While the late Michael Jackson was no stranger to far-out tabloid tales and urban legends when he was alive, his death spawned an unprecedented number of conspiracy theories. Here are 23 of them.
23. Michael Jackson was killed by the greedy hangers-on in his entourage.
In July of 2009 Michael Jackson's sister LaToya made several interviews with British newspapers alleging that members of Michael's circle felt he was "worth more dead than alive" and "killed" the pop star by a combination of overwork & drugs:
"I believe Michael was murdered - I felt that from the start. Not just one person was involved, rather it was a conspiracy of people. He was surrounded by a bad circle."
LaToya vowed not to stop investigating MJ's death until she found who was responsible. link
22. Michael Jackson is alive and well and living with Elvis Presley in a bunker under Graceland.
The website 68comeback claimed shortly after Jackson's reported passing that the singer was hiding out in a seven-story-deep bunker under Graceland with fellow death hoaxer Elvis Presley. Further, not only Michael & Elvis were living there, but other dead celebrities. As we will see, this is only one of many theories speculating that MJ is still alive. link
21. Michael Jackson gave a cryptic message regarding 2012 in footage shot for the documentary movie "This Is It"
Was MJ referring to possible apocalyptic 2012 events when he was filmed telling his crew: "We have four years to get it right or else it's irreversible"? Did the Illuminati get upset at Jackson "spilling the beans" and decided to shortly thereafter rub him out? video link
20. A Michael Jackson impostor was used for his March 2009 tour announcement at the 02 Arena.
Technically, this rumor started before MJ died, but was greatly elaborated on after his passing. Paul Harris of The Mail wrote an elaborate article questioning if it was truly MJ who made the announcement at 02, or a lookalike:
"But why use a lookalike? The (speculative) theory is that Jackson - filmed falling on the steps of his minibus before it left for the Arena - was either injured or too ill to appear in person. With millions at stake in ticket sales, who would be bold enough to disappoint the waiting fans and international broadcasters now?"
Other theories speculate that MJ might have died as much as two years previous to 2009, his double making all subsequent public appearances. Since Jackson had changed his face so much over the years...who would notice his replacement? video link
19. All the child molestation charges against Michael Jackson were trumped-up by the Illuminati in order to ruin his career
This is one of the most widely-believed conspiracy theories surrounding Michael Jackson. The theory goes: Michael Jackson was getting too popular and powerful, and so the Illuminati decided to elaborately frame him as a child molester as to destroy his fame and mental well-being. These theories overlap those of less esoteric sources like GQ's Mary A. Fisher and author Aphrodite Jones, who blame not the shadowy secret society but a combination of greedy parents and an overly-zealous news media. link
18. Michael Jackson was a big fan of Aleister Crowley, and allowed the influence of the infamous dead occultist to corrupt him.
I go into some of this theory in the post "Is Aleister Crowley on the Cover of Michael Jackson's Dangerous Album?" The basic idea is that Aleister Crowley was a big influence on rock and pop musicians in general over the decades, and MJ was no exception. While it is a fact that rock idols like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin admired Crowley, whether the King of Pop did is still under debate in conspiracy circles. video link
17. Michael Jackson was killed in order to gain access to his song catalogue.
Former MJ advisor Leonard Rowe claims in his book "What Really Happened To Michael Jackson" that the singer was specifically killed to gain access to his one billion dollar song catalogue. His theory dovetails into LaToya Jackson's 2009 's allegations regarding her brother's death and possible murder. Rowe, who claims to be a close personal friend of Jackson family patriarch Joe Jackson, told RadarOnline:
"Michael always felt he would be killed for his catalogue. When he was speaking about it, I paid him no attention but as the latest events have unfolded, I couldn’t help but think about his statement -- and it still haunts me today."
16. Michael Jackson's memorial was filled with "Satanic" symbols.
While much was made in conspiracy circles about the symbols shown on the screen at MJ's memorial service, it should be noted that the symbols weren't "Satanic" at all but those of a number of religious faiths, including Christianity. video link
15. Michael Jackson is alive and well and assuming the identity of childhood burn victim Dave Dave.
In one of the weirder Michael Jackson Is Alive theories, the singer faked his death and assumed the identity of Dave Dave/David Rothenberg, a victim of severe childhood burns who MJ maintained a long friendship with. The theorists claim that a recent interview with Dave Dave on CNN's Larry King shows physical discrepancies that might indicate it is not really him but Michael Jackson in disguise. Dave Dave denied this claim on his MySpace page:
"Since the untimely passing of my friend, there has been much speculation regarding what I would call a "Death Hoax." This particular hoax is just a hoax."link link 2
14. Michael Jackson was disguised as an old man in a fedora at his own funeral.
Was MJ, no stranger to disguising himself in public, that weird old man in the hat at his funeral? Some people think so. video link
13. There is video of an alive Michael Jackson stepping out of a coroner's van.
This video caused a big stir on the Internet when it first emerged, but was later admitted to be a hoax created by the German broadcaster RTL. link video link
12. Michael Jackson was a victim of the MK-ULTRA project.
This is one example of a grander conspiracy narrative that claims various celebrities and pop stars were part of a CIA plot as children to control their minds and influence the public. MJ's own tales of being abused as a child by his father are used as evidence for the theory. Roseanne Barr is said to have stated on her blog the following:
"joe jackson is an mk ultra operativelink
who's abuse of his own children was used to profit the CIA's programs that follow and study the effects of child abuse on the young, and how their minds can be controlled to such an extent, and with such abuse, that they can be forced to develop talent."
