Conspiracy Theory 101: How To Be A Conspiracy Theorist Researcher
A conspiracy theorist is someone who theorizes the existence of a conspiracy based upon researched facts surrounding an event or series of events which have either been suppressed or presented to the general public in a false or deceptive manner. While a few professional conspiracy theorists do exist as writers and in other media fields, conspiracy research is usually considered more of a hobby than a way in which one can earn a living.
As with any hobby, the field of conspiracy research includes people from all walks of life, from the credible and respected journalist or businessman to the night watchman. Individuals also exist within the genre of conspiracy research with less than honest intentions who are often simply out to make a dollar and do not necessarily believe a word they publish. There are also some individuals who intentionally present false or misleading information to the public for nefarious reasons; these individuals are often accused of being part of a conspiracy or of having an involvement with government defense or intelligence agencies.
Whatever your occupation might be, and regardless of what your intentions might be there is much you should know before jumping head first into the research of conspiracies, and especially before openly discussing your research in a public forum. Becoming a conspiracy theorist is not an act that should be taken lightly, since it has the potential to expose you to some very life changing information and it can even cause you to find yourself in rather serious and unwanted situations.
A conspiracy is, by definition, a plot or agreement among individuals colluding to perform an act which is often times unlawful or immoral. If a conspiracy does exist there is usually enough of a reason for its concealment that those who are part of the plot might be willing to take some rather extreme measures in order to keep information concerning their agenda hidden from public scrutiny. It should be understood that the uncovering of any conspiracy does have the potential to be a hazardous endeavor (which is part of the appeal for some), and the greater the conspiracy is, the greater such a risk will be. It is important to take this fact into consideration before diving into the intriguing and often very informative avocation of conspiracy research.
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What You Should Know
While there are no rules regarding who can be a conspiracy theorist there are a few things every investigator of conspiracy theories should know. Much time and headache can be saved and a whole lot of unnecessary paranoia can be avoided by knowing a few of the things many past conspiracy researchers learned on their own, often the hard way. These bits of wisdom are listed below for the benefit of the new or aspiring conspiracy researcher in the hope that it will spare them much of the pains that have been suffered by those conspiracy theorists who have gone before them:
Trust no one. This does not mean you should live a life of paranoid delusions, but that you should consider yourself a true skeptic of people and their intentions. This means you should consider any person, group, organization, or government entity as having no more credibility than you would give a known liar. One of the very first things you will learn once becoming involved in conspiracy research is that simply because it is stated by experts and authorities it does not make it true, and that lies and misinformation are by far the most prevalent form of information made available to the general public. Individuals and entities will misrepresent themselves, misrepresent the facts, and even promote what is known to be propaganda in order to advance their own agenda whether or not such an agenda has any sinister purpose.
Research and document the facts. If you can't find a credible source and you are unable to obtain actual documentation then any information you have acquired should be considered false. If you intend to be a serious conspiracy theorist then you will have to do some actual research, and it is a well known fact among those in the field that a great deal of information put out is not accurate, and is often misleading or intentionally deceptive. Copies should be kept of acquired documentation, and all forms of digital documentation should also be kept in a hard copy format, if possible.
Don't make assumptions. It is good practice to never assume anything as presumptions often are the cause of error. The last thing you want to do is ruin your own credibility. Don't mix facts with suppositions, and don't misrepresent facts!
Check associations. While it is a good idea to watch who you associate with it is also recommended that you investigate the associations of individuals and entities you might choose to interact with through social networking (including web forums), and also those whom you choose to financially support, or those whom you might allow to influence your opinions through their books or other forms of media. You may just be surprised when you find out who really runs that website, what those charity funds really go for, or who that favorite author worked for in his younger years! More often than not, if you do discover anything nefarious when investigating the affiliations of others it will be that the individual is a scam artist or a website is involved with some organization that is data mining, but you will occasionally discover some tidbits of information that you most certainly would have wanted to know before you had any form of interaction with that individual or organization had you not investigated their past and present associations beforehand.
Know how information flows and how it is controlled and monitored.If you don't want to wind up on some list or find yourself visited by men in suits or uniforms you will want to familiarize yourself with how information is controlled and monitored by various organizations and bureaucracies. This is nothing to be paranoid about, but rather is an important tool used by defense and law enforcement agencies for very legitimate reasons. Specific words, actions, and patterns of behavior are monitored using sophisticated software in order to surveil any potential threats. It's not that you might be watched because you are a threat, but that certain words, deeds, and the accessing of some information will most definitely get you investigated in some form or another because various key phrases, items, and behaviors are monitored under the guise that doing so is for the purpose of national security and crime prevention. It should be understood that the nature of conspiratorial research often will involve accessing information that may be flagged, and that certain lawful and legitimate patterns of behavior might tend to draw unwanted attention if the individual is not familiar with the process of information collection for the purpose of monitoring interests and patterns of activity. One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with just how this is possible and just how much information is monitored is to spend some time researching the various software used by businesses to identify and target potential customers.
