Monday, April 18, 2011

Why Conspiracy Theories Make Good Fiction

Conspiracy theories, unsolved mysteries, the riddles of the universe, the end of the world, time travel, crystal skulls, vampires, the secrets of eternal life, UFO's. Great fodder for scores of movies and books. Sets the imagination soaring with thoughts of what if, if only…Things that puzzle us can be both amusing and entertaining. Questions no one has been able to answer intrigue us, obsess us. Why are we here? Where are we going?

Here are ten top conspiracy theories:
10. Apollo Moon Landings Faked by NASA--Believers think this landing never took place--photos altered, no stars in the photos, flag flapping in spite of the fact there's no wind on the moon. Plausibility Level: Low, hard to believe. But made a good movie. Remember "Capricorn One?" Though that was about a faked Mars landing.
9. Jesus' Bloodline-The idea that Jesus had children after marrying Mary Magdalene and that these children then emigrated to France, creating a dynasty known as the Merovingians. The secret is protected by the Priory of Sion. Plausibility: Who knows? Based on the non-fiction best-seller, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", this theory has been around long before "The DaVinci Code" ever became a mega-thriller.
8. Princess Diana was Murdered--The car crash in 1997 made many wonder if the accident might have been "arranged" by MI5, the British Intelligence organization, because Diana planned to marry a Muslim, Dodi Fayed. Plausibility Level: Maybe. Sometimes there's more to these deaths in high places than meets the eye. She certainly was overshadowing the Royal Family with her activities. However, from many of the biographies I've read, she really had no plans to marry Dodi. Books and movies galore about this one.
7. Pearl Harbor was Allowed to Happen--President Roosevelt allegedly provoked the attack, had foreknowledge of it and covered up his failure to warn commanders in Hawaii. This was done in order to make the U.S. enter the war, since the American public and Congress had been against it. Plausibility Level: Maybe. Other governments had warned the US about the attack, since Japanese codes had been broken. (Even by the US). Plausibility Level: Maybe. It certainly jump started the economy and reversed the American public's thinking dramatically. And Hitler had to be defeated. The non-fiction book "Day of Deceit" and several History Channel documentaries covered this topic.
6. The Philadelphia Experiment: Time Travel--An alleged military experiment where the US destroyer escort, USS Eldridge, was rendered invisible in Philadelphia for a brief period, then mysteriously reappeared in Norfolk, Virginia, 200 miles away. Plausibility Level: Maybe. Based on a scientific application of Einstein's Unified Field Theory dealing with gravity and electromagnetic radiation, it was thought possible to bend light around an object to make it invisible. (Remember cloaking from "Star Trek?") Certainly invaluable for military use. Supposedly a botched experiment to make ships impervious to radar, though the log books and records for the time period in question are hard to find. The subject of many books, two movies, and documentaries. I love time travel books and wish it were possible.

Speculation is fun and fascinating and whether they're true or not , bizarre or believable, these theories really get the writer's mind going, asking that wonderful question: "What if?"

Next week: The Top Five Conspiracy Theories


Pat Dale said...

Fascinating fodder for a fertile imagination. All a writer needs to go into 'what-if' land and come up with a cliff hanger. My favorites have to do more with political skulduggery than extra-terrestrial scenarios. Example: what if Bill Clinton had been the 'Manchurian" candidate and Obama is the follow on defacto leader who will remake America?
That kind of stuff. LOL
Pat Dale

Sandra Koehler said...

Never know where you will find a good idea. The truth is stranger than fiction! Alison

Autumn Jordon said...

Interesting blog. I love a good conspiracy theory discussion. I will be next week to read more.

AJ Nuest said...

Great post, Alyson. I love conspiracy theories, and you're right. They make great fodder for stories. My dh and I watched a documentary about the Mayan's last night. Very interesting stuff. Makes one wonder...

Sandra Koehler said...

The Mayans are up next week! Alison