What bothers me is their tendency -- and I know I'm overgeneralizing a bit -- to accept a claim despite (or even because of) a complete lack of evidence. That "because of" bit becomes especially powerful with conspiracy theorists; they seem to consider "zero evidence" a badge of honor. "Of course there's no evidence," they seem to say. "Do you think the Illuminati would leave around stuff like evidence?"
As a good example of this, take the case of the death of Max Spiers, prominent British ufologist, supernaturalist, and conspiracy theorist, this past July. I found out about it over at Sharon Hill's wonderful site Doubtful News, and it certainly is a little on the peculiar side. You can learn more of the details (such as they are) in Hill's article, but the bare-bones of the case seem to be as follows:
Spiers died in Warsaw in mid-July; the date isn't certain but was probably the 15th or 16th. He had made a video three days earlier in which he seemed to be either ill or on drugs. His speech was slurred and at some points unintelligible, and what he was saying devolved into an incoherent ramble. Spiers is known to have had problems with misuse of opiate drugs in the past, and those symptoms are certainly consistent with being on a narcotic.
Max Spiers [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]
Then we have a claim by his mother, Vanessa Bates -- unsubstantiated as yet -- that Spiers had texted her shortly before his death with a cryptic and sinister warning: "Your boy’s in trouble. If anything happens to me, investigate."
And that's it, as far as the facts go.
I'll admit that the circumstances are strange, especially if the text to Vanessa Bates turns out to be authentic. Certainly worth an investigation. But the woo-woos have taken this extremely slim bunch of information, and come to...
... well, conclusions. Lots of conclusions. Here are just a few that have been circulating on conspiracy and UFO websites:
- Spiers was the victim of a group of neo-Nazis running a government mind-control program.
- Spiers was a "supersoldier" who was being controlled by an implant. When his superiors saw that he was getting out of control and preparing to blow the whistle on him, the killed him by turning off the implant.
- Spiers was fighting against "Energy Vampires," beings who "feed on negative energy" (whatever the fuck that is). The Energy Vampires caught up with him and killed him by draining him dry.
- Spiers was about to go public with a claim that the world is being run by a circle of politicians and celebrities who do what they do by "black magic." So they killed him.
- UFO researchers around the world, including Spiers, are being targeted for assassination because the Illuminati don't want information on aliens getting out to the rest of us slobs.
- Spiers was killed because he didn't like Hillary Clinton, because, you know, she does that to people she doesn't like.
Now let's go back to the facts here. A guy died under fairly mysterious circumstances. We don't have any information on why or how. The guy himself had some pretty odd ideas. There may or may not have been a sinister text from him to his mother shortly before he died.
And that's all. I'm sorry, you can't take that and add it together and get computer-controlled supersoldiers and evil Energy Vampires. It's all very well to be suspicious of official reports, but the lack of an official report doesn't prove a damn thing.
Anyhow. I hope that there's more information coming down the pipeline on this story, although you know that if it comes out that Spiers died of an opiate overdose none of the aforementioned woo-woos will believe it. As we've seen all too many times before, once conspiracy theorists decide on something, not only is a lack of evidence considered evidence for, but evidence against is considered evidence for as well.
You can't win.