Next Up: 'The Lizard Code'?
The Only Thing Hollywood Likes More Than A
Good Explosion Is A Good Conspiracy

By Jackie Loohaus
Illustrations by Theresa Schiffer

Coverups have been the theme of not only "The Da Vinci Code" but a whole cache of films from "JFK" to "The Manchurian Candidate" to the all-encompassing "Conspiracy Theory." The topics have ranged from Area 51 ("Independence Day") to time-traveling ships ("The Philadelphia Experiment").
Conspiracy theories make for Big Box Office because, "on a personal level, creating your own explanation for reality feels more valid than the often-arbitrary and lame excuses doled out by our institutions," says Milwaukeean Richard Hendricks, news editor for The Anomalist Web site,
"They're personally satisfying. They make sense to us and reflect who we are."
So now that "The Da Vinci Code" has vast numbers of moviegoers getting paranoid all over again, what strange conspiracy theories might be left to make good major-motion-picture fodder?
According to Brad Steiger, co-author of the recent book "Conspiracies and Secret Societies" (Visible Ink), the criteria are: "We have to have something that everyone suspects they haven't heard the truth about. In conspiracy theories, nothing happens by accident. Nothing is as it seems, and everything is connected."
Luckily for producers, there is a deep fount of such theories. Here are a few of the fun ones out there just waiting to be filmed.
Are any of them real? Believe what you want. Just don't look behind you . . .
Eisenhower and the Extraterrestrials
Did President Dwight D. Eisenhower really meet with ETs and inspect their spacecraft in 1954? That's what some conspiracy theorists allege, holding that the president "went missing" on a February night to make the rendezvous, which has, of course, been covered up.
"Eye witness" reports from those who say they watched the meeting at Edwards Air Force Base in California have been carried on such Web sites as "The 50th Anniversary of America's First Treatise with Extraterrestrials." (
The Reptilian Conspiracy
One of Steiger's favorites, this theory holds that "shape-shifting aliens are among us - as our presidents, our royalty, or diplomats and even our entertainers," according to "Conspiracies and Secret Societies."
What's more, the lizards have run human history for thousands of years. The primary proponent of this notion is Englishman David Icke, a former sports announcer for the BBC.
Monoatomic Gold
Linked with alchemy, the "secret" capabilities of this substance allegedly include imparting perfect health and spiritual enlightenment.
On a more cinematic level, it is also an alleged weapon of dark figures from the Fourth Dimension who plan to use it to enslave the earth. (
The Rock Lake Pyramids
Located at the bottom of Rock Lake in Lake Mills, these formations may be Wisconsin's best chance at a major Hollywood conspiracy movie.
Are they natural, man-made or even designed by aliens?
Says Hendricks, "Some people believe that these piles - obscured by poor water quality, sitting in mud - were built either by American Indians or perhaps Europeans who pre-dated Columbus' landing in the new World.
"Others see the piles of rock as nothing more than glacial deposits."
Project ELF
Another Wisconsin cover-up candidate. The U.S. Navy's extremely low frequency (ELF) radio transmitter site in the Chequamegon National Forest allowed the Navy to send coded messages to submarines.
And though the Navy allegedly has discontinued the project, conspiracy theorists aren't biting. They believe the project is still responsible for mind-control experiments done by that global clan of evil, "The New World Order."
Steiger says that he visited a "former scientist who did nothing but have his computers kick out ELF readings from all over the U.S., and he was convinced the nation was slowly being driven mad by ELF."
Seems to be a built-in audience.
The Montauk Project
According to "Conspiracies and Secret Societies," Montauk Air Force Station on Long Island may have it all: aliens, Atlantans, psychic energies and time travel.
Some conspiracy theorists claim U.S. government officials secretly have used the base as a center for extraterrestrial contact.
Or maybe to investigate energy links with the lost continent of Atlantis. Or maybe as a time portal. Or maybe as a trans-dimensional worm-hole.
Or maybe - hey, just get Steven Spielberg on the phone.
From the May 23, 2006 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
© 2006, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.




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