Whether you're a conspiracy theorist or someone who simply wants to laugh at those with too much time on their hands, all of these conspiracy theories are well worth a read! Occasionally, some conspiracy theories are even proven right so we thought we'd take a look at some of these that may, or may not, have some serious traction behind them.
From the American government faking the moon landings to the assassination of John F Kennedy, here are 30 of compelling government conspiracy theories currently floating the net.
1. Aliens Exist And The Government Knows About Them
This claim seems to be predicated on a few things but has been persistent throughout history since the 1950s. When, in 1947, news reports of a 'flying disc' crashing in Roswell, New Mexico, with bodies recovered started circulating, the US Government issued a statement about it being a crashed weather balloon with the bodies actually being test dummies but many remain unconvinced and claim it was alien life.
Many speculate that the military facility in Nevada called Area-51 is where the US government keeps evidence of extra-terrestrial existence pointing to the sheer amount of security at the base and its remote location as evidence enough of this but what is more likely is that it is just a weapons testing facility. For decades the government refused to acknowledge its existence until papers were obtained proving that military test flights took place there in the 50s and 60s.
2. The JFK Assassination
John F. Kennedy was an extremely popular and influential politician, and he went on to win the 1961 Presidential campaign. In 1963 he was assassinated when his open-top motorcade drove through Texas, and since then conspiracy theories have been prominent in who did it and why. Lee Harvey Oswald was the man charged with the crime, but others suggest he was not the killer or was not working alone.
Why Kennedy was assassinated, no one is quite sure but some point to the mafia, others Cuba and more to the CIA. It has been reported that Kennedy himself said he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds" thus making him an agency target. J Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI at the time, was also known to dislike Kennedy for his apparent consideration of dismissing him and it has been speculated that he used his considerable influence to order the assassination.
3. The Moon Landing
In 1969, the first men landed on the moon and the world watched in awe as the images were broadcast across the globe. What people have suggested however is that the technology for such a feat could not have existed in the 1960s. Locked in a fierce battle for supremacy in the Cold War, Russia and America were competing to show off their military and technological might with them both engaging in the space race, perceiving a win to be a major propaganda coup. The Russians were winning the race as they had the first crewed space flight when Yuri Gagarin orbited the earth in 1961.
Desperate to show the Russians up, it is speculated that the United States staged the moon landing to show they were the superior superpower.
4. Life On Mars
In 1976, the Viking orbiter sent back photos from the surface of Mars that showed some very odd formations. One of these formations looked very much like a face carved out of rock. Conspiracy theories then ran amok with some suggesting there was life on Mars, and it had been this which influenced Earth's great empires such as in Egypt with the Pyramids and the Sphinx being similar creations, and other images in the photos being similar in size and shape to these. Were these the proof of an alien civilization or just coincidental shapes formed from the planet's rocky surface?
Author Zecharia Sitchin is known for translating ancient Sumerian tablets that suggest alien life brought them the superior technology that helped their civilization advance but scientists and academics have routinely declared this nonsense and pseudo-science claiming he has mistranslated the artifacts and has no historical basis for his assertions.
5. Super Secret Stealth Bombers
The A-12 Avenger II was to be an all-weather stealth bomber that could fly undetected by any radars and be based on aircraft carriers. In a plan that would have given the US one of the most advanced stealth bombers in global warfare, the plane was nicknamed the 'Flying Dorito' due to its triangular shape. It was a super secret project commissioned by the then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney but costs soon soared as materials became hard to come by and manufacturing was increasingly expensive, and when estimates of the project hit US$165 million it was canceled in 1991.
We only know about this due to recently declassified documents that confirmed nearly $3 billion had been spent on the program and not one aircraft was ever built. Originally projected to cost $57 billion for 620 aircraft, the A-12 was the largest weapons contract cancellation in the history of the Pentagon.
6. New World Order
There are hundreds of conspiracy theories about a New World Order, supposedly a group of elites who control the markets and global events in the world.
Freemasons, the Illuminati, and other shadowy organizations have been blamed for global catastrophes or events with a supposed long-term plan to take complete control of the world once it is plunged into chaos.
7. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident Was Staged
The Gulf of Tonkin incident is a historical confrontation between US Navy vessels and North Vietnamese vessels were apparently US military vehicles were fired upon. These events were used to largely justify the American invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s with America blaming Vietnam for both of these incidents.
It has been reported that these were either partially or entirely false which would weaken the American reasoning behind their invasion which led to one of the darkest chapters in their history.
8. The Real Reasoning Behind The Iraq Invasion
The zeitgeist at the time of the Iraq invasion was the oft-parroted line of 'the war on terror' and supposedly, then leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). When no WMDs were found, people turned their attention to the reasoning behind the Iraq war with American and British oil companies being awarded all the major drilling contracts in the country post-war.
Many see this as a justification of the view that the war was illegal. Some commentators even go so far as to suggest that the US government committed the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers to heighten the fear of terrorism and give them a plausible narrative to work with.
