What Lies Below, Day Twenty Five
Exploring the Depths of the Infamous “Conspiracy Iceberg”
Hello again and welcome back. We’re just about 20% of the way down the iceberg. One thing I notice is that a lot of these items have been around for a while, but are pretty ‘known’ these days as opposed to being totally obscure a decade or so ago. Social media and things like YouTube are really churning up the depths and it’s doing weird things to the paranormal/conspiracy world. There were once pretty clear divisions and hierarchies based on your niche interests and experience, but now you have a vast number of people who are kinda into everything and know enough about most of it to be in the conversation. Blurs a lot of lines. Anyway, moving on!
HOLOTROPIC BREATHWORK — This is basically hyperventilating on purpose as a means of inducing an altered state of consciousness. A guy who was big on using LSD for therapy ‘invented’ this kind of breathwork after LSD was made illegal, but it didn’t land well in the science or medical community. Using breathing exercises to influence your state of mind isn’t exactly new or groundbreaking, but this is a very specific and complicated thing that you CAN do alone but are encouraged to pay money for classes on. And pay money for books on. And pay money for retreats. You get the idea. Also please be careful if you try to do it alone!
FRANKENSTEIN BARRIER — This all seems to be based on an essay by a guy named George Slusser. It’s high concept stuff that I honestly probably can’t do real justice to here. The barrier is uhhh, I’m going to mess this up, but where science growing forward meets it collapsing back onto itself. Where what we create becomes something other than ourselves? I don’t know!
ELECTIONS FULLY RIGGED — A nebulous conspiracy that will take different forms to different people. Almost everyone believes that some level of electoral rigging happens, be it ‘official’ ways like gerrymandering and suppression or outright fraud like fake votes and tampering. This theory tends to go further, though, suggesting that the whole things are faked with predetermined results and all. Now and then you’ll see a screenshot where ‘results’ are shown by some network early with oddly specific vote counts listed, for example. If this is only for ‘big’ elections or basically all of them is up to the individual theorist. While popular in a sense, it isn’t AS popular now because the conspiracy crowd has become much more tethered to individual candidates and parties than they used to be. Qanon types 100% believe the Trump/Biden election was rigged, of course, but aren’t going to be so quick to believe Trump/Clinton was rigged. But a lot of Russiagate liberals believe Trump/Clinton was 100% rigged and don’t believe Trump/Biden was rigged.
LAMARCKIANISM — It’s usually called “Lamarckism”. It’s a theory that if a living thing develops something physical during life, this change can be passed on. This came out of the mid 1800s, so understanding has changed a lot since then. A lot of people have more or less dismissed or disproven it since, but it still has adherents. It’s not super weird so I’m surprised it’s this deep on the iceberg.
INCUNABULA — In short, books or other written things printed pre-16th century. While that in and of itself isn’t particularly weird, I think the suggestion here is something else that adopted the name: i.e. more contemporary ‘collaborative fiction’. In the early internet, people created a project that worked a bit like an ARG in that it used real world stuff to create an ongoing story full of mysteries and open-ended suggestions that people could dig into. This is very old school, i.e. bbs boards and even xeroxlore. Since it was so new, it tended to be more convincing to those who stumbled upon it. The first one was called ‘Ongs Hat’ and is now so far removed from contemporary online culture that people have gone around to thinking it actually was real and may have been genuinely pointing to secret interdimensional projects.
SECOND HAND SMOKE IS A MYTH — Every so often, some study or official appears suggesting that secondhand smoke isn’t actually harmful. Generally, a little digging shows that these studies and officials are financially tied to certain companies who have an interest in downplaying the harmful effects of smoking. There are things you can pluck out if you’re willing to play games with specific amounts of time exposed, which harmful effects you consider and which you don’t, etc. This leaves jussst enough wiggle room that people can devils-advocate it up if they so choose, though honestly I’ve never seen this appear in any other flavor than shameless lobbying or some online contrarian trying to flex their logic muscles.
HAIR-CUTTING FAIRY PANIC — This didn’t ring any bells so I dug around. There was a fairly recent issue in India where women in multiple villages reported having their hair cut off by a creature described as everything from humanoid to catlike. I didn’t see the India incident refer to the perpetrator as a fairy, though.
