The Top Conspiracy Theories of 2014
By Mike Rothschild, Ranker, 7 December 2014.
By Mike Rothschild, Ranker, 7 December 2014.
2014 was a banner year for new conspiracy theories. Between the Ebola pandemic, the crash of two different Malaysia Airlines jets, a mid-term election, and the deaths of several prominent celebrities, conspiracy theorists had no shortage of material with which to concoct their interconnected stories of the Powers that Be manipulating our world. From the Flight 370 conspiracy theory to what the Illuminati was up to in 2014, there was no shortage of fodder for conspiracy junkies and bloggers.
Here are the most interesting, most unbelievable, and most perplexing conspiracy theories of the year. Read on, but beware what happens to those who know too much! These modern conspiracies might never become as widely believed as some of the most popular conspiracies, but they certainly dominated the news and the blogosphere during 2014.
The government, Obama, Bill Gates, Robin Williams, and many others were pulled into the conspiracy theory world in 2014, but how believable are the theories that surround them? Read through the 2014 conspiracy theories list and decide for yourself!
1. The CDC Created Ebola
The Conspiracy: Ebola is actually a man-made virus, engineered to cull the population. The proof is that the Centres for Disease Control patented a strain of the virus in 2010 - the same strain that caused a pandemic in 2014.
The Facts: The CDC did, in fact, patent a strain of Ebola in 2010, called Ebola Bundibugyo. The purpose of this was not to wipe out mankind or profit from a vaccine for the strain, but to protect work they’d done to isolate this previously unknown type of the virus.
In any case, the Supreme Court ruled several years later that naturally-occurring genes can’t be patented, so don’t expect to see this come up for whatever the next viral scare is. Additionally, the strain of Ebola that plagued West Africa wasn’t Ebola Bundibugyo, but Ebola Zaire - a genetically different version.
2. Ebola Is Coming Into America Through Mexico
The Conspiracy: President Obama will allow Ebola to enter America through the border with Mexico to exert control over U.S. citizens.
The Facts: With the furore over illegal immigration, it became easy pickings for conspiracy theorists and Obama opponents to tie the issue to Ebola. However, this never came to pass, as not a single case of Ebola was reported anywhere south of the U.S., and none of the patients in America who were diagnosed with the virus came into the country through Mexico. It simply never happened.
3. President Obama Planned the Ebola Outbreak to Declare Martial Law
The Conspiracy: President Obama wanted the Ebola virus to hit America so he could declare martial law, grab sweeping emergency powers, or enable a Muslim takeover of the country. Or punish America for not being leftist enough.
The Facts: After the Ebola pandemic blew over in the United States, it was easy to see that, again, none of these things happened. In fact, it might be more accurate to speculate that the very fear of an Ebola-caused government takeover existed only in the minds of those who profited from the pushing of such a theory - people like TV and radio hosts, far right bloggers, and conservative elected officials facing an imminent election.
4. The Ebola Outbreak Was Caused By Vaccines
The Conspiracy: The Ebola outbreak was caused by vaccines forced on African people by Bill Gates and the United Nations.
The Facts: As soon as the Ebola pandemic broke out in West Africa, anti-vaccine proponents began to speculate that it wasn’t caused by a virus at all, but by vaccination programs carried out by the U.N. There was also speculation that the Ebola outbreak was only engineered so Big Pharma could profit off an experimental, fast-tracked vaccine called ZMapp.
This speculation was stoked almost entirely by a small cadre of anti-vaccine advocates, working with already proven biases against vaccines and those who develop them. Most had no scientific research to back them up, and were based only on wild speculation and delusion that “they” were out to poison us with chemicals and get rich off it. Some even got basic facts wrong, including the name of the experimental drug. None of it had any validity, and it was soon forgotten.
5. Flight MH17 False Flag
The Conspiracy: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 wasn’t shot down by Russian-backed separatists, it was actually [insert any number of theories here!].
