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"For a literature version of a conspiracy theory, try The Illuminatus Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson."

And, so far as movies go, why not rent Conspiracy Theory, watch the first half and stop; then rent The Parallax View? --KQ (self-editing) :-)

Or perhaps "The Manchurian Candidate". A real head-trip conspiracy theory, even if the politics are now fairly antiquated. --Robert Merkel

Do Elvis sightings really belong in conspiracy theory?? Although I guess if I have to ask, nobody will tell me the truth anyway.  :-)

Yeah, even if only humorously.

Removed from parent page, because people don't seriously believe that Bert and ObL are involved in a plot . . . do they?

Osama bin Laden and Bert (of Bert and Ernie) Conspiracy in relation to the terrorist attacks on the United States.

IMHO, we should try to separate "real" conspiracy theories from "conspiracy theory humor" (an interesting, related, but distinct topic). Or is there something I'm missing here? Does anyone really believe anything other than some Bangladeshi nutball protestor (who must have been much wealthier than the average Bangladeshi, admittedly) did a search for "Osama bin Laden" on to make a collage for his poster, found the doctored Bert and Osama image, had no idea who Bert was, and just happily went on photoshopping his poster together? --Robert Merkel

Fortunately, there's already a place for the Osama-Bert connection: September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack/Misinformation and rumors. --TheCunctator

I deleted quite a bit of text from the article (and included it below, complete). I deleted this:

Consequently, even in the absence of hard evidence, a conspiracy theorist may advance a theory which is supported by facts of which even he is unaware.

I'm not sure what this means; I suspect it just needs to be reworded.

A conspiracy, once proven to a reasonable extent, is no longer a mere hypothesis.

Well, that's true of anything, eh?

Hence, conspiracy hypotheses (or "theories" in common talk) are necessarily unproven -- and the majority of such are eventually disproved.

First, the point of the parenthetical comment seems to imply that conspiracy theories are not theories. Well, that depends, of course, on the claims being made by the conspiracy theorist, and the evidence behind them. I don't think that "conspiracy theory" is consistently used so that there are necessarily no conspiracy theories, but only conspiracy hypotheses. In other words, if one were to provide adequate evidence for you and I to establish that a nefarious conspiracy by the Council on Foreign Relations, McDonald's, and Michael Jackson were afoot, but not enough to "prove" it, and in that case we would have a conspiracy theory. Just because it would have moved past that vague stage of being merely a hypothesis, it would not therefore (??) not be a theory. More to the point, my understanding is that not everybody always uses "conspiracy theory" to mean something that necessarily has totally inadequate evidence in its favor. It's not always a pejorative term.

Second, I doubt very much that the majority of conspiracy theories are eventually disproven. I think that most of them are simply dismissed out of hand by experts as absurd and not worth considering. I could be wrong; perhaps the people who study conspiracy theories have studied who has responded to conspiracy theorists and wrote up this research, concluding, "Most conspiracy theories are eventually disproved (according to some standards or other)." --Larry Sanger

A lot of people, everywhere, refer to Freemasonry as a "secret society," but it obviously isn't. You can look up the address and possibly telephone number of your local Masonic Lodge in the phone book, and, especially in the US, most Masons are quite open about their affiliation. I'm not sure what to do about Freemasonry on the list, so for now I'm going to put it right above the heading "Secret Societies." --Alex Kennedy