If Oswald was a crazed gunman who acted alone, then why does the CIA continue to refuse to release its files 50 years after the JFK assassination?
These and other questions come to mind while reading Robert Guffey’s scholarly and highly readable book Cryptoscatology: Conspiracy Theory as Art Form.
This tour of the world of conspiracy theory includes schemes that the author justifiably labels as false, such as the comet that was supposed to have an alien spaceship trailing it. That hoax resulted in the suicide of a cult who followed their mad guru.
On the other hand, some conspiracy theories do not fall apart so easily. For example, a number of science fiction writers have been involved on one side or the other of a conspiracy. H.G. Wells, best known for his novel The Time Machine, openly endorsed and outlined plans for a world government in which people became more like cogs in a machine than living, feeling organisms. Few people know that Wells acted as the head of British Intelligence throughout World War 2.
This book covers a wide range of conspiracy theories, from mind control to secret societies and more. It is a fascinating read.
Highly recommended for those who retain some curiosity after having gone through the indoctrination system known as public schools.
Robert Guffey is a lecturer in English at California State University, Long Beach