If you spend your fair share of the day on the Internet, you’ll have heard of quite a few conspiracy theories. From the CIA’s alleged research into mind control to the fierce online disagreement over Earth’s real shape, most of them don’t come across as mind-blowing, or even surprising. By now, almost all of the most popular ones have been discussed and debunked.
That, however, doesn’t mean that we’re any close to running out of conspiracy theories. There’s a new theory for every old one we solve or forget about, and some of them don’t even sound that ridiculous. In fact, give or take minor changes to the overall premise, some of these new conspiracy theories may even be true.
8. The “Glee Curse”
Glee is one of those intrinsic parts of our pop culture that most people no longer care about, but still exists among a handful of die-hard fans. While the show ran for six seasons and the last episode aired in 2016, Glee still shows up across the Internet in the form of memes, in-jokes among fans, and one particularly dark conspiracy theory.
Known among the believers – if you could call them that – as the ‘Glee curse’, the theory claims that the entire cast of Glee suffers from a harrowing curse that will eventually end up killing all of them, or at least causing them significant trouble. It may sound absurd – as there’s no scientific reason to believe that curses exist – though the theory does have some backing in reality. Quite a few cast members or their relatives have died since or during the airing of the show. It may be a coincidence, though that could be said for all conspiracy theories that make too much sense.
7. The Tommy Westphall Universe
For those who remember the ’80s show St. Elsewhere, it ended with the rather clever revelation that all the events throughout its six seasons were actually happening in the head of the kid Tommy Westphall. While it was a wholly unremarkable and forgettable series – minus the nostalgia attached to it – the last five minutes of the finale ended up spawning one of the most overarching conspiracy theories in television: the ‘Tommy Westphall Universe’.
According to the theory, Tommy didn’t just imagine the events of that show, but all shows. Ever. Anything from the show that repeats in other universes – props, actors, locations, etc. – could be used to lend credence to this theory. Of course, there are certain restrictions on the shows that could be included, as it only works with shows with a continuous storyline. There can’t be any fictional universes within those shows, either, as that comes with its own set of complications. But other than that, a mind-blowing number of popular shows – such as Newhart, Murphy Brown, Breaking Bad, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond – have some connection to St. Elsewhere, so it stands to reason that they’re merely in the imagination of Tommy Westphall, too. While the theory has been around for a while, it shows up in chat forums everytime a new show that fits the criteria airs, adding a bit more nuance to the ever-expanding theoretical universe.
6. Finland Doesn’t Actually Exist
Anyone who has been to Finland could tell you all about its beauty. A developed and prosperous country by all means, even if a bit underpopulated and boring, Finland has been an important nation in the history of Europe for as long as one can remember. All of that, however, wasn’t enough to convince one reddit user named Raregans, who had incidentally grown up believing an alternate version from his parents – Finland is not real, but a hoax maintained by Russia and China to continue having access to the rich fishing waters in the Baltic Sea.
Of course, any one of the 5.5 million Finnish could easily debunk that, though the theory has taken a life on its own since it was published some four years ago. Everything in Finland – according to the few proponents of the theory – is an elaborate ploy to keep the fishing arrangement between Russia and Japan intact, including Nokia and the trans-Siberian railway line.
5. Conspiracies Around CERN
CERN is an acronym for conseil européen pour la recherche nucléaire, also known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. It’s by far the biggest physics laboratory dealing with particle science in the world, housing some of our most advanced technology. Of late, CERN has been involved in some groundbreaking experiments, including surpassing the speed of light and smashing experimental particles together to produce unimaginable amounts of energy.
While all that is good news for most of us, it doesn’t sit too well with the conspiracy theorists. CERN is at the center of all sorts of theories around the Internet, ranging from experiments with parallel universes and artificial black holes to time travel. If they were all true, scientists are much more powerful and sinister than we ever gave them credit for. In all honesty, though, we can never say for sure, as most experiments that go on inside that lab are highly secretive and high-level for the layman to even understand.
4. The World Did End In 2012
The world seems to be in a particularly bad spot right now. From massive civil wars to previously strong economies struggling to even pay their bills on time, almost none of us saw it all coming. It begs the question, where did it all go wrong?
According to one theory, we have a precise answer for that – 2012. The supporters of the theory claim that the prophecy that predicted the end of the world in 2012 did actually come true, and we branched off to another timeline right around that time. That’s why completely improbable events – like Trump’s presidency, the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit – now happen with much more frequency than before. It didn’t just happen randomly, either, if the theory is to be believed, but through the discovery of the Higgs Boson (the ‘God particle’) in the same year.
3. Facebook’s 10 Year Challenge Could Be A Face Recognition Tool
Facebook’s ‘Ten Year Challenge’ was a viral trend in early 2019 that had everyone from everyday folks to celebrities comparing their photos from ten years ago with how they look now. It was a seemingly harmless trend, as there are few ways one could exploit that to one’s advantage. Unless, of course, we’re talking about Facebook.
According to some, the challenge was actually a long-term ploy by Facebook to improve its facial recognition algorithm. The before/after pictures would give it a fair idea of how we looked ten years ago compared to now, in turn providing it with valuable insight into how people’s appearance changes as they age.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theory at all, as Facebook has stated multiple times that they do use facial recognition to improve their services. Regardless, the theory did stop the trend from going too viral, as we don’t need to make Facebook’s already invasive algorithm even better at its job if we can help it.
2. Donald Trump Is Actually A High-Level Operative Against The US
No matter which political side you’re on, it’s hard to deny that Donald Trump has made his fair share of questionable statements and decisions since taking his place in the Oval Office. Perhaps it’s because we’re living in the social media age, which most former presidents were lucky to avoid, but it seems as if every slip up and silly mistake Trump makes (anyone excited about colonizing Nars? Care for some covfefe?) is magnified. He’s also tweeted classified military information, and has faced his fair share of criminal allegations – including a recent investigation of fraud. Taken as a whole, it’s enough for many people to sit back and wonder: how does any of this make sense coming from the President of the United States?
Well according to one corner of the Internet, it actually makes perfect sense. Trump is so full of mistakes because he has been trained by America’s enemies to bring it down from the inside. Variations exist as to who those enemies are, though Russia seems to be the most probable candidate. Some versions of the theory do make some great points, though it’s one of those things we’d never be able to actually confirm.
1. The Mandela Effect
Quick; do you remember how Nelson Mandela died in prison some time in the 80s? A lot of us would probably answer ‘yes’, and could even remember details like riots in South Africa after his funeral, as well as a vague recollection of his widow delivering a public speech. If you’re one of the people who do remember it like that – even if it’s a complete figment of our imagination and Mandela actually died outside prison in 2013 – you may be living in a parallel universe.
Known as the ‘Mandela Effect – named for obvious reasons – the theory that different people remember different instances of the same memory because of branching alternate universes has been around since at least 2010. However, it has expanded to include many other similar ‘glitches’ in the Matrix, like the spelling of Berenstain Bears, the color of the C-3PO bot in Star Wars, or whether the Queen in Snow White says ‘mirror, mirror on the wall’ or ‘magic mirror on the wall (it’s the latter). It has all sorts of implications for our reality, like time travel and different universes based on multiple outcomes in our daily lives, though we don’t really have the scientific tools to confirm or deny it. Yet.