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A baffling number of people think that the term "celebrity" is interchangeable with "conspiracy." Slap a face on the cover of a magazine and within minutes the more turbid segments of the Internet start churning out crackpot theories about said face secretly being a six-headed alien chupacabra zombie or a Kardashian or whatever mythological monster they read about on a Snapple cap last Wednesday.

And when a celebrity eventually shuffles off this mortal coil, these theories usually crank up to 11.

5
Saddam Hussein Was A Proud Stargate Owner

Scott Peterson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before Osama Bin Laden and various extremist terror organizations became Public Enemy No. 1 for the Western world, the official Villain Hat was a snazzy beret worn by Saddam Hussein. The ruthless Iraqi dictator took two dudes named Bush and immeasurable political shenanigans right in the face before going down, while focusing the brunt of his own offensive on his immediate neighbors and own citizens. Which is kind of strange, because it turns out he could have laid waste to every single soldier in the coalition forces quicker than your average general can utter the words "Desert Storm." After all, he had an immensely powerful stargate at his disposal all along.

"Wait, what?" you ask. "You mean stargate, kind of like in that TV show where MacGyver had a gun?" No. Not kind of like it. Exactly like it.

MGM
Actual picture of Saddam's basement.

Oh, the how and why of it all are subject to debate. Some say a UFO crash-landed in Iraq around 1988 and Saddam, notable nice person, befriended the survivors and granted them sanctuary, and they gave him a bunch of handy alien tech in return. Others maintain the gate is a remnant of a highly advanced race that abandoned our planet in 1700 B.C. The planet Nibiru (remember the bullshit invisible rogue planet that was supposed to demolish us all when the Mayan calendar "ended" in 2012?) also features in the equation, sometimes. All the conspiracy theorists know for sure is that unless the government has found it, somewhere in Iraq lies a ziggurat or a basement or whatever, containing the means to travel through the vastness of space. Hell, maybe that's where all those weapons of mass destruction went!

Getty Images/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
"Dude, low blow."

Unless you count that one winter in the mountains of Switzerland, I have virtually no personal experience maintaining a dictatorship. I don't claim to be a master military strategist, so I have no idea how Saddam might have used this giant, galactic glory hole. Still, I can't shake the feeling that if Saddam had ready access to a vast space portal, he would not have spent the last of his days on home soil hiding in a grubby hole, hoping we wouldn't notice. In fact, the very first Gulf War would probably have ended with a strange stateside trend of berets, large mustaches, and hurried lessons on the intricacies of Iraqi culture.

Also, lots and lots of alien laser fire.

4
The Actress From Plan 9 From Outer Space Black Magicked James Dean To Death

Hulton Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In theory, the tragic car-accident death of James Dean in 1955 was a pretty straightforward affair, as the combination of a young, brash actor and a super-fast, difficult-to-handle car is rarely a good one. Shit, even the common legend about the Porsche 550 Spyder he fatally crashed being cursed can be explained with this logic: All the fellow actors and loved ones who allegedly got the creeps about the car and warned Dean about it probably just recognized the fact that a young person with racing aspirations is generally not at his safest when combined with a top-level race car that is essentially a rocket.

Yeah, that's the theory. Here's practice: Like a remora refusing to admit that the shark it's latching onto is actually a dead cow, a small but persistent segment of the Internet insists that there was something iffy about Dean's death. Was ... was he murdered? Maybe (according to crazies)! Or maybe he survived but was so disfigured that the studio carted him away in shame, never to be seen again. I mean, clearly this metallic doom-husk is something people just walk away from:

Hulton Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images
In movies he would have walked away with just a cut on the bridge of his nose.

But let's be reasonable here. Clearly, Dean is dead. If he wasn't, then how do you explain his sacrifice to the dark abyss of the netherworld in an elaborate ritual performed by this woman:

Cult Sirens
For some reason, the murderous blood magician is never the goofy-looking beatnik.

That's Maila Nurmi, better known to the world as cult goth icon/Ed Wood starlet/TV hostess Vampira. She and Dean were running in the same aspiring-actor circles, with assorted sources claiming that they were either friends, "friends," or a straight-up couple for a while. At some point, their relationship took a sour turn because [insert era-equivalent TMZ rumor here], which led to the only logical conclusion to your average silver screen icon/Morticia Addams hookup: Vampira placed a curse on James Dean's ass. Or car. Or both.