9. Fluoride In The Water Keeps Us Subdued
Fluoride is put in tap water to kill off bugs and diseases but some suggest there may be a darker, ulterior motive for it being there. Fluoride is a chemical that is known to have an effect on the pineal gland, this gland is responsible for the majority of our emotions, as well as our serotonin and melatonin level. By putting Fluoride in the water some suggest this subdues the general public and makes us slower thinkers and hinders our thought processes and stops us rising up in revolt.
Fluoride in water was suggested by Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud. It bears some thinking about although this argument has always bee countered with the idea that there isn't enough fluoride in the water to have a noticeable effect and the alternative would be massive levels of dysentery and cholera.
10. Marilyn Monroe Murdered Because of State Secrets?
Beautiful starlet Marilyn Monroe was at the height of her fame when she was found dead, supposedly from an overdose of barbiturates but the autopsy never found remains in her stomach. The suggestion is she had an affair with one, or both of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy both prominent politicians, one being the President of the United States at the time.
Many think she was murdered, either by the security forces who thought she knew state secrets after they were divulged during the course of an affair or the mafia who were trying to get information from her or send a message to the politicians. Either way, many think it was a cover-up of epic proportions.
11. The Manhattan Project
Most people now know about the Manhattan project, but at the time it was kept at the highest level of secrecy known only to a select few. The Americans were keen to bring about the end of the second world war. Absorbing a similar British project called 'Tube Alloys' and receiving support from both British and Canadian governments, the Manhattan project was the development of the world's first atomic bomb.
Despite its secrecy, Soviet spies still managed to infiltrate the project that led to their development efforts. A lead physicist on the project J. Robert Oppenheimer was so devastated by the destruction wrought when he witnessed the test of the atomic bomb brought about by his research that he supposedly uttered 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'
12. FDR Knew Pearl Harbor Was About To Happen
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was what brought America into WWII and changed the opinion of a nation, set on letting Europe deal with their own war, into becoming a member of the allied forces. The idea is that President Roosevelt knew about this attack three days before it happened but did nothing to prevent it knowing that the war effort would galvanize a nation suffering from economic depression.
The official line is that American authorities didn't think anyone would be so audacious as to attack them but there is some debate about this.
13. MLK Assassinated By His Own Government?
A civil rights pioneer and ardent pacifist, Martin Luther King Jr. was cruelly gunned down on his hotel balcony in Alabama and many point to racism and fear of his movement for this attack. Others suggest that the US government were scared of the power MLK had in the African-American community and worried about a potential race war should he change his stance on peaceful protest.
Some point to King's opposition to the Vietnam war as a possible reason he would be killed as the government did not wish to have such powerful opposition on such a contentious issue.
14. Chemtrails Poisoning The General Public
In a similar theory to that of the fluoride in the water one, this suggests that the trails you see from planes as they fly overhead are actually chemicals being released into the atmosphere to control the general population and make sure they don't become too angry about possible government wrongdoings.
Scientists say these trails are little more than vapor coming from plan engines but opponents insist otherwise.
15. Operation Alsos
Whilst building the world's first nuclear bomb, American authorities thought it paramount to stop the Nazi research into this and so went about carpet bombing areas they thought the research was happening as well as destroying Nazi ball bearing factories as almost all technology at the time used ball bearings.
Apparently, though, spies found out that the Nazis were close to completing a nuclear weapon so instead of trying to destroy it America bought the scientists off and included their research into their own Manhattan Project. After the war ended, these scientists were relocated to America and given new identities to hide their Nazi pasts, supposedly.
16. London 7/7 Bombings
Many news outlets plastered images of Mohammed Sidique Khan entering Luton station on as he prepared his attack on London's Underground network at approximately 7.20am on July 7. However, many theorists challenged this image and asserted it was fake because the man in the white hat was allegedly photoshopped into the picture.
Some theorists even went as far as saying the bombs were part of an inside job and went off under the tubes as opposed to being in the plotters' backpacks.
17. Is Paul McCartney Dead?
“Paul is dead” is a conspiracy theory that has floated around the inner-most depths of Beatle fandom for some time. The theory believes that Paul McCartney perished in a car crash in1966 and was replaced with a robotic doppelganger.
Theorists back this claim by pointing to many of The Beatles' recordings. When a song is played backwards, supposed symbolism in the most obscure of lyrics becomes apparent. They also point out in the famous Abbey Road cover that McCartney is the only barefooted Beatle and is out of step with his bandmates.
18. The Wrong William Shakespeare?
Britain's most celebrated wordsmith is a household name around the world for his spellbinding prose, but some dispute that this titan of literature was responsible for the plays we all know and love. While there is no denying that fellow literary greats such as Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, William Stanley (6th Earl of Derby) and Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford) are the authors of their genius, theorists dispute the authorship of Shakespeare's works.
In fact, many speculate that William Shakespeare was instead an actor and businessman, and as there is limited biographical information about him, many tend to believe this.
