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3 Literary Conspiracy Theories

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By Annie KapurPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - February 2024
3 Literary Conspiracy Theories
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

A conspiracy theory is defined as: an explanation for an event or situation that asserts the existence of a conspiracy by powerful and sinister groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. (Wikipedia)

We have all heard the humour of conspiracy theories from all over the world. From election rigging to the illuminati, things are really getting out of hand. There are many and they are more than often a little silly-sounding with some actually weirdly bringing bits and pieces of proof that, when realised, is actually a shock. But, then it spurs on many more conspiracy theories about relative situations. But who knew that conspiracy theories existed in the literary world?

Here are three literary conspiracy theories that may sound a bit out-there but I would like to know what you think about them more than anything. Do you think they have ground? Do you think that there could be proof to them? Do you think that there is truth in them or, maybe you're like me and remain a bit of a cynic to these things.

3. The Reality of HP Lovecraft's Necronomicon

From: The Collector

This is a book which appears in the works of HP Lovecraft and kind of introduces itself as a grimoire. But of course, where there is a book of dark spells and eerie coincidences, there is bound to be a bunch of people who created a conspiracy theory out of it. HP Lovecraft may have insisted that the grimoire was an invention of fiction, there have been many who believe otherwise.

In 1973, a publisher called Owlswick Press issued a copy of the Necronomicon apparently written in an indecipherable language called Duriac. But I think that the best theory so far has been requests to see the book to the Vatican, where it is believed a copy of the real text exists.

"Real" editions and copies of this book have been published and republished over the years, each one revealed to be a hoax. I believe that the weirdest theory was by an occultist named Kenneth Grant who believed there was a subconcious and supernatural connection between Lovecraft and Alaistar Crowley which inspired the Necronomicon. I think that is pure garbage. But those who believe it is real believe that it is held by the most powerful and secretive organisations in the world, used to control others, cast spells and of course, for Satanism.

2. Shakespeare Didn't Exist?

From: Historic UK

If there is one theory that annoys the daylights out of me more than anything it is when people who know nothing about Shakespeare start asking the authorship question. Everyone and their pet dog knows what the 'authorship question' is because nobody who is not part of the upper class could possibly do anything that good, right? It's sarcasm, of course they can. I don't mind the 'Shakespeare was Marlowe' theory but I cannot stand the theory that Shakespeare didn't exist. But what is it?

In the 1800s, an American woman named Delia Bacon theorised that Shakespeare was not the author of the works attributed to him. But instead, the plays were actually written by groups of people. Joseph C. Hart also argued this in his book The Romance of the Yachting around a similar time. This kind of caught on, but instead of being widely recognised, it snowballed into the 'authorship question' which now, questions the very existence of William Shakespeare.

Most of the different theories that began here suggest that William Shakespeare was a secret identity for either one person or a group of people to conceal the political motivations of these plays. An early form of propaganda, this media was intentional to provide support to the Tudor Monarchy, including the villainisation of Richard III which, is only now being brought into question.

All in all, the Shakespeare 'authorship question' does not hold much weight because there were many people who actually met Shakespeare during his lifetime. There is also a dead body beneath a grave in the Trinity Church in Stratford and if that isn't Shakespeare then I will eat my hat.

1. The Diary of Anne Frank, or Not?

From: The Guardian

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is one of the most widely read and influential books of all time, letting the reader in on the life and times of the tumultuous period of World War 2 in which Jewish people were unfairly the targets of mass persecution by the Nazis. But, did you know that there was a theory developed in the 1950s that Anne Frank may have not written the diary after all?

Harald Nielsen, an anti-semitic writer once stated in an article in Swedish Magazine, Fria Ord in 1957 that the diary had actually been written by someone called Meyer Levin. It was a theory that never really caught on as there was no proof and Nielsen was known for his anti-semitic opinions. When that's the main thing you're known for, nothing you say about Jewish people will catch on at all.

But if that's not enough, a Holocaust survivor and writer named Simon Wiesenthal was challenged by protestors in 1958. The protestors claimed that Anne Frank had never existed. They stated that in order to prove she did exist, Wiesenthal must find the person who arrested her. In 1963, Wiesenthal located Karl Silberbauer who admitted to arresting Anne Frank and her family. This corroborated a statement that was previously given by Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank. This means that the conspiracy theory that the protestors presented died out entirely.

Otto Frank would then take on legal cases over the years that classed the diary as a 'forgery'. Ernst Romer published a pamphlet entitled: "The Diary of Anne Frank, Bestseller, A Lie" in 1976 and was fined. A few people went to jail for denying the diary was written by Anne Frank and even stating that the person 'Anne Frank' was entirely made up. You can tell that these people have never read the book as it reads as though it was written by a teenager. Plus, people who were still alive at the time had met and known Anne Frank - she was more than definitely a real person with a very real diary.

Though it is not a forgery, there are parts that were originally censored out that, in newer editions of the book, have been put back in. These include references to the strained relationship that her parents had with each other, quickly leading to the disintergration of their marriage. They also included her wavering opinion of her mother amongst other things.


From: Babbel

So there are three major literary conspiracy theories. Do you believe any of these wacky semi-realities or not? There is more than likely no truth to any of these but I've got to say, some people can really get creative.


About the Creator

Annie Kapur

195K+ Reads on Vocal.

English Lecturer

🎓Literature & Writing (B.A)

🎓Film & Writing (M.A)

🎓Secondary English Education (PgDipEd) (QTS)

📍Birmingham, UK

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  • hasaghi kulobtonabout a month ago

    Kostenlose RTL-Livestreams sind eine unschätzbar wertvolle Quelle für hochwertige Inhalte. Seine Kombination aus Vielfalt, Qualität und Interaktivität macht es zur ersten Wahl für diejenigen, die der Zeit voraus sein möchten

  • Buen Ravov2 months ago

    Thanks for this, Annie. There's another interesting conspiracy concerning the "Will to Power" of Nietzsche that probably deserves an article of its own. The main claim is that Nietzsche's sister is the one who actually processed the manuscript to meet the needs of the Third Reich since, as you probably know, they didn't have any reasonable philosophical grounding. As far as Shakespeare is concerned, I'll share a piece concerned with the problem here today. Thanks again!

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    I'm not familiar with Lovecraft but the idea of Satan's spells seems a little antiquated in our world, doesn't it? I've heard about the identity of Shakespeare being questioned but not that he never existed. I don't think you're going to be hat-eating any time soon. I think the Diary of Anne Frank is real but I'd like to read the bits about the parents arguing for the full picture. I suppose they were edited for purpose, not to detract from its war-time depiction or maybe Otto didn't want his dirty laundry aired in public? Interesting story, Annie.

  • JBaz2 months ago

    I always like reading conspiracy theories when I need a good laugh. You gave me three. Congratulations

  • Ooooh, I always love a good conspiracy theory. These are delectable. The same people who advance these theories probably also believe that the Earth is flat and we never landed on the moon! This was an intriguing read! Great writing!

  • Test2 months ago

    Fabulous work! Keep it up—congratulations!

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Oh ho ho - conspiracies - they grow and grow. Awful, that one about Anne Frank!! 🤬 but wouldn’t it be sort of cool to find out a woman wrote all the plays attributed to ol’ Shakes! 😂😂. JK, loved your piece!

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    I had heard the ones on Anne Frank and Shakespeare (the motivations behind them are questionable and disgusting), but I never heard the one on Lovecraft. Would not put it past The Vatican the have some...extra information. 😗

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