What Lies Below, Day Twenty

Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”

7 min readMar 17, 2021


Poorly drawn MS Paint image depicting items from the article

Hello, folks. Welcome back. Twenty days in, that’s almost a quarter of the way through. This list wraps up Tier Three and brings us into Tier Four. We’re finally past most of the more common and mainstream things, though still seeing occasional duds. I wonder who compiled this version of the iceberg, you know? Like, some of the things are kinda tongue-in-cheek but none of it is trolling. Someone really went out of their way to compile a LOT of weird stuff. It definitely took some real work. Welp, let’s go!

NORTH KOREA GHOST BOATS — A creepy ongoing phenomenon in which small Korean ships wash ashore in Japan(sometimes elsewhere), with either no crew aboard or the remains of dead crew. In rare cases these may be defectors, but it’s generally believed to be fishermen being forced further and further out in unsuitable ships due to overfishing by China. The boats are usually pretty outdated and poorly outfitted, and no one is sure how many are found versus how many sink.

MEL’S HOLE — A bottomless pit in Washington that may or may not even exist. We only know about it because someone unidentified called into the old Coast To Coast radio show to talk about it. Other people said they’d seen it, but could never seem to actually show it to anyone. It was sometimes alleged to be magical and sometimes it was part of some sort of nebulous government plot. To date, no one has found Mel’s Hole.(That’s a cool sentence to write)

MARS SLAVE COLONIES — Secret Mars colonies of some sort have always been a thing in conspiracy theorist communities, but the ‘slave colony’ variation is a bit newer. Now and then there’d be suggestions that aliens working with our government have space bases where humans are sent as laborers, but I think the placement on this iceberg is thanks to places like Infowars suggesting that there are secret child-slave camps up there. What goes on up there is anything from labor to cannibalization. Ten percent of people in the US believe things like this or something identical to them! Not great!

INTERDIMENSIONAL BIGFOOT — Bigfoots are actually some sort of interdimensional critters here for ??? reasons. This often extends to include other cryptids as well. It’s convenient because it explains everything about all of them while being impossible to disprove. There’s books and videos and everything on it. I love concepts like this for being far out, but there’s not much meat here. Still, folks do believe it! It’s honestly so much more wholesome than a lot of contemporary conspiracy stuff, too. Go for it, interdimensional bigfoot believers. Chase that hairy skunk ape in the sky. I’m with you.

A cone-like stone cylinder carved with braid patterns

OMPHALOS — The original Omphalos is/was a stone in Delphi, both representative of that being the ‘center of the world’ and possibly used in a tangible sense by an Oracle as part of ritual. That’s it. Maybe it has inherent powers, maybe not. Maybe the one on display in a museum right now is the original, maybe it’s a duplicate. There’s a similar sort of ‘this is the center of the earth’ stone in Jerusalem, which may or may not have been something lifted from the Greeks as Abrahamic religions evolved and meshed. Not that weird for something at the bottom of the second tier!

SANDY HOOK — You probably know this one. In 2012 someone shot 26 people at Sandy Hook elementary, most of whom were children. He then shot himself before being apprehended. An unprecedented tragedy like this immediately caused exactly the conspiracy theory you’d expect: this was all staged, all evidence was faked, and all witnesses/victims were ‘crisis actors’. The goal of this elaborate ruse was to take away all our guns and put us in FEMA camps, which is exactly what this crowd says every time there is a mass shooting(which they always think is fake). And it worked! No one in the US has guns anymore!
The ‘crisis actors’ thing had been around in prior conspiracies, but this is when it really became a centerpiece for modern theories. No one ever produced any evidence, but a certain segment of the conspiracy community believe that Every Single Big Event is a conspiracy. Even if there’s nothing there to clamp on to, there is significant clout and profit to be made in selling this theory to people — and there will always be people willing to buy it. Anyway, they spent a lot of time harassing the grieving parents of the children who were killed and caused a lot of blowback for Alex Jones, who was the largest platform for the theory.

