- Politics and Social Issues
Creepy Murals in the Denver Airport - Is There Fire Behind the Smoke?
Real Fire or Just Blowing Smoke?
Conspiracies seem to be part of the human condition. Just as the human eye will interpret meaningful forms from the random bumps, swirls and shadows on the wall or see fluffy flying animals in the shifting clouds - a phenomenon called Pareidolia, so does the human psyche seem to have an irrepressible desire to find large scale organized plots and schemes in the actions; good intentioned or otherwise, of one or a few individuals. Perhaps conspiracies are a survival mechanism that is a legacy of man's tribal heritage; stemming from the time when one thirsty outsider drinking from your clan's waterhole was misinterpreted as a sinister plot to deprive all your kith and kin of water.
Whatever the psychological or sociological impetus behind them, man perceives conspiracies in society's bumps and swirls, and while most of these are probably meaningless shadows on the wall, once in a while a conspiracy comes along that you see with your own eyes, not through the paranoid filters of someone else, and its appearance makes you scratch your head and wonder if there might not be some substance behind it. In other words - are there real flames driving that smoke?
Forewarned, but Still Stunned
I returned very recently from a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit my Mother, who resides in that city. I traveled with my son by plane, which arrived at the Denver International Airport (DIA), the closest airport in the region. As we disembarked and made our way to the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area, my son and I passed by one of the controversial murals that have been cited by conspiracy groups as part of a large body of evidence that pinpoints DIA as a secret fortress of the Freemason-backed New World Order. Some vaguely defined secret society has allegedly constructed huge hidden bunkers beneath the ground there to shelter the political elite of the world in the event of a major catastrophe. When a comet "grazed" the Earth by coming within a million miles of the planet in 2011, President Obama's coincidental arrival at the Denver airport was interpreted by the conspiracy faithful that he had been sent there to take cover in the event of our world's destruction.
If I had not been predisposed to be on the alert for these sinister looking DIA murals, such as the one you see at the top of this article, I probably would not have noticed anything out of the ordinary, but instead would have been caught up in the same state of blissful ignorance that enshrouds thousands of weary air travelers who walk by these bizarre colorful splashes on the walls every day and remain completely focused on their own business, without so much as a sideways glance. My own Mother was once snowed in at DIA for two days and remained unaware of their existence until I told her.
Yet the conspiracy theories surrounding the artwork on the floors, walls and concourses, and the mysteries associated with the underground tunnels, buried buildings, and even the form of the runways at DIA have been in circulation for several years now. Therefore, when I deplaned in the airport I was forewarned about these rather creepy objects that explore the dark themes of war and death, subjects that seem distastefully inappropriate in a structure through which skittish travelers often pass with the thoughts of past airline disasters already running through their apprehensive heads. This strange artwork and architecture definitely does not serve the purpose of soothing the anxiety of aviaphobic passengers, or anybody else.
I stumbled upon the unnatural decorations for the first time when random channel surfing took me to a 2010 episode of Tru TV's Conspiracy Theory, hosted by former pro wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jessie Ventura. I was rather intrigued by the program and actually managed to control my television ADHD through the entire episode, after which I filed the information in the recycle bin in the back of my mind, to fish it out again only a few days ago from five years of mental effluvium already washed under the proverbial bridge.
Forewarned as I was, I was still a bit shocked when I viewed these monstrosities with my own eyes. One would suspect that a Colorado airport would feature placid, pastoral paintings of Rocky Mountain alpine meadows and the gentle creatures that inhabit them. Instead, I walked off the plane to encounter a gas masked fiend impaling the white dove of peace on the point of a scimitar.
Delve Deeper into the Conspiracies
Further Observations of a Conspiratorial Nature
The creepy murals painted upon four different walls at the Denver International Airport are just one part of a grander set of notorious conspiracy-related objects of art. These include a giant apocalyptic horse statue that actually killed its creator when it fell upon him, a capstone containing Masonic symbols bordering an inscription reading "New World Airport Commission," a statue of Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, creepy carvings of gargoyles popping out of suitcases, and engravings indicating deadly biological toxins scattered on the floor with dark circles that look like Nazi death suns. In addition to the artwork, the very construction of the huge airport is replete with conspiracy. Enormous buildings buried beneath the runways are rumored to be the last refuge of the Illuminati, and the runways themselves are seen by some to be arranged in the form of a Nazi swastika, although one has to squint hard to detect this shape in an aerial photograph.
