Even the most rational people sometimes buy into conspiracy theories as a way of coping with uncertainty and doubt.
But, from faked moon landings to reptiles ruling over us, there are truly some crazy conspiracy theories out there.
Here are 10 of these bizarre tales… Do you believe any of them?
The Bisley boy.
The theory goes that Princess Elizabeth died of the plague at Overcourt House in Bisley when the king was on his way to see her.
A local boy of the right age and hair colour was substituted for her, the deception was never discovered and he grew up to be Queen Elizabeth I. That is why “she” never married.
The Pope had Abraham Lincoln killed.
This theory was developed by Emmett McLoughlin, a Franciscan priest, in his 1963 book: An Inquiry Into The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln.
It says that Pius IX thought Lincoln an obstacle to Catholicism in America, motivating the Pope to have the American president killed.
Our lizard overlords.
The ‘reptoid hypothesis’ argues that reptilian humanoids live among us with the intention of enslaving the human race. It has been championed by former BBC sports presenter David Icke who believes that deceased American comedian Bob Hope, members of the Royal Family and former US Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton are part of the “Anunnaki” – a race who came to earth for “monatomic gold”.
Elvis is alive…
Music legend Elvis Presley died on 16 August 1977 – or did he? According to this theory, the King of Rock and Roll faked his own death and now works as a groundsman in Graceland.
Just this year, YouTuber “The Shadow” has posted grainy footage of a bearded man on YouTube, claiming the figure is an 81-year-old Elvis.
While some say the claims are “idiotic” and Elvis should be left to “rest in peace”, the belief that the King is out there looks unlikely to fade away.
But Paul is dead.
This is an urban legend and conspiracy theory alleging that Paul McCartney of the English rock band the Beatles died in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a look-alike.
In September 1969, American college students published articles claiming that clues to McCartney’s supposed death could be found among the lyrics and artwork of the Beatles’ recordings. Clue-hunting proved infectious and, within a few weeks, had become an international phenomenon
McCartney himself poked fun at it with a 1993 live album, titling it Paul Is Live, with the cover parodying clues allegedly on the cover of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.
JFK’s death is not what it seems.
In November 1963, John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime but was shot dead before he could stand trial. But was he just a scapegoat? Did the real killers get away with murder? No official investigation has turned up evidence of a conspiracy, but theories implicating everyone from the KGB to Jackie Kennedy continue to circulate.
You might also like: Explaining 5 weird involuntary behaviours
Fake moon landings.
Neil Armstrong’s giant leap kicked off one of the most persistent conspiracy theories of the 20th century. The sceptics claim that the 1969 landings – and all those which followed – were faked by NASA.
Even though there is substantial evidence to the contrary (including Moon rocks brought back to Earth and manmade objects left on the Moon) some people remain adamant that film director Stanley Kubrick was hired to produce the footage after his experience on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On 11 September 2001, four planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda and two of them were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, killing thousands. However, some people believe that the attack was an inside job, orchestrated in order to cement America’s place as the top global power or to secure the oil reserves in the Middle East. Another theory is that the building’s owners were responsible for the event, as they stood to gain $500m in insurance profits.
Beyonce is a clone
In recent years, a small but vocal subculture has argued that the Beyonce we all remember from the days when she was lead singer with Destiny’s Child has been replaced by a clone. Supporters claim there’s a clear physical difference between the ‘old’ Beyonce and her cyborg replacement.
The Daily Dot has unearthed a video uploaded to YouTube showing the pop goddess at a basketball game behaving in a way considered a little bit… weird.
It’s far from the first conspiracy theory involving the popstar, who was accused of faking her pregnancy, and is frequently identified by Illuminati enthusiasts as one of the leading players in the so-called New World Order.
Dinosaurs helped build the pyramids
A theory advanced by Pastor Vince Fenech, who said in an interview: “Of course the ‘dinoceros’ existed. It is mentioned in the Book of Job. They were used to help build the pyramids…”
Fenech was director of the Accelerated Christian Academy in Mosta, Malta, until its closure in July 2012. Rather sadly, given its thrilling sci-fi curriculum, the school closed due to its having no students enrolled.