Have a look at these two screenshots I grabbed last night…
Besides the fact that these people seem batshit crazy, there are a few things I find fascinating about this…
First, some background info for those who have never heard of the Nibiru cataclysm. (Read that Wikipedia link for the long version.) A man named Zecharia Sitchin left us with some fanciful mistranslations of Sumerian cuneiform (ancient carvings on stone tablets). And when I write “fanciful mistranslations”, what I mean is he couldn’t read the ancient glyphs at all, so he made up his own translations based on what he thought the pictures looked like. And… Tada! Ancient Aliens was born. He wasn’t the only one but let’s stick with him. So ancient mythical gods, the Annunaki, became aliens on a mysterious planet, called Planet X or Nibiru, which, on a 3600 year elliptical orbit, passes very close to us every once in a while and causes all kinds of chaos. Also the aliens were the ones who seeded life on earth, or something like that.
Of course all of that is pure bullshit, and real translations of the Sumerian cuneiform exist and are even indexed online so anyone can read them. (Start here.) No planets or aliens or any of that stuff can be found in the real translations but that doesn’t stop people from believing.
The basic premise of the cataclysmic conspiracy theory is that Nibiru has been on a collision course with us since the 1980’s and this was somehow covered up by [insert shady government or NASA or New World Order here]. And now, it is here, even though it failed to end the world in 2003 and 2012 and other dates. And even though nobody can detect it, and a rogue planet (or sun depending on which variant of the conspiracy you believe) would be easy to detect in the solar system. Note that the Nemesis sun theory, also mentioned in the screenshot comments, is another belief in a hypothetical companion or “twin” to our sun. Some people seem to have conflated the Nibiru and Nemesis conspiracies, so for some it’s a planet, while for others it’s a star, and then there are those who believe in an entire solar system.
Anyway, I became fascinated with the conspiracy back in 2012, and I thought that when the world failed to end, people would stop believing. But they didn’t. Instead, they adjusted their beliefs to explain why they couldn’t see Planet X (like the fake sun claims in the screenshot), or saw “signs” of it in other things. (Just like people who believe in Jesus/God, et al, see signs to confirm what they want to see.)
But there are a couple of interesting things to take out of this:
- Fundamentally, this is a conspiracy with a base of racism. White people who refuse to accept that ancient people built amazing structures such as the pyramids (because to them everybody who isn’t white is stupid, inferior, and incompetent), so therefore those structures were built by aliens.
- Aliens here is just a synonym for god/magic. It’s the same as any other magical thinking where the unknown gets replaced by a placeholder: God, aliens, magic… all amount to the same thing.
Thus what we have here is the birth of a new religion. It’s not called a religion… not yet. But it’s only a matter of time. Of course that means debating these people is pointless as they have an unfalsifiable hypothesis, just like god/Jesus, et al. But it is interesting to see a new religion forming before our very eyes.
Update: (worth mentioning) This is a right wing conspiracy, in much the same sense as evangelical Christianity is generally right wing or “conservative”. So belief in other conservative conspiracies is common. In other words, these are mostly white people, many are American and Donald Trump supporters, as well as fascists. Other conspiracies like chemtrails, New World Order, Obama “birthers”… are all thrown into the mix. Religion is often regressive, even this new one.
Update two: Confession… I believed in this conspiracy myself overnight some time in 2012. It was, after all, a year before I stopped using methamphetamine. I read about it while I was high on meth and in my paranoia, I believed it at first. The idea of a conspiracy and scientists knowing the truth but hiding it to avoid mass panic didn’t seem so crazy, until I came down. Then I read up about it properly, looking from all angles, but mostly with the hilarious realization that these people had about as much sense as I did while out of my mind on amphetamines…. except they are like that all the time. And thus my interest in conspiratorial belief was born. I was obsessed with it back then as it was something to “tweak” on, and I have remained fascinated, though no longer obsessed, ever since.