Top 10 conspiracy theories

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They extend from Elvis Presley to Area 51, the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico to Buckingham Palace, and the shadowy back-streets of London to downtown Dallas. And what might they be? Our top 10 conspiracy-theories of all time, that's what.


UFOs, royal scandal and cover-up, state-sponsored assassinations, celebrity secrets and bug-eyed aliens: they're all here, one weird way or another. True or not, they're the subject of countless movies, books, TV documentaries, and even deep discussion down the pub. Come with us, now, on a mysterious journey into a strange and paranoid land of top secrets and shadowy cover-ups...

Mysteries in the desert

The US Government won't talk about it. It's shrouded in secrecy and paranoia. Try and break in and it's the last thing you'll ever do. And it's only 90-miles from the slot-machines of Las Vegas. It's Area 51. If you're lucky enough to get an on-the-record comment, you'll be told it's a test-site for top secret aircraft. If you're really lucky, you may get to hear the truth about the nine alien spacecraft that, in 1988, a scientist named Bob Lazar claimed to have seen stored there. E.T. likes to hang around Sin City? Don't bet against it.

Related: Guide to summer sky watching

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Death in Dallas

It's one of the most notorious events in US history: The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Had he been brought to trial, instead of being very conveniently shot by the mob-linked Jack Ruby, it's possible that Lee Harvey Oswald would have been found guilty of the crime. Or, maybe, he really was the "patsy" he claimed to be. The Soviet Union's KGB, the Cubans, the CIA, the Mafia and even rogue elements within the US Government have been blamed. The truth? Buried in some secure, underground vault, perhaps.

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Aliens in the woods

When it comes to famous UFO-based conspiracies, the Americans have Roswell, but us Brits have Rendlesham. It was December 1980 when military personnel at the twin-bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge, Suffolk reported seeing strange lights in the nearby Rendlesham Forest. Over the next three days, claim now-retired airmen and flying saucer seekers, nothing less than a full-blown UFO from another world landed in the woods, tiny aliens were seen flitting among the trees, the military went on a state of high alert, and a huge cover-up was put in place to try and hide the truth. We want answers, Primer Minister!

Related: The UK's top 10 unsolved mysteries

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A lunar conspiracy?

A poll taken in 1999 demonstrated that no less than 6 percent of all Americans suspected that NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon didn't occur. Six percent may not sound like a lot. Until, that is, the realization hits home that this equates to approximately eighteen-million people. Conspiracy-theorists loudly proclaim that footage showing the American flag moving is evidence enough of fakery, since in the Moon's vacuum there can be no wind. The claim is also made that some of the photographs allegedly taken on the Moon look too perfect and suspiciously well lit. Shot at Area 51, maybe? Hmm.

Related: Top 10 paranormal hoaxes

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A ballooning cover-up

Something strange happened deep in the heart of the New Mexico desert in July 1947. It's an event that has prompted the US Government to change its position no less than four times. It has become infamously known as the "Roswell Incident." Today, the little town of Roswell is an absolute Mecca for the UFO faithful, while the Air Force grumbles and grouses, and claims the crashed UFO was merely a balloon. As for the so-called alien bodies found at the site: Nothing stranger than crash test dummies, the Pentagon confidently assures us. Conspiracy? It depends who you ask.

Related: 10 Historical lies that Hollywood made us all believe

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Ripping yarns

Without doubt, one of the most infamous murderers of all time, Jack the Ripper still sends shivers up people's spines 124-years after his terrible killing-spree in the dark streets of Whitechapel, London. Theories abound concerning his identity: butcher, surgeon, doctor or even midwife. Most controversial of all: the theory that Jack was actually Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. A royal-ripper? So it's claimed. That Prince Albert died at only 28, as a result of having caught syphilis from a London prostitute, some ripperologists suggest, led the deranged prince to take his revenge on the street-women of Whitechapel.

Related: Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould

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Cattle conspiracies

Cattle-mutilations: Maybe not the most well-known of all conspiracies, but in the weird stakes, they're right up there. For decades, someone has been prowling around in the dead of night killing, and removing the organs and blood from, cattle all across the United States. The US Government says: "Predators." UFO-seekers shout: "Aliens!" The most disturbing theory, however - one possibly supported by the presence of military- and unmarked-helicopters in the areas of attack - is that the government is secretly checking for emerging super-viruses in the food-chain that could infect and kill us all. Anyone for vegetables?

Related: 9 meals fit for the caveman in your life

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The death of a princess

It sent shock-waves around the world and stunned the UK It was the 1997 death of Princess Diana in a car-accident in Paris, France, that also claimed the lives of her then-boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the driver, Henri Paul. But was it just an accident? Some said it was cold-blooded murder. Fingers of suspicion were pointed in the direction of the British establishment and MI6. Rumours that, at the time of her death,, Diana was pregnant by Fayed - an Egyptian Muslim - have added further weight to the idea that she had to go. Permanently.

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Long live the king

When Elvis Presley was found dead on the bog in 1977, most people assumed it was the outcome of an over-indulgence in way too many pharmaceuticals, an excess of peanut-butter and jam sarnies, and extra baggage around his middle. But, for some, Elvis can't be dead. He just can't! The result: conspiracy theories abound. One is particularly ingenious. In 1970, after meeting then-President Nixon, Elvis was made an honorary-agent of what, today, is the Drug Enforcement Agency. So, the theory goes Elvis still works for them - in deep-cover mode. The pill-popping king trying to clean up the drug-trade?

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A vanishing conspiracy

Did the US Navy really attempt to make one of its warships invisible in a secret experiment in 1943 at the Philadelphia Naval Yard? Did the experiment go catastrophically wrong, something which left the crew-members either dead or insane? A near-army of conspiracy experts will tell you: "Hell, yes!" As for the Navy, they know the story inside and out. If you ask them, they will politely refer you to their fact-sheet on the matter that says the legend is nothing but a wild distortion of far more down-to-earth experiments. But they would say that. Wouldn't they?

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