11. Michael Jackson was sighted at a train station in Ottawa shortly after his supposed death.
The creator of the Michael Jackson Sighting Society claims to have seen MJ alive and well in Canada:
"Late on Thursday night I was at the train station in Ottawa, Canada and I saw Michael Jackson alive! I only got a quick glance but when I returned home there was already buzz in Ottawa that other people had seen him as well. I was able to meet some of the other people who saw Michael alive, and that is why we decided to start the M.J.S.S."link
10. Michael Jackson had dated the son of his dermatologist from 2008-2009.
Jason Pfeiffer, son of MJ's former dermatologist Dr. Arnie Klein, made allegations in May that he was engaged in a "passionate and sexual" relationship with the singer for the year leading up to his untimely passing. This conspiracy included alleged multiple death threats to Pfeiffer and Klein, and the theory that the "revelations" were timed to draw attention away from a TV special with author Aphrodite Jones about his death. link
9. Michael Jackson was a victim of the "law of threes" in celebrity deaths, rounding out a trio that included Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon.
Was MJ's death merely a result of the mysterious "law of threes" in celebrity deaths? link
8. Claims regarding Michael Jackson's plastic surgery have been greatly exaggerated.
YouTube user acucena's documentary "Changes" uses photo comparisons to demonstrate that MJ did not have as much plastic surgery as alleged in the media. This video is sometimes erroneously referred to as stating that Michael Jackson didn't have any plastic surgery. video link
7. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had Michael Jackson killed.
Jackson's death in June of 09 quickly overtook the Iranian student protests as Twitter Topic DuJour. Was this all part of Ahmadinejad's evil plan to distract the West in their support for the students? link
6. Omer Bhatti is Michael Jackson's secret son.
When 25-year-old Omer Bhatti was seated in the front row of Michael Jackson's memorial service, rumors flew that he was the singer's secret son. Since then there has been seeming confirmations of the Norwegian rapper's lineage by Jackson family members, and a denial by Bhatti himself. As of this writing, the Wikipedia page for Omer Bhatti has been deleted. link
5. The movie poster for the Michael Jackson movie "This Is It" was made to resemble the "Satanic" symbol Baphomet.
Proponents of the Illuminati-killed-MJ camp allege that the image of the singer on the official movie poster of "This Is It" was purposely made in the shape of the head of Baphomet. Others also link the image to Isis and other "occult' symbology. link.
4. Michael Jackson's three kids are in danger.
There are various theories related to the idea that MJ's three children are in possible danger. One suggests infamous poppa Joe Jackson plans to turn them into the next Jackson singing group (if you've followed stories about the elder Jackson's treatment of Michael, you can see how this would be a concern). Another cites the case where Jermaine Jackson's son pointed a stun gun at the children. Finally, as MJ's heirs, the three kids might face opposition from a number of sides. link
3. Michael Jackson left behind a "death hoax" diary.
A man named Derek Klontz claims to have exclusive access to Jackson's diary through a "family friend." The alleged diary paints a picture of an exhausted MJ who compares himself to Elvis towards the end of his life. There are also several cryptic quotes from the diary that might suggest the King of Pop might have planned a death hoax:
"If Elvis … (illegible) … so can I."link
"I’ll come back, but only when I’m ready. Bigger than Elvis in ’69."
"“A back-from-dead tour, a real Thriller. But I have to rest. I’m tired. I’m not (thinking) clearly."
2. The spirit of Michael Jackson is communicating through psychic mediums and channels.
Since MJ's passing a number of psychic mediums have claimed to be in contact with him. Some claim to be the only true channel for Jackson, and that the singer himself has denounced the others as frauds. One of the most prominent supposed channels for MJ is Bonnie Vent, who claims to have received so much sensitive information from Michael through her sessions that she chooses to keep some of it private. Here is a sample of MJ beyond-the-grave:
"I was very confused at first. I had been in similar states of being many times and always came back to my life and went through my schedule just as directed. This time was different. The environment changed suddenly and I was trying to get back. I had done this successfully before but not this time. I can see many people around me but there was no noise... complete silence and it was wonderful…"link video link
1. Michael Jackson's ghost was recorded during a CNN video tour of Neverland for Larry King.
Was the ghost of Michael Jackson recorded by a CNN film crew walking through Neverland? video link
Examining this list of Michael Jackson conspiracy theories and rumors that have flourished after his death, we can make several conclusions:
- Some people have a hard time accepting/believing he is dead.
- Some people have a hard time with the notion that he could have died just as a combination of drug abuse and possible medical malpractice -- such a banal passing not befitting someone of MJ's stature (see: theories regarding Elvis and "death by constipation").
- The standard "Illuminati" conspiracy theories have now been retrofitted to include Jackson as a key celebrity figure within its narrative.