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President Kennedy salt & pepper shaker.


Before it abruptly closed, the Conspiracy Museum in Dallas, Texas, had two displays that merited close attention.

The first was a mural on one of its interior walls, titled "The Conspiracy Tree," which showed dozens of little twig conspiracies branching from the gnarled trunk of the JFK assassination.

The second was in the museum gift shop: A pre-1963 salt and pepper shaker of JFK in a rocking chair in which the salt poured out of a hole in the back of JFK's head.

Or, wait -- maybe it didn't pour out of the back of JFK's head. We can't remember for sure. We think that it did, which would, of course, confirm some sort of conspiracy -- but perhaps it didn't, in which case we wonder:

1. why the museum director bothered to point it out to us
2. where, in fact, the salt did pour out of
3. and whether or not that forgotten hole is an important clue

Dealey Plaza plaque.

We choose to believe in the head-hole configuration because, more than likely, the second memory is false and confusing, planted in our brains through some super-secret process by the same shadowy landscapers that have fertilized the twiggy Conspiracy Tree for 40 years.

Hundreds of attractions in the database are interwoven into a network of plots and secret societies, confirming our darkest suspicions. The granddaddy of them all, the tree root that ate Roger Williams -- namesake of our Roger search engine -- is so apt that it needs no further discussion. Others, however, just as spooky, deserve to be exposed.

For example, speaking of presidential assassinations, maybe John Wilkes Booth is buried in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery -- or maybe not. The Conspiracy Museum presents evidence that Booth may have changed identities and resurfaced as John St. Helen in 1872, or as a David E. George in 1903. A judge refused a request from Booth's descendants to dig up the bones for verification, ignoring reports that Booth's body has been turned into a mummy and is up for sale on the underground auction block (Just in case it was true, the Conspiracy Museum put in a bid.).

Are they the same person?

And what about Jesse James' supposed "grave" in Granbury, Texas? The headstone inscription reads only, "Supposedly killed in 1882" and the Jesse James Museum in Stanton, MO, has proof that he lived until 1952 and is buried in Keaney, Missouri! A toothless guy at the Granbury grave told us that when a group of experts dug it up in 2001, they found Belle Starr instead. What is going on?

We are always suspicious of things that are underground. Why is the Scientology Crypt in Petrolia, California, only accessible on private, no trespassing roads? The Scientologists will tell you that it merely preserves L. Ron Hubbard's writings -- an excuse eerily reminiscent of the one given by the guardians of J. Edgar Hoover's bronzed baby shoes, which no visitors are allowed to photograph, and which are locked behind a gate in the bowels of the Masonic Shrine of the Temple in Washington, DC. Is there something within those shoes or in that crypt that must hide from the light?

Hollow inside: a web of webs up the leg hole of a Muffler Man -- a piece of the Big Puzzle?
Hollow inside: a web of webs up the leg hole of a Muffler Man -- a piece of the Big Puzzle?

It's no surprise -- that is, if you know what's really going on -- that John D. Rockefeller's gravestone in Cleveland's Lake View Cemetery is the tallest in the U.S. But how about this: Is it mere coincidence that another Ohio obelisk, the monument to John Cleves Symmes, founder of the dogma-shattering Hollow Earth Theory, has been left to crumble by the obviously nervous city of Hamilton? And how about this: the monument is only several hundred miles from Carl's Gun Shop & Museum in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, which displays test bullets fired by the Warren Commission! Would it shock you to learn that some of those bullets might be hollow-point? If some are, it shouldn't.

John John Kennedy futilely hides under his fathers desk, hoping the Conspiracy won't find him.
A young John John Kennedy futilely hides under his fathers desk, hoping the Conspiracy won't find him.

Why are the tour guides at Honey Island Swamp in Slidell, Louisiana, so adamant in their denials that there is a monster in it? "There is no monster in this swamp!" they told us. "There are many more interesting things to look at in this swamp, NATURAL things, than a MONSTER!" The Louisiana fertilizer/insecticide/ petroleum industries -- whose dumping no doubt brought the beast to life -- know that money buys silence.

Sometimes a conspiracy cloaks itself in an innocent guise. For example, the Saginaw-Tokushima Friendship Garden, which supposedly cemented fraternal bonds between an obscure Japanese and American city, was built in 1970 -- just before the collapse of the Detroit auto industry and the ascendancy of Toyota and Honda! Can no one see that Saginaw is only 25 miles from Flint, home of the big GM and Ford assembly plants? Wake up, America!

Finally, consider the ominously-named U.S. Government Experimental Farm in Newell, South Dakota, and U.S. Government Sheep Experiment Station in Spencer, Idaho. Just what kind of experiments are going on within their probably razor-wire-topped fences? Are vegetables being manufactured that walk and kill? Could there be a terrifying answer to the question: "Why does America not have a giant statue of a sheep?"

Perhaps -- like many other conspiracy theories -- it would reveal something that the superrich and powerful don't want us to know.

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