#2. The Missing Apollo 11 Tapes
Quick! What was the most important accomplishment of the 20th century, besides discovering a way to get cheese inside of hot dogs? Landing on the moon, of course. When Apollo 11 touched down on July 20, 1969, the whole world gasped in wonder, therefore causing the global warming that we're now suffering from today. But it was worth it for the pictures. And now think about this: Like the video of your first unassisted steps, the original footage of the moon landing was taped over.
We know what you're thinking ... we've all seen the footage of the moon landing. How can it be lost?
"Eh, I've seen this one. Nothing attacks them, and they get home safe. It's boring."
Well, what we have is an extremely shitty copy, like if the world's only surviving copy of Star Wars was a glitchy VHS recording made off of TV. The original, high-quality version is gone forever.
The Missing Film:
Sending live video of the moon landing back to the world was a huge priority. Otherwise, nutjobs the globe over would think the whole thing was a fraud, and no one would want that to happen, right? But there was a problem -- the technology used to film Apollo 11 was called SSTV, and it was like the HDTV of the Space Age. Meanwhile, most of us on planet Earth were watching primitive TVs that made everything look like the viewer had glaucoma. So NASA pulled off a neat translation trick. The original crystal-clear images were translated into the grainier, ghost-like video that we all know and love.
"There we go, much better. Can we make it have that AM radio squeal, too?"
That was what the people at home saw. But the people at NASA saw pictures so clear you could swim in them. It wasn't until years and years later that anyone realized, hold up, that original footage was still out there, waiting to be revealed to the world.
Except it wasn't. After an exhaustive multi-year search, the official report was that, yep, the tapes had been taped over, presumably by an engineer eager not to miss an episode of Bosom Buddies. But a bright spot was also discovered. When NASA originally did the moon thing, a tracking station in Australia recorded the SSTV signal. And they made backup copies. The originals were shipped to NASA ...
"Hey, the game is on. Got any blank -- never mind, I found some!"
... and were also erased. Also, most of the backups were sent to NASA. And, uh, erased. But there still could still be some out there. Just waiting for someone to find them, and probably erase them.
#1. The Supposed Lost Oklahoma City Bombing Video
Here's the story of the Oklahoma City bombing you probably know: On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with almost 5,000 pounds of explosives in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, walked away and lit two fuses by remote. The truck exploded, killing 168 people and injuring almost 700. McVeigh and his accomplices were caught shortly later, and McVeigh was executed in 2001 -- end of story.
Holy shit, we know 12-year-olds who look manlier than that.
Well, maybe not. See, there persists a theory that there was another guy involved who was dubbed "John Doe No. 2" during the investigation. There are 24 eyewitnesses who claim to have seen this mystery man with McVeigh that day, and some believe he may have been caught on video by the numerous security cameras around the site of the bombing.
The problem is that when those videos were released (after persistent badgering by the family of one suspect), it appeared something -- or someone -- had been edited out of each video.
Perhaps a middle-aged man chain-smoking Morleys?
Who would do such a thing? And why? Here's where it's about to get conspiracy-ish up in here ...
The Missing Footage:
The theory goes that the accomplice in the missing video would be Richard Lee Guthrie, a dude with a history of government hating and a connection to McVeigh. We can't just ask him, because Richard Lee Guthrie died in custody by hanging himself with his bed sheet.
This is the last known photograph of him, wearing his "John Doe No. 2" T-shirt.
OK, so if it was him, why would the government cover up the involvement of some neo-Nazi? What do they care? Hell, they guy is even dead, right? You don't even have to bother to charge him.
Well, the conspiracy theory goes like this: Something went horribly wrong with the investigation into Guthrie and resulted in an innocent guy getting killed. That man is named Kenneth Michael Trentadue, and he was arrested in connection with the bombing. It was never clear why the feds picked him up, but here's the thing: He looked exactly like Guthrie, with the same build, the same facial hair and a similar tattoo. So if, for instance, the feds had seen Guthrie on a grainy security cam, it would have been easy to match it to the wrong mugshot and arrest Trentadue instead.
We're betting he watched a lot of Road House.
So what? you say. That's an understandable mistake, so why cover it up? They did eventually get the real guy, and he's dead, so just turn Trentadue loose and apologize, right? Maybe give him a coupon that says he gets out of one future crime for free. Why destroy evidence to pretend it didn't happen?
Because Trentadue, the innocent one, also died while in custody. Also by hanging himself with his bed sheet.
It gets worse: He had so many cuts, bruises and traumatic injuries on his body that his family began to suspect that he was actually tortured and maybe murdered. This has led his family (specifically, his lawyer brother, Jesse) to speculate that, in fact, the FBI fucked up and grabbed Trentadue by mistake, interrogated him so hard that he either died or was driven to suicide and then, when they realized they had the wrong guy, tried to cover up the whole thing.
"Oh, how clumsy of us -- we thought that file said 'NOT Evidence.'"
But the theory all starts with that surveillance video. After years of badgering, the FBI finally released 20 tapes to Jesse, who says that footage from four different cameras mysteriously goes blank all at the same time in the minutes leading up to the bombing. Trentadue thinks they doctored the video to cut out the bits showing Guthrie (which would, in his mind, start the process of proving that the FBI's actions led to the death of his brother).
So Trentadue went back and asked for more. As of July 2011, the official answer is that if there is more video in the government's possession that "The investigation case files are so massive, it would be impossible to find."
In other words, the key to this conspiracy theory rests in the same government warehouse where they stashed the lost Ark of the Covenant.
If you'd still like to feed your conspiracy side, check out The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain and 6 Crackpot Conspiracy Theories (That Actually Happened).
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover the missing pictures of what happened when John Cheese and David Wong drank soy sauce that one time.
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