The Moon Landing: Fake Movie Set or the Real Deal?

By: Lauren Nowakowski

We have all heard the phrase, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” but what if that one small step didn’t actually happen? Some believe that the astronauts did not actually land on the moon, but simply set up and filmed a fake moon landing at a studio on earth. This belief that the moon landings were fake has been around since the first moon landings happened in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but it has become even more prominent since the internet. When typing in to google “Was the moon landing fake?” you get 20,900,00 results. This huge quantity of information demonstrates just how much there is out there covering the topic of a faked moon landing. But what really seemed to have sparked the fire of this conspiracy theory was a television special on Fox in 2001 called, “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon” (Fuller)? The people who tend to believe that the moon landing was faked think it was because the United States wanted to prove that it had better space technology than the Soviet Union and wanted to do this without spending incredible amounts of money to actually send people to space (Fuller). This belief is important and extraordinary because supporters of this theory are going against all logic and evidence that is out there.

The first moon landing happened in July of 1969. Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon at exactly 4:18 p.m. EDT. After taking the first steps they spent a few hours taking photographs of what they could see and collecting samples from the surface. While on the surface they planted an American flag. A key point to this story is how bad President John F. Kennedy wanted to land on the moon, even announcing a goal to land on the moon by the end of the 1960’s (1969 Moon Landing). This was during an era known as the Cold War. The United States was not as advanced as the Soviet Union in terms of space, which led to an intense race to be the first to put a man on the moon (1969 Moon Landing). This is a point that believers in the “faked” moon landing are fascinated with.

Believers of this theory claim to have huge amounts of “evidence” to support their claim. First, believers state that there are shadows on the moon in photos taken during the moon landing. According to them, there are not supposed to be any shadows in Space. Next, they point at the image of the American flag appearing to “flutter” in the wind. They argue that there is no wind on the moon, therefore the American flag should not be fluttering at all. Lastly, they argue that the images of the astronauts driving the Rover as proof that the moon landing was faked. Even with all of this “evidence”, people who believe that the moon landing did in fact happen have points to refute each claim the faked moon landing believers have. First, they counter that there can be shadows on the moon because the sun is not the only source of light there, and that the moon itself can reflect its own light. When it reflects its own light, it can create shadows on the surface. Second, they state that objects on the moon, “don’t stop moving as fast as they do on earth” (The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy). The flag is moving like that because it has been disturbed, not because of wind. Evidence also exists that the astronauts driving the rover does not prove the moon landing as a hoax, because the moon does not produce dust. Dust on the moon returns right back to the surface, which is something we would not be able to control and create in a movie on earth during that time period (1969). Some of the most solid evidence that the moon landing did actually happen comes from pieces of the moon that we have to study. By scientifically dating these rocks you can see that they are 4.5 billion years old, which is older than anything dated on earth (Patel). Even though believers in the moon landing have logical arguments for all of the moon landing hoax believers, their beliefs persist.

There are many cognitive contributions that can be seen to explain the belief system of these people and the moon landing hoax. A definite misinterpretation of evidence is at play in this theory, because none of their proof holds any semblance of truth. As stated by Jan-Willem van Prooijen, “conspiracy theories help us to understand the unknown whenever things happen that are fearful or unexpected” (Svoboda). People who believe that the moon landing was a hoax fall prey to confirmation bias. They only look for evidence that confirms their theory. In the moon landing case, they look at the “waving” flag, shadows, and other images as evidence, even though each of these can actually be seen as disconfirming the moon landing hoax. These believers also partake in availability error when they focus on the fact that JFK wanted to beat the Soviet Union to the moon and use that strong desire of JFK’s to build up their belief, and to even make their confirmation bias worse. Conspiracy theories are made by people who wish to reject what is already known, and to go against the stream of common belief (Svoboda). Being a believer in a conspiracy theory can make you feel like you are in an exclusive club, and that can be difficult to give up. Even though there is knowledge out there to help get people out of conspiracy theories, it is tough, and the mind can have a hard time turning around.

The social state when this theory came to light was tense. The United States and Russia were in the Cold War, and both wanted to be the first to put a man on the moon. The United States, even though seemingly far behind the Soviet Union, were the ones to accomplish this feat. This tense political setting is what began guiding people to believe the theory that the moon landing could have been a giant hoax. People just want to understand what is going on around them, and sometimes this can lead to beliefs in outlandish conspiracies. Conspiracy theories also have a high tolerance for contradiction, and also offer ego boosts (Svoboda). This ego boost and choice to ignore opposing evidence allows them to sustain their beliefs, and even allow them to grow. For this reason, there are many believers of the hoax moon landing theory everywhere. Even when proof exists that contradicts and even disproves a theory, conspiracy theorists can still find ways to go around the proof and continue a belief in a faulty idea.

In conclusion, the moon landing brings a lot of strong opinions from both the people who believe in the moon landing, and those who think it is a hoax. Buzz Aldrin even once punched a man who accused him of not actually landing on the moon (Svoboda). This physical violence shows how fed up people can become on both sides. Those who believe the moon landing did happen can become very upset when people who believe in the moon hoax ignore all logical evidence. On the other hand, those who believe in a hoax moon landing can become aggravated and strengthen their own beliefs when they do not hear/see what they want to hear. All in all, we can agree that the moon landing did in fact happen, and that by arguing that it didn’t we aren’t achieving anything. There is too much evidence in support of the moon landing. If you still don’t believe, then maybe go see a test the samples we have from the moon. If they aren’t from the earth, and you do not believe they are from the moon then where are they from?



Fuller, John. “Why Do Some People Believe the Moon Landings Were a Hoax?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 8 Mar. 2018,



Svoboda, Elizabeth. “Why Do People Believe the Moon Landing Hoax or Other Conspiracy Theories?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 20 July 2018,


Dunbar, Brian. “July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap for Mankind.” NASA, NASA, 19 Feb. 2015,


Editors, “1969 Moon Landing.”, A&E Television Networks, 23 Aug. 2018,


“The Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy.” Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy,


Patel, Neel V. “7 Easy Ways You Can Tell for Yourself That the Moon Landing Really Happened.” Popular Science, 10 Dec. 2018,



The Denver International Airport: Freemason, Alien and Illuminati Hotspot, or Questionably Designed Airport?

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 (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,

“A Vacationer’s Guide to the Dark Side of Denver Intl. Airport.” Airport Van Rental, Airport Van Rental, 2018,’s-guide-dark-side-denver-intl-airport.

Barber, Megan. “Denver Airport Construction Signs Poke Fun at Conspiracy Rumors.” Curbed,Curbed, 7 Sept. 2018,

Hsu, Hua. “A Global Government Is Waiting Under the Denver Airport.” New York News &Politics, New York Magazine, 17 Nov. 2013,

John, Colin St. “How the Denver Airport Became an Icon of the Illuminati.” Thrillist, Thrillist, 31 Oct. 2017,

Wenzel, John. “The Definitive Guide to Denver International Airport’s Biggest Conspiracy Theories.” The Denver Post, The Denver Post, 31 Oct. 2016,

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,