By: Lauren Nowakowski
Ever since opening day on February 28, 1995 the Denver International Airport has attracted a lot of attention from flight customers, conspiracy theorists, and workers alike. The airport itself cost a reported 4.8 billion dollars (Hsu). Of the many conspiracy theories that surround the airport some of the most extraordinary are the belief that the paintings inside hold clues to the apocalypse, there are underground bunkers that were built for the world’s elite, and even that lizard people and aliens are hiding in the underground baggage transport tunnels (Wenzel). Although these are definitely interesting theories the one I am going to focus on is the belief that the Denver International Airport was built, and is controlled, by the Freemason’s and the other elites of the world. The people who are believing this idea are often people who don’t understand why else the airport would have cost and took so much time and money to build, and why it has so many of these strange attractions (such as the apocalyptic murals, horse sculptures, bunkers, and dedication plaques). Many conspiracy theorists such as Jesse Ventura have popularized these ideas through their televisions shows that showcase these theories. Information on the theory that the airport was built by the freemason’s can be found all over the internet, and specifically in Newspapers found around Denver. Even the airport itself has begun commenting on the conspiracy theories associated with it, by using fun advertisements in the airport. The CEO of the company, Kim Day, does not argue with the conspiracy theories, but has instead decided to use it to their advantage through exhibitions, parties, and a competition to tour underneath the airport (Wolfson). This conspiracy theory has been popularized ever since the dedication plaque with a masonic symbol appeared at the South entrance dating March 19, 1994 (“A Vacationers Guide”).
So, what exactly are the facts of the matter, and why do people believe that the freemasons had a part in the creation of the Denver international airport? First off, the dedication stone, has the freemason logo on it and was paid for by two Freemason grand lodges that are located in Colorado (Wolfson). The dedication stone also names the ‘New World Airport Commission’ on it. This organization supposedly has very little information about it, which is why theorists tend to believe that it has ties to the masons and the New World Order. People often connect the Freemason’s with the illuminati, leading people to believe that this secret society was, and is, in control of the airport. The Mayor himself at the dedication ceremony was a member of the freemasons, and has some of his own items in the time capsule below the stone (John). With all of this evidence in support of the belief, there is also a lot of evidence that goes against it. For example, although the dedication stone was made by the free-masons, it is not necessarily uncommon to have the Masons do this, because they are a charity social organization (John). Second, the New World Airport Commission has a typo on the dedication plaque and is missing a comma. Instead of reading ‘New World Airport Commission’ it should read ‘New World, Airport Commission.’ Also, even though the New World, Airport Commission does not exist now, there was one in 1994 (John). Also, the Grand Secretary of the MW Grand Lodge of Colorado responded to these claims stating, “The Freemasons had nothing to do with building the Denver International Airport. The only involvement was the ceremony that was performed for the dedication capstone that was done on March 19,1994” (John). Lastly, Charles Ansbacher, the New World Airport Commission’s chairman stated that he wasn’t sure about why it was named what it was, but that it was most likely a reference to a common symphony known as Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, or also title the “New World Symphony” (Wenzel)
There are many cognitive contributions for why people believe this belief. First, many believers are conducting confirmation bias, by only looking for evidence to confirm their theory (Van Zandt). This can be seen when people ignore the fact that the New World, Airport Commission did exist at one point even though it no longer does. This is also seen when people look at the dedication stone’s symbols and believe that the Freemason’s must have been in control of the whole airport because their symbols are on the stone. They are ignoring all of the evidence that disconfirms these beliefs. People are also tolerating inconsistencies by believing that the free masons built and control the airport even though there is evidence that disproves this idea. Many people who believe in this do not know all of the facts, such as the New World Airport Commission did once exist, and that the free masons do not equal the illuminati. They often become mistaken because of evidence that is put out into YouTube videos and documentaries that are made with the purpose to convince you that these ideas are true. They often only show the evidence that seemingly proves the conspiracy, and leave out the information that often disconfirms it.
There seems to be many social and contextual contributions that lead to this belief. For example, a video on YouTube posted be SEA titled, “The Denver Airport Conspiracy – A Secret New World Order Bunker?,” has 1.4 million views, meaning this conspiracy theory has reached a great number of people. You also have the documentary made by Jesse Ventura that has brought even more attention to this theory. The different designs within the airport also do not help disconfirm the theories, because of the seemingly wackiness to it. There is a 9,000 pound, 10-meter-tall cast fiberglass blue horse with red eyes located outside of the airport (Allegretti). There is also the problem that because the Airport is in fact an airport, many people come through their doors every day, leading to more exposure of the airport and its quirks. Lastly, the Denver airport officials themselves aren’t outright denying the claims anymore, and are now poking fun at the conspiracy theories through their use of advertisements. The advertisements themselves don’t debunk the theories on the signs, but instead direct you to a website titled DENFiles.com (Barber). This may lead people toward getting the wrong idea.
In conclusion, the theories that surround the Denver international airport are definitely interesting, and there are still many questions that are left unanswered. The Freemason’s were definitely a part of the dedication ceremony, but besides that they really weren’t a part of the airport construction, or control wise. The advertisements themselves aren’t helping but the conspiracy theories to bed either, if anything they are bringing even more people into the conspiracy theories. Although the airport is a place with many interesting objects, and ideas surrounding so are many other places. The fact that the airport has so many conspiracies may just be due to the high level of exposure it gets being an airport. I myself have traveled through this airport, and even though I didn’t see any aliens, freemason elite, or underground bunkers, I definitely saw a lot of weird paintings, stones, and gargoyles, that did have me thinking twice about their meanings. But I guess that’s how a lot of conspiracies can start, second guessing something and looking down a rabbit hole of biased evidence with other misinformed people supporting you.
Allegretti, David. “We Analyzed Evidence That the Denver Airport Is the Illuminati Headquarters.” Vice, Vice, 28 Mar. 2018, www.vice.com/en_au/article/wj7nk4/we-analysed-evidence-that-the-denver-airport-is-the-illuminati-headquarters.
“A Vacationer’s Guide to the Dark Side of Denver Intl. Airport.” Airport Van Rental, Airport Van Rental, 2018, www.airportvanrental.com/blog/vacationer’s-guide-dark-side-denver-intl-airport.
Barber, Megan. “Denver Airport Construction Signs Poke Fun at Conspiracy Rumors.” Curbed,Curbed, 7 Sept. 2018, www.curbed.com/2018/9/7/17832102/denver-airport-conspiracy-theories-signs-construction.
Hsu, Hua. “A Global Government Is Waiting Under the Denver Airport.” New York News &Politics, New York Magazine, 17 Nov. 2013, nymag.com/news/features/conspiracy-theories/denver-airport-bunker/.
John, Colin St. “How the Denver Airport Became an Icon of the Illuminati.” Thrillist, Thrillist, 31 Oct. 2017, www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/denver-airport-conspiracy-theories.
Van Zandt, Trisha. “Cognitive Biases.” The Ohio State University. 17 January 2019. Lecture
Wolfson, Sam. “’Remodeling the Lizard People’s Lair’: Denver Airport Trolls Conspiracy Theorists.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 7 Sept. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/07/denver-airport-construction-conspiracy-lizard-people.