5 Conspiracy Theories We're Ashamed To Admit Make Sense

Conspiracy theories abound in the modern world, from the JFK assassination to the Moon landing. Most of the time, these theories are, to put it politely, Reptite-fucking crazy. But every once in a while, one comes along that seems dangerously plausible. Like ...

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5
Donald Trump Is A Shill For The Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Imagine the headlines later this year: "Republican Candidate Donald Trump Wins General Election, Becomes President of the United States." If you'd asked anyone even a year ago what was wrong with that sentence, they wouldn't know where to begin. And yet here we are.

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Now, for those of you genuinely panicking about the seeming inevitability of a Trump administration, let's try to put you a little at ease. Although Trump has a massive lead in the GOP primaries and is all but destined to become the party's candidate for the presidency, he also has one of the worst favorability ratings in electoral history. Basically, if Trump becomes the Republican candidate, then forget Clinton and Sanders -- the Democrats could run Tommy Chong for president and still have a good chance of winning.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"I just called my opponent, Mr. Jared from Subway, to concede and congratulate him on his yuge victory."

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It's no secret that The Donald isn't exactly your traditional conservative. In fact, until 2004, he was a registered Democrat, and he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. An attack ad from the Jeb Bush campaign in 2015 highlighted some of the disturbingly liberal views that Trump has held over the decades, including his claims of being vehemently pro-choice, in favor of tax increases for the rich, and again (we can't stress this enough), his glowing endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.

Jeb 2016
"Hillary Clinton is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." -- Trump, January 2017

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So what changed? According to some (including Jeb Bush himself), nothing. That is, Donald Trump is a liberal, deep-cover operative hired by the Clinton campaign to make the Republicans look so absurd as to all but clear an empty path for the Democrats in this year's election.

Paranoid? Maybe not, considering that Trump has been close friends with the Clintons for decades.

Politifact

According to conservative pundit Allen Ginzburg, if, hypothetically, a liberal plant was to run a presidential campaign with the deliberate goal of losing and getting his opponent elected, said campaign would be indistinguishable from what Trump is doing now: embodying a caricature of right-wing politicians while insulting his opponents, promising supervillain schemes about giant walls taken straight from Escape From New York, and endorsing bizarre internet memes about centipedes and cucks.

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It's also interesting to note that Clinton's campaign has been riddled with scandals, but that each and every time one comes up, Trump has marched out like a white knight on a gilded horse to valiantly say something unbelievably idiotic. In June 2015, the media reported on Clinton's gaffes in the Benghazi scandal, and Trump immediately started talking about how Mexicans are crossing the border to rape American women. When Clinton was pulled up on her most recent email scandal, Trump started talking about how we should totally invade Mexico.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The millions of people terrible enough to hear this bullshit and yell "FUCK YEAH" should take a bow, too.

In fact, every time the Democrats start tasting their own feet, it seems Donald Trump is on hand to say something stupider. So either he's employed by the Democrats to make them look good, or he really is that dumb. We can honestly swing either way.

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4
"New Coke" Was A Deliberate Failure Designed To Introduce Corn Syrup

The Coca-Cola Company

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Are there any words that inspire more dread among the health-conscious than "high-fructose corn syrup?" Most people probably don't even know what it is -- only that it's, like, liquid cancer which also makes you fat.

Starting in the 1980s, many soda companies, including both Coca-Cola and Pepsi, stopped using sugar in their drinks and replaced it with corn syrup, for pretty much the only reason massive companies do anything: It's much cheaper. But this was only one of two major controversies related to Coca-Cola in the '80s. The second was the introduction of the notorious "New Coke." In 1985, in an attempt to better compete with Pepsi, Coca-Cola changed its recipe. This was supposed to be permanent, but it only lasted a few months due to the threat of classic Coke fans literally clawing through the walls of Coke Corporate and ripping the still-living flesh from the bones of its screaming executives. New Coke wasn't a success, is what we're saying.

MPI Media Group
"WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN('s tastebuds)!"

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There's actually plenty of evidence that HFCS doesn't taste the same as cane sugar. For example, there are people who will swear to you that Mexican Coke tastes better than American Coke, and will pay higher premiums to get it imported. Mexico's Coke bottlers are unique in the world in that they still use sugar rather than HFCS, due to Mexico's booming sugar industry. And informal studies suggest that 85 percent of people can tell the difference, and almost all of them prefer the taste of sugar.

casadaphoto/iStock/Getty Images
They might like corn syrup better if it stopped looking like it came out of your nose after a gigantic sneeze.

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How does this tie in with the New Coke disaster? There are some conspiracy theorists who suggest that New Coke wasn't really a disaster at all -- that the short-lived experiment was, as the Joker would say, all part of the plan.

See, Coca Cola knew that HFCS didn't really taste the same, but they needed a way to introduce it without the public noticing. So instead of switching to a slightly new recipe overnight and risk their fans calling for blood, they switched to a radically different recipe for three months -- just enough time for everyone to forget what real Coke tasted like. So when they went back to Coke Classic, except with corn syrup instead of the real thing, everyone had gotten the outrage out of their systems and were happy to return to the status quo, even if the status wasn't quite as quo as they thought.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Nothing like a healthy sugar-free diet, washed down with buckets of food because we're so, so hungry.

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3
Paul Walker Was Murdered By A Corrupt Charity

David Buchan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Back in 2013, Paul Walker, the star of the Fast & Furious series, died in a car accident. He was in the passenger seat as race car driver Roger Rodas smashed his Porsche into a lamp post at 100 miles per hour, and just look at the wreckage ...