KERANOGRAPHY — There is, or at least once was, a belief that being struck by lightning could leave images burned into your skin based on where you were: trees, crosses, etc. This all comes from old folklore and has never been really studied in any way; lightning strikes do definitely leave burns but there’s no documentation of them looking like anything specific.
DEEP ECOLOGY FASCISM — If you’re someone who is very online, especially on places like Twitter, you’re probably already familiar with ecofascism. If you’re not such a person, the terminology is likely weird but you’ve probably encountered the underlying principles out in the wild. You can probably guess what it means, too: fascists who believe at least in part that the planet(or their specific part of it) is suffering and our current trajectory is not sustainable. Now, you’ll usually just hear them use this as an easy out when they talk about immigration, birth rates, etc and know they’ll be ignored if they say what they really believe. Still, some of them truly do think that the planet must be saved via a totalitarian government forcing people to “make sacrifices”, i.e. genocide and eugenics. While some of them do idealize a sort of traditional villager lifestyle, most of them do not actually give a shit about the environment or about stopping the thing actually killing the planet: capitalism. This is pretty niche, but very present in the most radicalized far-right spaces. The Christchurch and El Paso mass-shooters were both ecofascists or adjacent, for example.
SKIDMORE, MISSOURI — This is honestly almost silly considering how heavy a lot of other subject matter is on the iceberg. There was a guy named Ken McElroy who lived in Skidmore and was just a giant piece of shit. He was an arsonist, a cattle-rustler, a rapist, and a child molester. Over the course of decades, he did all of this and more and somehow always managed to get away with it. It isn’t that he wasn’t arrested — he just always managed to dodge real jailtime. This went on for decades, with the guy absolutely terrorizing this small town and being just the right mix of intimidating, bully-ish, and manipulative that no one ever stopped him. By 1980, he finally graduated to murder. And, again, got away with it. Not too long later, the town basically had a big meeting to decide what to do about McElroy. He wound up showing up and confronting the crowd and then ~something happened~ and he wound up with a bullet in his head. Oddly enough, virtually the whole town was around and yet no one saw anything or had any idea what had happened. To this day, it’s a “mystery” as to what happened. Hard to say!
SEARCH RESULTS FOR ‘DISNEY FROZEN’ — Do you remember way up the iceberg, there was the bit about Walt Disney being frozen at the moment of death? Well, if you searched ‘Disney Frozen’ up until the last decade or so, that’s what you found tons of links to. But if you do the same search now, obviously, you’ll just find a million hits about the Disney movie “Frozen”. What I sincerely believe began as a joke theory wound up spreading and now people believe that Disney named the movie that on purpose so as to bury the “Disney was frozen’ rumor forever. On the other hand, I have to admit that is is pretty on-brand that Disney would go to ludicrous supervillainous lengths just to try and scrub a tiny blemish off their saccharine-sterile image.
PITT LAKE — Hey, Canada finally gets some representation. Good for them! Pitt’s Lake is allegedly home to buried gold, either in the form of a relatively untapped mine or already largely available as nuggets and dust but hidden. There are a lot of stories of prospectors and indigenous people in the area, back in the 1800s, appearing with gold allegedly from Pitt Lake. There’s even one story about a man named Slumach who allegedly knew all about it but was hanged for murder before it could be revealed. Later stories have upped his kill-count considerably along with adding other embellishments. This is all pretty circumstantial, but hasn’t stopped a lot of people for going looking for the gold(even though experts suggest the region is unlikely to have any). Some people have even died in the process, adding to the mystery and allure.
MT. SHASTA LEMURIANS — Lemuria and its inhabitants are pretty common in Lost Civilization theories; generally they were(or still are) underground somewhere after their continent(an enormous mass northeast of Australia) sank or was destroyed — sometimes serving as the source of Atlantis myths, sometimes being a different civilization entirely. Lemurians are usually described as beautiful blonde white people(wild how that keeps happening!) and are very popular in many foo-foo new age circles. Mt Shasta in California, allegedly, is where the survivors holed up via tunnels. Indigenous people regarded Mt Shasta highly already, and it’s a beautiful place. That was all it took. To this day, people sincerely believe the Lemurians are there and regularly go try to communicate with them.
That’s it! Not many pictures today! Sometimes these things are not really photo-friendly, or not something there are many photos of. I’ll make up for it! We cross into Tier Five Tomorrow!