams — and so he decided that the soul weighed 21 grams, case closed. This hasn’t been accepted by the scientific or medical communities, but it managed to catch on somehow and is still a thing that pops up in pop culture here and there.

MACHIAN PRINCIPLE — This is genuinely Einstein-level stuff so, you know, don’t expect me to make much sense of it. This was an ingredient of the Theory of Relativity, and something Einstein didn’t come up with but rather used and named after another scientist. It has to do with relative inertia as it relates to mass and distance and I don’t know! I’m not an Einstein! This isn’t really a conspiracy but some people do adapt theories and principles like this into their interpretation of UFOs and dimensional travel and so on. Don’t yell at me!

“MARS EFFECT” — This is a theory that a statistically implausible amount of highly skilled athletes are born during the rising of Mars, in astrological terms. It mostly stems from one French psychologist whose methods of ‘proving’ this weren’t exactly airtight, but if you’re on the internet you know how people get about astrology. As a result, this is basically ‘known science’ to millions and millions and millions of people. And if you say you don’t believe it, they’ll just say “Oh that’s just like a [Whatever Astrological Sign You Are], pffft” and get like 500,000 likes and retweets for some reason.

Old, tattered manuscript page showing people in white robes and hats tending to writing of some sort
Depicting Manichean priests

MANICHEAN NARRATIVE — Manichaeism is a thousands-years old religion with heavy elements of Gnosticism(that one pops up a lot, doesn’t it?). Despite being something most people have never heard of now, it was a rival for Christianity in popularity at its peak (5th~ century or so A.D.) and lasted several centuries longer until being squashed or simply withering, depending on region. Manichaeism was very much a dualistic belief system, all about good vs evil with a lot of elements lifted from various things Mani, its founder, read or was allegedly told by spirits. In this belief, the traditional ‘God’ is still there but not quite omnipotent — and the Evil counterpart is equally powerful. It includes a great number of other Deities, including absorbing characters such as Jesus into the fold. It is gone now, aside from perhaps very small numbers of scattered followers who have rediscovered it online. When you see the term “Manichean Narrative” it is usually being used by some pundit or writer to define a situation being turned into a grand battle of good vs evil. For example, some politician trying to ban violent video games will be said to be creating a ‘Manichean Narrative’ when they say these games are pure evil and the work of the devil meant to brainwash kids. Most ‘Big’ conspiracy theories require a bit of this narrative — many Qanons are all about turning everything into a facet of a single massive battle of good and evil, for example.

SKELETON ON THE MOON — The story goes that in 1969, the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander team managed to take some pictures of a skeleton and a bare human footprint up there. This all stems from an article in a tabloid that cites a Chinese astrophysicist who may or may not even exist. This story takes little twists and turns when it is retold in different quarters, but it’s basically just the *rips bong, clicks on joe rogan, goes whoah* crowd rediscovering the sort of stuff that ran on tabloids every day before the internet.

Aerial shot of Dealey Plaza in Texas, showing a number of intersecting roads as traffic approaches large square buildings.
Dealey Plaza from above

DEALY PLAZA=MASONIC CRYPTO-TEMPLE — Dealey Plaza is the site in Dallas where JFK was shot, which you probably know. What you may not know is it was the site of the first Masonic Temple in Texas. If you dig around enough, you’ll find people who believe the assassination was not just some sort of political hit, but a ritual sacrifice conducted for nebulous reasons. This is one of those things that like only 100 people believe, but each of those people have written a 50,000 word thesis on it and will share it with you at every chance they get.

U.S. BOVINE POISONING IN IRAQ — In the mid-2000s, a rumor went around that US troops(or maybe one of our alphabet agencies) were going around poisoning cattle in Iraq. US sources dismissed this as nonsense, as just misidentifying other causes leading to herds dying off, or even as a propaganda device spread by militants. There isn’t exactly any hard evidence of this, but anyone who paid any attention whatsoever to our behavior in Iraq during that period has to at least consider it is exactly what happened.

