Historical events have long been debated or explained as having secret plots and covert operations, but do these conspiracy theories have academic merit? Questia is home to a wealth of information and studies on a wide range of conspiracy theories involving everything from aliens to the supposed moon landing hoax theory. To offer insight on some of these topics Questia, the premier online research and paper-writing tool for students, is making the below books on conspiracy theories free for an entire month. For even more quality research, check out our topic page on conspiracy theories. Enjoy!
Fetzer, a founder of the “Scholars for 9/11 Truth” (a non-partisan organization of students, experts and scholars) examines the devastating events of 9/11 using scientific evidence to explain the mechanics of the twin towers falling. According to the 9/11 Commission Report (2004), the twin towers were destroyed from the combined effects of airplane impact and the ensuing jet-fuel based fires, which caused the steel in the towers to weaken and the floors to collapse. However, Frank DeMartini, the project manager mused that the buildings were designed to withstand this type of impact and the planes could not have caused enough damage to bring the buildings down. Moreover, the melting point of steel is 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, about 1,000 higher than the maximum burning of jet-fuel-based fires. [Fetzer, James H. The 9/11 Conspiracy: The Scamming of America. Open Court: 2007]
The notion that there is life beyond Earth has been around for years as well as the debate as to whether or not UFOs exist. Unidentified Flying Objects have been reported by people from all walks of life—from professional astronomers and pilots to truck drivers and students. Edward Ruppelt, who headed “Project Blue Book” or the U.S. Air Force UFO investigation, published his memoirs and included information on military encounters and the politics of the official UFO investigation. This piece offered a contemporary look at the UFO phenomenon and at official and unofficial attempts to handle the situation. [Denzler, Brenda. The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs. University of California Press: 2001]
Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill Kennedy? Many Americans have suspected a conspiracy was responsible for the late president’s death and that Oswald did not act alone. Rather, some suspect it was a cover up for a plot orchestrated by the Dallas Police, CIA, Cuban exiles, the Mafia or Texas oil millionaires, and carried out by assassins. The Warren Commission Report states that Kennedy was shot by Oswald, the lone gunman, who in turn was then murdered by Jack Ruby. However, theorists claim there are many questions left unanswered such as how there were only three gunshots yet four bullets and how Kennedy’s throat wound could not have been sustained from a gunshot from behind, since his wound to the back of his head would have propelled him forward, indicating he would have been caught in a crossfire from two different directions. [Knight, Peter. The Kennedy Assassination. Edinburgh University Press: 2007]
There is a vast amount of literature offering either personal accounts of alien abduction or those that debunk the phenomenon. A key study written in 1959 suggests the topic is merely a social-psychological phenomenon and is of the subconscious mental process. Another social psychologist, Lean Festinger, examined the theory but focused on cognitive dissonance the psychology of belief. Most recently, Psychologist Susan Clancy has argued that stories of alien abduction tend to serve a quasi-religious purpose. [Brown, Bridget. They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves: The History and Politics of Alien Abduction. New York University Press: 2007]
Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind with man’s first steps on the moon on July 20, 1969, but there are some people who believe NASA faked the whole Apollo Moon project. Bill Kaysing’s book We Never Went to the Moon details his findings that purported the NASA hoax theory. Most of his arguments result from the images NASA released from the mission such as that no stars are visible in the images. Another argument states that radiation from the Van Allen belts in space would have been lethal to the astronauts. [Plait, Philip C. Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing ‘Hoax’. Wiley: 2002]