Take a deep breath and dive into this internet soup.
The people of the internet have a lot of time on their hands. A lot of time to think. And from that thinking comes pop culture conspiracy theories. Here, for your enjoyment, are the most bizarre fan theories spawned by the most batshit year in recent memory. Be careful in there, and grab a hard hat and a harness – this lot might send you spiralling down a Google wormhole.
Dead as John Travolta’s Dutch accent in Austin Powers In Goldmember. This fan theory emerged in September, spawned by a Reddit thread on which every single member was a guaranteed virgin. The theory held that the ending to the film was too neat, too optimistic, and that darkness lurked therein. If you remember, Danny (Travolta) saves Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) from drowning at the beach. In fact, Reditters claimed, Danny or Sandy died during that escapade, or perhaps slipped into a deep coma, dreaming the happy ending that rounded off the movie. A non-believing Reditter countered, “Explain Grease 2”, which is undoubtedly the biggest problem with this theory.
Get this: Stranger Things is set in the ’80s. And Parks & Recreation is set in the Noughties. In addition, Joe Keery, who plays the Stranger Things character Steve Harrington, looks a bit like Ben Schwarz, who plays the Parks & Recreation character Jean-Ralphio. The only possible explanation: Harrington is Jean-Ralphio’s dad. By that logic, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Will Ferrell are at least first cousins twice removed.
Yes, 2016 was the year of the comeback for Ian Brown and co., who released tub-thumping single ‘All For One’ and the psychedelic ‘Beautiful Thing’. No sign of an album, but that didn’t perturb fans, who looked hard at single artwork for ‘All For One’ and decided that, yes, a new LP would undoubtedly be released on the first of July 2016. Why? Because there are eight tracks on the record in the picture, which they took to suggest that it is an album, and not a single. The shadows of the letters LLFRN and E also spelled out the letter one. Making a fairly big leap, the fans took these six ‘ones’, added the word one at the end of the title and times them by one. That equals seven and July is the seventh month. Since the song s called ‘All For One’, the album will surely be released on the first of July. It’s a beautiful thing, Stone Roses fans, how far you will reach.
This fan theory emerged from – yes – Reddit last year, but re-emerged in 2016 as it was given credence by Ahmed Best, the man who voiced the loathed Star Wars character. He claimed that Jar Jar’s annoying, upbeat demeanour was intended as a smokescreen for his evil plans. “There’s a lot about [the theory] that’s true,” he said in an interview, adding, “Because of the backlash, and rightly so, Lucasfilm backed off from Jar Jar a lot.” Personally, we’d like to back over Jar Jar a lot, preferably in a weighty 4×4.
And he’s dressed as himself, performing his own song on a Peruvian talent show, where no-one would think to look. That was the theory posited by fans back in September, as a singer called Ramiro Saavedra played a cover of Cobain’s version of ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ on the show Yo Soy. A theory so dumb even that Nirvana’s official Facebook took the piss out of it, writing: “It is true, Kurt is alive. He needed time to learn to play the guitar with his right hand. Finding left-handed guitars is not easy. We are so happy to have him back and forgive him for all of the sadness that we have held so deeply in our hearts.” A statement so sarcastic it could have come from the famously prickly Cobain. Oh my God! Maybe Kurt Cobain is alive and he’s become a social media manager!
Michael Jackson, like Kurt Cobain, secretly lives!
If you were Michael Jackson, still lying low seven years since you faked your own death, where would you hide? That’s right, in the background of a photograph that your daughter posted to her 835,000 Instagram followers. Yet, shockingly, it seems the King of Pop was rumbled in May, when eagle-eyed conspiracy theorists spotted him lurking about in the back of the above snap taken in a car. It seems likely that not-dead Jacko was softly crooning “Youuuuu are not alone” to his daughter, before asking her to pass the Pringles on the passenger seat.
YouTube star Marina Joyce was kidnapped by ISIS
What a bizarre and darkly compelling story this is. Fashion and beauty vlogger Miriam Joyce posted a YouTube video in which she discussed some beauty products, as she did with regularity that her two million subscribers had come to expect and enjoy. On this occasion, though, commenters noted that Miriam’s behavior seemed a little off. She seemed distracted. Kept losing her thread. At one point they believed they heard the clank of chains and heard her faintly whisper, “Help me.”
Marina Joyce has been kidnapped and is posting at someone else’s will, they thought. She then posted a weird tweet asking her fans to meet her in Bethnal Green at 6.30am, prompting them to conclude it was a trap set by ISIS, her captors. The meet-up was cancelled and Marina uploaded a video in which her mum debunked the mad theories, fuelling speculation about what was really going on their house. Probably the darkest and creepiest tale on this list.
The North Carolina rapper started 2016 with a not-so-big bang, tweeting in January that he refused to accept the world is round, even though the Ancient Greeks first established the fact around 500 BC. And people say we’re post-truth. Anyway, this resulted in B.O.B beefing with American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who tweeted, “Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn’t mean we all can’t still like your music.” B.O.B responded with the diss track ‘Flatline’ (“Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest”), though surely he could have just pushed Tyson off the side of the earth.
The One Direction Baby was not a real baby
Remember how there’s a fan theory that Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles, from the boyband One Direction, are secretly in a relationship? Well, that gets a little problematic when you consider that Louis had a baby with a woman called Briana Jungwirth. So Directioners got creative, concluding that it was all a publicity stunt. The evidence? When Louis tweeted about the birth, he didn’t leave a space before an exclamation mark, as he usually does – he can’t possible have posted it himself – and allegedly got the date of his son’s birth wrong. These people have never heard of time difference, or hobbies.
Zeena LaVey is the daughter of Anton LaVey, who founded the Church of Satanism. She wrote a book called Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic. As it happens, Zeena also looks like Taylor Swift, so fans decided that the ‘Shake It Off’ singer must be her clone. Many problems with this theory – mainly scientific – but there’s also the fact that Tay’s sugary pop songs aren’t very Devilish at all. Or maybe that’s what she wants us to think… Come to think of it, 2016 was such a bad bugger that we perhaps shouldn’t writes off any of these conspiracy theories.