The grisly nature of Dean's demise had two effects: mourning super-fans of the legend, and shit-eye journalists doing their level best to embellish the events so said fans would keep buying papers. According to our good friends, horseshit tabloids, Vampira performed a complex black magic ritual that ended with sticking a mutilated photo of Dean on a wall with a knife, which naturally fell down the very same second the actor perished.

This doofus rumor might actually have worked in favor of Vampira's horror image, if she'd possessed the common sense to shut up about it and let it fade almost-but-not-quite away. However, she optimistically figured that the old "any publicity is good publicity" adage applies to a situation where the nation's crazies suspect you're a black magician who recently pureed a beloved Hollywood legend. So Vampira played up her freshly found satanic cred with photo shoots in front of demonic altars and macabre jokes. An example: Remember that theory where Dean survived but his face was so wrecked he was hidden away? Here's how Vampira and a "date" attended a costumed ball soon after the death:

Michael Ochs Archives/Moviepix/Getty
See, shitty Halloween costumes aren't just a recent thing!

The fact that you still know Nurmi best from Plan 9 From Outer Space shows how well this went for her. Still, this isn't even the most stupid conspiracy theory about famous car accident victims. That honor goes to ...

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3
Paul Walker Was Murdered Because Of A Charity Conspiracy (And Family Guy)

Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty

... yep, you guessed it.

You'd think that the 2013 car accident death of Fast & Furious star Paul Walker was a pretty straightforward, though tragic and more than a little cruelly ironic affair. You'd think such a nigh-instantly reported, universally acknowledged event would offer little in the way of conspiracy madness.

You'd think.

Yet, here's a strangely comprehensive list of almost certainly imagined Walkerian oddities, custom made by crazy people, and for the speculation and general conspiracy circle-jerkery of crazy people. Shockingly enough, the usual suspects of aliens and lizardfolk are absent. However, they're replaced by something even lazier and less amusing: rampant Illuminati crotchbaggery. Also, on a similar note, Family Guy.

There are a few "Paul Walker Was Murdered" theories floating around, so to conserve space and preserve what little remains of our sanity, we'll go for the abridged conspiracy review: At the time of his death, Paul Walker was active in the relief effort for victims of Typhoon Haiyan. He discovered some dirty money laundered in the charity system, thus becoming a target of none other than the Illuminati, who for the purposes of this particular scenario are basically the mob. Moblluminati then proceed to set up a complicated, theatrical car accident, which is communicated to the faithful in advance by killing Brian, the dog on Family Guy, in a car accident. Why didn't they just call or email each other? I don't know. Maybe the Illuminati all have crappy old iPhones and their batteries don't hold for shit.

Bill Davila/FilmMagic/Getty Images
"Come on, Tokyo Drift had a more coherent plot."

If you think that reads like a rejected script for a fifth-tier Furious ripoff, you're not exactly wrong. It's funny how it's always the handsome leading actors who get stuck in these scenarios, isn't it? It's not like Ryan Dunn from Jackass got any post-mortem crazy-people accolades after his crash, regardless of how much alcohol was involved in that one. It's almost as if these people were clamoring to make their head canon as movie-like as possible, because deep down, they know that their grand theory is really just a "17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes"-quality thriller playing in their head.

Nah, can't be. Everyone's a lizard person, including you and me. Next!

2
Grace Kelly Was A High Priestess In A Murderous Sex Cult

Archive Photos/Moviepix/Getty

What would you do if someone strolled up to you and said: "'Sup, want to be in our sex cult?" Before you actually raise your hand and start screaming at the screen in anticipation, male readers, remember that the general odds of people who are into goofy sex cults being attractive dictate that the experience would be a lot less Eyes Wide Shut and a lot more, well, this:

Joan Vicent Canto Roig/Vetta/Getty Images
"If you need lube, let one of the goats spit on you."

