Every State’s Most-Searched Conspiracy Theory
Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. Even if you don’t put much stock in them, the juicy topics are compelling enough to entertain during a dinner party or provide a much needed respite from business at the tail end of a Zoom meeting during an otherwise typical 9-5.
Given their tendency to turn the mild into the obsessive, it’s no surprise that many conspiracy theories have entered popular culture in the form of movies, television and docuseries, and documentaries. With the right TV service, you can even access most of these titles for your own entertainment—masterpieces, satires, and spoofs alike.
USDirect set out on a serious mission to uncover which conspiracy theories keep a hefty number of each state’s citizens up at night. We combed through the mothership of all intrigue databases, Reddit, for each state’s most-searched conspiracy theories and ended up with 9 mind-boggling topics. If you’re ready to dive down one heck of a rabbit hole, proceed with enthusiasm. We know you’ll get to the bottom of it.
And always remember: if the X Files taught us anything, it’s that the truth is out there.
Disclaimer: This article is purely informational. The theories discussed in the piece do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of USDirect or those affiliated with the brand. It is not USDirect’s intention to promote conspiracy theories, nor to cause offense to proponents of the theories or those reading this information.
Digging a Little Deeper
The New World Order
By far one of the most notorious, complicated, and multifaceted theories of our day, proponents of the most-searched conspiracy believe that a militaristic, totalitarian government called the New World Order hovers just beyond the edge of the world’s notice, waiting patiently to seize international control. This theory often links the New World Order with Freemasons, Illuminati, the United Nations, the Bible’s Book of Revelations, and…the Denver Airport as a possible HQ? Any way you spin it (and there are lots of ways to spin it), let’s hope that this less-than-appealing Big Brother continues to stay away for the foreseeable future.
The New World Order’s appearance in popular culture includes the documentaries New World Order and American Illuminati, the TV show Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, and movies like G.O.D. Tech, New World Order: The End Has Come, and Strange Holiday.
One of the more mild conspiracies on the list, New Coke was a misguided revolution-turned-scandal that rocked the 80s to its core. In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company pulled their original formula from the shelves and announced their new, better-than-ever beverage: New Coke. However, New Coke would only last 79 days, as complaints about the drink’s different taste reached epic proportions, sales plummeted, and people raced to hoard the last stores of the original soda. After the old formula was restored, the theories started about why Coke changed it in the first place:
- The failure was intentional on the Coca-Cola Company’s part to boost sales, as threats of being overtaken by Pepsi became a reality.
- The switch was an elaborate plan to mask the replacement of real sugar in the drink’s mixture with high fructose corn syrup, which is less expensive.
- The change was used to cover up the final removal of coca to satisfy the Drug Enforcement Administration at the peak of the “War On Drugs.”
New Coke has enjoyed cameos in several movies and TV series centered around the 1980s, such as The Goldbergs. But its most notable small screen reference came in 2019, when the hit series Stranger Things (which would feature New Coke in a few episodes) partnered with Coca-Cola and actually brought New Coke back to supermarket shelves, albeit for a limited time.
Ever notice the thin, cloudlike streams that airplanes sometimes leave in their wake against the backdrop of a blue sky? Those are called contrails (a conjunction of the words “condensation” and “trail”), and to some people the presence of long-lasting contrails is more menacing than simple streams of water. Many claim that these streams contain substances that the government uses for nefarious purposes. These purposes vary from:
- Weather control
- Biological and chemical warfare and testing
- Psychological manipulation
- Sterilization and population control
- Spikes in respiratory illnesses
- Life expectancy reduction
Chemtrails have shown up in several TV series, including Manifest and The Conspiracy Show with Richard Syrett. Documentaries centering around the airborne conspiracy theory include Frankenskies, Look Up!, and Overcast-An Investigation Into Climate Engineering. They also appear in the title of Lana Del Ray’s seventh studio album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club.
Though many dismiss this theory as military or government training exercises, a surprising number of people since the 1970s have reported sightings of unmarked black helicopters in association with UFO sightings, crop circles, men in black, and alien abductions. Others believe the helicopters point to a possible military takeover of the United States. Not so coincidentally, black helicopters have also been linked with the New World Order, with many theorists conjecturing that the aircraft are used to spy on citizens across the world in order to gather information on dissenters of the Order. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these theories?
Black helicopters have appeared in a multitude of movies and television series, most notable being the cult classic Escape From New York, film Blue Thunder, 80s series Airwolf, and the X-Files episode Flight of the Future. Because the nature of a black helicopter is so innocuous, film and TV creators can mold this particular conspiracy theory to easily fit their particular scripts.
The suspicion that the earth is flat seems a bit outdated, but there are still plenty of people who are convinced that the notion of a globular world is utter malarkey. Flat Earthers believe vehemently that the Earth is not round but instead a flat disc, where the Arctic Circle chills in the center and the continents are scattered around it. A great ice wall towers around the edge of the disc, which NASA guards to prevent nosey explorers from falling off the rim of the planet. Flat Earth enthusiasts claim that satellite images of the globe from space are doctored by NASA and other government agencies in order to trick citizens into thinking the Earth they stand on is round. They also do not believe that the Earth spins on an axis; rather, it is stationary, and airplane GPS devices are altered to make pilots think they’re flying in straight lines when in fact, they are just flying in circles around the disc.
