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Bielefeld, Germany

Bielefeld Conspiracy

According to a satirical conspiracy theory that persists today, this German city of 300,000 is a hoax invented by the CIA. 

Bielefeld is a German city of more than 300,000 residents and home to a university, a castle, and beautiful architecture. Or, according to believers in the Bielefeld Conspiracy, it exists only as an illusion, possibly invented by the CIA.

The Bielefeld Conspiracy originated in 1994 on a German internet forum as a satire of conspiracy theories in general, and it was contagious from the get-go. The outrageous conspiracy continues to spread today, so much so that it has even gained the attention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The conspiracy has been so popular that on a regular basis Bielefeld’s mayor receives emails from across the country asking if the city truly exists. The town, for its part, has embraced its strange fame.

According to the Bielefeld Conspiracy, the city of Bielefeld is an illusion and no village is actually there. Believers in the conspiracy ask non-believers three questions: Have you ever been to Bielefeld, do you know anybody from Bielefeld, and do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld? To most people, the answer to these three questions is “no,” supposedly proving the conspiracists’ point. 

Conspiracy theorists claim the city was invented by a fictional entity called SIE (translating to “THEM”), possibly with the help of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad or aliens disguising their spaceship as Bielefeld University. The gag has become a cesspool of conspiracy cliches. At one point it was speculated that Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain are still alive at Bielefeld, and that the CIA has used Bielefeld to prevent JFK from revealing the truth about the moon landings.