The Facts: As soon as MH17 went down in a field in eastern Ukraine, conspiracy theories about who “really” did it emerged. Russian officials pointed their fingers at Ukraine, which must have shot down the plane as a false flag to instigate war with Russia. Alternative medicine advocates claimed it was shot down by Big Pharma because the flight was carrying researchers who were about to announce the cure for AIDS, and the drug companies couldn’t allow that. And, some bloggers claimed it was never shot down at all. Instead, they claimed, it was either blown up (to start a war, naturally) or it never flew in the first place.
While investigation into what really happened to MH 17 is on-going, partially due to a lack of access to the crash site, it’s clear that none of these wild theories explains what happened.
6. MH370 Stealth Hijack
The Conspiracy: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was hijacked and taken away to get access to secret technology.
The Facts: Conspiracy theories develop because it’s hard for some people to believe that the “official story” could actually be true. In the case of MH370, the official story is also woefully incomplete. We simply don’t know what happened to the plane. And while “we don’t know” is a completely valid answer, it’s not one that lends any sense of closure to the event. Hence, wild speculation ensues.
For MH370, the “hidden story” was either that the pilot took control of the plane and crashed it on purpose, or that the plane didn’t crash at all, and was actually hijacked. One potential reason for this speculation surfaced when it became known that multiple high-level researchers at a prominent semiconductor company were on board, and these people had developed patents for secret stealth technology - resulting in billions of dollars for the lone patent holder still alive.
However, subsequent research showed that this story was entirely bogus, and that none of the “patent holders” were even on the flight.
7. MH17 and MH370 Were the Same Plane
The Conspiracy: MH370 and MH17 were actually the same plane, with 370 being hijacked and used to create a false flag incident centred around MH17.
The Facts: Coincidence is not conspiracy. Even so, the coincidence of two Malaysia Airlines 777 passenger planes crashing within just a few months of each other naturally raised eyebrows. Some conspiracy theorists took it even further, positing that these were actually the same plane, hijacked earlier in the year, then used to stage an incident that would lead to war.
There was one problem with this theory: it brings up far more questions than it answers. If these were, in fact, the same plane, what happened to the passengers on MH370, and how were new passengers put on board later? What explains the discrepancies in design and painting between the two planes? The “MH17 is MH370” theory was almost entirely the work of bloggers, and rests on the assumption that two planes of the same make and model both crashing must actually be one plane.
But this is assuming A, therefore B, and neither A nor B have been proven.
8. Obama Planned to Cancel the 2014 Election
The Conspiracy: Barack Obama would conspire to steal the mid-term election for Democrats, or cancel it altogether.
The Facts: Obviously, despite being foreseen by a number of conspiracy theorists and far-right bloggers, neither of these things happened. The election took place, and was a pasting for Democrats. Also, “so-and-so will cancel the election” rumours have been thrown out for every election over the last decade, and have never come to pass.
9. Enterovirus 68 Conspiracies
The Conspiracy: The mysterious and deadly virus EVD68 was engineered for various evil purposes.
The Facts: Despite media panic and conspiracy theories, the outbreak of Enterovirus 68 was neither unprecedented nor based on some mysterious new virus. EVD68 was first identified in California in the 1960s, and is simply a more severe version of the usual common cold strain that infects millions of school children and parents every fall. This is the so-called “summer cold” that results from children going back to school and not always practicing good hygiene.
Additional theories about EVD68 being brought into the U.S. by illegal immigrants have no factual evidence to support them. No Latin American country has seen a severe outbreak of the virus, though it exists in every country - as a strain of the common cold.
10. Magic Johnson Got Donald Sterling Thrown Out of the NBA
The Conspiracy: Former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling was framed as a racist by tapes secretly recorded and released at the behest of Magic Johnson.
The Facts: This one originates straight from the mouth of Rush Limbaugh, who speculated that Sterling was being used to lower the price of the team so Magic could get a good deal. While Johnson later said he wasn’t opposed to being part of a new ownership group for the Clippers (he already is part owner of the L.A. Dodgers), it didn’t come to pass.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer headed up a group that bought the team, and can now be seen courtside wildly celebrating the successes of the franchise.
