Disinfo.com editor’s note: This classic report by former editor Alex Burns was originally published on this site on Aug. 13, 2002. Some external links may have changed.
In a now infamous 1961 speech, US President John F. Kennedy pledged that America’s space program would “place a man on the moon before the decade’s close.”
At the heart of cold war battles for geopolitical supremacy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs also became the vehicle for inculcating domestic populations with American values and belief systems.
NASA’s growing power, its protection by the Kennedy administration, and the rise of the Right Stuff astronaut as celebrity hid the steady growth of the Military-Industrial Complex that Eisenhower had warned about.
These anxieties–of monolithic social institutions controlling information, and the decline of US global empires–are the core of conspiracy theories claiming the historic Apollo moon landings were elaborately faked. The world was hoaxed.
Anatomy of a Faked Hoax?
Conspiracy theorists like Bill Kaysing and Ralph Rene claim that:
- The Nazis built a small moon base.
- Strange geological structures are evidence of alien life.
- NASA photos were ‘doctored’ and transmissions were censored.
- NASA “stage managed” astronaut interviews and press conferences.
- NASA “conditioned” astronauts by Nazi-derived mind control techniques.
- The Van Allen Belt’s high radiation levels prevented the astronauts from leaving Earth.
- Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, Chaffee and White were going to reveal NASA’s conspiracy to the world, so they were murdered in a 1967 launchpad fire.
Perhaps the most believable part of Kaysing and Rene’s scenario is their analysis of the space industry as a political economy. The authors contend that, in a climate of lucrative multimillion dollar industrial contracts and public euphoria, the Military-Industrial Complex fueled the conspiratorial imperative for creating Lunargate.
The Medium is the Space Age
These hoax theories can teach us much about the Paranoid Style (Richard Hofstadter) of post-Watergate American politics. The fascination with decoding NASA photographs for clues and analysing suggestive scenes in films like Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Capricorn One (1978) echo Marshall McLuhan’s media models and postmodern theorists’ fascination with ambiguous texts and the limits of knowledge.
When Bill Kaysing claims that the Apollo 13 debacle was a “simulation within a simulation,” or anonymous theorists suggest that director Stanley Kubrick filmed the historic Apollo 11 moon landing (July 20, 1969) on a Nevada soundstage, they offer scenarios that closely resemble postmodernist Jean Baudrillard’s concept of American culture as hyperreal:
People’s imagination demands the real thing, but in order to get it, they have to create fakes.
A Dark History, Indeed
NASA’s verifiable history has had some questionable aspects:
- The use of Nazi V2 rocket scientists saved by Operation Paperclip.
- Several key Apollo astronauts were 33 Masons.
- The questionable management decisions by Morton Thiokol Inc that indirectly caused the Challenger space shuttle disaster.
The real concern of these conspiracy theorists, maybe, is the longterm fate of NASA’s space program. Resource allocation pressures have made it difficult over the past thirty years for a largescale population the Overview Effect (comprehending Earth as a single integrated system that is post nation-state/tribal band) consciousness change that astronauts experienced.
US Congress passed a bill in 1999, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing . . . and then cut NASA’s annual budget by over $1 billion.
Maybe the real conspiracy is one of institutional infighting and bureaucratic stupidity. We have faith in fakes after all.
The views expressed above represent the writer and not necessarily those of The Disinformation Company Ltd.
The Wrong Stuff
Very indepth article by Wired writer Rogier van Bakel surveying the ‘moon hoax’ theories prevalent on the Internet and as American folklore: Alternative 3, Bill Kaysing, Ralph Rene, movie portrayals of moon hoaxes and a reply from NASA officials.
Search the NASA network for the latest space news, scientific research, photos, archives . . . and maybe the truth about the Apollo program?
The Moonlanding A Hoax?
Danny van Senten has compiled a definitive collection of NASA hoaxed moon landing resources, including essays, photos, links and more. Highly recommended!
The Lunar Anomalies Homepage
Mike Bara has assembled an incredible resource on moon anomalies with great navigation. Topics include: the 12th Planet search, unusual lunar structures, psychological effects of lunar eclipses and more. A must view!
The Enterprise Mission
Richard Hoagland’s controversial but detailed site is more well known for the Martian Case for the Face, but he has assembled an enviable resource on Moon anomalies, and their role in The Plan, an intriguing memetic engineering hypothesis implicating NASA, the Hollywood-12 and possible future global catastrophes.
Man on Moon or Pie in Sky?
Wired reporter Katie Dean talks with Lunargate! conspiracy theorists Ralph Rene and David S. Percy during the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Excellent rebuttal by NASA officials is included in the article text.
The Apollo Moon Landings – Were They All A Hoax?
Excellent skeptical Lunargate! site examines the theories of Bill Kaysing and the irrationality of conspiracy researchers. Contains indepth analysis of NASA photos and other relevant documents.
Mike Bara’s Lunar Anomalies
Mike Bara traces Lunargate and Lunar Anomalies across occult history, covering everything from John Dee to Hyperdimensional Physics. Seek the mysteries!
