Ever since construction was completed in 1995, Denver International Airport (DEN) has been the subject of intrigue and a hotbed of conspiracy theories. With its unusual architectural features, mysterious artwork, distinctive underground tunnels, and hint of Freemason conspiracy, the airport has become a captivating source of speculation for those who believe that it’s home to more than just planes and passengers.
Here we’ll explore some of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding Denver International Airport and evaluate evidence that either debunks or unravels these mysteries.
The unusual architecture and artwork
One of the main theories surrounding DEN focuses on its architecture and artwork, with many conspiracists positing that these aspects carry ominous and secret messages. The airport features a collection of art including murals by Leo Tanguma, a blue ‘Mustang’ sculpture by Luis Jiménez, an ‘Au Ag’ marking, and even a gargoyle statue in a suitcase.
The murals by Leo Tanguma, titled ‘In Peace and Harmony with Nature’ and ‘The Children of the World Dream of Peace’, have sometimes been interpreted as depicting global genocide or dystopian future events. However, Tanguma himself has explained that his murals, which illustrate children around the world dreaming of peace and a restored environment, are about the triumph of humanity over war and pollution, rather than sinister prophecies.
Similarly, it’s been suggested that the blue ’Mustang’ sculpture, known as ‘Blucifer’, symbolizes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse due to its eerie, glowing red eyes. However, it was originally conceived by the artist as an homage to the wild spirit of the old American West.
Luis Jiménez, the sculptor of the ‘Mustang’, was inspired by the Mexican muralist tradition and other influences which are reflected in the vivid blue color of the statue. The sculpture took him over a decade to complete.
Tragically, Jiménez was killed in 2006 when a section of the Mustang sculpture fell on him in his studio, severing an artery in his leg. After his death, his children took up the task of completing their father’s work. The statue was finally installed at Denver International Airport in 2008. It has since been the subject of much discussion, not least because of its striking appearance and the tragic circumstances of its creation.
The ‘Au Ag’ marking, found on the floor of the Great Hall, has been interpreted by some as an abbreviation for the name of a deadly toxin, Australia Antigen – purportedly an undisclosed weapon of the Illuminati intended for mass extermination.
However, the truth is far more prosaic. Au and Ag are respectively the chemical symbols for the elements gold and silver. These symbols serve as a nod to Colorado’s rich mining heritage, the inscription forming a portion of a more extensive piece embodying a traditional Native American design.
Lastly, the gargoyle that resides in the airport is another feature that has sparked curiosity and bafflement among visitors. Located in the main terminal, the statue is affectionately known as ‘Notre Denver’, an obvious play on Notre Dame, the Parisian cathedral famous for its gargoyles.
The gargoyle, perched inside a suitcase, is not just a statue. It’s an animatronic creation that talks and interacts with passengers, often surprising unsuspecting travelers. According to airport officials, its function is twofold: to entertain, but also to guard the airport, staying true to the mythological purpose of gargoyles which were believed to ward off evil spirits.
The underground tunnels
DEN is also home to a series of underground tunnels, totaling about 470,000 square feet, initially designed for an automated baggage system that was never fully operational. This system was plagued with problems from the start, including frequent malfunctions and a high rate of mishandled baggage. Ultimately, due to these ongoing issues, the automated system was abandoned in 2005.
However, conspiracy theorists have suggested alternative functions for the subterranean spaces – everything from secret military bases to post-apocalyptic fallout shelters, or even a headquarters for the New World Order. The belief also persists that entities referred to as ‘lizard people’ or ‘reptoids’, along with traces of extraterrestrial beings, are concealed within these depths, with rumored drawings on the walls as supporting evidence.
However, DEN has given numerous tours of these tunnels to help debunk these claims, demonstrating that they are indeed primarily used for baggage transportation and airport utilities. Although the initial automated system was a failure, the tunnels have not been completely abandoned and continue to be used for manual luggage transport and storage.
The Freemason involvement
One of the most widely discussed conspiracies relating to DEN concerns the Freemasons, a centuries-old fraternal organization often linked to shadowy theories. A dedication capstone in the airport, dated March 19, 1994, features the ‘Square and Compasses’ symbol of Freemasonry, leading some to believe the group had a hand in the airport’s creation. This plaque also has a time capsule beneath it, meant to be opened in the year 2094.
However, the capstone’s presence can be easily explained. The Freemasons are a civic-minded organization, and historically they have taken part in many public building dedications, including DEN. Furthermore, the inscription on the capstone, ‘New World Airport Commission’, was a group made up of local business and civic leaders who helped orchestrate the airport’s opening events. Because the name of this group is so similar to ‘New World Order’, a common focus of many conspiracy theories, some observers have drawn links between the two, fueling speculation about the airport’s ‘real’ function.
Overall, there is no credible evidence to support the conspiracy theories surrounding Denver International Airport. The airport’s design is a product of modern architecture and claims of secret subterranean spaces or hidden entities lack any real substantiation. However, DEN can be regarded as an impressive modern airport in its own right without any need for sensationalized speculations.