Conspiracy Theories

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LiteratEye #28: The Mona Lisa Theft Mystery – Was There a Mastermind?

Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fraud and Deception

Here’s the twenty eighth installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

LiteratEye #28: The Mona Lisa Theft Mystery – Was There a Mastermind
By W.J. Elvin III
August 28, 2009

monalisa recov-425

Assuming the world doesn’t end before the predicted date of 2012, many of us will be around to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris. Among suspects in the “unimaginable” 1911 theft was Pablo Picasso – and I don’t mean he was a suspect in theory; the young leading light of modern art was actually hauled into court for intense questioning.

There will likely be a surge of books, exhibitions, television shows and so on connected with the anniversary of the best-known art heist of all time. We can expect a great deal of drama. That’s not to say we can expect a great deal of truth. (more…)

Dark Side of the Moon

Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Media Pranks, The History of Pranks

Update, July 16, 2009 — An interesting twist for conspiracy theorists — NASA lost moon footage, but Hollywood restores it

Submitted by Jorge Luis Marzo:

From Wikipedia:

“Dark Side of the Moon” is a French mockumentary by director William Karel which originally aired on Arte in 2002 with the title Opération Lune. The basic premise for the film is the theory that the television footage from the Apollo 11 Moon landing was faked and actually recorded in a studio by the CIA with help from director Stanley Kubrick. It features some surprising guest appearances, most notably by Donald Rumsfeld, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, Buzz Aldrin and Stanley Kubrick’s widow, Christiane Kubrick…

Here, as a tease, are three clips about 25 minutes long, cut from the hour and a half documentary.


LiteratEye #21: Crusading British Journalist Combats Stupidity

Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fact or Fiction?

Here’s the twenty first installment of LiteratEye, a series found only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

LiteratEye #21: Crusading British Journalist Combats Stupidity
By W.J. Elvin III
July 10, 2009

ufo believerDavid Aaronovitch calls his new book “my war on stupidity.” Before dashing into the fray, it seemed prudent to figure which side I’m on. So I ordered the book.

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History” is an incredibly difficult book to obtain. Amazon will send it to you in 2010. Several vendors offer it at a ridiculously high price. The one reasonable source backed out when I put in an order.

So, over to the UK, where it was published. By golly, the outfit I ordered from there suddenly pulled out of the deal. Conspiracy, or what?

I finally got a copy, shipped from … France?

Aaronovitch is a popular media heavy in Britain and has lots of admirers and friends who write or talk for money, so his book will probably sell well. Some of the reviews are so positive you’d think the reviewer wanted to cuddle up and kiss the guy.

He’s a former Communist who doesn’t seem to mind when described by his media mates as a hawkish leftist intellectual.

Aaronovitch explains that the reason some of us qualify as stupid is that we assume conspiracy when an event is really the result of accident or chance. Such beliefs are harmful because they distort reality and lead to “disastrous decisions.” (more…)

Joan Fontcuberta and the Sputnik [English & Spanish]

Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fact or Fiction?, Political Pranks

Joan Fontcuberta and the Sputnik
by Jorge Luis Marzo

02For this Project (1997), Fontcuberta fabricated a story about an evidence for a “Soyuz 2” mission involving cosmonaut Ivan Istochnikov. Soyuz 1, an actual Soviet space mission in 1967, had ended with the death of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov when the spacecraft crashed on landing. In 1968, according to the fabricated story, “Istochnikov and his canine companion Kloka mysteriously vanished after leaving the [Soyuz 2] capsule for a routine space walk. When the Soyuz 3 arrived for a docking maneuver, it found only a vodka bottle containing a note, floating in orbit outside the empty, meteorite damaged ship.” To avoid embarrassment, Soviet officials deleted Istochnikov from official Soviet history; however, the “Sputnik Foundation” discovered Istochnikov’s “voice transcriptions, videos, original annotations, some of his personal effects, and photographs taken throughout his lifetime.” The exhibition of artifacts (e.g., photographs) related to “Soyuz 2” was shown in many countries, including Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Mexico, Japan, and the United States. Among other reactions to the exhibition, a Russian ambassador “got extremely angry because [Fontcuberta] was insulting the glorious Russian past and threatened to present a diplomatic complaint.”

Several lines of evidence available since the first exhibition of “Sputnik” in 1997 in Madrid suggest that the story and artifacts form an elaborate hoax. Read more at Wikipedia.