MASONIC DOOMSDAY — This suggests that the founding of the US(signing of the Declaration of Independence, to be specific) was timed according to a really complex system regarding geology, the pyramids, metaphysical stuff, etc. Anyway, all time from that date forward breaks into even segments and lines up with every important event(not really, but you can always fudge the numbers to make it work). This normally doesn’t get talked about much and actual Masons don’t seem to care about it(or so they want us to think), but it’s probably on the iceberg because the whole thing isn’t just about segmenting time: it’s a countdown. And the end date is allegedly 2022. So, you know, keep that in the back of your mind.
Also a bitchin’ band name.

DESPAIR CODE — No matter what I say the Despair Code is, someone is going to think I got it 100% wrong. It is so open to interpretation, and conversation about it so muddled with uncertainty and trolling and purposeful misdirection, that you just have to judge for yourself. But you’re on my page so if you don’t have an opinion, feel free to use mine. What I’ve concluded is that it’s a joke that became a meme that became a real thing. Like if I put a pine cone in your pocket and say “That’s called SquimbleFizzing”, you’d say I’m stupid. But if you and twenty other people started doing the same thing, eventually SquimbleFizzing becomes a real thing and isn’t just some dumb thing I made up anymore. Follow?
Anyway, it’s entirely possible that this Iceberg(or an earlier, smaller incarnation) actually CREATED the Despair Code. How’s that for a paradox? The earliest mentions of it seem to be people seeing it listed and asking what it is, and then other people giving…a variety of answers. But then it really took off! There are youtube videos, huge articles, tons of forum discussions all battering around what this thing is. Out of this primordial conspiracy soup rose a number of definitions. There are some pretty standard ‘secret government/illuminati code’ theories, of course. One theory that it is a real and almost Lovecraftian mindworm that does exist as some sort of reality-breaking secret, that the person who first mentioned it online didn’t even realize what they were doing — but that it had somehow used them to open the door. Another theory is that it’s a shifted way of seeing the world, and that ‘seeing the code’ alters your perceptions of everything instantly like flicking a switch. Last, sometimes it seems to be presented as a romanticized notion of the way people with various mental illnesses perceive things — a trope that has been very popular in imageboard culture over the last few years.
It was all over the place not too long ago, though the hubbub seems to have mostly cooled now.
Also another good band name.

ASEMIC WRITING — This is similar to freewriting in that you’re generally not focusing on specifically what you’re putting down, but just letting it flow. In the case of Asemic writing, though, you aren’t constrained by language or context or even making anything you write legible. It winds up looking more like a drawing than ‘writing’ in most cases, but some metaphysical types see this sort of thing as a way of communicating on a higher level. Not that weird!

Photo of a page of a book. The page is a diagram of the Oak Island Money pit, drawn to show the various “levels” of it. There are lines segmenting it into where there is water, dirt, barriers, stone, and so on.
A sketch of what has supposedly turned up so far

OAK ISLAND TREASURE — Seems a little deep on the iceberg considering how much mainstream attention it gets these days, but I honestly don’t know when this thing was made.
Anyway, no one knows how the rumors first started. They reach back hundreds of years and suggest that Oak Island in Nova Scotia is home to buried treasure. The magnitude of the treasure ranges from some pirate gold all the way to the Ark of the Covenant itself.
There’s a host of stories about attempts to excavate it being met with various artificially constructed layers protecting it, and even traps that would flood shafts attempting to reach whatever is down there. Better-documented attempts have happened, too, but have also wound up either finding nothing or running into the same sorts of difficulties. Now and then things are found that seem to suggest something manmade is down there, but nothing that would qualify as ‘the treasure’. There’s been so many attempts made over the years that it’s possible these would-be treasure hunters have wound up making it worse, destroying whatever was down there or causing it to fall into deeper cavities below. Plenty of researchers also have put forward explanations for everything happening there being natural geological phenomenon, but no one cares what those nerds say. Reality tv baby!

LUMINOUS WOMAN OF PIRANO — In the 30s, an Italian woman named Anna Monaro reportedly began to softly glow at times. Doctors investigated and did “confirm” it, though a picture taken didn’t show anything. Her heart rate supposedly doubled during this and she seemed uncomfortable, but there were no other apparent side-effects. No one ever really solved this one; it’s not the only time someone has allegedly glowed, but is the best known case.

Good one today! Nice mix; only one thing I’m not smart enough to explain well. Hope we have this kind of luck going forward! Maybe this wasn’t a mistake after all!