For the longest time, people who spend too much time on the internet have argued that Denver International Airport is actually, secretly the headquarters for the Illuminati. This theory predates the airport’s 1995 construction, but suspicions really took off in 2010 when Jesse Ventura’s woke TV show “Conspiracy Theory” featured the airport. It got to the point where mainstream news outlets were investigating the theory, which finally, in 2016, prompted a public statement from the airport’s CEO, Kim Day.
“Whether it’s because of our impressive size, expansive infrastructure or robust public art program, Denver International Airport has long heard the rumors, innuendo and internet chatter about being the center of conspiracies—from the absurd to the entertaining,” she said, before going on to announce that the airport would be dedicating “the month of October to embracing that strangeness and sharing in the fun.”
“Because,” she concluded, “we couldn’t really hide all of these happenings from the millions of people who visit this airport each year.”
The month-long celebration included a “Conspiracy Theories Uncovered” art exhibit, Conspiracy Art Tours, a special contest called “What’s under the Den?” where winners were granted a tour of the airport’s “secret” underground facilities, and even a conspiracy costume party. Still, this was not enough to quell the scepticism of the internet conspiracy incubator, so why do the theories keep persisting, and do they hold any weight?
Let’s take a closer look.
Painted by an artist named Leo Tanguma, these massive murals are a distinctive feature of Denver international airport. The two murals above depict some fairly gruesome imagery, and admittedly are pretty creepy when viewed out of context, which is what the internet conspiracy theorists usually do when they ignore the next two murals in the four-part mural series “depict man-made environmental destruction and genocide along with humanity coming together to heal nature and live in peace”—according to the artist himself. The murals are literally called “Children of the World Dream of Peace.”
According to a 2007 Westword article, artist Leo Tanguma was working in his studio when a van full of conspiracy theorists pulled up demanding answers. He says they weren’t hostile but they did ask a lot of questions. “And I explained [the painting] like I explain it to everybody,” said Leo. “The first part of the environmental mural is about the ways that humans destroy nature and themselves through destruction and genocide. The second part is about humanity coming together to rehabilitate nature and revive their own compassion.”
This Thing on the Floor
Hang around enough stoners and you’ll eventually come to learn that the New World Order has this a grand plan to drastically cull the human population and establish a single united world government. And that’s what is apparently so unnerving about this floor inlay located in the atrium of the airport. The theory goes that the symbols of Au-Ag are referring to the deadly strain of hepatitis Australia antigen, which was discovered by Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who is in turn rumoured to have been one of the financial backers of the airport. It gets kind of creepy when you take into account the location of the floor inlay—right in front of the doomsday mural which seems to be depicting a mass genocide involving chemical warfare.
However, the connection between Baruch and Denver airport has never been confirmed. A much more likely explanation is that the symbols “Au Ag” are actually referring to the elements of Gold and Silver on the periodic table, and also, they’re on a fucking mining cart—which makes sense considering Colorado’s history of mining gold and silver. Also, although sometimes abbreviated as Au Ag, the proper scientific abbreviation of Australia antigen is HBsAg, for Hepatitis B antigen. And as far as biological weapons go, it’s a pretty poor choice. A vaccine was approved for mass production in 1981.
This Dedication Stone
This dedication stone states that the airport was funded by “The New World Airport Commission.” What’s the problem with this? Well, apart from the obvious connotations to the New World Order, “The New World Airport Commission” doesn’t exist. Go on, try googling it. And if that wasn’t unsettling enough, the stone also features the Square and Compass symbol of the Freemasons, as well as two Grand Lodges of Freemasonry located in Colorado.
So while it’s true that The New World Airport Commission doesn’t officially exist, it is the name chosen by a group of small businesses that assisted in the promotion of the airport, probably purely to fuck with conspiracy theorists. As for the freemason symbolism? They’re just a local charity and social organisation.
When viewed from above, the runways of Denver Airport seem to resemble a swastika, albeit a messy one—which is why we highlighted the general shape in purple. Conspiracy theorists often ignore the efficiency of this layout, which allows all four runways to be used simultaneously, while offering easy additions of parallel runways in the future. But yeah, definitely looks like a swastika.
The Blue Mustang
Okay, but how do you explain the creepy giant devil horse? Blue Mustang is an almost 10-metre-tall cast-fiberglass sculpture which locals refer to as Blucifer, with some having campaigned for years to have the supposedly cursed horse removed. The aesthetically unsettling contrast of the bright blue body and glowing red demonic eyes is not just a ~look~, Blucifer is genuinely bloodthirsty apparently, having killed its creator Luis Jiménez when a section of its head fell and crushed him while painting it.
And those insisting on the odd colours of the horse having a sinister connotation have evidently never heard of the Denver Broncos. And as for the demon eyes? According to the University of Oklahoma, in the early 1960s, sculptor Jiménez apprenticed in his father’s neon sign shop. The red neon eyes are just a tribute to the artist’s father.
So yeah, whatever
For all the conspiracy theories that are floating around, none seem to address why the all wise and all powerful Illuminati are so keen for everyone to know that they’re hiding under the Denver airport. Why go to the effort of placing so many blatant clues? It’s kind of like hanging a big flashing sign with the words “secret base” lit up in pink neon.
“No matter what you do, you lose,” Heath Montgomery, a spokesperson of Denver International Airport, told the Denver Post during 2016’s October conspiracy month. “You show people the tunnels and explain the symbols, you lose. You clam up and deny it, you lose. So that’s why we’ve started to have fun with it, because people are going to believe what they believe, regardless of hard evidence.”
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This article originally appeared on VICE AU.