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Mysterious Deaths That'll Make You Believe in Conspiracies - Unexplained Mysteries
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#6. British Spy "Locked Himself" in a Sports Bag ... from the Outside
Gareth Williams was a code-breaker for MI6, the same British spy agency that funds James Bond's martinis and syphilis shots. He collaborated with the NSA to help thwart planned terrorist attacks in Berlin, Paris, and London. Obviously, with a job like that, an early death isn't completely unexpected. What was unexpected was where Williams turned up dead:
In August 2010, only a week before Williams was due to be transferred to another agency, his body was found zipped inside a red North Face sports bag that had been locked from the outside. As in, literally locked with a small padlock, like this one. Because that wasn't weird enough, the bag had also been placed in Williams' bathtub. At first, authorities claimed that someone else would have to have been present for this to be possible, because duh ... but then in November 2013, they changed their mind, saying he probably did it himself. Somehow.
"It's pretty obvious," said the police captain, from his brand-new gold-covered yacht.
Is it even possible to bag and lock yourself like that? After 300 failed attempts to replicate such a feat, experts told the cops that it is in theory, but not without leaving some trace of DNA on the lock or on the bathtub. Which Williams didn't. In fact, there was barely any DNA evidence in Williams' apartment at all, leaving us with two options: A) he used Jedi and/or Harry Potter powers to move things without touching them, or B) someone gave the place a science-proof scrub.
Meanwhile, the police pointed out that Williams reportedly owned women's clothes and "visited bondage websites," implying that this was some weird sex thing. In that case, wouldn't there be DNA everywhere?
Add to this how Williams was unhappy at work and had been talking about quitting MI6, and that his bosses took a week to report his disappearance (which conveniently made it harder to determine his cause of death), and yeah, a paranoid person could think that instead of giving him a retirement package, they decided to turn him into one. Good thing American agencies would never pull any shit like that, huh?
Frank Olson "Jumped" to His Death After the CIA Gave Him LSD
Practical jokes are the lifeblood of the American workplace. Who hasn't hidden a co-worker's stapler, or changed their desktop image to something wacky, or spiked their drink with LSD as part of a mind control experiment? That last one seriously happened to CIA employee Frank Olson, who took the LSD without his knowledge and had a pretty bad trip, meaning he jumped out of a 10th story window.
And that's only the official story. According to Olson's family, the CIA is hiding something even more fucked up.
As we've told you before, the CIA went through a period starting in the '50s during which they thought it would be cool to secretly slip people acid to see what happened. Frank Olson worked for the agency during that time as a bacteriologist and biological warfare scientist -- hard work they rewarded by drugging his ass off. According to the CIA, Olson was unable to deal with the effects of the LSD and committed suicide nine days later in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Again, the government has admitted all of this happened -- Gerald Ford personally apologized to Olson's family for that little workplace mishap.
But the family ain't buying it. They say that Olson suddenly wanted to leave the CIA after a trip to Europe. He allegedly told people that he witnessed the same deadly biological agents he'd helped develop being used in interrogations that went well beyond the traditional good cop/bad cop techniques. His wife remembers an anguished Olson saying he made "a terrible mistake."
So in one hand the CIA have this scientist who's having second thoughts, and in the other they have this new drug that they're planning to use to delete agents' memories, Men in Black-style. Hmmm. After that, they sent Olson to New York for a psychological evaluation and put this supposedly mentally unbalanced man on a 10th floor with a chaperone ... who was shocked, utterly shocked, when he decided to eject himself through a closed window. The building's operator says she overheard the other agent make a phone call that went like this: "He's gone." "That's too bad."
If you take away one lesson from this article, let it be this: Never tell anyone you're about to quit your government job. Just move to Uruguay and don't look back.
#4. Karen Silkwood "Crashed Her Car" Right Before Blowing the Whistle on Her Bosses
Karen Silkwood was part of a long tradition of employees who "borrow" stuff from their job and take it home -- in her case, plutonium radiation. The good news is that she didn't grow any extra arms or give birth to green babies. The bad news is that she didn't have a chance to, because a week later she died in a car crash.
Man, talk about having bad luck, huh? That or murderous bosses. One of the two.
Silkwood worked at a Kerr-McGee nuclear fuel plant in Oklahoma and had been speaking up about the poor health and safety conditions there. As it turned out, she was on to something. One day, while wrapping up work, she did a routine self-check and tested positive for plutonium contamination. They even found traces of radiation at her home. You know when you look at an old bologna sandwich in the back of your fridge and think, "Ugh, that looks radioactive"? Well, that happened to her in a more literal sense.
Naturally, Silkwood thought this was some major bullshit and wanted to go public with it. She contacted David Burnham of the New York Times, gathered some evidence about the extreme negligence of the power plant, and on November 13, 1974, drove out to meet the reporter. And what do you know, that's when she had a car accident so bad, the evidence she was carrying against Kerr-McGee apparently evaporated, because by the time the police discovered her body, it was gone.
Quaaludes were found in Silkwood's car, and twice the recommended dosage in her blood, which is enough to transform full-grown adults into drooling babies. However, as you all know, when you throw a drooling baby into a wall or out of a window, they tend to land floppily, and as a result incur less damage to their bodies. Silkwood's injuries, on the other hand, had all the signs of someone who was very alert and tense upon impact. Also, her bumper had evidence of rubber and dents, almost as if someone had rammed her off the road. Or exactly as if someone had rammed her off the road.
Kerr-McGee's involvement in the "accident" was never proven, but at least they ended up paying $1.38 million to Silkwood's family for the "getting poisoned" thing, and Silkwood was portrayed by Meryl Streep in a major motion picture. We're pretty sure she'd rather be alive than famous, but still, that's something.