Loads of pop media is centered on the Flat Earth theory; and there are too many references in television series and movies—serious and very unserious—to catalog. But documentaries dedicated to the subject such as The Flat Earth and Behind the Curve were typically well received, and with the influence of social media there’s no telling where the Flat Earth theory might go next.
Also known as “reptilians,” “reptoids,” and “draconians,” lizard people are humanoid beings who are described as shapeshifting aliens that take on human forms and hijack seats of government and political power to assume control over human societies. The theory was propelled into the conspiracy mainstream by former BBC correspondent, new-age philosopher, and prominent lizard person theorist David Icke, who claimed that leaders such as Queen Elizabeth and George W. Bush were secretly scaly otherworld beings controlling their respective countries. Other conspiracists claim Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie, the Clintons, Madonna, Katy Perry, and Bob Hope also belong to the alien species. According to articles on the subject, green eyes that may or may not change in size and pupil dilation, a love of space, low blood pressure, a smile that shows bottom teeth, impeccable eyesight and hearing, and red hair are all telltale signs of lizard-ness in a person.
Lizard people are known to pop up in popular media, like the TV series V, People of Earth, and Doctor Who. Movie appearances are more rare, or at least less popular. If you really want to track down a flick about reptilians, look for titles like Underground Lizard People, Demon of Paradise, Enemy Mine, and Rakka.
Tupac Is Alive
This may come as a shock, but according to the citizens of New Mexico, famed rapper Tupac Shakur didn’t die from several gunshot wounds in September 1996—in fact, he’s alive and well and kicking it in their home state. One New Mexico native is even making a documentary on the subject. Shortly after his death, Tupac’s record label head Suge Knight alleged that he helped the rapper fake his own death by using a body double and then smuggled him to Cuba. Some people say the whole thing is an FBI coverup. Others claim he’s awaiting a glorious comeback as prophesied in his album The Don Killuminati: the 7 Day Theory. Was Pac afraid for his life? Was he just tired of the limelight and wanted to escape it? Could he be in Cuba, Malaysia, or New Mexico? Will the Real Tupac please stand up?
As mentioned before, Rick Boss is hard at work on his film detailing the theory that Pac escaped from the University Medical Center in Las Vegas and made his way to the Land of Enchantment. You can also delve deeper into the mystery in Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. For a more biographical take on Tupac’s legacy, check out the gritty film All Eyez on Me.
On April 22, 2010, the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered a catastrophic failure in the Gulf of Mexico and was lost to the sea. The disaster resulted in the death of 11 crewmen and an oil leak that lasted for 87 days and pumped 4.7 billion gallons of oil into the seawater. The event immediately sparked political intrigue, with conspiracy theories centering on U.S. President Barack Obama directing a special ops team to destroy the rig and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il sending a torpedo to take it out. Others claimed that eco-warriors were responsible for the spill, hoping to strike a blow to the oil industry. Theories hovering on the more outlandish horizon include the drilling waking up a long-since-buried UFO—which unleashed its wrath on the ill-fated rig—and the disaster acting as a cover up for chemical warfare.
The most notable (and intense) film made on the subject of the oil spill is one that bears the same name as the rig, Deepwater Horizon, starring Mark Wahlberg. If you’re more about the bureaucracy of the whole affair rather than the action, you can also check out The Runner with Nicolas Cage. Or, if you just want to get to the bottom of the whole thing, try BP: In Deep Water, a documentary about the investigation into the disaster.
The Moon Landing Was Fake
This is a conspiracy that has persisted for decades; and despite many successful space missions completed by several different countries, they do little to change the mind of die-hard fake moon landing conspiracists. Those who favor this theory believe that the moon landing of 1969 was a complete hoax staged by NASA, who misled the general public into believing the 6 crewed landings and 12 Apollo astronauts who strode on the lunar surface happened. Much of this theory focuses on photographic evidence taken of the landing, claiming that photos, tapes, moon rock samples, videos, and radio transmissions were all either manufactured or tampered with to make them seem legitimate. Many moon landing conspiracists also believe that the astronauts could not have survived in the vacuum of space due to radiation exposure. And don’t forget the famous matter of the flag billowing in the breeze that shouldn’t be there.
There are plenty of movies centering on the moon landing without the conspiracy element, such as Apollo 11 and First Man. But if your interest favors a more scandalous read on the event, you can try the flick Operation Avalanche on for size, or an episode of Netflix’s Conspiracies entitled Faking the Moon Landings. Not to mention dozens of small references in as many movies and TV shows. If you want to go really meta on the moon landing conspiracy references, take a look at the gag reel during the end credits of Daddy Day Care; it’s classic Eddie Murphy comedic timing.
The team at USDirect studied the r/conspiracy subreddit to determine the most popular conspiracy theories. Once we identified the theories, we then plugged them into Google Trends to learn which state Googled each conspiracy the most during the past year (2020).
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