The Year of the Conspiracy; the Truth Is out There.Maybe. KEN DRINKWATER and NEIL DAGNALL on Why This Year May Be a Productive One for Those Who Love Conspiracy Theories

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 19, 2017 | Go to article overview

The Year of the Conspiracy; the Truth Is out There.Maybe. KEN DRINKWATER and NEIL DAGNALL on Why This Year May Be a Productive One for Those Who Love Conspiracy Theories


Byline: KEN DRINKWATER NEIL DAGNALL

IT'S 2017, and conspiracy theorists around the world are eagerly awaiting the release of thousands of never seen before government documents related to the assassination of president John F Kennedy. Due out later this month, the new material will no doubt reignite interest in the JFK assassination and it is likely that a host of new conspiracy theories will come to light as a result.

Ironically, author Jim Marrs, who wrote the bestselling book Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, sadly passed away in August, and will be unable to add to this discussion.

But of course like all good conspiracy theorists, Marrs is now at the centre of one.

His death is one of several recent prominent conspiracy theorists, who are now the subject of intrigue, machination and conspiracy.

Marr consistently backed the theory that there wasn't just a lone gunman involved in the shooting and claimed that Kennedy was murdered by high ranking officials and businessmen - who all wanted to see the president dead because they didn't like his policies.

Conspiracies also frequently emerge during times of fear and uncertainty - such as disasters, financial crisis, deaths. This suggests that conspiracy theories provide a sense of individual control by enabling people to make sense of the world.

Although belief in conspiracy theories is often criticised, many are widely endorsed, and even accepted by the general population. These theories can then go on to influence perceptions of important contemporary and historical events - as seen with the moon landings and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The persistence and generation of conspiracy theories demonstrates their individual and social significance, and people endorse conspiracies for a variety of reasons. This is usually when either no definitive explanation for an event exists or the official account appears inadequate.

But the JFK files aren't the only thing to get conspiracy theorists excited in 2017. A number of other landmarks in conspiracy theories have also happened this year - August 16 was the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and August 31 marked 20 years since the tragic passing of Diana Princess of Wales.

Both deaths have, over the years, similarly developed their own folklore and debates. Some Elvis Presley conspiracies claim the singer faked his own death to escape the pressures of fame, while others have suggested Elvis was a government informant, under threat from the mob. And there have been numerous reported sightings of Elvis alive and well. The most common theory about Diana is that she did not die accidentally, but was murdered.

But as a celebrity, you don't have to be dead to be caught up in a conspiracy - as the singer Avril Lavigne has discovered. May marked 15 years since the "Avril is dead story" first came to light. This 2003 conspiracy theory proposed that the singer Turn to Page 28 From Page 27 died that year - aged 18 - and a doppelganger took her place. …

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