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10 Famous Dead People That Conspiracy Theories Say Are Alive

by David Long
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Dead is dead unless you’re talking about zombies, right? Well, there are people out there who believe some celebrities may have faked their death. Everyone who thought Elvis Presley, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson were gone for good—think again. Some have set out to prove that these and other famous figures didn’t actually die but instead staged their deaths to escape the public eye.

Whether you buy into these theories or not, they’re definitely interesting to consider. Here are 10 of the most famous “dead” people that conspiracy theorists say are actually alive.

Related: 10 Dark Conspiracy Theories That Actually Turned Out To Be True

10 Michael Jackson

The scene where Michael Jackson died

The King of Pop famously passed away in 2009 from cardiac arrest. Despite there being a very public investigation into his death, some people believe that he’s still alive, moonwalking to “Billie Jean.” Even his family and fans that believe he is dead think that his death is shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the most prevalent theories.

  • MJ faked his own death to escape the public eye.
  • Michael faked his death to get out of debt and boost his sales again.
  • He faked his death so he could live the life of a normal person.
  • He didn’t fake his own death; instead, he was murdered, and the investigation was a coverup.
  • MJ had to fake his death to avoid more child sexual abuse allegations.

What’s the Proof?

Like any conspiracy, the proof is what you make of it. In this case, there are poor-quality pictures where he’s been “seen” in the background at family events. Jackson’s stylist also made a series of cryptic texts, and some fans think that MJ looks too similar to one of his friends.

Even with his family’s insistence that he was murdered, it all boils down to a he-said-she-said situation, with them claiming that he didn’t sign his will and wanted his executors removed from it.

No matter what you believe, there’s one thing no one can deny—Michael Jackson was an incredible artist that changed the music industry forever.

9 Princess Diana

Princess Diana Death: New Claim Says Lady Di was Murdered by British Special Forces

Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in 1997, but there are people still holding their candles in the wind—positive that she’s still alive. There have been hundreds of theories about what really happened to Diana. These theories spread so far and so quickly that an official investigation was opened and lasted for years.

Naturally, the investigation agreed with the original death report. She was in a car accident, and her driver was drunk. But the prevailing theory is that she staged her death to escape the public media circus surrounding her life and is currently living on a small island with her Egyptian husband.

What’s the Proof?

The majority of proof is just hearsay, but many of the theories stem from small bits of truth. Diana had expressed concern about her safety and had spoken about her fears that Prince Charles was planning something sinister shortly before her death. Maybe she really did plan ahead?

8 JFK Jr

John F. Kennedy Jr.’s Tragic Final Flight Retraced In New Documentary | TODAY

This conspiracy has been making ripples in the media recently, so much so that some groups are calling for former President Donald Trump to run again with JFK Jr. as vice president. So obviously, there are people that believe JFK Jr. didn’t actually die in 1999 when his plane crashed. According to them, he’s still alive and well.

There are numerous theories about what really happened to JFK Jr., some believing that he was killed by the government or that he simply went into hiding. Whatever the real story is, almost none of the theories mention his wife or sister-in-law, both of whom were in the plane when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean… So I’m sensing a plot hole here.

What’s the proof?

There is no actual proof that he’s alive. But according to the Dallas Observer, that questioned people who believe he is alive, the answer is in Home Alone 2. That’s right, the classic family Christmas film.

Let’s follow the logic according to one interviewee: JFK was shot at Dealey PLAZA, so JFK Jr. is coming back at Discovery PLAZA. Kevin stayed at the PLAZA Hotel in the movie, where he ran into…Donald Trump!

So if you followed that, there’s your proof. And if you got lost, you’re not alone.

7 Elvis Presley

Who killed Elvis Presley? A special investigation | 60 Minutes Australia

We’re all shook up. Seriously though, this addition to the list should come as no surprise. Conspiracies surrounding Elvis’s death are so far spread that one even made it into a Men in Black movie.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll died in 1977 from a heart attack, but not before his rubber legs reinvented the music industry. There are numerous theories about Elvis’s death, with some believing that he was killed, others that his death was faked so he could get out of the public view. Still others that think he was an alien and went back to his home planet.

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the solar system.

What’s the proof?

Once again, there is nothing concrete—if there was, this wouldn’t be conspiracy anymore. There have been sightings and pictures taken where people swear that Elvis is present. What suspicious minds? And, if you can believe it, there have been claims that he was an extra in the original Home Alone. It seems like Macaulay Culkin has a lot of explaining to do.

