5 Crazy Conspiracy Theories Surrounding Famous Cases

Welcome to True Crime Tuesday where we review, recommend and generally obsess over everything crime-related.

According to Occam’s razor, when presented with competing answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions. Basically, the simplest explanation is usually the most likely to be true. That being said, we know that completely random, unpredictable, and seemingly impossible things happen all the time. Tom Clancy is famous for saying that the difference between fiction and reality is that fiction actually has to make sense, and he’s right. Sometimes what really happened can be truly unbelievable.

That’s part of the reason why conspiracy theories are so ubiquitous. Some people believe a group called the Illuminati is controlling the world, while others believe that the moon landing was faked. There are even people out there that go so far as to claim that 9/11 was an inside job and the Holocaust never happened. These theories rise from the reality that there are some things we can’t know for sure. Here are 5 crazy conspiracy theories surrounding infamous cases.

Who really killed JFK?
President Kennedy was in his third year in office when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 during a political trip to Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged for his murder, but he claimed he was nothing but a patsy. Oswald himself was murdered before he could be prosecuted and few people were satisfied that they knew the whole truth. According to a poll done by Fox News in 2004, 66% of Americans still believed there was some kind of conspiracy surrounding Kennedy’s death and 74% believed there had been a cover-up of some kind.

Theories are based on the belief that there was more than one gunman on the grassy knoll that day. Everyone from the mob, the CIA, and the KGB, to the sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson or Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro have been accused of being involved in Kennedy’s death. It’s because of the range of possibilities that Kennedy’s assassination has been called the “mother of all conspiracies”. There are multiple documentaries and books on the subject and plenty of people who still hope to uncover the truth—as if it will ever be seen as anything other than another conspiracy theory at this point.

Where is Madeleine McCann?
In May 2007, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal where she was staying with her family. Multiple investigations into her disappearance by the Portuguese authorities and Scotland Yard have produced a number of theories. One believes that Madeleine died in an accident and her parents covered it up, while another claims she was abducted by a stranger unknown to the family. No trace of Madeleine has even been found.

Because of the lack of evidence to shed any light into what really happened to Madeleine, there are plenty of conspiracy theories surrounding her disappearance. Last year, a British student named Harriet Brookes claimed she was Madeleine McCann using a photo of a freckle on her leg and her unique eye colour as evidence. There have also been accusations that MI5, the UK’s counter-intelligence agency covered up what really happened. With so many theories and no real evidence, it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out what really happened to Madeleine.

Are Biggie and Tupac alive?
Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas on September 7th, 1996 dying six days later in the hospital. His friend-turned-rival Biggie Smalls was killed six months later in a drive-by shooting in L.A. Both murders remain unsolved to this day, but there are plenty of theories about what really happened, including conspiracy theories about whether Tupac and Biggie are even dead at all. They aren’t the first musicians people have claimed faked their own deaths. Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley are also supposedly still alive somewhere.

In Tupac’s case, many people believe record producer Suge Knight had something to do with it, but there is no evidence and he strongly denies the accusation. Some people think Biggie had Tupac killed and Biggie’s murder was a retaliation. There’s also a theory that both Tupac’s and Biggie’s murders were orchestrated by the FBI in an attempt to end “violent rap culture”. The most likely theory is that Tupac’s and Biggie’s deaths were both gang-related. But as for who actually pulled the triggers, we’ll probably never know.

Was the Sandy Hook shooting staged?
The Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 is the deadliest mass shooting at a high school or grade school in U.S. history having left 20 children and six adults dead. The shooter, Adam Lanza also murdered his mother and committed suicide that day so there was no explanation for why he did what he did. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the massacre was orchestrated by the U.S. Government as part of a plot to start pushing for stricter gun control laws.

One theorist is particular, radio show host Alex Jones has actually denied that the shooting happened at all and the child victims were just actors. Many families of Sandy Hook victims have reported being harassed by conspiracy theorists. They’ve been called liars, actors, and even received death threats from people who believe the massacre was staged or simple didn’t happen at all. These conspiracy theories tend to contradict themselves and have little to no evidence to support them but there are still plenty of people who, for some reason, choose to believe them.

What happened to Elisa Lam?
The death of Elisa Lam is one of the strangest mysterious in recent history. The Canadian student was visiting L.A. and staying at the downtown Cecil Hotel when she was reported missing. Her body was found in the water tank on the roof of the hotel after multiple guests complained about the water supply. Prior to the discovery of her body, a surveillance video of Elisa in an elevator at the hotel was released. She appears to be talking and gesturing to someone outside the elevator, exiting, re-entering and, at times, appears to be hiding—but no one else is ever caught on video.

Elisa’s official cause of death is accidental drowning, but the circumstances surrounding the incident have inspired a number of conspiracy theories. Elisa’s behaviour in the elevator video have been attributed to mental illness, drugs, some kind of paranormal activity, and foul play. Some theories say that the video was tampered with before its release. How Elisa ended up in the water tank when the door to the roof and the tank were both supposed to be locked is unclear, but the main theory—although there is no evidence of foul play—is that someone murdered her and put her body in the tank. As with any mysterious case, there is even a theory that the entire thing was a hoax and Elisa Lam never existed, but her family would beg to differ on that claim.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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