Pharmaceutical companies invent new diseases for profit? Bigfoot exists? The government is run by shape-shifting reptiles? It’s all here.
A few months back, I did a list of 11 Things Americans Wrongly (and Frighteningly) Believe. It included things like the 29 percent of Americans who think cloud computing involves actual clouds, the 28 percent who think Joe Paterno molested kids and the 18 percent who think the sun revolves around the Earth.
Today’s list is like that list’s weird cousin who lives in his van.
Public Policy Polling just released the results of a nationwide survey where they asked people if they believe in various conspiracy theories. Only one conspiracy theory has support from the majority of the population; 51 percent believe Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone. I grabbed the 11 theories that had the fewest supporters which, in most cases, were also the most outlandish theories.
So here are the 11 craziest conspiracy theories a decent chunk of Americans believe. Get ready to put on your Homer is a Dope shirts… now.
11 | Pharmaceutical companies invent new diseases for profit, 15 percent
This feels like something a supervillain’s pharmaceutical company would do in a movie but, like, a parody-type movie. Like MacGruber or Austin Powers. Not a movie that takes itself seriously, like anything starring Jim Carrey between 1998 and 2007.
10 | Bigfoot exists, 14 percent
I’m glad that one in seven people believes Bigfoot exists because he really is America’s greatest monster. I once did a list of the 11 Best Places In the U.S. to Spot 11 Famous Mythical Creatures and Bigfoot is easily the most famous of all of them. There’s some sense of national pride around this. Like, if you saw a survey of people in Scotland and only two or three percent of them said they believed in the Loch Ness Monster, wouldn’t it make you lose respect for them?
9 | The CIA distributed crack to the inner cities, 14 percent
It’s weird that the CIA gets credit for this. This totally feels like a job that rolls down hill and people keep passing the buck until finally someone from the Bureau of Land Management is like, “Fiiiine, I’ll do it, give me the crack.”
8 | President Obama is the antichrist, 13 percent
This one’s way too over-the-top. On the surface, it seems like another sign of people’s irrational attitudes in today’s political climate… but I see it as more of a statement on today’s culture of hyperbolic self-importance. You really think the antichrist just happened to show up today, in America, and just so happens to be in the form of a politician you personally disagree with? I wonder if, oh I don’t know, someone in Finland in 1813 just as adamantly believed the head of the provincial board of Vasterbotten County was the antichrist.
7 | The U.S. government knew about 9/11 beforehand and let it happen, 11 percent
The government’s self-serving moves after 9/11 may’ve left you with a bad taste (Patriot Act, Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay, having to throw away your Capri Sun before you go through airport security)… but come on. We’ve all watched enough political action thrillers to know it would’ve been a no-brainer to stop 9/11 if they knew about it beforehand. There were other paths to the War on Terror that wouldn’t have required one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history.
6 | The government adds fluoride to the water for evil purposes, 9 percent
We already knew the government was working for Big Business and the freemasons… who knew they were also in league with the Cavity Creeps?
5 | The moon landing was fake, 7 percent
It’s interesting to me that this one is only at seven percent. Because this seems like one of those conspiracy theories that becomes more and more believable over time, not less. It’s shocking that we had the technology to send someone to the moon in 1969 but it took 40 more years for Americans to innovate a fast food sandwich that used fried chicken as the buns.
4 | Osama Bin Laden is still alive, 6 percent
Um… didn’t you see the movie where FBI agent Bert Macklin killed him?
3 | Airplane exhaust is really the government spreading sinister chemicals, 5 percent
I’d be more inclined to believe that the airline industry is really just part of a government experiment to see how far we can be pushed before we break.
“Higher fares?” “Yes.” “Smaller seats?” “They’ll take them.” “TSA nude body scans?” “They raise their hands without asking questions.” “Baggage fees?” “We thought they might break, but they’ve taken it.” “Trapped on a tarmac for nine hours?” “Ooh, ok, pushed them too far.” “Three hours?” “Yeah, they seem fine with it.” “Interesting. Send in the snakes.”
2 | Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a doppelganger, 5 percent
I would’ve been more inclined to believe this one if the rumor of Paul McCartney being replaced coincided with a mysterious cancelation of Murder She Wrote to free up Angela Lansbury’s schedule.
1 | Shape shifting reptile people have taken on human form and now run the government, 4 percent
If “shape shifting reptile” can be interpreted as “shape shifting Cobra,” then this conspiracy theory might just be a viral marketing campaign for GI Joe: Retaliation.