5 Crazy Conspiracy Theories From All Around The World

If there's one thing the Illuminati don't lack, it's ambition. Your crazy uncle on Facebook isn't ranting about the mystical cabal sleeping until noon and eating all the Pop-Tarts but leaving the empty box in the cupboard, is he? No, they're taking over the world. Shadowy conspiracies lurk everywhere that humans do, inflicting misery and confusion and strange iconography on people across the globe.

Also hilarity. They inflict quite a bit of hilarity as well.

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5
Israel's Neighbors Live In Fear Of Animal Spies

In some parts of the world, fears over Israeli spying are not unfounded, and it's reasonable for people in such places to be suspicious of certain things. Just maybe not this. An Iranian military advisor has recently gone on the record accusing lizards of committing espionage. Found in the vicinity of uranium mines, these lizards have skin capable of recording atomic waves, you see. At least in this guy's mind, while it comes as a big surprise to both scientists and the lizards themselves.

Milan_Jovic/iStockTo be fair, this wouldn't be the first time a chameleon committed espionage.

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In 2007, Iranians "detained" 14 squirrels with spying equipment on them, after what must have been the most amazing sting ever. Also, a vulture was captured by the Saudi government in 2011 (after what we can only presume was a series of increasingly wacky hijinks) and found to be wearing a GPS tracking device. Turns out this was part of an Israeli university's attempts to track the movements of these animals, but oh boy, the suspicions ... they were there. Something similar happened in 2016, when a different vulture strayed into Lebanon, and oh shit what if it was the same vulture?! What if this is like the James Bond of vultures? Has anyone optioned this movie yet?

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In 2013, Egypt detained a stork with a strange device on its leg under suspicion of espionage. That stork was later determined to be innocent, though it was still killed and eaten, because those are the stakes of the game, apparently. Egypt was no doubt on high alert for such shenanigans after that time in 2010 when an official accused the Israelis of using a mind-controlled shark to disrupt tourism. That's a crime ... recycling an Austin Powers plot point like that.

4
Nazi Science Is Responsible For An Outbreak Of Twins In A Brazilian Village

The town of Candido Godoi in Brazil has an unusual claim to fame: Up to one in five pregnancies in the town have resulted in twins, which is way above the usual rate of, like, one in eighty. And while this has likely led to a spike in tandem bicycle sales and an endless cavalcade of Parent Trap-esque situations, it's also turned up something more interesting: a conspiracy theory suggesting that all this came to pass thanks to Nazi science.

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After the fall of the Third Reich, Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who famously conducted human experiments in concentration camps, fled to South America. That part's not a theory; it's pretty well-established. But the theory goes that while he was in Argentina, he continued his work to engineer the master race by visiting a small Brazilian border town populated by German settlers and "treating" them. The idea is that a pregnancy resulting in twins meant twice as many beautiful German babies, and who's in favor of more German babies? Nazis, of course.

And, like, ordinary Germans who like kids, we guess.

Wiki CommonsBut mostly Nazis.

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There is some evidence here. First, that twin birthrate is genuinely way above normal. And residents of the town distinctly remember Mengele making visits there in the early 1960s, posing as a veterinarian. And, at least when discussing animal husbandry, he claimed he knew how to force twin births. Finally, one local historian says the first instance of twins occurred in 1963, when Mengele was reported to have arrived.

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But is that what's really happening here? Eh, probably not. Other researchers have found evidence of the twin boom extending back into the 1930s, which is long before Mengele arrived. They've also found that a number of women in the town have a genetic marker which makes them predisposed to birthing twins. They speculate that these genes are concentrated in this town not due to any Nazi experiments, but because the community was founded by a small number of immigrants, and there has been a not inconsiderable amount of inbreeding there since.

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We now see why the locals might prefer the stories about Nazi super science. It's better than "Welp, been bangin' my cousin for a while. Bound to happen."

3
The British Countryside Is Secretly Terrorized By Lions

Britain is an island that has been populated by humans for a few thousand years now. Anything that once lived there which was in any way dangerous or unwelcome -- bears, lions, the French -- has long since been driven off. There are pests, sure, but there are no superpredators.

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So it's weird that every few years or so, there's a wave giant wildcat sightings. Called "alien big cats," or ABCs, these reportedly lion-sized beasts are occasionally spotted lurking in the bushes and moors of the country, usually sparking massive hunts and media coverage. Most of the time, the beast vanishes and everyone shrugs and goes back to their tea and Hello magazine. But sometimes the beast is captured, or shot, and everyone gathers around to gawk at the corpse of what turns out to be a stuffed animal or fairly fat house cat.

