The Definitive Guide to Denver International Airport’s Biggest Conspiracy Theories
'Nazi runways, remote locations, underground bunkers, aliens and artistic depictions of the apocalypse'
Sinister sculptures and secret bunkers. Swastika-shaped runways and murals that point to a New World Order takeover or alien invasion.
And what about those gargoyles hanging out by the baggage claim?
Conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport have soared for more than two decades, owing to the airport’s mix of bold public art, unusual architecture, infamous construction problems and an internet-fueled cycle of self-feeding paranoia.
They predate even the airport’s 1995 debut, but Jesse Ventura helped popularize them with a 2012 episode of his TV show “Conspiracy Theory,” and dozens of media outlets from ABC News to the Science Channel continue to report them on an annual basis.
Not that the airport discourages the speculation.
“We have a CEO (Kim Day) who really embraces the conspiracy ideas,” said Heath Montgomery, senior public information officer for DIA. “We decided a few years ago that rather than fight all of this and try and convince everybody there’s nothing really going on, let’s have some fun with it.”
2016 marks a turning point in the airport’s marketing savvy. For the first time, DIA is featuring a modest, museum-style exhibition of the most notable (and, admittedly, least controversial) theories in honor of October as “Conspiracy Month.” Events have included a “conspiracy-themed costume party” and free “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” screening — chosen because the coordinates for the alien landing in the 1977 film supposedly point to DIA’s location (in reality it’s an empty field 51 miles northwest of the airport).
Most of the theories are so laughable and easily disproved that DIA is happy to weaponize them as marketing tools. That, in turn, translates to an estimated “hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars” in free publicity, Montgomery said.
“Those aren’t even pictures of our airport,” he said as a Buzzfeed video played on a TV screen behind him in the conspiracy exhibit, which runs through Oct. 31 in the main terminal. “People see it out of context and then it continues the dialogue. YouTube is a big propagator of this. There’s been so much misinformation out there that people just regurgitate and spout it without thinking or addressing the reality behind it.”
To get to the heart of their continuing popularity, a Denver Post team was granted behind-the-scenes (and underground) access to examine the theories, facts and history of the country’s sixth-busiest airport, which expects to see a record 58 million travelers by the end of 2016.
The theory: The Freemasons, a centuries-old secret society, has controlled the airport ever since it opened, with ties to the New World Order, a group of global elites who wield power over international affairs.
The history: A dedication plaque at the airport’s south entrance (near the Westin Hotel and RTD University of Colorado A-Line) dated March 19, 1994, contains a time capsule and bears the symbol of the Freemasons, as well as a reference to the New World Airport Commission. “Strange markings” have also been noted around the airport, supposedly indicating secret or alien languages.
Read More: Denver Post