Do conspiracy theories reveal the real truths the powers that be want to keep hidden, or are they simply a smokescreen to divert the attention of truth-seekers from the incredible reality of the world? This is the startling new thesis advanced by celebrated conspiracy theorist Joe Dobbler, in a controversial article in the latest issue of Popular Conspiracies. “It’s outrageous! He’s undermining the whole credibility of the field,” rages Trevor Groper, editor of rival publication Practical Conspiracy Digest. “I can’t understand why one of our discipline’s leading publications should choose to run such an irresponsible piece – it is clearly based on a highly selective view of the facts and a wilful misinterpretation of evidence!” The world of conspiracy theories has been thrown into disarray by the article, with many leading practitioners rushing to denounce Dobbler, several even suggesting that ‘they’ have got to him and brainwashed him, or even replaced him with a doppelganger. Nevertheless, Dobbler maintains that his article constitutes a serious contribution to the field of conspiracy theory studies. “I really don’t know what their problem is,” comments the thirty eight year old, a lifelong resident of Tallahassee, Florida. “It isn’t as if I’m saying that conspiracies don’t exist! Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m saying that all our piddling little theories are really just one part of the big conspiracy.” He insists that his new theory is based upon meticulous research, and stems from his own experiences whilst investigating various high-profile conspiracies. “Haven’t you ever thought it odd how, no sooner do you raise some anomaly online, that there are suddenly hundreds of websites devoted to it?” he asks. “They’re chock full of all these pictures which have appeared out of nowhere and which they now analyse in minute detail!” Dobbler is convinced that the internet is a key part of the ‘conspiracy of conspiracies’. “It is obvious that there is some central authority driving the creation and maintenance of these theories,” he contends, “and I have evidence that the world wide web was created by a US government ‘Black Ops’ programme primarily for the dissemination of this kind of misinformation!” According to Dobbler, conspiracy theories are constantly being developed by a team of experts in a secret US facility, and fed into the collective subconscious via ‘clues’ carefully placed in newspapers, TV news reports, websites and other media. “These theories are carefully constructed, so that every time someone thinks they’ve ascertained the ‘truth’, a whole bunch of new ‘clues’ turn up pointing to another ‘layer’ of the conspiracy,” he says. “The guys they have concocting them are drawn from the top echelons of academia, the media, science and the armed forces – and not just from the US, this is an international operation which spans the globe.”

In his article, Dobbler claims that he first began to suspect the super-conspiracy’s existence when researching his ground-breaking theory that President Kennedy had been assassinated on the orders of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, as a result of a gay love triangle involving the actor Rock Hudson. “The number of coincidences which kept leading me to vital information were just too many to be the result of mere chance,” Dobbler muses. “Take that picture of JFK secretly attending an underground gay bar in 1958 – it just fortuitously turned up in the effects of a friend who had recently died. Why had he never mentioned it to me when he was alive?” No sooner had Dobbler mentioned the existence of the photograph in an online conspiracy forum, than he found witnesses – all armed with slightly out of focus photos, murky film footage, inaudible tapes and hazy recollections – crawling out of the woodwork. “The stuff that turned up was amazing – the ‘lost’ section of the autopsy report which mentioned the presence of Vaseline around JFK’s butt hole, for instance, which one of the assistant pathologists’ son found in his sock draw,” he recalls. “It seemed obvious that there’d simply been some kind of cover-up of Kennedy’s homosexuality, which had ended in assassination when they found that even Marilyn Monroe couldn’t turn him!” No sooner had he gone to press with this theory, than Dobbler found himself contacted by a former confidant of Hoover. “What he told me blew my mind – Monroe had killed herself after being rejected by JFK in favour of Rock Hudson who, in turn was already in a relationship with Hoover,” he recalls. “Once again, evidence miraculously started appearing – that photo of Hoover in bed with Lee Harvey Oswald which someone found behind the fridge in a former CIA agent’s apartment, for instance. I couldn’t believe my luck!”

However, Dobbler was soon to suspect that luck had very little to do with it. “It was that Hoover confidant – I kept thinking I’d seen him somewhere before,” he explains. “It finally came to me when I was watching an NYPD Blue re-run one night – he was the guy who tries to sell Sipowicz those dirty post cards!” Having tracked down the bit-part actor, Dobbler obtained a startling confession from him. “He admitted that he was on the books of an agency which supplied guys like him to a ‘government institute’ to ‘act’ in conspiracy theories,” he reveals. “Amazingly, during a drunken conversation, his agent had told him that the FBI role was part of an attempt to cover up the shocking truth – that Kennedy had been killed by a lone gunman, working for himself!” Clearly, this was the crux of the big conspiracy – to protect the public from the mundane truth. “It would completely blow the American people’s minds to know that the most powerful man in the world could be offed by a lone crazy guy – they want a more complex and reassuring explanation,” opines Dobbler. “It’s the same with all the other conspiracy theories: they’re there to protect us from the fact that the rich and famous can die in accidents like anyone else, that we do elect inept and incompetent leaders and that we did go to the moon, but it was just a boring chunk of rock.” Rival conspiracists remain unimpressed. “I agree that evidence has a habit of appearing just as you need it,” says UK theorist Simon Tivcock, renowned throughout the field for his work in proving that the moon-landings were faked, filmed on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. “Just look at the way that photo clearly showing those kids riding along the waterline on donkeys reflected in Neil Armstrong’s visor, was anonymously e-mailed to me. But that’s just synchronicity – saying it’s all part of some sinister pattern is dangerously close to paranoia!” For others, it is Dobbler’s conclusions which are disappointing. “What kind of ultimate conspiracy is that – the authorities are protecting us from the fact that the world is boring?” asks internet radio talkshow host Jim Frickstein, who broadly agrees with the rest of Dobbler’s analysis, but whose own research – soon to be published in Practical Conspiracy Digest – has led him to different conclusions. “The fact is that the White House is a TV studio and our supposed leaders all actors! I’ve actually found the guy who played Clinton – he’s back doing dinner-theatre in Seattle! Democracy, the free market, politics, it’s all a sham! We’re actually all unwitting participants in a colossal reality-TV show run by aliens!”