Back in the olden days people used to make sense of the scariest parts of the world by inventing monsters and then inventing even more improbable ways of defeating them or avoiding them. The 21st century has turned vampires and werewolves into teen heartthrobs, so instead we now trade stories of shadowy government plots that can be battled through the power of message boards. Same principal as medieval Europe, but way more hilarious. Today let's explore some of the best ones that involve our city.
The Moon Landing We'll get the most famous one out of the way first. Since 1969 people have been claiming that mankind's walks on the surface of the moon were faked by NASA on a soundstage. The idea is so deeply ingrained that there is a Wikipedia page more than three times the length of this article explaining it and even to this day some polls show that as many as one in five Americans still believe we never went to the moon. That's a hell of a conspiracy.
The Hotel ZaZa Mystery Room The theme rooms at the Hotel ZaZa are justly famous, but in 2013 a huge online discussion came about after a Reddit user posted pics about the Hard Times room, referring to it as a creepy gothic dungeon. Though the hotel told us there is nothing mysterious about it, many people started scrambling to explain it. The most popular theory was that the room's number, 322, indicated a connection to the infamous Skull and Bones club. The Yale society, whose logo includes the number, has often been accused of being part of a world control plot, largely because its membership has included a number of U.S. Presidents as well as many other powerful figures in history.
The Oilers Let the Bills Win There cannot have been many NFL teams more frustrating than our former Oilers. They lived and died in Houston having never made it to the Super Bowl, but they came really close in 1993 when they faced the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs. The game started well. The Bills were missing their regular quarterback due to injury and the Oilers racked up a ridiculous 35 - 3 lead by the third quarter. It looked like the Bills were done for until they rocketed back with five touchdowns. They ended up winning in overtime thanks to a 32-yard field goal, the greatest comeback in NFL history.
What went wrong? Well, according to one theory it wasn't a defeat, but a sabotage designed to get defensive coordinator Jim Eddy fired. Eddy was not well-liked by the players. Allegedly cornerback Cris Dishman convinced the team to foil their own win by losing big in the second half so Eddy would be disgraced. Supposedly other players have anonymously confirmed the story, though there's no hard evidence. Regardless, Eddy was fired and went on to help the Cowboys win the Super Bowl.
ISIS In Houston Last year your bigoted uncle probably relayed to you that our Southern border was being infiltrated by members of the Islamic State and had been spotted and arrested in Houston. The media refused to report on it because reasons. All this was backed up by pictures supposedly showing a man in an ISIS uniform being put in a police van by HPD. Leaving aside how ridiculous it would be for a member of ISIS to openly parade around a major American city in clothes identifying him as a member of one of our most hated enemies, Snopes debunked this whole mess showing additional pictures where the "ISIS member" was cheerfully posing with officers. There is no liberal media conspiracy to hide our invasion by Muslim extremists.
Beyonce: Satan Recruiter Our Queen B has never wanted for wild conspiracy theories about her. There are numerous allegations that she faked her pregnancy or that she is actually the mother, not sister of Solange. My favorite one, though, comes from those wonderful folks at Before It's News who have continuously made this job so easy over the years.
According to the site / the screaming bat children in their minds, Beyonce's Super Bowl appearance was a giant coded transmission designed to lure people to Satan. Her use of the diamond hand sign is apparently an illuminati symbol, whereas sticking out her tongue was supposed to pay homage to the Hindu God Kali. The name of this supposed Hollywood cult cabal is Ordo Templi Orientis, and it is of course a vast power structure whose only purpose is to consume the souls of children lured into singing "Single Ladies".
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The Dome Will Be a NSA Listening Post I knock on the Houston Chronicle a lot but allow me to applaud them for doing something I soooooo have always wanted to do: publish verbatim the crazy things that people send me in the mail. After Lisa Gray reported on yet another proposal for what to do with the Astrodome, a man named Dan Nagel sent her a note from Wackyland to better inform her.
Nagel states that the proposed green space on the Dome site greatly resembles the design of the AN/FLR-9 antennas used in the Cold War to monitor radio communications. Ergo the NSA was secretly using the project to cover up their real intent. I'll let Nagel say it...
