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Common Conspiracy Theories

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

By Reeti Shah

Did you know that in any given year, almost half of all Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory? While people’s beliefs in certain conspiracy theories do indeed create chaos and exaggerate seemingly unimportant situations, they are not inherently more problematic. At least not more so than any other belief. Conspiracy theories are intriguing because they reveal a lot about how we think—we tend to find patterns in events that aren’t actually related. Here are some common conspiracy theories:

The Flat Earth conspiracy

Image from BBC

These so-called ‘Flat-Earthers’ believe that, you guessed it, the Earth is flat. Their reasons, according to their website, are simple — because the ground we walk on is flat and our world looks flat, the Earth is actually flat. Obviously, there is a great deal of evidence that proves this theory as false, but its supporters insist that this evidence has been falsified. Flat-Earthers suggest that NASA and other space agencies in different countries are involved in a conspiracy to fake space exploration. Moreover, they claim that the many photographs of the Earth taken from space have been altered.

Reptiles control the government

Image from The Atlantic

Around 12 million Americans think that alien lizards wearing people suits govern the U.S., according to a Public Policy Polling Survey. David Icke is the most prominent supporter and theorist of this conspiracy. According to Icke, people such as Queen Elizabeth and Hillary Clinton are lizard people. He also claims that these alien lizards have contributed to the creation of other secret societies, such as the Illuminati and the Freemasons.

The Illuminati

The Illuminatus Trilogy (Image from The Vox)

The Illuminati was a secret society that actually existed in Bavaria from 1776 to 1785. It was formed by Adam Weishaupt, a German professor who intended to take over the world by spreading certain ideals to influential elites. This group wanted to revolutionize political institutions, such as the monarchy. The Illuminati disappeared in 1785, as the Duke of Bavaria made secret societies illegal. However, people think that the Illuminati still exists and that influential people such as Beyoncé, Madonna and Barack Obama are members.


1. http://www.theflatearthsociety.org/forum/index.php/topic,1324.msg1312141.html#msg1312141

2. https://www.vox.com/2014/11/5/7158371/lizard-people-conspiracy-theory-explainer

3. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/04/12-million-americans-believe-lizard-people-run-our-country/316706/

4. https://www.vox.com/2015/5/19/8624675/what-is-the-real-illuminati

5. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2016/07-08/profile-adam-weishaupt-illuminati-secret-society/

6. https://bestlifeonline.com/creepy-conspiracy-theories/

7. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/07/conspiracy-theory-paranoia-aliens-illuminati-beyonce-vaccines-cliven-bundy-jfk

8. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2015/02/19/fifty-percent-of-americans-believe-in-some-conspiracy-theory-heres-why/?utm_term=.ac22fdd9af75

9. https://www.theweek.co.uk/62399/what-is-the-illuminati-and-what-does-it-control

10. https://www.livescience.com/24310-flat-earth-belief.html

Editor: Caitlin Quinn

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