19. The North American Union
The North American Union (NAU) is a private conglomerate comprising of North American powerhouses Canada, Mexico and the United States with a common currency named the amero. However, many take this further and claim the theoretical union is a conspiracy designed to promote the eventual New World Order (NWO).
Whilst all three countries have flatly denied the creation of a so-called NAU, the union has been proposed in esoteric circles and even mooted by the Independent Task Force on North America.
20. Operation Northwoods
Operation Northwoods was a supposed plan by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to drive a fake Cuban terror campaign on American soil so the US would support an invasion against Castro's communist Cuba.
The plan included bombings, hijacking and the blowing up of American airliners. However, the operation was put to one side by President Kennedy leading conspiracy theorists to speculate that this led to his assassination.
21. 9/11 Was An Inside Job
Argubally the most famous conspiracy ever to hit the web, conspiracy theories of 9/11 have been plentiful ever since two planes crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York. And despite repeated claims by al-Qaeda that it was of their doing, the Internet has been awash with conspiracy theories ever since.
Some theorists believe that the US government were aware of the threat long before September 11 but didn't do enough to stop them. Others go as far as saying the Bush administration deliberately ignored the warning signs because it wanted an excuse to wage war in the Middle East and thus assert more authorial control on regions rich in precious commodities.
A group called the 9/11 Truth Movement even claimed that they have evidence to support these claims by casting light on how such a sold structure was brought down by airliner impacts and burning aviation fuel alone. Another group points to video evidence of smoke from the lower levels of the Twin Towers, smoke that was far below the impact zones. However, despite the much-used "inside job" theories, scientific journals are quick to dismiss these conspiracies as that and little else.
22. Jesus Conspiracy Theory
Spawning the likes of blockbuster novels such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, many believed before and after reading the story that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and conceived one or more of his children before moving to southern France.
There's also the theory that they are part of a series of noble families that would eventually turn into the Merovingian dynasty.
23. Princess Diana, Murdered?
The world mourned the Princess of Wales when she passed away in a car accident in 1997, and whilst an official inquiry found no evidence of a MI6 conspiracy or murder, you'd think these insensitive rumors would be put to bed.
But years later, many still believe that she was murdered as her relationship with Dodi Fayed constituted a threat to the monarchy. Some corners of the Internet blame the white Fiat Uno which was supposedly carrying agents obstructing driver Henri Paul as he sped through the Paris underpass.
24. Peak Oil Conspiracy
The theory of Peak oil means the peak of oil production during and after demand outstrips supply. From there, prices shoot up, and thus the owners of these lucrative rigs see their profits rise. Because of this, conspiracy theorists and cynics believe that there is no official way of knowing just how much reserves are available, allowing oil barons to exaggerate supply to hike profits.
As we all know, the oil industry is shrouded in mystery, so there is no way of truly knowing, but out of all the conspiracies on this list, this one is more believable than others.
25. Moscow Apartment Bombings
Past GRU officer Aleksey Galkin and former colleague and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko (who was killed from Polonium-210 poisoning in London in November 2006) as well as other government anarchists and whistle-blowers claim that the 1999 apartment bombings in the country's capital were carried out by the FSB, the heir to the KGB following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Critics said they did this to support the second Russian war against Chechnya.
26. Was Harold Wilson A Soviet Agent?
Anatoliy Golitsyn, a famous defector of the USSR, famously claimed that Harold Wilson was a KGB spy. He also believed that the KGB killed Hugh Gaitskell so Labour leader Harold Wilson could replace him.
MI5 officer Peter Wright's memoirs added that Wilson was a Soviet agent despite repeated investigations finding no such evidence.
27. Black Helicopters
The black helicopters conspiracy was prevalent in the 1990s. It was supposed to symbolise the beginning of a military takeover.
Other theorists remain adamant that so-called black helicopters regularly patrol the United Nations.
28. A Laboratory Produced AIDS
Many people speculate that the government influenced certain endemics or viruses. One theory goes that crack cocaine was injected into the most impoverished communities in America to fund the private prison system. However, a more popular theory floated by conspiracists is the HIV virus.
Leading sceptic William Campbell Douglass said on record that the HIV virus was genetically engineered in 1974 by the World Health Organisation as a means of being able to wipe out large swathes of the population.
29. Global Warming Isn't Real
Climate change deniers, mostly on the right of the political spectrum, argue that the term was coined to con the world's population into paying higher taxes and accept government interventions in every facet of the social and economic spectrum.
These unbelievers point to falls in the global temperatures since 1998 as proof.
Two hundred miles off the east of Anchorage, Alaska, lies the Pentagon's High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. This impressive building is home to an ambitious experiment that heats the ionosphere with radio waves.
However, conspiracy theorists maintain the project is a covert operation designed to create a weapon capable of taking down aircraft and missiles. It supposedly does this by lifting sections of the atmosphere, simulating earthquakes and altering the weather with a high-tech modification device.