6 Tupac Shakur

The Mysterious Death Of Tupac Shakur | Part 1

Tupac Shakur was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting while in his own car. Theories about what really happened to Tupac vary widely, and some believe that he staged his own death. Others think that his death was staged by the government. And both of these assume that he is living under a new identity. The real question is, why would one of the most influential rappers of all time fake his own death?

What’s the proof?

American music exec Suge Knight says he doesn’t know if he’s dead. And Suge Knight Jr. says the rapper is living in Malaysia. Fans think that Tupac left clues about his death in his song lyrics and music videos.

Mr. Tupac…holler if ya’ hear me!

5 Paul Walker

Paul Walker Dead: Actor and Pro Racer, Roger Rodas, Killed in Fiery Crash

Paul Walker died in a car accident in 2013, leading to the most emotional moment in the Fast and the Furious franchise. But that didn’t stop some fans from believing that he faked his own death. The most common theory is that Walker was working with the government to investigate a certain type of fuel. When he died in the accident, supposedly, it was all part of the plan.

What’s the proof?

People have pointed to the fact that Walker didn’t have a public funeral. And his autopsy was placed on “security hold”—whatever that means. Fans also think that the color of his car changes in photographs before and after the accident between orange and red. Could it be true, or is this like the “what color is the dress” challenge?

4 Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Dead at 56: Apple Founder Resigns for Health Reasons, Fans Mourn Around World

The father of Apple died in 2011, but some people refuse to believe that the turtlenecked-tech giant is really gone. One theory is that Jobs faked his death because he disagreed with where the company was headed. Another says he faked his death so he could retire and live in Egypt.

Apparently, he was interested in ancient Egyptian culture and visited the country frequently. Some people believe that he even has a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

What’s the proof?

There is a photo making the rounds on the internet that shows a man in Egypt drinking coffee that kinda looks like him. Wherever you are, Steve, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

3 Jeffrey Epstein

Did Jeffrey Epstein die by homicide or suicide? | 60 Minutes Australia

Everyone has heard the phrase “Epstein didn’t kill himself.” Half the world thinks he was killed by the Clintons or other powerful people he might have named after his arrest. But while everyone is focused on one conspiracy theory, what if there was another one playing out right under our nose?

“Epstein’s still alive” is much less common since he was found dead in his cell in 2019. But some people are dedicated to the idea that he’s still alive. There are numerous theories about what really happened to Epstein. Some believe that he staged his own death and went into hiding to avoid convictions. Is he watching Maxwell take the fall while he sips Mai Tai’s on a private island somewhere?

What’s the proof?

There are numerous pictures of “Epstein” after his death that have been circulated online, but they are all pretty inconclusive. Some believe he’s hanging out at a ranch in New Mexico based on a news report written before his demise.

2 Marilyn Monroe

How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die? | Unsolved History

Marilyn is one of the most popular sex symbols in modern history. So it’s no wonder that fans don’t want to believe that she died in 1962. Some conspiracy theorists believe that she was killed by the government because of her affairs with JFK and his brother Robert Kennedy. Others think she faked her own death and is living under a new identity because she knew too many state secrets.

What’s the proof?

With the number of organizations that wanted her dead to cover up secrets, it isn’t likely that she is alive. But there are pictures of Monroe after her death that have been circulated online. Author John Baker claims she’s in a Canadian mental institution. Hopefully, they let her keep her bottle of Chanel No. 5.

1 Osama Bin Laden

CNN: Osama bin Laden’s death, from all angles

When a SEAL Team says, “We got him.” that’s usually a closed book on what happened. But when it comes to Bin Laden, some people feel there are unanswered questions.

Why was he buried at sea? Why is there a lack of physical evidence of his death? Some believe that when the SEALs raided his compound, they killed a body double. They think he was really taken alive and is being used as a confidential informant. A few even think that the raid and death were faked to boost former President Obama’s approval rating.

What’s the proof?

There isn’t any definitive proof that Bin Laden is still alive. However, some people have pointed to videos of “him” after his death as evidence. Others say that because he was initially armed by America to fight Russia in the 1980s that he has always been a CI. Wherever you are, Bin Laden, stay there.

fact checked by Rachel Jones