Conspiracy theories get a lot of attention. On the one hand, they seem completely out of the realm of possibility, yet on the other, they’re just reasonable enough to believe. By nature, they can get warped and twisted as they are retold and re-reported multiple times. It would be difficult to prove any of the following cases in Virginia, but it would also be difficult to disprove them. This article is not intended to do either, but learning about why these have become conspiracies is quite fascinating. See what you think.
1. The extinct Eastern mountain lion
As of June 2015, the Eastern Cougar was deemed extinct by the US Conservation Agency. According to the official review, these cats had not been seen since 1938. The agency recognizes sightings since then, but believes them to be mountain lions that have roamed in from the west or Florida panthers. So here's the conspiracy: there have been "unconfirmed" sightings of the Eastern mountain lion in 29 different Virginia counties. Could it be that this species has been deemed extinct for protection purposes?
2. Bigfoot sightings
Yep. We're talking about the Yeti. In 2015, a woman in Bedford County was driving west on Route 43 and came across an unusual pair: a Bigfoot and its baby. The woman said the baby alone was 3-feet tall, putting the mother close to 9 feet. The next day, the woman returned to the area of the sightings and discovered footprints that seemed to confirm her suspicions. (Note: the above photograph is not from the same reported incident.)
This photograph was taken in 2014 at another reported sighting, where a group of men along the Intercoastal Waterway claimed to have spotted this creature. Randy O'Neal, who uploaded the photograph, claims to have had a run in with a creature of the same size 25 years earlier. He and his father had been out on a camping trip when he was suddenly spooked by a pair of red eyes peering behind a bush. He shot the creature, who then let out a "blood-curdling" scream and ran to the water. O'Neal claims that the sound of this creature hitting the water sounded as though a car had been dropped in. While neither of these stories can be proven, they do sound eerily specific.
3. UFOs over Wytheville
Over 25 years ago, there was a mass-reporting of UFOs in Wytheville. On the morning of October 7th, 1987, radio host Danny Gordon received an alarming amount of call-ins about UFO sightings. And these calls weren't from a bunch of kids wanting to pull off some elaborate prank; they were from the county sheriffs. One possible explanation could have been experimental aircraft testing from the Langley Air Force Base, but Gordon checked with authorities to find that none were going on. Gordon himself bore witness to many of the UFOs, one of which was captured in the above photograph. Another witnesses reports her experience, "It had all the white lights, in the front, just a big semi-circle of white light, and it was just huge, I mean, it was just absolutely huge. You just had this feeling of something really, really big, just moving, just drifting over your head and no sounds or anything.” In later interviews, Gordon admitting to wishing he had never looked up in the sky to see these bizarre occurrences. What could have happened here?
4. Bunnyman's Bridge
This story is a mix of folklore and horror, although there are some very curious aspects of the Bunnyman's Bridge. The tale dates back to 1903, when a group of convicts were transported to a different asylum outside of Clifton. The bus crashed, allowing two convicts to escape, one of which was named Douglas J. Griffon. He was given the name "Bunny Man" after dead rabbits began to appear around the area. A few years later, on Halloween night two teenagers had approached the bridge around 12:00 and were killed there. This continued to be a pattern of events happening at midnight on the evenings of October 31st. The most recent even occurred on Halloween of 1987, when a group of teenagers went to the bridge to prove the conspiracy false. Tragically, they too did not survive past that evening. Are these just the makings of a haunted tale or has there been a series of men dressed in costume committing these horrendous crimes?
5. The Federal Reserve's secret location
In 2011, Richmond's Federal Reserve became a hot topic as many speculated over the organization's new property in the West Creek Parkway office complex. What was so intriguing about this building was its secrecy. Some theories suggested that this heavily-guarded building was the site of a large sum of Susan B. Anthony coins and $2 bills, currency that could be used in case of an emergency. Apparently the space is just used for office purposes, but there still remains a veil of a mystery surrounding the high-level security.
What do you think of these conspiracy theories in Virginia? Be sure to let us know!