The world around us becomes bigger, scarier and more difficult to understand. The future is uncertain, the present even more so. No wonder a lot of people try to make sense of it the old fashioned way: by involving mystical powers that weave conspiracy after conspiracy just under the nose of unsuspecting citizens.  And some of these theories are more absurd than others.

Many of them, unsurprisingly, involve aviation: a field so large and complex, the comparison with the tip of the iceberg seen by ordinary customers does not even begin to scratch the surface. One has to have substantial scientific knowledge to fully explain day-to-day operations of an aircraft, and although a bit of critical thinking and middle-school level of physics is enough to know facts from absurd fantasy, many do not even try.

That is where the fun begins, as looking at the ways some twist their logic and misuse assumptions can be both refreshing and enlightening. There is cathartic quality to enjoying cringe, one which arguably leads to less naivety and more understanding of one’s own vulnerability to nonsense.

This list does not aim to scorn all conspiracy theories, as many well-known stories of undeniable criminal activity started as one. Yet there is a large difference between shady cover-up by corrupt government and a notion that the whole aviation industry, with millions of personnel, is secretly involved in some reality-defying activity.

 

Bermuda triangle

It might look like the story of this supposedly mysterious region started well before the invention of manned flight, but the notion that aircraft and ships disappear there is actually quite new. It all began with a series of pulpy articles in the 50s, each of them prone to abuse statistics and blow real-life tragedies out of proportion. One can hear all kinds of theories as to why this bit of ocean, located just east of Florida and north of Cuba, is dangerous: from Alien activity to government experiments to all kinds of supernatural phenomena involving distortions of time and space.

Truth is, the so-called Bermuda triangle is one of the heaviest-trafficked areas on the planet, with high numbers of planes and ships passing through it every day, and all the original disappearances that inspired its story were quite well explained and accounted for. Although crashes happen there, it is by far not the most dangerous spot, and no aircraft or ship operator avoids it. That is where the conspiracy theory aspect comes in, as various clickbait-y articles insist on outlandish claims by ufologists, mystery “experts” and unnamed scientists taunting supposed danger of passing through the region, an idea which does not reflect reality. If the triangle is a dangerous place indeed, all kinds of secret societies and governments are probably working night and day to cover it up.

 
 

 

MH370

Boeing 777-200ER of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 vanished over the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. A lot of confusion surrounded the initial accident, owing to incompetency and unwillingness to cooperate by local institutions. Low trust in Malaysian government fueled the fire and the theories started to appear: people, in complete seriousness, speculated that the aircraft was abducted by aliens, swallowed by a black hole, hijacked and flown to Kazakhstan, or somehow transported to Ukraine just to be shot down and labeled MH17, tying together two unrelated tragedies.

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