Now, what would you do if you were a world-famous actress-princess and you were asked the same question? According to one theory, you would be Grace Kelly, and your answer would be a resounding, "Shit yes I'll join your cult. In fact, make me the head priestess while you're at it."

The year was 1982, the cult in question was the creepy-ass, ritualistic Order Of The Solar Temple, and the princess consort of Monaco was about to jump neck deep into its scuzzy antics. Allegedly, her motivation was that she was a) extremely religious and b) hosting a whole slew of lovers of various secrecy, so she presumably saw the whole sex cult thing as a handy way to combine both of her hobbies. According to the theory, Kelly was initiated into the cult just months before her untimely death, paying a nifty $9 million for her priestess title. Unfortunately for the cult (and her!), she soon had second thoughts about the whole "paying millions for an honorary title in a boning cult when she's already a world-famous royal person who can pretty much do what she damn well pleases" thing and threatened to expose the leader of the cult as a fraud. The theory doesn't explicitly state that the cult then killed her, but it totally gestures in that direction with both arms and a boner while grinning frantically.

Is there any evidence of this? Like, any at all, apart from some National fucking Enquirer level stories? Nope! Could the whole "money-grabbing cult trying to ensnare a huge celebrity and then killing her" thing still have happened, in a "Tom Cruise gone wrong" kind of way? Maybe, if it wasn't for the fact that the actual Order Of The Solar Temple was less of a hot sex cult and more of a shit-flingingly insane occult society that ended up mass-murder-suiciding its way to extinction in 1994.

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1
Walt Disney Created His Empire As A Front For Illuminati Pedophiles

General Photographic Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty

Ask the right (wrong) person and you'll discover that everyone's a secret Illuminati agent these days. The president is one. Your mom is definitely one. I once wrote a piece about the Bilderberg Group, and at least one person told me that I am one, an accusation that greatly amused myself and my reptilian comrades as we tracked down the guy and ripped off his face.

Knowing this, it's no surprise that Walt Disney has had more than his share of New World Order finger-pointing, often fueled by his stint in the masonic youth organization DeMolay International as a boy. How much finger-pointing? Roughly all of it. And I do mean all -- according to this theory, ol' Walt was a perverted, mind-controlling Freemason-Illuminati-warlock with super magic powers, who used the twin techniques of animation and amusement parks to brainwash kids into liking cool shit ... and, oh yeah, to turn Disneyland into a giant New World Order honey trap for children. This bugfuck theory is called, I shit you not, The Disney Illuminati Pedophile Agenda, and ... yeah, it's pretty self-explanatory. Let's ... let's really not go there.

Pictorial Parade/Moviepix/Getty
"Wait, was this before or after my head was cryogenically preserved?
Because that one's bullshit too."

Look, person who buys his tin foil in bulk, there's plenty of creepiness in the endless pit of entertaining and strange that is Disney, both business and product wise. Plenty of folks have pointed out several unsavory things about the company, up to and very much including a certain list-based comedy website. The thing is, pretty much every huge company has some weirdness in its history, because that's what it takes to become a huge company. Still, I've seen a few business plans in my day, and one thing they all seem to lack is the "let's become the dominant player in our field by turning the very figurehead of our physical companyverse into a goddamned human-trafficking ring" part. Maybe the person who came up with this theory is a hitherto undiscovered business genius that will soon revolutionize the concept of big business in the most horrifying way imaginable. Or maybe, just maybe, this whole "they're all secret cultists after the children" theory tells a little more about its inventor than its intended target.

As for the rest of us, if we feel like coming up with Disney-related batshit theories, I humbly suggest we center them around this vintage Minnie Mouse:

Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hey, I don't see why I should suffer the nightmares alone.

I'm told that this is the English actor Hermione Baddeley cosplaying as Minnie Mouse circa 1933, but let's face it, there's no way the face behind that mask doesn't involve tentacles.

Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked weekly columnist and freelance editor. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.

You might not believe that Vampira cursed James Dean, but how else except for a vampire curse would you explain 6 Famous People Who Eerily Predicted Their Own Deaths? It's amazing how many lies about famous dead people persist. Check out 5 Myths About Celebrity Deaths Everyone Believes and see that Walt Disney's head is a little less frozen than you thought.

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