Mysterious "Men In Black" spotted in Iowa


In recent weeks, several people have reported strange "men in black" standing on the side of roads in Muscatine County, Iowa. Some have witnessed the unusual trenchcoat-clad figures stepping into the roadway just as vehicles pass. In UFOlogy and conspiracy circles, Men In Black are thought to be threatening government agents or perhaps extraterrestrials.

“My son has experienced this and it’s no joke,” said Beatrice Wilson Strong. “It was really a frightening experience to him.”

The Muscatine County Sheriff's Office requests anyone who encounters these creepy characters to call 911.

“We do take this seriously," says the Sheriff's Office on their Facebook page.

(KWQC via The Anomalist) Read the rest

Trump's conspiracy theory catchphrase: "There's something going on"


Little-mentioned but often-said is Trump's other catchphrase: "there's something going on." It's used to insinuate a conspiracy, to trigger feelings of paranoia and fear in his audience without committing to specifics. He screwed up over the weekend and attached it to a too-concrete suggestion that President Obama was somehow involved in the Orlando nightclub massacre.

In the fallout, he ended up withdrawing the Washington Post's credentials to cover his rallies and press events after the newspaper reported plainly on his remarks. So who better than them to explain that now-obvious phrase's meaning?

That phrase, according to political scientists who study conspiracy theories, is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.

The idea that people in positions of power or influence are conspiring to conceal sinister truths from the public can be inherently appealing, because it helps make sense of tragedy and satisfies the human need for certainty and order. Yet politicians hoping to take advantage of these tendencies must rely on vague and suggestive statements, since any specific accusation could be easily disproved.

"He's leaving it to the audience to piece together what he's saying," said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami, in a recent interview.

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Texans brace for Jade Helm 15, massive federal military exercise


About half of Texans are concerned about Jade Helm 15, this week's federal military exercise across the American southwest. Many conspiracy theories advanced by right-wing groups have driven these concerns. Read the rest

This Is Not a Conspiracy Theory, Part One of a New Web Series by Kirby Ferguson

Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything Is a Remix, has launched the first installment of his serial documentary project about "the forces that that shape us." In this first entertaining episode, Ferguson explains why people fall for conspiracy theories.

He says: "To see future episodes you will need to subscribe. Launch price is $12; the price will rise to $15 later. This project has been my labor of love for the past couple years and I hope you will you enjoy it."

This is Not a Conspiracy Theory (Part 1) (Via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

You Are Not So Smart podcast 016: Conspiracy Theories

You are Not So Smart is hosted by David McRaney, a journalist and self-described psychology nerd. In each episode, David explores cognitive biases and delusions, and is often joined by a guest expert. David concludes each episode by eating a delicious cookie baked from a recipe sent in by a listener.

This episode of You Are Not So Smart is brought to you by Squarespace, the all-in-one platform that makes it fast and easy to create you own professional website or online portfolio. For a free trial and ten percent off go to and use the offer code PIPE.

Who is pulling the strings? Who is behind the coverup? Who holds the real power, and what do they want? How deep does the conspiracy to control your mind go?

In this episode we discuss the history, social impact, neuroscience, and psychology behind conspiracy theories and paranoid thinking.

Our guests are Steven Novella and Jesse Walker. Listen as they explain why we love conspiracy theories, how they flourish, how they harm, and what they say about a culture.

Steven Novella is a leader in the skeptic community, host of The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. He blogs at Neurologica, Skepticblog, and Science-Based Medicine.

Jesse Walker is the book editor for Reason Magazine and author of the new book, The United States of Paranoia, a Conspiracy Theory. Walker's articles can be seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and many others. Read the rest

The White House call girl who triggered the Watergate break-in

[Video Link] Here's a trailer for the upcoming book, White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story, by Phil Stanford. It's published by our friends at Feral House.

Heidi Rikan was a stripper, working for the mob in Washington D.C. White House Call Girl tells how a call girl operation she was running at the time led to the Watergate break-in, which brought down Tricky Dick Nixon himself.

Needless to say, this is not part of the Watergate story that has come down to us over the decades. It is also only fair to point out that this version of the story might be dismissed out of hand as being dangerous “revisionist” history. If you’re not careful, you might end up being called a “conspiracy theorist.”

You can also be called crazy – which is what happened to a young lawyer named Phillip Bailley, one of the principal witnesses to this ignored bit of American history. When he was foolish enough to blow the whistle on Heidi and her call girl ring, he was locked up at St. Elizabeth’s, the District of Columbia’s mental hospital, in the ward for the criminally insane.

For forty years we’ve only heard the Woodward and Bernstein perspective on Watergate. Now we’ve got the photos. What’s more, we’ve got Heidi’s little black book.

White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story Read the rest

"Nerds are one of the most dangerous groups in this country"

This gentleman has an opinion. And he can see you, you little rats.

EDIT: Just wanted to clarify that this is Alex Jones. The same gentleman from the "deport Piers Morgan" interview with Piers Morgan. This particular clip comes from 2011, but with Jones in the news, it seemed funny and relevant. Read the rest

Internet crackpots believe Newtown massacre was staged, citing "absolute" Photoshop proof

"Yes, there really are Newtown truthers," writes Alex Seitz-Wald in Salon. And they can tell by the pixels.