Cuando algo parece natural, como el suelo, se tiende a no interpretarlo, a no prestarle atención. Pero, un detalle extraño, una mirada más atenta de lo normal, una leve dislocación pueden hacer que el suelo devenga una realidad central, no una simple sombra por debajo de las cosas. (more…)

A Mutating April Fools’ Day Joke?

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fact or Fiction?, Fraud and Deception, You Decide

Giant Internet worm set to change tactics April 1
by Jordan Robertson
March 27, 2009

computer_worm-200 San Francisco (AP) — The fast-moving Conficker computer worm, a scourge of the Internet that has infected at least 3 million PCs, is set to spring to life in a new way on Wednesday – April Fools’ Day.

That’s when many of the poisoned machines will get more aggressive about “phoning home” to the worm’s creators over the Internet. When that happens, the bad guys behind the worm will be able to trigger the program to send spam, spread more infections, clog networks with traffic, or try and bring down Web sites.

Technically, this could cause havoc, from massive network outages to the creation of a cyberweapon of mass destruction that attacks government computers. But researchers who have been tracking Conficker say the date will probably come and go quietly.

More likely, these researchers say, the programming change that goes into effect April 1 is partly symbolic – an April Fools’ Day tweaking of Conficker’s pursuers, who for now have been able to prevent the worm from doing significant damage. Read the rest of the story here.


Can’t Find the Hydrant? What’s a Dog to Do?

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories

Man Wins Appeal in ‘Hidden Hydrant’ Case
March 13, 2009

hydrantp23-200New York — A man who claimed a construction barrel was used to cover a New York City fire hydrant subjecting him to a $115 ticket has won his appeal and will get his fine refunded by the city.

Jonathon Turkel says he feels vindicated but point out this was more about the principle rather than the money.

Turkel had found a ticket for parking too close to a hydrant on the windshield of his car in the Financial District. However when he looked around he says he did not see a hydrant, only an orange construction barrel.

“The only way you could see the hydrant would be if you had X-ray vision,” he said.

Turkel took pictures of the covered hydrant and pleaded his case. Read the rest of this article here.

What Really Brought Down the USAIR Flight

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Satire


thank Jon

Free Voice of America

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Fraud and Deception, Propaganda and Disinformation

If you’re interested in views and opinions you probably won’t see in mainstream media, you might want to subscribe to The Government of the United States of America in Exile newsletter. It provides links to articles and videos showing how the American public is pranked/deceived by government and business interests. is not endorsing the content, just offering access to alternative information aggregated from numerous online sources. To subscribe, send an email with “For Pondo” in the subject line to President, USA Exile Govt.

Some examples from a recent newsletter:

Cheney Laughs About North American Union Agenda Deception

Martial Law is Now a Real Threat: Declaring the US a Battlefield by Dave Lindorff,

What to Say to Those Who Think Nuclear Power Will Save Us by Rebecca Solnit, Orion Magazine

Pipeline paranoia

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Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Propaganda and Disinformation cast doubt on credibility of JFK terror plot
by Luis Torres de la Llosa
June 4, 2007

New York (AFP) – An alleged plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at New York’s JFK airport had little chance of success, according to safety experts, who have questioned whether the plot ever posed a real threat.

US authorities said Saturday they had averted an attack that could have resulted in “unfathomable damage, deaths, and destruction,” and charged four alleged Islamic radicals with conspiracy to cause an explosion at the airport.

But according to the experts, it would have been next to impossible to cause an explosion in the jet fuel tanks and pipeline. Furthermore, the plotters seem to have lacked the explosives and financial backing to carry out the attack. (more…)

Straight from the pranksters bag of tricks…

Filed under: Conspiracy Theories, Publicity Stunts, You Decide

Coptix Photoshop JobHere’s an example of how a carefully placed falsified document can foment a conspiracy theory. But remember, conspiracy theories are generally neither completely true nor completely false. That’s what gives them legs. The links here show the story from two opposing points of view:

Rove personally connected to email scandal
by · March 31, 2007

Land of the lost: Left-wing blogs get punked
by · April 04, 2007

There are lots of links to follow to piece the story together.

Post Script: Later in the day after this post was published, received this comment from Josiah at Coptix:

    “You can see the whole thing here, if you’re interested.”

Thanks Josiah! -JS