Top 10 most talked about conspiracy theories

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Top 10 most talked about conspiracy theories

From the Loch Ness monster and aliens to Obama birthers and the Illuminati, everyone loves a conspiracy theory and interest often grows over time. On the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Techworld takes a look at what people think is being kept from us.

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9/11 inside job: Explosives were used to bring the twin towers down

Groups of ordinary individuals, families of the 9/11 victims, scientists and enthusiasts are convinced that the collapse of the World Trade Centre was caused by explosives at the base of the towers, which formed a thermite reaction. Despite numerous counter-arguments from other scientists comparing the effects of thermite with Ground Zero and the materials required to make the chemical reaction, 9/11 truthers grow louder and greater in number every year.

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It's the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine...

In the weeks leading up to 21 May 2011, a self-styled prophet in California named Harold Camping spent millions of dollars on an international campaign informing everyone that the world was going to end . Unfortunately for him and his followers on Christian radio station Family Radio (including Robert Fitzpatrick, who spent his life savings on giant billboards in New York City), nothing happened. However, if you're still hoping for an early ticket out of Planet Earth, an ancient Mayan calendar ends on 21 December, 2012. According to theorists, this is the true end of the world, as predicted by the Egyptians and Native Americans.

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The moon landings were a hoax

One of the longest running conspiracy theories relates to the 1969 Apollo moon landings, which theorists believe to be an elaborate hoax. Some Australians watching the moon landings broadcast claim to have seen a coca-cola bottle in a corner of the screen showing Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon. There is also a movie about it here.

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Roswell and Area 51

The Roswell UFO incident occurred in 1947 when an object crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The US government has maintained since the 70s that the crash was caused by an experimental surveillance weather balloon, but theorists believe that the bodies of deceased extraterrestrial beings were recovered and taken to the closest military base, Area 51. The story goes that one of the soldiers involved in moving the wreckage to the base escaped from the camp with a black and white video and photos of the alien beings' autopsies. That footage has been lost, but was purportedly viewed by film producer Ray Santilli, who made a hoax video in 1995 he says is based on rolls of film he viewed in 1992.

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Crop circles

Appearing in the middle of the night in fields all over the world, crop circles are usually strange geometric patterns created by the flattening of a crop such as maize or wheat, which are considered by some to be the work of extraterrestrial beings. While it is not known when crop circles first appeared, reports date from 1880. To date, 26 countries have reported crop circles, with more appearing every year. In the UK, crop circles seem to appear in close proximity to Stonehenge.

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The Illuminati

If you've read the Da Vinci Code, you might remember the Illuminati. Historically they were a secret Bavarian organisation of free thinkers modelled on the Free Masons in the 18th century, which had branches throughout Europe. Nowadays Illuminati refers to a purported secret organisation made up of governments and multi-national corporations who are trying to create a "New World Order". One of the more unusual theories claims that Lady Gaga is a puppet for the Illuminati, spreading subliminal messages through her performances.

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Water fluoridation

Water fluoridation concerns the fluoridation of public water supplies, which is done because fluoridated water greatly decreases tooth decay. Only English-speaking countries practice water fluoridation and there are many people who see it as a form of mass-medication or as a poison, such as the Green Party. Conspiracy theorists take it one step further, believing that water fluoridation is a Communist plot to undermine public health, or as a form of mind control as part of the new world order (see Illuminati).

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Obama isn't an American citizen

Despite releasing his original birth certificate before he was elected and an original Certificate of Live Birth in April this year, apparently up to a quarter of adult Americans doubt that Barack Obama was really born in the United States. Conspiracy theorists (known as "Obama Birthers") claim that he was either born in Kenya or Indonesia and that his Hawaiian birth certificate is a fake, or that because his father is from Kenya, Obama holds dual nationality of British and America, and therefore is not a natural-born American. Some of these birthers are political opponents and have gone as far as filing unsuccessful lawsuits against him to stop him from becoming and continuing to be President.

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The Bermuda Triangle

Although not as prominent as some of the other conspiracy theories, there have been incidents reported of aircraft and boats vanishing without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle as recently as 2002. You can look at the whole documented list on Bermuda Triangle.org, based on data collected from the Coast Guard, US Air Force and other official bodies. There is also a great video about the most famous Bermuda Triangle case - the disappearance of Flight 19.

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Loch Ness Monster

First reputedly spotted in 1933, the Loch Ness Monster (a.k.a. Nessie) is thought to be a descendant of the plesiosaur, a large mostly aquatic carnivorous relative of the dinosaur. While scientists consider Nessie to be a myth, enthusiasts have reported sightings up until this year and supply an endless amount of widely disputed anecdotes, photographs and videos.

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