The artwork and architecture are murmured to be combined elements of an attempt by the secret international consortium that built the airport to obliquely communicate its devious scheme to depopulate the globe and then repopulate humanity via the elite remnants of the holocaust hiding deep in the bowels of the Denver airport. I felt a little silly writing these words here, but when you actually see the macabre murals it is not hard to join the chorus of voices asking "what the hell is going on here?"
I discovered an added element of Denver Airport strangeness on the morning of our return trip to San Diego, as my son and I boarded the underground train that takes passengers from the main terminal to the various gates. It probably means nothing, but hard core conspiracy theorists, of which I am not one, may have noted that the train itself directs passengers in a smoothly sinister voice that made me think of Blaine the Mono, the sentient though deranged monorail in Stephen King's Dark Tower novel "The Waste Lands." In that story Blaine the Mono attempts to carry gunslinger Roland Deschain and his Ka-tet to their doom, and the disturbing voice of the DIA railway caused my overly active imagination to conceive of being similarly derailed by this slick talking "Crazy Train."
Whether it is a pagan temple of apocalyptic doom or not, I found the Denver Airport to be extremely well organized for such a massive facility, as well as being incredibly easy for an outsider such as myself to navigate through. My son remarked to me with a sly, cynical grin that this, of course, is all part of the conspiracy. It makes perfect sense that the Illuminati, the Free Masons, the New World Order, or whoever may be the ringleaders of your current conspiracy flavor of the month would make ingress and egress in their subterranean fortress extremely efficient, in order to herd the human sheep out quickly and swiftly usher in the powerful elite when the Apocalypse hits.
The Real Theme Behind the Murals
The man behind the mysterious paintings is a Chicano artist named Leo Tanguma, a muralist noted for incorporating themes of the Mexican-American struggle, as well as protest against the war-mongering military industrial complex into his artwork. When interviewed about the inspiration behind his DIA murals, Tanguma denies being forced to paint from some cryptic directive sent down from the secret meeting rooms of Illuminati headquarters. Instead, he defends his airport murals as being largely of the same themes he has used throughout his career. After examining a sample of his pre-DIA work on the Internet I tend to believe him.
Furthermore, Tanguma reports that many of the children depicted in the DIA murals are local victims of gang violence whose images were included at their parents' request. One of the murals' other diverse subjects is the Native American legend of La Llorona, an indigenous woman who is said to have murdered her children after their conquistador Father threatened to take them back to Spain. Tanguma actually paints a happy ending to this tale, an idyllic scene that is often misinterpreted by conspiracy buffs as the celebration of the happy children of the Illuminati remnant after their post-apocalyptic reemergence from their Denver Airport bunker.
Still, there is enough of the arcane and esoteric in the DIA murals to cause a bit of head scratching, even in the most hard headed conspiracy skeptic. For instance; in one of these painting's more tranquil scenes we see the happy children of all races handing the weapons of their various countries over for destruction by a small boy dressed in supposedly typical German costume. This wildly exaggerated interpretation is held up by conspiracy proponents as proof of the airport builders' dedication to the Nazi philosophy. What it shows me is that there is fuel enough in these intricately detailed murals to drive anybody's half-baked imaginary plot.
Conclusion - A "Perfect Storm" of Sociological Pareidolia
In and of themselves, the murals at the Denver International Airport probably would not have been enough to inspire the howls of hysteria that have issued forth from legions of Internet conspiracy blogger hacks. But taken together with the masonic "New World Airport Commission" symbols lining the terminal halls, the statue of the Egyptian god of death - a feature that admittedly seems grotesquely out of place in an airport, carvings of winged gargoyle demons popping out of suitcases, the fiery-eyed apocalyptic horse that greets travelers at the airport entrance, and even the structure of the airport itself; a "perfect storm" of conspiracy has been created at DIA that will probably never be debunked, no matter how passionately and logically its detractors argue. The detractors, such as myself, will probably be pegged as being in on the conspiracy.
To me this is an example of extreme sociological Pareidolia; an attempt by humans to find meaningful patterns to explain a seemingly malignant, hostile universe. The murals, the horse, the statue of Anubis, the suitcase gargoyles, the underground buildings and the swastika runways are the meaningless bumps on the wall or the fluffy folds in the clouds. When viewed together they form a rather baleful picture, but this image is a cousin of the same sinister turtle man I am seeing right now in the swirling patterns of our kitchen's tile floor. Yes there is a lot of smoke billowing out of the Denver International Airport, but the flames are largely of our own imagination, creepy flickering shadows on the wall that signify nothing.