I believe the NSA is planning to collect intelligence on all known and suspected Republicans here in Texas, and turn it over to the Administration. Every proper conspiracy theorist will say YES! Or, does the NSA plan to eavesdrop on all those nefarious and dangerous children pouring across the border from Honduras and Guatamala? If you have ever worked in a school, you know how dangerous children are, especially ones without parental supervision! Children carry cell phones. Cell phones transmit and receive signals. Do you understand now?
Lisa? If we ever meet the first round of drinks is on me.
The Jackson-Houston Plan Some believe Houston literally owes its existence to a conspiracy. The idea goes that in 1832 President Andrew Jackson sent Sam Houston to Texas with the intent of stirring up a revolution so that the area could later become a state. Without a revolution there would be no Lone Star State and without the heroic leadership of Houston there would be no Bayou City to name after him.
It is true that Jackson encouraged Houston to go to Texas and it is also true that Jackson thought Texas would be a good state. However, when Houston came to Texas he lived quietly in Nacogdoches and took almost no part in the run-up to the war. If he was Jackson's agent provocateur he was either brilliant at keeping it hidden or completely ineffective.
Yao Ming Is a Medical Experiment Former Rocket Yao Ming is an exceptional human specimen by any measure, but there's at least one theory that he got that way through unscrupulous medical manipulation by the Chinese government. Supposedly the Chinese recognized his potential (his parents are both tall) and tampered with his pituitary gland to achieve maximum height. Or take no less an authority than Discover magazine, who claimed that instead of being mutated Yao was purposely bred to be the titan he became. I can't help but feel all this is some weird obsession of trying to overcome the old "Asians are short" stereotype. After all, Yao put up with a lot of racist stupidity while he was our guest.
The AirTran Terrorist Plot A man named Tedd Petruna published a terrifying account of what he said was a terrorist dry run on a flight from Atlanta to Houston. In Petruna's Facebook posting (since taken down) he said that 11 men in Muslim attire boarded AirTran Flight 297 and proceeded to disrupt the flight and called a stewardess an "infidel dog" while also screaming in Arabic. The TSA searched the men's bags, but when they were allowed to remain on the plane the rest of the passengers left the flight.
"The terrorists wanted to see how the TSA would handle them," Petruna wrote.
Luckily every major fact checking site was on the ball to debunk Petruna's account even as folks like Glenn Beck ate it up. The flight was delayed after a man who didn't speak English refused to turn off his phone and the pilot returned the plane to the gate in Atlanta. The delay pushed the crew over their flight time limit and a new crew was swapped in. The group of 13 men the original offender was in opted to take a later flight as they felt uncomfortable for the disturbance they'd caused the other passengers. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discovered that Petruna wasn't even on the plane to begin with and another passenger said that the language the man in question was speaking was Spanish, not Arabic. There simply was no terrorist rehearsal on a Houston flight covered up by the media.
Bill Hicks Faked His Death to Become Alex Jones One was Houston's brightest comedy star who we lost too soon to cancer, and the other is the unabashed King of Crazy. Some think they are one and the same.
You can watch the above video for the evidence but I can sum it up for you in the name of your sanity. Supposedly the CIA recruited Hicks to serve as an opposition mouthpiece to the mainstream media, which only makes sense if you've never heard a single Hicks bit. It's true that Jones and Hicks do sort of resemble each other, even to an eerie degree. However there is the fact that Hicks would be 53 today and Jones is only 41. There's a few other tangible connections, such as the fact that both men are Texans and that Kevin Booth, who worked with Jones at Access Television, also produced some of Hicks's work.
To be fair, Jones himself thinks this is not funny at all, and not because he and Hicks are polar opposites politically. In a video addressing it he states, "Bill Hicks is in the ground, folks. Pancreatic cancer. It's not funny" and mentions having spoken to Hicks's family who find the whole thing very upsetting. So there you have it. Alex Jones, a man whose Rational Wiki page reads like a conspiracy theory primer, for a brief second was the voice of reason and respect. Only in Houston.