Today marks the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, a day of profound shock and grief that, unsurprisingly, also sparked a string of outrageous conspiracy theories. We’ve compiled a list of the five best—and by best, we mean compelling, impossible or just flat out stupid—9/11-related conspiracy theories. And yes, people actually believe this stuff.
Theory #1: Bombs not Planes
CBS Philly might have added fuel to the 9/11 “truther” fire today with its report on “Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth.” The article features an interview with a mechanical engineer who said he and some 2,000 colleagues do not believe it is scientifically possible “for an office fire to be hot enough to melt steel girders and columns.” Instead, they believe there were pre-planted charges in the World Trade Center, meaning controlled detonations leveled the buildings—not planes.
Theory #2: A Plane Hit the Pentagon? Prove it.
Yes, something hit and damaged the Pentagon on 9/11/2001, but truthers aren’t convinced it was a plane. Many argue there is no way to prove that a plane hit the Pentagon because we don’t see a direct image of an airplane in the security footage, nor do we see one in post-crash photos. And some of these “no planers” even believe airplanes never hit the World Trade Center either. (No, we’re not joking.)
Theory #3: The Hijackers Live!
Reports of the 9/11 hijackers turning up alive and well post-crashes started cropping up just days after the event. How did they survive? Was it magic? Superpowers? Who knows, but many still believe that the hijackers are living free and happy in various countries throughout the world.
Theory #4: Bush Let it Happen
Ah yes, the infamous “blame Bush” tactic. Some truthers believe Bush was aware of the coming attacks but did nothing to stop them because of oil interests in the Middle East. Here’s what Bill Maher had to say about that:
“[That George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks] is an absurd sentence because it contains the words ‘Bush’ and ‘knowledge.’”
Theory #5: Bin Laden Buried in … Delaware?
In March 2012, WikiLeaks released emails from shadow-CIA firm Stratfor that suggested Osama Bin Laden’s body was never buried at sea as the U.S. government claimed. So where was it? In Dover, Delaware—duh!