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

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Even a Highlander couldn't walk away from that. Conspiracy theorists immediately assumed Walker's death was an assassination, because bad things don't simply happen in Conspiracy World. They believe that the wreck of Walker's car looks less like it crashed into a pole and more like it was stomped on by Godzilla. YouTube detectives have even postulated that the aftermath of Walker's fatal accident better resembles a drone strike than a crash.

The important question is: If Walker was murdered, what was the possible motive? Did the government not want Fast & Furious X: Furiouser and Furiouser to pollute the series?

The theory goes that Walker's assassination is connected to his association with a Philippines typhoon relief effort called Reach Out Worldwide. According to the story, Walker discovered an embezzlement scam linked to his charity, and the crooked officials rigged his car to explode so that he couldn't go to the media about it.

Reach Out Worldwide
"In our hearts ... and our sights."

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As far-fetched as it would seem, it wouldn't be the first time that natural disaster charities in the Philippines have been linked to corruption scandals. According to The New York Times, a wealthy businesswoman named Janet Lim-Napoles had been funneling disaster relief money into her own pockets for decades in a kickback scheme called the "pork barrel scam." Coincidentally, some of the money was used to buy a condo at a Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles ... and a Porsche.

Philippine National Police
"The official vehicle of shady philanthropists and the poor saps
who never knew what hit 'em" likely won't grace Porche ads anytime soon.

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2
The Elf On The Shelf Was Designed To Brainwash Kids Into Accepting An Orwellian Dystopia

An Errant Knight / Wiki Commons

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The Elf On the Shelf is a dead-eyed toy that sits in your living room during December and monitors your kids in order to write up a yearly behavior report for Santa. Despite the Elf's vintage design, which gives the impression that it's been part of the Christmas tradition for as long as the Yule Log, it was invented in 2005 by children's author Carol Aebersold and her publisher in an attempt to make some dang money, son.

The Elf On The Shelf
The original patent spelled "Shelf" with a dollar sign.

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Or the toy was created by the government to condition our children into accepting the upcoming 1984-style surveillance state.

Almost certainly not. Because that's crazy and paranoid. But the originator of the theory, University of Ontario technology professor Laura Pinto, has some convincing ideas to back it up. Children whose homes have become infiltrated by the Elf On the Shelf are given a set of rules. Namely, they're not allowed to touch the Elf (lest he lose his magical power, which would bode very badly for the child's Naughty Score come Christmas Day), and they must accept that the Elf can be anywhere at any time and can always see what they're doing. There are anecdotal reports that some kids won't even enter their own homes without ringing the doorbell first, because they've been conditioned to accept that -- at least during the holiday season -- their house is under the command of an authority higher than their parents.

An Errant Knight / Wiki Commons
"Time to brush your teeth ... you don't want Santa to hear you wouldn't brush your teeth, right?"

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This all comes during a post-Snowden era in which Americans are concerned more than ever about the increasing degree of government surveillance in our private lives. When questioned by The Washington Post about whether she thought the Elf On the Shelf was a legitimate conspiracy, Pinto gave a sort of "yes and no" answer, saying that at the end of the day, we're talking about a kids' toy. But then, if you were a government agency working on a project to normalize the next generation to the inevitability of a coming surveillance state, that's how you'd do it.

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1
The #ThrowbackThursday Hashtag Is An NSA Operation To Gather Your Personal Photographs

Twitter

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"Throwback Thursday" is a social media trend that compels people to upload embarrassing early photographs of themselves and their family members. Hey, it's all in good fun, right? No way is it a dastardly scheme by the NSA to bolster their notorious facial recognition technology.

Yet that's exactly the idea posited by conspiracy theorists, who think that the hashtag was invented by NSA agents whose terrorist databases craved more selfies.

National Security Agency
"This guy didn't kill anyone, but his duckface is totally whack. Bomb him."

In 2010, the NSA started collecting photographs from emails, Skype, and social media in order to build a face database for their disturbingly Skynet-esque anti-terrorism computers. Curiously enough, #ThrowbackThursday became wildly popular on Instagram shortly afterward. Regardless of whether or not the NSA started it, the trend is certainly an effective tool for gathering images. Over 200 million photos have been uploaded with the hashtag. And that's only counting Instagram ... in 2014.

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Think about it. People change their appearances all the time. They get fat, grow beards, go through weird Linkin Park phases, etc. As you collect more information about someone's past, you not only gain a sense of what they used to look like, but you can also make an estimated guess about what they could look like. So when you post a #ThrowbackThursday photo of your favorite Halloween costume, the NSA now knows what you look like while hiding under a clever disguise.

National Security Agency
"Put that sorority's costume kegger pics on my private sever. I'm going to investigate them personally."

It would be ingenious if true. Even though 78 percent of Americans have some sort of social media presence, there's still a good chunk of the population un-spied-upon by the NSA. #ThrowbackThursday would allow the NSA to view photos of people who normally don't post anything on social media. You may think that you're being cute by uploading Dad's old tennis photos from college, but in reality, you're making it easier for the government to nail him for his illegal Four Loko bootlegging operation.

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Bryce Riley owns a fine collection of tin foil hats. You can tweet him @brycenator2323 or follow him on Tumblr at brycenator.tumblr.com.

Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, our moral codes, and our private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful we can't help but proselytize to the world. In this episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!

For more totally shit crazy conspiracies that kind of make a lot of sense, check out 5 Insane Celebrity Conspiracy Theories (That Make Sense) and 5 Creepy Cartoon Fan Theories That Make Way Too Much Sense.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out The Terrifying Conspiracy Behind Early '90s Kids' Toys, and other videos you won't see on the site!

Also, follow us on Facebook, and help us round up all the Elves on the Shelves. You know, to save our children.

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