Claire Greenway/Getty Images

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That's only a slight exaggeration. In 1996, authorities in Northern Ireland received several ABC sightings and concluded that they were probably looking for a young lion. Having cornered their prey, they shot it and found it was a caracal, which definitely wasn't from around those parts, but was also about 20 times smaller than a lion. And then there was the Beast of Barnsley, which was definitely a lion -- they were so sure this time -- except it was really a dog with eczema. Whoops.

Most of the hunts don't end so conclusively. The Beast of Bodmin Moor, a leopard or a puma or a Battlecat or something, has been killing livestock for about twice the lifespan of any normal cat, and it's never been found. They even sent the actual marines after the Beast of Exmoor in 1983, with similar non-results.

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Now, it's almost impossible for there to be some permanent wild population of large predators roaming the peaceful British countryside, but it might be possible that a captive animal was released. There were rumors that a zookeeper once released some pumas into the wild after their zoo was shuttered, although the owners of said zoo have repeatedly denied that. This scenario could, theoretically, happen ...

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But probably not. So if you do happen to spot a jungle cat on your next stroll through the English moors, know that it's probably nothing but an obese tabby, and you are extremely high.

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2
NGOs Are Working With Human Traffickers To Bring Down The Italian Economy

Every day, countless migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa, sailing on dangerously overpacked boats operated by individuals ranging from shady to incredibly shady. Many of these refugees die in the process, and in response, various governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have begun keeping rescue ships at the ready. Saving lives is one of those things that sounds quite unobjectionable.

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Turns out it's not.

Italian opinions on these migrants are a little mixed. They are a lot for the country to deal with, and combined with the basic Fear of the Other that lurks inside all of us, this can lead to some less-than-cuddly sentiments. And one spectacular conspiracy theory. A public prosecutor has accused some of these NGOs of encouraging this immigration, not just by providing a safety net, but by being in contact with the human traffickers themselves, even being financed by them.

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The point of all this? To destabilize the Italian economy.

He doesn't have any proof, of course, which sounds a little completely reckless for a public prosecutor, but whatever. A baseless claim that justifies anger and/or racism is more than enough for angry racists. One politician for an anti-immigration party has even suggested the NGO workers involved should be arrested and have their ships sunk. The challenges of dealing with a massive influx of refugees shouldn't be dismissed, but opening fire on humanitarian groups probably has some hidden downside we're not seeing yet.

1
The Dulles Plan Is Destroying Russia By Making Them American

The "Dulles Plan" goes a long way toward explaining almost everything about Russia's actions since the fall of the Soviet Union. The theory goes that in the 1970s, CIA head Allen Dulles devised a plot to undermine Russia from within. Using propaganda, cultural materials, and other soft methods, the plan was to make Russians doubt themselves, their government, and their country in general. Russians would grow to mistrust and fear their neighbors, become ruder, do more drugs, and begin wasting their resources on the conspicuous consumption of goods.

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And if all that seems vaguely familiar -- "Shit, we have that here. We call it capitalism" -- well, you can see why it's so pervasive. It can explain everything. More importantly, all of the loss in prestige and power that Russia has experienced since the Cold War can be easily chalked up to this one amorphous, sinister plan.

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It's a complete fiction, of course. Literally in this case. The idea originated in a 1970s novel. But because of its inherent appeal, the theory caught on everywhere and never really let go. It still pops up all the time in Russian online culture. There's a popular Russian meme which translates as "The Dulles Plan: does not exist, still works."

Lurkmore

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But what's craziest about the Dulles Plan is that it even seems to affect official government policy. In 2014, Russia invaded Ukraine, and at the time, at least one supporter of the invasion cited the Dulles Plan to justify it, worried that Ukraine, itself a victim of the Dulles Plan, would become a new source of anti-government sentiment in Russia. And in 2016, a new change to the criminal code was introduced which included several sections about defending Russia's online culture, with obvious references to the Dulles Plan.

Even the recent Russian attempts to influence the U.S. election seem almost like a response to the Dulles Plan, if not a Russian version of the plan itself. In the run-up to the 2016 election, one of the most notorious firms responsible for spreading misinformation in America was the Internet Research Agency. And when it was exposed, one of its employees said his first assignment for it was writing an essay about the Dulles Plan.

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Maybe the new meme will be The Dulles Plan: did not exist, but then it seemed like a really good idea.

For more incredible stories they probably didn't teach you in school, check out the Cracked De-Textbook.

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