OPERATION BLUEBEAM — Project Bluebeam was a work written in the 90s by a journalist/conspiracy theorist named Monast. It was kind of a catch-all conspiracy theory framework that tied together all the greatest hits into one narrative. NASA and all the world governments, or at least the UN, were working in concert to reinstate a New World Order and turn us all into Satanists. Of course he was also a big fan of ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’; it’s weird how many of these guys are into nazi stuff huh? Anyway, Bluebeam was making the rounds just as the internet was making its way into homes and it picked up some steam, being the first major umbrella theory a lot of modern theorists found themselves under. It’s still influential today.

ELSAGATE — Elsagate refers to a wide array of creepy, gross, and/or bizarre YouTube videos aimed explicitly at little kids and featuring copyrighted popular characters. Elsa is far from the only character who gets this treatment(Spider-Man and Shrek are very popular, for example), but she is the feature of a LOT of it. These can range from very crude 2D animations with music overlayed(Family Fingers, for example) to bonkers CG animations with a mix of stolen and poorly-made 3D assets thrown together to enact skits, to live-action videos of people dressed as the characters doing all kinds of stuff. Some of these videos are just strange but harmless, others have some fairly explicit content that is pretty alarming in videos made for little kids. The videos abuse various keywords and algorithm tricks, are spammed onto YouTube in vast numbers, and some of them get absolutely absurd amounts of views. Some people think these things are completely generated by AIs and are posted by bots, but it’s hard to prove. There’s a lot of work out there breaking this stuff down and digging into how it works and where it started; and it’s probably worth a glance since this sort of thing is probably the future of every video-upload and social media service.
If you’re not familiar with this, go YouTube something like “elsa family fingers spiderman five monkeys” and start clicking through the weirder looking recommendations.

YouTube search results depicting Elsa, Spiderman, and others in bizarre circumstances
Welp, my algorithm is going to be a mess for a while.

WEATHER WARS — Just the aforementioned HAARP thing, but militarized to do bad weather in other countries as a means of sabotage/warfare. Barely even talked about. Bad start to Tier Four!

SOLANGE=BEYONCE’S DAUGHTER — This is born seemingly entirely of anonymous internet posts, but suggests Beyonce is older than reported(a lot of celebrities lie about their age so maybe) and Solange was her daughter as the result of a teen pregnancy and then a cover story was later constructed. There’s pictures of them as kids together but I guess those could be faked too? There’s a lot of this kind of theory swirling around every celebrity, it’s usually ignored but sometimes the Q types will pick it up as evidence of body doubles or whatever.

ULTIMA THULE — The term was historically always sort of meant as a ‘faraway’ place, somewhere forever just past the borders of whatever the known world was. It was usually referring to real places that just hadn’t been ‘discovered’ or explored yet, but sometimes could be more metaphorical. It was also the name given to an asteroid-like object in the outer solar system.
Oh! Also it’s often sometimes used as the name for a mythical white nationalist homeland. So, you know, be aware of that.

ODESSA CATACOMBS — This is a large network of (mostly)old mining tunnels in the Ukraine. They’re old, and parts of them have been reworked into shelters, smuggling runs, etc. A lot ofthem interconnect to form a giant maze, so it’s obviously a big bright beacon for urban explorers. There are urban legends about stuff hidden down there or people who’ve died in the tunnels, but none of it is proven. People probably have died down there given how long they’ve been around, but the stories circulated online don’t appear to be real.
Visitors are able to go down there and see a limited amount of them. There’s bomb shelters, old artifacts, underground lakes, and all kinds of cool stuff.

A dug-out piece of the Odessa catacombs, showing crumbling stonework walls and a low, flat ceiling. The ground is dirt and rocks and uneven.
A glimpse at the catacombs

“FOREST TERROR” — I don’t know?? I can’t find anything on this one, either, aside from some haunted-house style attractions. There are multiple forests were killings happened, people have gone missing, etc. Or maybe this is a term for a phenomenon people sometimes experience when they’re lost in the woods, where they start to kind of crack up?

That’s Tier Three in the books, folks. Three down, seventeen to go. It’s not the beginning of the end, more like the end of the beginning. See you tomorrow!