Learn when to speak and when to keep your mouth shut. Most of the time it is best to simply keep your mouth shut concerning things you may have learned during the course of your research, but occasionally you may find some things worth mentioning to others. You really shouldn't discuss the things you learn unless you are sharing that information with a trusted individual who shares your interest in conspiracy theories. The fact is that much of what you will learn will be more than what most people want to know. A very large percentage of people are actually quite happy with their belief in the way they have been told to perceive various events and subject matter and they will react with ridicule and even hostility if you present them with information that shatters their current perception of the world.
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What You Will Need
A conspiracy theorist's most important tool is their ability to obtain, process, and document information. If you can't find information and you are unable to understand the data once you have gained access to it your endeavor into the field of conspiracy research will quickly come to a screeching halt; furthermore, if you are unable to document that information it will be labeled as unreliable and likely result in attacks against your integrity which could harm your credibility with others.
In order to access and compile information the conspiracy researcher will require a personal computer, backup hardware for all digital information (such as SD Cards and Flash Memory Drives), access to the Internet, and the ability to use both public and private libraries. The use of these things will also necessitate a working knowledge of them. If you are unable to navigate your own computer system, you don't understand how to save a web page, you can't print material or perform a screen capture, and you aren't even sure what the Dewey Decimal System is, then perhaps you should consider a different hobby.
You will need lots of notepads and writing utensils for taking quick notes on things you've read or heard, and also for remembering search terms and other valuable notations. These notes should be kept in as orderly a manner as possible and a filing system for documents and notes should seriously be considered.
At least two Webster's Dictionaries (such as the 11th ed. Collegiate Dictionary and the 2nd ed. New International Dictionary), a Roget's Thesaurus, Bouvier's Law Dictionary, a popular set of encyclopedias, such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, an Oxford's Atlas, and a CIA World Fact Book should be included in every conspiracy theorist's home library. Reference books will become your friend, and you will find that you never seem to have enough reference works at your disposal. You may also find some fiction books of use such as Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and It Can't Happen Here.
Finally, you will want to obtain a good video camcorder, both a digital camera and a film camera, and also some type of portable voice recorder. I recommend the Flip UltraHD, the Canon PowerShot S95, the Canon EOS Rebel 2000, and the RCA RP5120-A Digital Voice Recorder. These can be used as tools to aid you in your research, and also to serve as a witness to any interactions you may have with individuals or agencies.
Where To Find Information
Now that you are prepared to engage in the research of conspiracies you will need to know where you can find information. The answer to this will largely depend upon what specific topic you are interested in, and there are plenty of topics available for your selection from assassinations to UFOs and underground bases, and even secret cult-like societies plotting to rule the world. Many of these topics tend to run together in some way or another, but individual researchers will often attempt to stick to one particular subject.
The obvious suggestion is that you begin your research with books and films from such conspiracy theorists as Alex Jones, David Icke, Jim Marrs, and Linda Moulton Howe, but these popular researchers are by far only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to familiarizing yourself with the various conspiracy theories that are out there. You should definitely check out what information they have to offer, but you should certainly not limit yourself to just that information or the opinions these individuals hold concerning such information.
Popular conspiracy web forums are also an option, but I would personally recommend that you avoid them altogether, at least the larger ones. Many of these forums are loaded with flame wars, misinformation, religious and political insults, and other undesirable content that serves only to detract from the subject matter.
You might also consider the many radio shows available that often deal with conspiracy subject matter such as Coast to Coast AM, the Alex Jones Show, and the Jerry Pippin Show. Programs such as these can readily be found on the Internet and larger programs such as Coast to Coast AM can almost always be found on your AM radio dial.
Regardless of where you might acquire your initial information on certain subject matter it will be necessary for you to begin your own research on the topic in order to confirm facts and also in order to uncover any new data. Your ultimate goal as a serious conspiracy researcher should be to add to the knowledge that is at your disposal and not to simply take from it.
In order to do so, you will want to familiarize yourself with the Freedom of Information Act and how to go about making FOIA requests. Many websites are available which can help guide you through the process including the USDOJ Office of Information Policy found here: www.justice.gov/oip. You might also find some of the FOIA documents that can be obtained for free at the Black Vault and the Government Attic websites of some interest in your research.
Libraries and book stores will also become frequented locations, and you might find some of the on-line resources offering free or inexpensive e-books attractive options as well. Many older books with an expired copyright can be found on archive.org and another good resource for some newer material is scribd.com
Finally, you will want to have access to foreign and alternative media sources, as you will quickly discover that this is the very best way to get the sort of news and inside scoop on topics in which you have an interest. Much foreign news can be obtained through the use of the Internet or by purchasing a good shortwave radio such as the popular Grundig S350DL. Other sources of more obscure information can be found by subscribing to some of the publications that specifically target the subject matter in which you have an interest; FATE and NEXUS are two good examples of such publications.
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Hopefully the tips provided here will enable you to have an intriguing and enjoyable experience as you probe deep into the realm of conspiracies armed with the proper tools and knowledge necessary for your venture. Few hobbies can provide you with the excitement and depth of knowledge that you will find to be part and parcel to the field of conspiracy research.
Now, grab your copy of Conspiracy Theory and pop it into your Blu-ray Disc Player, or pick your favorite episode of The X-Files, sit back and relax, and dream about the knowledge you may uncover or the adventures you may find yourself on as you plunge head first screaming, “Geronimo!,” down the path of the conspiracy theorist.