#3. Crime Novelist "Hanged Himself" ... Wearing a Bulletproof Vest and Brass Knuckles
Professional writer, tough guy, and Lou Ferrigno lookalike Eugene Izzi was getting ready for his next work of crime fiction to hit bookstores when he was found dead. Who found him? Not one person, but thousands of citizens of Chicago -- on December 6, 1996, holiday shoppers looked up in horror to see Izzi's body hanging by a noose from the window of his downtown writing office like a morbid Christmas decoration.
The cops ruled it a suicide, but something doesn't make sense: If you wanted to kill yourself, why would you put on a bulletproof vest?
In addition to the vest, a loaded gun was in the office, and stuffed into Izzi's pockets were a set of brass knuckles, $481, a Mace-like spray, some printed notes, and three computer disks containing a work-in-progress novel. On the one hand, we're guessing his death was swift thanks to all that shit weighing down his pants. On the other hand, what the hell?
Oddly enough, the biggest clue was in the most innocuous object: Those notes were transcripts of threatening phone calls he'd been getting. At the time of his death, Izzi was researching an Indiana white supremacist paramilitary group that he planned to expose in his next book, and it turns out that those guys don't like it so much when you do that. Izzi felt threatened enough to move into a hotel away from his family and carry a gun on him at all times.
At one point, he let a friend listen to his voice mail, and one call in particular stands out: A woman left a message saying he would be hanging by the end of the year. So, uh, there's that.
However, the cops also pointed out that Izzi's death was eerily similar to a scene in his unfinished novel, right down to the bulletproof vest and brass knuckles. Did he give out advance copies to the militiamen and inspire them? Or was this some kind of viral publicity? He did manage to release three books after his death, so maybe he's actually living somewhere in Europe with Tupac and Elvis.
#2. Danny Casolaro "Slashed His Wrists" While Investigating a Government Scandal
Danny Casolaro was a man obsessed with uncovering a vast government conspiracy he called "the Octopus." Shockingly, he only used tinfoil to wrap food and looked like he bathed fairly often. The most compelling piece of evidence for his theory? Him turning up dead right as he said he was about to prove it.
It all started with something as innocent as the Justice Department pirating software. Casolaro, a journalist, was researching a story about how the DOJ allegedly stole a piece of software called PROMIS from a company called Inslaw, started selling it to other countries, and then, as an extra "fuck you," drove Inslaw to bankruptcy. A judge sided with Inslaw and accused the Justice Department of "trickery, fraud, and deceit" ... only for his ruling to be overturned, and for him to lose his job.
Looking into Inslaw, Casolaro met with computer expert Michael Riconosciuto, who said he helped the DOJ modify PROMIS to spy on the other countries using it. The same dude also claimed to have helped the GOP negotiate with Iran in 1980 to keep the hostage crisis going and make sure Jimmy Carter didn't get re-elected -- a totally insane conspiracy theory espoused only by complete nutjobs ... like the president of Iran in 1980. Anyway, only a week after testifying to all of this, Riconosciuto was abruptly arrested for dealing meth.
You might be seeing a pattern by now; everyone who spoke up in the Inslaw case ended up worse off than they were before. Despite that, and despite no longer needing an alarm clock thanks to all the threatening phone calls he was getting, Casolaro kept digging. And then, just as he was supposed to meet with a source who would help him prove everything, he turned up dead in his hotel room with 12 slices in his wrists. Casolaro was very squeamish about blood, by the way -- his brother thinks he would have passed out after one cut, let alone a dozen.
A suicide note was found in the room. Not found? His notes about the case. And now for the freakiest detail: Casolaro's family says that during the funeral, a decorated military man showed up in a limousine, placed a medal on the lowering casket, and left. Was he a werewolf or a shape-shifter or something? Because then at least this would make sense: It was an X-Files episode all along.
#1. U.N. Secretary General Died in the Shadiest Plane "Accident" Ever
Dag Hammarskjold may sound like a drummer for a Swedish death metal band, but he was something even more rocking: the U.N. Secretary General from 1953 to 1961. He was "the greatest statesman of the century," according to big fan JFK, and the only person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize posthumously. But why was it posthumous? Apparently because he was too good at his job.
On September 18, 1961, it was business as usual for Hammarskjold; he was heading to Congo to single-handedly end a civil war. Unfortunately, his plane crashed. It was a shocking tragedy grieved by countries big and small alike.
Well, maybe not all countries. Hammarskjold's death was awfully convenient for several nations with a presence in the region at the time, all for one thing and one thing only: uranium (also tin, copper, and other minerals, but uranium sounds evil enough). Some were furious that Hammarskjold authorized U.N. action. This may come as a major shock, but the USA was one of them. Belgium and the U.K. were also in the mix. Congo was basically a cookie jar with a bunch of hands stuck in it, and Hammarskjold was trying his best to cookie-block when his plane went down.
His death could be nothing more than a happy coincidence, but there are several things that don't add up. First of all, why were authorities seen at the crash site before they supposedly "found" it? Why did the lone survivor believe there were explosions or gunfire before the plane went down? Why was Hammarskjold the only person on the flight who was not burned? Why was there a bullet-size hole in his head, and why was it airbrushed out of photos? And to fully turn this into a conspiracy theorist's wet dream, why was a freaking ace of spades tucked into his collar?
Even Harry S. Truman came out and said that he thought Hammarskjold was straight up 187'ed. Still, it was 50 years before these questions began to be taken seriously. This April, evidence that the NSA didn't care to share until now implicated a former RAF pilot. So, it may be time to stop calling this one a conspiracy "theory."