11. Yellowstone Caldera Is About to Blow! Save the White People!
The Conspiracy: Yellowstone Caldera is about to erupt, taking most of the U.S. with it. To save the country, the government has a plan: relocate high-level citizens to the Southern Hemisphere. But, in a shocking twist, these citizens will only be white.
The Facts: This bizarre conspiracy theory started making the rounds in spring 2014, fuelled by videos of animals supposedly fleeing the Park. It got such a high level of mainstream coverage that it required a denial from the United States Geological Survey.
But some aspects of the story, such as the evacuation being for white Americans only, raised eyebrows, and it soon became clear that the story was a hoax. It was actually an April Fools prank by the South African nationalist website Praag - as evidenced by the story’s origin date of April 1st and its prominent usage of quotes by a South African official who doesn’t appear to exist.
12. The Ice Bucket Challenge Is a Satanic Ritual
The Conspiracy: The Ice Bucket Challenge, which became a huge viral hit raising money for ALS research, was actually a Satanic ritual.
The Facts: While there was genuine scepticism about the Ice Bucket Challenge, very few people took it as far as World Net Daily writer Selena Owens. The columnist for the ultra-conservative outlet speculated that, because of the accidental death of one of the Challenge’s founders, as well as “clues” found in various IBC videos by an evangelist named Anita Fuentes, the IBC was actually a devil-worshiping ritual on par with a Satanic baptism.
Neither Fuentes nor Owens explained what exactly about dumping a bucket of cold water on one’s head denotes a Satanic ritual. Nor did anyone who took part in the Challenge claim they were doing it on behalf of Satan. Nor does the explanation Owens gives, which involves something about Oprah, make any sense. Other than that, it’s a perfectly valid theory.
13. Robin Williams Was an Illuminati Sacrifice
The Conspiracy: Robin Williams was murdered by the Illuminati.
The Facts: It’s almost become standard operating procedure for the pop culture hive mind to declare that when a celebrity dies, no matter how tragic it was, they were “actually” knocked off by the Illuminati. The reasons usually amount to “they knew too much” or “were about to go public.” Of course, with the amount of information floating around about the Illuminati, the “going public” ship seems to have sailed long ago.
As to the specifics of Williams, most of the conspiracy is “revealed” in rambling YouTube videos about all the other celebs the Illuminati have sent to an early death. The Illuminati themselves are thought to also have revealed their sacrifice by giving us one of their patented public clues in the BBC3 airing of a Family Guy rerun that involves Peter Griffin turning into Robin Williams.
Of course, Williams was alive when the episode first aired in 2012, and was alive when it was rerun multiple times. But it’s easier to ascribe a tragic death to a bizarre and pointless conspiracy than it is to look at the hard facts behind clinical depression and addiction. That would require more than just Google searches.
14. The Banker Suicide Epidemic
The Conspiracy: Dozens of bankers from around the world, many from JP Morgan in particular, are being murdered in staged suicides to cover up the coming “Global Currency Reset.”
The Facts: The “banker suicide” meme took off in early 2014, with the creation of a list containing anywhere between nine and 40 names of bankers who either died in accidents or committed suicide. This list of unrelated names was “proof” that bankers were being killed in a final purge of anyone who stood in the way of massive changes to the very foundation of global currency trading.
Except it wasn’t. Many of the names on the list either didn’t work in banking anymore or never had. Several worked in the IT departments of banking firms. One was retired. Another was facing indictment. They had no connection to each other besides being names on this list. A few did indeed work at JP Morgan, but in completely different offices, doing different things.
Beyond that, banking itself is a hugely stressful and results-driven profession, necessitating long hours, intense work, and little sleep. People in the financial services sector have spoken of a suicide epidemic in banking, but not because of a conspiracy. It’s because of the pressure people in banking feel to deliver, and justify their high salaries. This is the real epidemic we should be talking about.
Top image via YouTube.
[Source: Ranker. Edited. Top image added.]