Narduar vs. Bill Kaysing
Narduar The Human Serviette gets the scoop from Bill Kaysing about the alleged murder of Mercury astronaut Gus Grissom; ex-Ghelen Nazis working for NASA under Operation: Paperclip; faked photos and Nevada desert soundstages; the Apollo 13 film as propaganda and the legendary TV confrontation with astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
We Never Went to the Moon!
Frederick ‘Fog’ Horne’s controversial site features basic introductory information on Lunargate conspiracy theories. Make sure you check out his other columns.
Who Mourns For Apollo?
Many Lunargate believers use photo and document analysis techniques to “prove” their arguments. This article, written by Mike Bara with Steve Troy and Richard C. Hoagland, shows why these arguments are wrong, and in many cases, just plain stupid. “While we remain fiercely critical of the NASA hierarchy in general and certain members of the Apollo team in particular, we should not let that get in the way of our undying admiration for the rank and file men and women, scientists and engineers, who pulled off the most amazing feat in human history — the Apollo program.”
Publishers of the excellent book Dark Moon: Apollo and The Whistle-Blowers, this site includes book excerpts, an online shop, reviews and links.
Was It Only A Paper Moon?
The late James Collier was a leading proponent of Lunargate. Learn about his research and purchase his video here.
Moon Shot: The Apollo Page and Links
An interesting collection of NASA photos and “anomalous” images. Suggests that Lunargate is evidence of intertextuality: multiple different “readings” of a text, and a media culture that relies on montage.
World of the Strange
MJ-12, the Men in Black and Hollow Earth theories: excellent background to moon hoaxes and NASA conspiracies. Check out other issues of this excellent newsletter.
Apollo Oxygen and Two-Gas Environment Problems
David Wozney has compiled materials relating to the aftermath of the Apollo 1 spacecraft fire that killed astronauts Grissom, Chaffee and White. Other anomalies Wozney explores include exhaust, crosshair and photographic image inconsistencies.
Global Shadow Government Masonic New World Order Conspiracy
Excellent list of links to articles on the proposed Illuminati-Masonic-NASA hoaxed moon landing conspiracy. Topics include John Glenn, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and the Sirius-Orion-Giza connection.
The Groom Lake Desert Rat
NASA, Groom Lake, Alpha Draconis, Hungarian UFOs, Alien Hygiene and more. With an explosive cocktail of memes like this, who could resist?
The Dark Side of the Moon Landings
This Fortean Times article (#94), by David Percy, analyzes NASA photos and footage, taken during 1969-72, and finds them wanting.
Percy and the Astro-Nots
This Fortean Times article (#97), by Bob Pickard, examines the Fortean mail received after David Percy analyzed NASA photos and footage. James Oberg, a flight operations engineer with the Shuttle program, says, “It’s always a delight to see the latest variation on the Moon fake myth and to examine the creative ways people can mislead themselves and others.”
Aliens on the Moon?
A subgenere of the Lunargate! conspiracy theories is the possibility that certain moon geological structures may have been artificially created. This site features substantial links and photographic image analysis by specialists of regions, including Clementine, Sinus Medii, Mare Crisium and the Sea of Tranquility.
NightWatch: Faked Moon Landings?
Clear discussion of the NASA photograph anomalies that conspiracy theorists claim prove that the Apollo moon landings were faked.
Libery Exposure: Nasa And The Moon
Interesting collection of documents relating to Van Allen Belt radiation; Masonic Apollo mission astronauts; Richard Hoagland’s Mars conspiracy and suggested links between NASA and military “black projects.”
Luna: Our Mysterious Neighbour
JJ Mercieca’s Malta UFO Research page includes an informative list of links to sites and reports examining the possible existence of artificial (alien) geological structures on the lunar surface. Includes revealing coverage of the infamous ‘blacked out’ conference by Richard Hoagland at the National Press Club: were the astronauts among alien ruins?
An Out of This World Conspiracy
Considers the theories of Bill Kaysing, Rene and Richard Hoagland. Useful summary or introductory material. Check out the rest of the ‘Bogus Science’ topics.
NASA Masonic Conspiracy: Apollo Missions Masonic Symbols
Thoughts from controversial conspiracy theorist William Cooper on Masonic links with NASA and the Apollo moon missions. Never let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory!
Half a Century of The German Moonbase: 1942 to 1992
“Everything NASA has told the world about the Moon is a lie and it was done to keep the exclusivity of the club from joining by Third World countries. All these physical conditions make it a lot more easier to build a Moon base. Ever since their first day of landing on the Moon, the Germans started boring – and tunnelling under the surface and by the end of the war there was a small Nazi research base on the Moon.”
Reporter Says E.T. Life Exists
Posting from the Free Republic site on UFO researcher Linda Moulton Howe, and her allegations about cover-up by government officials.
Bill Kaysing Lawsuit
Information from the Houston Press newspaper about Bill Kaysing’s unsuccessful lawsuit against NASA astronaut James Lovell, who labelled him a “wacko.”
Battle of the Harvest Moon
Details imaginary Cold War battles between the US and USSR. on the lunar surface with particle beam weapons.
Fake Moon Landings: A Hoax
Site devoted to the writings of NASA Mooned America author Rene. Basically, an advertisement for his books, and ordering details.