The 9 Most Commonly Believed Conspiracy Theories

February 03, 2017 1:40 PM ‐ Long Reads

This article is more than six years old and was last updated in August 2017.

What are the most commonly believed conspiracy theories worldwide? The list includes everything from the assassination of a royal to claims that global warming is fiction.

9. Bigfoot Is Real

Big Foot

Each year around 15,000 new species are found, yet despite the fact people have been hunting Bigfoot since the 1840s, not a single scrap of physical evidence has ever been found to support its existence.

Scientists has widely dismissed Sasquatch as a mix of folklore, misidentification and hoaxes. After centuries of alleged sightings there would have to be a substantial number of bigfoots to maintain a breeding population, yet no one has ever found a dwelling/nest, droppings or a body, let alone manage to capture a living specimen.

One of the most famous pieces of Bigfoot evidence to ever exist is the Patterson–Gimlin film which was shot in 1967 and shows Sasquatch walking along Bluff Creek in California.

This video is famously known to be a hoax, even Robert Glimlin who shot the video said in a 1999 interview, "I was totally convinced no one could fool me. And of course I'm an older man now... and I think there could have been the possibility of a hoax. But it would have to be really well planned by Roger Patterson."

Despite the the lack of any evidence to back up its existence, 14% of Americans still believe that Bigfoot exists.

8. A UFO Crashed In New Mexico In 1947

Roswell UFO Crash

Back in the 90s, the Roswell UFO incident was an introduction into the world of conspiracies, many were sucked in by the claims that a flying saucer crashed on a ranch in New Mexico.

This all started when a farmer named Mac Brazel stumbled across the crash debris near his property and alerted local authorities, as a response the Roswell Army Air Field issued a press statement stating that a "flying disc" was found. This claim was later retracted and the US military told the public it was actually nothing more than a weather balloon. The weather balloon story was enough to keep the public quiet for a while.

However in the 1990s, the US military released details of the true nature of crashed aircraft in Roswell which brought the topic back to life and to the forefront of ufologists' attention. It seems there was a cover up in Roswell, but the Government weren't trying to cover up the existence of aliens, but the fact that the balloon which crashed was part of the secret Project Mogul which was designed to pick up on Soviet Union nuclear tests.

To add fuel to the conspiracy theorists' fire, in 1995 leaked footage of an alien autopsy surfaced. It was claimed that the video was shot by a US military official shortly after the Roswell incident.

This video may well have contributed to the belief held by 66 million Americans that an alien spacecraft crashed in Roswell. The video certainly caused a stir when it was released by the British entrepreneur, Ray Santilli who ran a London-based video production company.

The 17 minute black and white film was sold to television networks and broadcast in more than 33 countries. It appeared to show the complete autopsy of an extraterrestrial being. Ray claimed that the footage was given to him by a retired military cameraman who wished to remain anonymous.

In 2006 Ray finally admitted that the video was a fake but continues to claim that it was an accurate reconstruction of genuine footage which he says he received in 1992 but the tapes were deteriorated and unusable.

7. Bush Knew 9/11 Would Happen


In the US this is a biggie. A staggering 25% of Americans believe that 9/11 was a Government plot... but then 47% of US voters chose to vote for Trump.

This was really the first big conspiracy theory to be born thanks to the internet. Theories about the US government's involvement in the events of Tuesday 11th September , 2001 have been debated over and over on countless forums.

The theories range from the belief that the Bush administration had prior knowledge of the attacks and didn't act upon it, to claims that the whole attack was orchestrated by the government.

Either way, Bush's reasoning was to gain more power and support his war on terror and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's been claimed that explosives were planted to bring down the World Trade Center towers, that a plane didn't crash into the Pentagon and it was in fact a missile, and that Flight 93 was shot down over Pennsylvania.

These outlandish claims have been proved false time and time again, popular mechanics magazine, Popular Mechanics investigated claims of a controlled demolition and say the towers fell as a result of the impact of the aircraft and the subsequent fires.

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6. The Truth About Missing Flight MH-370 Has Been Covered Up


When a commercial flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished without a trace on March 8th, 2014, conspiracy theorist were quick to speculate that there was more to this story than the media were reporting.

There are so many theories as to what happened to the missing Boeing 777. Everything from it being hijacked and flown to a small village in Afghanistan, to claims that the plane along with its 239 passengers were sucked into the Bermuda Triangle. The plane didn't actually fly over the infamous triangle but it's been incorrectly suggested that the area where MH370 vanished is on the exact opposite side of the globe to the Bermuda Triangle.

One major news outlet claimed that the flight could have been the world's first cyber hijack, saying hackers could have accessed the aircraft's flight computer.

