“I want to believe.”
The May Day Mystery
The theory: In 1997, Bryan Hance, a student at the University of Arizona, began to investigate cryptic ads that run every year on 1 May in the student newspaper, The Daily Wildcat. After a bit of research, he found out the ads go back as far as 1981, potentially further. It’s still going on today, and you can see the 2016 May Day ad here. The theory is that the ads are communication between a group of intellectuals, and Hance believes the ads contain meeting dates, past and future, for a secret society that is planning for an economic and political revolution. Hance tracked the ads for the last 10 years to a lawyer, Robert Hungerford, who claims to have no involvement with the creation of the ads, but says he is just asked to send them to publish.
Any proof? Most ads feature incredibly obscure historical references, symbology, and mathematical calculations, so it’s likely they aren’t just nonsensical ramblings but are the result of a deliberate, careful effort. Hance and a friend working with him were contacted in 1999 by a member of a group called The Orphanage, saying that the adverts are part of a larger cause, and the group have supposedly sent him clues and donations over the years. A letter to Hance from The Orphanage ends with the sentence, “The day you can see the door, you will be welcomed inside.”
The May Day Mystery / Via maydaymystery.org
Phantom Time Hypothesis
The theory: Roman Emperor Otto III misdated the Western calendar 297 years because he liked the idea of ruling in the year 1000 AD. Otto, the Pope, and others filled in this “phantom time” with some completely made-up history: the Early Middle Ages. If this is true, the current year is actually 1719.
Any proof? Surprisingly, yep. There are literally thousands of recognised forgeries of documents from the early Middle Ages that claimed to be written hundreds of years before they were, and describe events in detail, centuries before they happened. A huge majority of these were made by the Church. There is also hardly any literature, art, records, or cultural artefacts from Western Europe in this period, nor any real progress in agriculture or technology – hence the term “the Dark Ages”. Read a paper about it here.
The Codex Alimentarius
The theory: Internationally recognised food standards and dietary guidelines, called Codex Alimentarius, are actually a method of “soft-kill eugenics” designed to kill a bunch of us off to reduce the planet’s population down to a more manageable level.
Any proof? Well, the first warning sign is the dodgy name: Codex Alimentarius sounds pretty sinister (though it’s just Latin for “food code”). Believers claim the codex tries to hide the benefits of herbal medicines and will restrict access to vitamin and mineral tablets. They also say the codex has renamed over 300 known poisons as safe food additives.
The theory: Since about the mid-’90s, some people, including some more famous believers, believe the cloud-like vapour trails emitted from planes – contrails – are actually chemtrails. Chemtrails supposedly are vaporised chemicals being sprayed into the atmosphere that aim to make the population ill and control the weather. There’s a sizeable campaign in the UK devoted to raising awareness of it.
Any proof? The theory was kicked off after the United States Air Force wrote a strategy paper that outlined possible ways the military could theoretically modify weather. Photos of planes with barrels installed in the passenger space (said to be “dispersion systems”) are available online, but their purpose is actually to simulate the weight of passengers on test flights.
Fabio Macor (CC BY-SA) / Via flic.kr