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Conspiracy Theories Reading Comprehension

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Though I never believe them, I can waste hours when I should be studying, reading about conspiracy theories. Here is a selection of my favourites! Read the article carefully and then try and answer the true or false questions below. Do you know of any other conspiracy theories? Do you believe in any of them?

Good luck. May the force be with you!
Lesson by Caroline Devane

Apollo Moon Landing

Amazingly, a serious following of people believe that the Apollo moon landing of 1969 did not take place. Rather, conspiracy theorists claim that the entire thing was staged by the U.S. government in some type of dark room in order to spark patriotism and support among the populace. Suggestions that the government tampered with evidence (such as doctoring tapes, transmissions and moon rock samples) are referred to often by believers in this theory, which is argued in outer space discussions to this day. The Flat Earth Society was the first and most prominent organization to argue that the landing was staged in a Hollywood studio based on an old movie script.

Area 51

The conspiracy theory of a secret government testing facility called Area 51 is so seductive that a video game was created based on what such a place would look like and what must go on there. Common claims include alien cover-ups, radioactive testing, nuclear experimentation and genetic modification of humans to create a "super-race" someday in the distant future. Officially, what is typically referred to as "Area 51" is little more than a military base located in Nevada for development and testing of weapons and aircraft systems. Unsurprisingly, however, conspiracy theorists have taken great imaginary liberties with what they claim is the "real" purpose of the secretively situated facility.

Skull and Bones

No secret society is more shrouded in mystery than Yale’s infamous Skull & Bones fraternity. Known informally as "Bones", the society has produced several U.S. presidents and presidential candidates (most recently George W. Bush and John Kerry, respectively) and is known for assigning nicknames to members – like "Hamlet" and "Uncle Reemus" – based on classical literature. Like all secret societies, no outsider truly knows what goes on during Bones meetings and initiations, but we do know that each Skull & Bones class meets each Thursday and Sunday night during their senior year to carry out their mysterious activities. One rumor has it that initiation requires spilling the beans on your entire sexual history to the other members, though this of course cannot be confirmed. The group is said to exert influence on its members throughout their lives, including when they rise into positions of power in government and business.


Finally we arrive at that timeless poster boy of conspiracies, Elvis Presley. The "official" story has Presley’s fiancée being found unresponsive on the floor of his hotel suite 1977. Remarkably few people have accepted this as truth however, choosing instead to believe that "The King" faked his own death. Popular explanations include Elvis wanting to avoid debt collectors and an Elvis look-alike who supposedly bought a plane ticket to Buenos Aeries shortly before his death. Why he would walk away from hundreds of millions in future earnings for any of these reasons is seldom addressed, but then again, we probably "just don't get it." Fortunately, this story should die down in another 20 years or so, when no one can claim Elvis is still alive with a straight face.

Read the full article here.

Are these statements true or false?

  • 1. Lots of people think the moon landing never really happened, and was just a trick played by the US government.

  • 2. The idea of Area 51 was so interesting that a movie was created about it.

  • 3. Area 51 is actually a military base.

  • 4. There have been presidents who were members of the Skull and Bones society.

  • 5. What the Skull and Bones group do during their meetings is public knowledge.

  • 6. Many believe that Elvis never really died and that the whole story was a hoax.

  • 7. Some even believe that Elvis faked his own death so he wouldn’t have to pay money that he owed.