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Why Conspiracy Theories Take Root And Grow

A Look At The Phenomenon Of Conspiracy Theories In Our Lives

By Jason Ray Morton Published 3 years ago 6 min read
Why Conspiracy Theories Take Root And Grow
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I've always wondered about conspiracies and conspiracy theories as I got to adulthood and began to pay attention to the news. There's been some interesting ones, some not-so-interesting ones, and then there were the theories that seemed too far-fetched not to be entertained by them. My curiosity started with the question "how is this a thing?" In a world of many types of people, anything is possible, but I always imagined if I could see the holes in the story, then anybody could. But, they grow, like a fresh seed in the spring. Conspiracies take on a life of their own, growing from creation to adulthood, like an embryo. They can be mapped from their very beginning to their very end. They have a shelf life, much like humans in the grand scheme.

To really understand conspiracy theories, start with a definition. Conspiracy theories can be defined as an organized plan or plot to achieve a particular goal or outcome that is most notably in the best interest of the conspirators rather than the rest of the world, or even their supporters. Typically, the theories are the product of the rich and powerful or their actions and how they're perceived.

Conspiracies start from pieces of information that are put together. Like the conception of a child, the egg plus the sperm equals the child, the growth of the theory starts with the A(idea) + B(benefactor) = C(outcome). Let's take a look at one of the twentieth centurys' last conspiracy theories and why it took hold in our imaginations.

Princess Diana's Passing.

Princess Diana was arguably a great humanitarian and a truly beloved figure of modern society that would have accomplished greater things than she had, had she lived a longer life. It was August 31st, 1997 when the fatal car accident inside of a tunnel claimed the life of the beloved member of the royal family. Within months the theories that abounded sometimes read like an Ian Fleming espionage/spy thriller. As the theories grew, rooting solidly in people's need to explain the needless tragedy, tabloids around the world bought into them as their favorite headlines.

One of the most bizarre theories about Diana centered around small facts that were going on in her life. Specifically, her engagement to Dodi Fayed. The announcement of her intended engagement led to questions, or ideas, about where she would end up living. Princess Diana had custody of the children she had borne to Prince Charles. Would the royals stand for the future king to be raised elsewhere? What would they do to stop her from taking the children away from the kingdom? Thus the idea was born.

By November of 1997, there was a story that circulated about a plan to keep the princess from taking the children to live in the middle east. Allegations of a call being made by a British MI6 operative to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency became a grand piece to the puzzle. Where the story came from, nobody knew with any certainty, but in the internet age, it grew wings and flew around the world with the stroke of some keys.

British Spy: Mr. Deputy Director, we need your help with a problem. The future King cannot be raised by the "Bastard Son of a benign camel jockey".

CIA Deputy Director: We will investigate our best course of action to assist you, sir.

I remember reading the stories from the late nineties to the early part of the new millennium. I remember thinking about the theories. Thinking about whether it was true or not, and myself seeing where it could be. During the last half of the twentieth century, it was not a well-kept secret that British Intelligence had specialized groups. Many of the famed stories about James Bond were based on the British Intelligence Service. One of the stories that circulated northern Europe has always been the belief that an operations unit specialized in vehicle crash assassinations. In this case, that little bit of information, true or false, was food for the conspiracy theory about Diana's death.

Once the conspiracy was growing, in its' toddler phase, feeding it was simple for the tabloids and theorists. Stories continued on for years and grew, causing the theory that the British royals had a hand in her death. In America, by this point, we've spent forty years considering whether our own government had a hand in the JFK assassination. So for us, it was easy to conceive. The final piece of growth came from alleged facts of a mystery raid in an Amsterdam hotel by Amsterdam police and American agents. When the story about a retired intelligence officer with a file and Dodi Fayed's father being there with a large amount of cash, people immediately jumped to the conclusion that Fayed was buying proof of his son's murder.

So, why do people get so invested in these insane theories that read like fiction novels? In the case of Princess Diana, it was to help cope with a senseless tragedy. The Princess and her fiancee were in a limousine that was chased by British paparazzi at a high rate of speed. Few, if any, will ever know what happened inside that tunnel as it was blocked off to the press. But, the crash in the tunnel was fatal. The theories that surrounded her death gave people something to believe in, to explain her death in a way it was more meaningful, and give people solace. Why? I have always asked, why people choose to believe the far more insidious explanations for tragedy than the simple truth that tragic things occur every day. Car crashes killed more than 38,000 people in the US alone in 2019.

A conspiracy theory can be diagramed in all of its' parts, thru its' growth, and to its' completion. it's born, it lives to serve its' purpose, and eventually, it dies. When a conspiracy theory dies, unlike humans, it can be dead for quite some time before being revived. When the Prince and Megan Markle left the palace, left England, and moved across the sea, I read an article about the reasons they left. One of them, after nearly twenty years of it being out of the public view, was that the truth of Princess Diana's death had been revealed to her son.

OJ Simpson theories started the day of the famed chase as police poured down on him. From the beginning, people questioned things about how it played out on television. Those questions ranged from legitimate, to preposterous. However, they grew into theories as people asked them and tried, without knowing the facts, to answer them.

Simpson had already been questioned about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Questioned for hours, Simpson would have known that he was a serious suspect in the case. Educated, popular, and rich, why would OJ stick around the area if he committed the murder? What was he doing as he slowly drove down the Calfornia Highway? Was he planning his getaway, calling his lawyer, considering suicide? How could he kill her in such a graphic way, be so sloppy, get questioned about it and set free, then stick around to be arrested with the resources he had at his disposal?

Glenn Rogers maintains he killed Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman

During the trial, it was proven that the case was less than ironclad. Mark Furman doctored evidence in the case. Things didn't add up. To make it all the worse, a convicted serial killer that worked as a handyman in the Brentwood area at the time of the murders was caught while OJ was on trial. Glenn Rogers has maintained to family, the authorities, and friends that he is the one responsible for the murders. Rogers worked as a handyman around Brentwood and talked with family about Nicole and what she was like. Factoring that there is a suspect that authorities in Los Angeles, specifically Chief Daryl Gates at the time, refused to look into, corrupt practices in the case and planted evidence, it's easy to believe that Rogers may be the murderer.

I worked in the law enforcement community and got to meet spree killers, multiple murderers, and one verified serial killer. They've always been an interesting subject. Glenn Rogers coming into the OJ Simpson case is perhaps the most undiscussed law enforcement conspiracy of the nineties.

If you enjoyed this, learned anything you didn't know, or want to know more about the makeup of conspiracy theories, let me know by leaving plenty of hearts below.


About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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