There's nothing like an election year to bring out the conspiracy theorists. Whether it's about artificial intelligence stealing our votes or just your everyday the-illuminati-is-really-running things line of thinking, political seasons have a tendency to further distort reality for some. This season, rather than remaining fringe (as Stephen Colbert puts it "shaking up the alt-darknet"), many out-there theories are getting real airtime and even lip-service by the candidates (one in particular). Here are some of the craziest ones we've rounded up. And we shouldn't have to say this but, really, none of these ideas hold any water. Please, put down your tin-foil hat.
The Theory: Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails contain references to UFOs.
There is much speculation about the contents of the tens of thousands of deleted emails from Hillary Clinton’s server when she was Secretary of State. One of the wildest is that the missing emails contained detailed information about government cover-ups of visits from extraterrestrials. Part of the excitement here comes from the candidate: She has said in recent interviews that, if elected, she would release information about Area 51 and other reports about the subject as long as it does not pose a threat to national security.
The Truth: From the moment Bill Clinton became president, he started digging through government files on the subject of extraterrestrials; one of his many hobbies. While it’s possible there are hidden government files and programs dealing with UFOs, the chances that Clinton had access to them as Secretary of State is minimal at best. Any UFO program would fall under the Department of Defense, and thus she would not have had any access to them.
The Theory: The California drought is a government conspiracy.
Donald Trump isn't the first person to claim that the California drought is a government conspiracy, but he is the highest profile one. His theory that water is being diverted from farms to the ocean to save “a certain kind of three-inch fish" is not the usual line in this world though. What more conspiracy theorists believe is that the government has actively been engaged in weather modification since the Cold War, both as a potential weapon and as a way to control the population. Dane Wigington is one of the loudest voices out there claiming that planes flying high overhead are releasing heavy metal particles in their contrails. His assertion is that the government is trying to block the sun's rays from hitting the planet, but they also are blocking rainfall, thus creating the drought.
The Truth: There is no verifiable proof of either Mr. Trump’s or Mr. Wigington’s claims. Yes, there are government documents stating that weather control would make a great weapon. Yes, the Los Angeles county Department of Public Works did take out a classified ad stating they were trying weather modification — namely, cloud seeding. But, experts too numerous to list have thoroughly debunked the idea that “The Man” is controlling the weather. Now there are new theories that the government is using the planes to spray mind-altering drugs. That's what they want you to think.
The Theory: Ted Cruz’s father was part of the JFK assassination plot.
In the midst of a nasty primary campaign, Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, of associating with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. His source: The National Enquirer. The proof that the Enquirer was holding forth was grainy pictures that supposedly show Rafael Cruz and Oswald handing out pro-Castro pamphlets on a street corner in New Orleans in 1963, shortly before the President was assassinated.
The Truth: It is true that Rafael Cruz was in New Orleans around the time that Oswald was there. But by that time in his young life he had become disillusioned with the communist regime in Cuba, and had left the island forever to resettle in America. In fact many people who knew him then said he was a staunch anti-communist and would have never been standing on a street corner drumming up support for a dictator who caused him to flee his homeland. The Warren Commission, which looked into the JFK assassination, never mentioned his name, and Oswald’s widow said he was more of a lone wolf at this time.
The Theory: Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo pays homage to government's complicity in 9/11.
When the Clinton Campaign rolled out a new logo in mid-April, many-cried foul. WikiLeaks claimed it was plagiarized from their website. Others said the red arrow pointing to the right symbolized her shift to a more conservative platform. But the most bizarre were the claims that the design is homage to the planes hitting the twin towers, and the government’s complicity in the cover up of the plot.
The Truth: Let's look at the so-called facts here: Conspiracy theorists point to the fact that the red arrow in the logo moves left to right, the same direction as the planes were moving when they hit the towers. Also, the right side of her logo has more red in it, corresponding to the first tower burning. Those are some pretty thin straws.
The Theory: Donald Trump is a plant for the Clinton campaign.
One very popular conspiracy theory this election season is that Trump only entered the race to help his good friend Hillary Clinton win the presidency. Long-term Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Jeb Bush both brought it up during the primary season. People point to his numerous golf outings with Bill Clinton, his support of Clinton in the 2008 election, the fact that both of the Clintons were guests at his last wedding, and a mysterious phone call between Bill and Donald made less than a month before he announced his candidacy as proof. Trump’s diatribes are timed to take the media’s focus away from issues that would otherwise damage Clinton’s chances.
The Truth: If there is one thing we know for certain about Donald Trump it’s this — he hates to look bad. He lashes out at any who criticize him via Twitter. The idea that he would have willingly entered into the presidential race, the most visible platform on the planet, just to lose is pretty far out of character. Yes, he was once a Democrat, but before that he was registered as a Republican, and it is true that he donated to Democrats running for office — Clinton included — but he also donated to Republicans at the same time. In fact he has bragged about “buying” any and all politicians. As the campaign has motored forward, both candidates have thrown some heated barbs at each other, Clinton calling him a racist and crazy, while Trump has fired back calling her a liar and crook. These two sure don't sound like two co-conspirators.
The Theory: Hillary Clinton is a lizard person.
We have saved the best, and most bizarre, for last. Apparently Hillary Clinton is part of a group of reptilian humanoids that have controlled mankind since its infancy. She is not alone by the way: Vladimir Putin, Queen Elizabeth, and Bob Hope are but a few of her fellow lizard elite. They are able to shapeshift and keep their true nature under wraps only to reveal it to each other during highly secretive meetings. The Illuminati, popular world domination figures in themselves, are a wing of the lizard people that control the banking, and financial markets, according to David Icke, former BBC broadcaster and author on the subject. Because she and her husband are part of the ruling elite, Clinton was assured of winning the Democratic primary. Bernie Sanders never stood a chance; he was just there to make it interesting.
The Truth: Where to start? Apparently over 12 million people believe in some part of this theory. YouTube and Google are littered with "proof." Some signs that the lizard people exhibit are green/hazel/blue eyes, red hair, good sight, a deep compassion for mankind, and low blood pressure, according to one website. Those five criteria alone include about a third of the human population. It all leads to the question, If there are so many lizard people out there, why have they not just taken over the world? Maybe they have.