Courtesy of Brandon Pahnish

International conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories are common in cultures throughout the world. Some, such as the Loch Ness Monster, are commonly heard urban legends, while others, like Korean Air Lines Flight 007 or Israeli animal spies, are more niche theories. 


Korean Air Lines Flight 007

In August 1983, a Boeing 747 airplane on its way to South Korea from New York City with 269 passengers was shot down after it accidentally flew in Soviet Russian airspace. No bodies were ever recovered from the crash, at least according to the official story. Conspiracy theorists have questioned this incident since it first happened, and the theories have not gone away with time, but instead suspicion around the incident has grown. 

One of the biggest questions regarding KAL007 is around what happened to the bodies. One theory, according to CNN, claims Soviets rescued the passengers and that they remain in prison in Russia. “A lot of people wanted to believe that, for their loved ones, but I don’t think there’s any veracity to it,” Juanita Moadole, the attorney who represented 100 of the victims’ families, told CNN. 

Other theories claim the Boeing 747 was a spy plane that flew into Soviet airspace on purpose and simply disguised itself as a passenger plane. Some say the plane was shot down during an aerial shooting between the Soviets and the United States. Whether any of these theories are accurate or not may never be known, as no solid reason for how KAL007 wound up nearly 200 miles off course has ever been determined. 


The Denver Airport

The Denver Airport (DEN) is one of the biggest in the world and is central to dozens of different conspiracy theories ranging from lizard people to the Illuminati headquarters to a Swastika-shaped runway. 

Many people fail to comprehend why the airport was ever constructed since there was already a separate, fully-functioning airport closer to downtown Denver. DEN takes up a space that is nearly twice the size of Manhattan. Stemming from the sheer size of the airport, the conspiracy arose that it was hiding an underground network of tunnels and bunkers to shelter world leaders in the case of an emergency. 

Separately, some claim the runways—which were reconfigured when they were originally constructed parallel to each other and too close to safely land planes—now resemble a swastika when viewed from above via satellite images. Despite this theory, most of the DEN airport officials say the runways look like a pinwheel instead. 

Instead of denying or ignoring the conspiracies, DEN embraces their reputation among the conspiracy theory community. When the airport allegedly underwent construction in 2018, airport officials put up signs that read “Remodelling the lizard people’s lair” and “Construction? Or cover up?”  


Israeli Animal Spies

Israel has been accused of using several different animals as international spies to gather intel on other countries. 

In 2016, a griffin vulture flew from Israel into Lebanon and was discovered with a tracker on its foot. UN peacekeepers later intervened and returned the vulture to Israel, but nonetheless, villagers in Lebanon believed the vulture was spying on them. Turkish farmers have also accused Israel of training birds to be spies in order to gather intel on the economy and agricultural sectors of Turkey. 

Palestinian organization Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli spy dolphin in 2015. Hamas reported the dolphin was captured while wearing surveillance equipment they believed was used to gather intel on Palestine. 

One of the more recent accusations of Israel using animal spies was by Iran, who claimed they discovered lizards and chameleons in uranium mines. The lizards and chameleons were allegedly placed there by Israel to gather information on Iran’s uranium production and collection processes. 


Loch Ness Monster

A classic conspiracy theory and urban legend, rumors of the Loch Ness Monster, nicknamed “Nessie,” date back almost 1,500 years. The monster even has its own website dedicated to evidence, the latest sighting and Nessie’s fans. 

Nessie allegedly lives in Loch Ness, which is the largest body of freshwater in the United Kingdom, with water up to 800 feet deep at some points. Some theorists believe Nessie is the sole surviving aquatic dinosaur of the mass extinction that occurred thousands of years ago. 

There was a record number of official Nessie sightings in 2017, with a final count of eight, according to BBC.