Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of These Debunked Conspiracy Theories

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of These Debunked Conspiracy Theories
Image: HowStuffWorks

About This Quiz

Is the world run by the Illuminati or just some reptilian overlords? Were the moon landings faked? Whether or not you believe this kind of stuff, you'll be entertained by our conspiracy theory quiz.
Beware! Those streams of vapor behind airplanes, known as contrails, are sometimes referred to as ____ by conspiracy theorists.
Some people think that the streams behind airplanes are chemicals being used to control the weather. But there's zero proof (or even evidence) that "chemtrails" are anything other than ordinary contrails, water vapor that freezes once it hits the cold air of the upper atmosphere.
chemical airstreams
Why do some observers believe that the Twin Towers were rigged with explosives and were blown up as part of a massive conspiracy on Sept. 11, 2001?
Top-level Bush Administrators exchanged emails about the buildings being rigged for demolition … three weeks before the attacks.
The buildings just mysteriously fell all at once, in a high-speed freefall.
Cruise any 9/11 conspiracy forums and you're bound to run into this one – the idea that the towers just collapsed all at once, in a freefall, something that might point to carefully planned explosives. But it only takes one careful viewing from a still camera to see the reality, that the towers, sadly, collapsed in a time of between 15 and 22 seconds.
The controlled demolition explosions are easy to identify in high-speed video replay.
Some people believe that the area beneath Denver International Airport is home to what, exactly?
a nuclear bomb factory
the headquarters of the New World Order
It's true that Denver International Airport is a sprawling monstrosity. And there are murals of conflict and death on the premises. However, those bits of evidence don't really seem to prove that the tarmac conceals the headquarters of the New World Order, as some conspiracists believe.
a massive neo-Nazi group plotting to take over Colorado


"Gangsta" rap was devised by corporate executives for what reason, according to some folks?
to help keep private prisons full
In 2012, an anonymous internet post dropped a bomb on hip hop – revealing that an early '90s meeting between corporate bigwigs where rap album marketers would agree to push hardcore "gangsta" rap, proliferating a lifestyle that was sure to keep private prison business booming. Of course, U.S. prisons haven't needed gangsta rap albums to be profitable.
to increase sales of Tasers
to boost the profit margins of drug cartels
Why do some people believe that the NASA moon landings were faked?
The top NASA administrator in charge of the Apollo 11 mission admitted the whole thing was faked on a Hollywood movie set.
The president made a verbal slip on live television indicating the landings were staged.
The American flag in the video is flapping in what is supposedly an airless lunar environment.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you – in video of the moon first landing, the flag is indeed flapping. But the fabric isn't waving due to air. The astronauts had trouble extending the flag rod completely and in still pictures this created a ripple effect, making it look as if the flag was waving. In video images it becomes clear that the flag only moved when they were trying to plant it into the moon's surface.
There's a rumor that all humans are essentially enslaved by reptilian overlords. Where did this originate?
from a deleted scene from the original "The Matrix" film
It's unclear. But everyone knows it's a fact.
with a retired English soccer player
In 1990, retired English soccer player David Icke visited a psychic and the rest is twisted history. He became a one-man conspiracy machine, spouting stories about reptilian beings that were controlling Earth and its inhabitants. His sports fame helped give the ideas traction and he still makes a fortune weaving his fantastic tales.


A 2014 study found that half of the world's population had never heard of the Holocaust, and one-third of those who had didn't believe it happened. What was their explanation?
The Holocaust was created as a political ploy to confuse and mislead people.
In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League released a study showing that half of the respondents had never heard of the Holocaust – the systematic murder of Jews and other people during WWII. Of the half who had heard of the murders, one-third believed that the Holocaust was a fiction invented to further political gains of the mid-20th century.
President Truman invented the Holocaust as a pretext for the Manhattan Project, which developed atomic weapons.
Hitler was a good guy.
Where did the belief that modern vaccines cause autism come from?
a New York Times report citing many renowned scientists
a 1997 research study, originally published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet
In 1997, Andrew Wakefield, a British surgeon, published a study suggesting that the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine sparked autism in English kids. Turns out, the "study" was rife with errors and financial conflicts of interest – and it was retracted by Lancet. Meanwhile, real science has found plenty of evidence that variables for autism often take hold in human physiology long before vaccines are introduced.
a well-respected Facebook page filled with many anecdotal links about vaccines and autism
During the 2016 presidential election cycle, what sparked a belief that a potential human trafficking ring operated out of a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant?
leaked messages from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email accounts
Rush Limbaugh's radio show
a white supremacist Tweet
In 2016, a white supremacist Twitter account spouted blatantly false information about a "human trafficking" ring involving Hillary Clinton that originated from a pizza parlor in Washington, D.C. About a month later, a deranged man showed up there with a gun to "investigate" the problem, blasting holes into the restaurant's interior. Authorities quickly disproved the conspiracy.


What was the "proof" that Nirvana's lead singer, Kurt Cobain, died as a result of murder, not suicide?
The handwriting at the very end of his suicide note was different than the penmanship that appeared at the beginning of the letter.
High on heroin, Cobain ended his life with a gun. But not before he scrawled a page-long suicide note, one that ended with childlike pen strokes. Forensics investigators concluded that the writing was in fact Cobain's and that perhaps the overload of drugs in his system (and his extreme emotional distress) caused the deterioration of his penmanship at the end of his missive.
On a later album, his wife, Courtney Love, alluded to murdering her husband in rather vague song lyrics.
A (now missing) audio tape caught the murderer in the act.
You Got: