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10 Bizarre Theories About Famous People

by Gordon Gora
fact checked by Jamie Frater

There is no shortage of absurd theories on the Internet about famous men and women. Some theories are believable, and others fall apart under even the slightest bit of scrutiny. Nevertheless, many people still believe whatever is written on the Internet, and as long as conspiracy theories are popular, there won’t be an end to them. Here are just a few of the most bizarre theories about famous people.

10 Abraham Lincoln Was Homosexual


Photo via Wikimedia

While many theories on famous people are quite improbable, this one is actually backed up by quite a bit of evidence. Most people know Abraham Lincoln as one of the great US presidents. Since Lincoln has been elevated to the status of American sainthood, the idea that he might have had homosexual tendencies has been refuted for years by most historians, in spite of some clear evidence.

It should be noted that Lincoln was married and had children, and he did have romantic relationships with other women before his marriage to Mary Todd. It is also known, however, that Lincoln had ambiguous relationships with men. He and his friend Joshua Speed lived together and shared a bed for four years, although this may have been out of economic necessity.

Another close male friend of Lincoln’s was Captain David Derickson, whom Lincoln would spend time with at the Soldier’s Home (a presidential retreat). According to some, Captain Derickson would wear Lincoln’s nightshirt, and Lincoln would say with a “twinkle in his eye,” “The captain and I are getting quite thick.” While it is compelling to believe that Lincoln may have been homosexual, there is no real way we can ever know.

9 Hitler Escaped Germany And Became A Priest

Hitler Priest
Adolf Hitler has inspired many different theories over the years since his death. An idea popular with conspiracy theorists is that Hitler survived the war. While many of us know that Adolf Hitler died on April 30, 1945, from a self-inflicted gun wound, others claim that he escaped Germany and went to South America. Claims of what he did next vary greatly. This theory is one of the more interesting and far-fetched.

Father Krespi was a beloved figure in the city of Cuence, Ecuador. He first arrived in 1956, long after the war. He had been trained in Vatican City, having first arrived there in 1943. He was appointed head of the art collection in the Vatican, a position that would have given him unprecedented access to the vast amounts of art held here. This could give credence to the idea that Krespi was Hitler, because when he arrived, he had a varied collection of valuable art, which conspiracy theorists claim was art that was stolen by the Nazis. According to villagers, Father Krespi was often visited by Germans, and Cuence was a village where other high-level Nazis also hid. Krespi died in 1982, 37 years after Hitler allegedly died. When he died, several Germans were allegedly in attendance.

8 Orson Welles Killed The Black Dahlia

Orson Welles

Photo via Wikimedia

For those who have never heard about the Black Dahlia, her real name was Elizabeth Short, and she was a beautiful starlet who was brutally murdered in Los Angeles in 1947. Her body was found in an empty lot. She was cut in half, and her face had been slashed. The vicious murder made headlines all over the country, but the killer was never caught. There have been many different suspects over the years, but no one has ever come close to solving the mystery. However, someone who knew Short claims to know who killed her.

In 1947, while Elizabeth Short was working to make it big in Hollywood, Orson Welles was performing in a magic show where his finishing act was sawing a woman in half. According to Mary Pacios, a friend of Short and researcher into the murder, Welles had a tendency to channel his frustrations into violent rage. Another reason that Pacios suspects Welles is because of an unused scene in a film he made soon after the Black Dahlia murder, The Lady From Shanghai. The scene in question takes place in a carnival fun house decorated by Welles himself with female mannequin parts and a doll face that was allegedly dismembered much like Short’s face.

Did Welles and Short even meet? Pacios says that a diner named Brenemen’s was frequented by both at the time of the murder. Welles may have noticed the attractive young woman and had an affair with her. In one of his fits, he killed her and cut her in half, just like his magic act. While the theory does have its points, there is no evidence that Welles ever knew Short, and he has never been considered an official suspect.

7 Hitler’s Monorchism


In case you’re not familiar, monorchism is the condition of having only one testicle. Over the years since Hitler’s death, bizarre myths have arisen about Hitler’s sexuality and health. One of the most pervasive myths, which crops up every few years, is that Hitler only had one testicle. Because of Hitler’s malignant, evil nature, historians have tried to attribute certain qualities to him that would diminish him. If it were known to the German public at the time of Hitler’s rise to power, having one testicle would have caused great embarrassment for him.

As the story goes, Hitler lost one of his testicles when, as a young child, he tried to urinate on a goat. The goat allegedly bit off one of his testicles. Another story says that Hitler lost his testicle in World War I. However, like so many other urban legends, it’s simply not true. There is no indication or evidence to say that Hitler had monorchism.

Many have tried to use Hitler’s alleged monorchism as proof of his lack of masculinity, which may have prompted him to try to overcompensate by gaining power. They claim that his medical condition was the key to his evil. “Medical documents” have been printed in various tabloids, but they were all found to be fabricated. As far as most historians can tell, Hitler was a perfectly normal man physically. Mentally may be another story.

6 Nikola Tesla Communicated With Aliens


Photo via Wikimedia

Without the staggering genius of Nikola Tesla, many of the modern conveniences that we enjoy would have never been invented. Tesla was certainly one of the brightest minds of his generation, but according to some conspiracy theorists, Tesla’s knowledge of the universe did not come from his own intelligence, but from extraterrestrials. While many believe that there is some sort of intelligent life in the universe, the theory that Tesla communicated with them is extraordinarily laughable.

As the theory goes, a quote by Tesla proves that he was a recipient of alien knowledge: “My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which ‘We’ obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know it exists.” Most would take this quote as no more than Tesla describing the source of his superior intellect, but theorists claim that Tesla was taking messages from aliens and creating inventions. The theory continues by claiming that Tesla was born during a time that an ancient Zoharic prophecy speaks about the opening of the gates of wisdom upon the Earth.

It’s also claimed that Tesla’s unique ability to mentally perceive inventions is further proof that aliens submitted messages to him. In 1899, Tesla claimed to have received unknown signals from a magnetic transmitter he had built. The theorists say that he had invented a device that could communicate with distant extraterrestrials. As with most other conspiracy theories, the idea that Tesla communicated with aliens is absurd at best.

5 Christopher Marlowe Wrote Shakespeare’s plays


Photo via Wikimedia

The idea that Shakespeare didn’t write the works attributed to him is so famous that it has spawned its own school of thought—the Marlovian theory. The Marlovian theory states that William Shakespeare didn’t write any of the plays or poems that he is now famous for. Instead, English playwright Christopher Marlowe authored them. Marlowe wrote the play Dr. Faustus and tragically died under mysterious circumstances at a relatively young age. Because of his sudden death, different theories about Marlowe have been formed.

The Marlovian theory begins with an English clergyman, James Wilmot, who claimed that William Shakespeare was far too uneducated to write the plays attributed to him. From there, believers of the theory examine the life of Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe was murdered in 1593, but according to Marlovians, Marlowe staged his death due to some circumstance, which varies from sex crimes to heresy. Soon after he “died,” Shakespeare’s plays hit the scene. They claim that Marlowe survived and began to write under the pseudonym of William Shakespeare. Their strongest evidence is the fact that Shakespeare never left any manuscripts of his works, but it should be mentioned that Shakespeare wrote his Henry VI plays from 1591–92, a year before Marlowe was killed.

The Marlovians further claim that Shakespeare’s style is similar to Marlowe’s. Why would Shakespeare’s plays be more popular than Marlowe’s if they were written by the same person? Whatever the case, most scholars agree that Shakespeare was a one-of-a-kind genius who wrote brilliant plays.

4 Barbara Bush’s Father Was The Occultist Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

Photo via Wikipedia

President George W. Bush endured numerous criticisms and vehement hatred. Several outrageous conspiracy theories about Bush and his family have circulated, but the most interesting one is the claim that Aleister Crowley was the true father of Barbara Bush, making Crowley the grandfather of George W. Bush. According to those who devised the theory, Bush becoming president was proof of some sort of evil conspiracy, due to his alleged lineage.

Aleister Crowley was one of the most controversial figures of his time. Labeled “the wickedest man in the world,” Crowley was well-known for his freewheeling, hedonistic ways. Crowley even founded his own religion, called Thelema. After experiencing legal trouble, he began to live with his friend, Frank Harris, in France. Pauline Pierce was a friend of a woman named Nellie O’Hara, who was also a friend of Frank Harris. This connection, according to the theorists, is no coincidence. They claim that in 1924, Pierce met Crowley, and they had a love affair, leaving Pierce pregnant. Pauline Pierce was a married woman, so she dutifully returned to America before she became noticeably pregnant. Her child was a girl, and she was named Barbara. It’s claimed that this alleged lineage clearly shows an occultist influence on George W. Bush.

3 George W. Bush Drank And Used Cocaine While In Office


Photo via Wikimedia

Another theory about the former president states that Bush was still drinking long after he claimed to have quit in 1986. As Bush tells it, he quit drinking and never again took another drink. According to the theory, a video from a wedding in 1992 shows Bush obviously drunk and saying that people who don’t drink or smoke marijuana are “boring.”

An even more serious claim, though, is that when Bush goes on holiday, he spends his time doing drugs and drinking. The evidence for this is that he is never photographed or filmed at such times. The theory touts the book Fortunate Son as evidence that Bush was addicted to cocaine and was even busted for it in 1972, although it has never appeared on his legal record. Bush’s refusal to speak about possible previous drug use is further evidence that he used. Bush’s claims that he prayed to and received confirmation from God about invading Iraq were proof of cocaine psychosis. Bush was displaying cocaine-induced delusions of grandeur.

2 Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated By Catholics

Lincoln Assassination

Photo via Wikimedia

As most of us know, Abraham Lincoln was killed in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. However, according to one theory, the idea to kill Lincoln was given to him by the Catholic Church. While many people have created theories about the nature of the Vatican, this theory is possibly one the most improbable.

The theory first begins by saying that Charles Chiniquy, a former Catholic, was close to Abraham Lincoln. Chiniquy was a writer, and his most famous book was Fifty Years in the Roman Church, which exposed many salacious details of life in the Vatican. Because of this, theorists claim that the Vatican wanted Chiniquy dead. Before Lincoln became president, he had defended Chiniquy in cases brought against him by the Catholic Church, which caused Chiniquy to pledge his friendship to him. Unfortunately, this would be Lincoln’s undoing.

The theory says that John Wilkes Booth, along with his other co-conspirators, were Catholics. This is why they hated Lincoln with such fervor. Another reason is that the Vatican was the only government to recognize the Confederacy, so those who were loyal to the South were loyal to the Vatican. The final reason is that April 14, the day Lincoln was shot, was Good Friday, which gives spiritual significance to Lincoln’s death.

1 The Biblical Cain Justifies Slavery

Cain Statue

Photo via Wikimedia

If you’re not familiar with the story of Cain and Abel, it goes like this: God ordered Cain and Abel to make sacrifices. Cain gave God fruits of the soil, while Abel sacrificed one of his sheep. God favored Abel, Cain became jealous, and he killed Abel out of spite. As punishment, God put a mark on Cain, which caused the rest of the world to forever shun him and his descendants. While the story seems to be just another lesson from the Bible, the mark (or curse) of Cain has been used for centuries to justify slavery.

Whether the story is true or not, it became an argument for the institution of slavery. According to most Protestant churches, it was their Biblical right to have them. They claimed that the mark of Cain meant that God turned Cain into an inferior race (in other words, Africans). They went on to claim that slaves couldn’t be considered human, since they had the mark of Cain. They felt that they were morally obligated to force slaves into servitude.

This theory, however, is easily debunked by other claims from the Bible. All of Cain’s descendants would have been killed in Noah’s flood, and even if any had survived in some way, the Bible says that those with the mark wouldn’t be able to cultivate land. As any reasonable person would know, most of the different cultures of Africa had no trouble surviving.

Nevertheless, this one theory about the mark of Cain affected the world for thousands of years. Religious figures mostly condoned the belief because they often also owned slaves. While there is no evidence that the Bible called for slavery, the theory was championed because theorists believed that slaves were subhuman and not recognized by God. The whole theory was ridiculous, but because of it, millions of men and women were placed into forced labor.

Gordon Gora is a struggling author who is desperately trying to make it. He is working on several projects but until he finishes one, he will write for Listverse for his bread and butter. You can write him at [email protected].

fact checked by Jamie Frater