On the flight's manifest were 20 employees of US technology company Freescale Semiconductor, it's rumoured that the company had developed cloaking technology and the plane was hijacked to get hold of the organisation's secrets. Surely it would have just been easier to kidnap the staff on the way to the airport or outside their workplace?

It seems that the fate of MH370 was predicted by rapper, Pitbull. In his song 'Get It Started' he sings the lyrics, "now it's off to Malaysia" and "two passports, three cities, two countries, one day."

Some believe that terrorists hijacked the plane and landed it somewhere to be used at a later date in a 9/11-style attack while other think the Boeing was landed on the more than adequate runway at the US military's base on the island Diego Garcia.

A freelance journalist claimed to have received a photo via text message from an MH370 passenger calling himself Phillip Wood. Data contained with in the black iPhone photo contained GPS information which placed Wood on the island. The internet was quick to quash these claims offering the more likely explanation that the photo is a fake. The question of whether the plane was landed on the island was asked in a White House press conference, press secretary Jay Carney simply answered "I'll rule that one out."

5. The New World Order Really Exists

The Illuminati

Are an elite and wealthy group of influential men secretly controlling the world? Probably, yes. However conspiracy theorists have made this claim more than it is.

Many politicians and political parties are backed by wealthy individuals and corporations, perhaps these organisations are pulling the strings of governments around the world but assuming that these powerful people are part of a secret society is a step too far.

People have speculated over the existence of groups like The Illuminati for centuries. Clearly The Illuminati once existed, being formed in Bavaria in 1776, but very few really believe they still exist today.

The New World Order isn't a mysterious society, it's not secret handshakes, it's not hoods in basements, it isn't that. It's business men being manipulative, like they have done throughout human history.

4. Princess Diana Was Murdered

Princess Diana Underpass

The People's Princess was killed in a car crash in 1997 in an underpass in Paris while being pursued by paparazzi.

It didn't take long for theories to surface about a more sinister cause for Diana's death. Some speculated that she was pregnant and planning to marry Dodi Al-Fayed. It's said the palace didn't want her to bring a Muslim baby into the world so they had her killed.

A less extreme theory is that the Royal Family wanted her out of the picture so that people would support Prince Charles's second marriage. Some even say she faked her death to escape the public eye.

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3. The Moon Landing Was Fake

No Stars On The Moon

The moon landing hoax is one of the most famous and most discussed conspiracy theories of all time. The hoax has been throughly debunked by various scientists, TV shows and publications, yet there is still a huge number of people that are convinced that the 1969 moon landing was faked by the American government.

The hoax is based on claims like humans not being able to pass through the Van Allen radiation belt, a claim that James Van Allen, who discovered the belt, publicly refuted. Others have pointed out clues in photographs from the lunar surface that suggest it was filmed on a soundstage, all of these are explained away by highlighting the critic's lack of scientific knowledge or imperfections in the photographic prints.

Another common incorrect claim is the belief that you should be able to see stars in the black sky in the photos, despite the fact the photos are taken during the moon's day time.

2. Global Warming Is A Hoax

Chemical Plant

Arguably the most dangerous conspiracy theory that existence, not only is labelling climate change a hoax ridiculous, it could also result in irreversible damage to our planet.

The crux of this theory is that, despite decades of research and proven findings by scientists from all around the world, global warming is entirely fabricated or not caused by human's presence on the planet.

It's hard to deny that average temperatures on Earth are rising year by year, but those who subscribe to this theory refuse to believe that climate change is a man-made issue.

Although scientific opinion on climate change is that human activity is the primary driver of climate change, the politics of global warming have been affected by climate change denial, slowing down efforts to prevent global warming.

Worryingly, 37% of Americans believe this conspiracy, including the US president himself.

1. JFK's Assassination Was A Conspiracy

JFK Assisination

Over half of the population of the United States believe that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't acting alone in the assassination of their former president, John F. Kennedy.

JFK was shot in 1963 while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas. Within two hours, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of a police man, several hours later he was also charged with the presidential assassination.

Before Oswald could testify he was shot dead just two days later, this suspicious killing lead to the belief that he was incorrectly fingered for the killing, backed up by the fact that witnesses claim to have heard shots coming from the grassy knoll, indicating the existence of an unknown, second shooter.

In 1964, it was concluded by an official investigation that Lee Harvey Oswald was the only person responsible for assassinating Kennedy. However, in 1979, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations said that a second gunman "probably" fired an extra bullet at Kennedy but didn't go as far as to identify the shooter.

But just because there was a second shooter doesn't mean that the CIA, Fidel Castro or the KGB were involved in the presidents death or a subsequent cover up.

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