Freelance author with broad knowledge concerning the fields of political philosophy and social psychology.
The following is a list of some of the most popular and influential individuals in the field of conspiracy research to date. Since conspiracy theorists are a very diverse group, it is expected that many will not agree with this listing; however, it is my belief that the individuals listed here represent the major figures in the genre of conspiracy theory.
Candidacy and ranking were determined using three criteria:
- Reputation and influence: How much interest do others have in the candidate?
- Dedication: How much has the candidate contributed to their specific field? How long have they been involved in the field?
- Influence: What impact has the candidate had on society?
I do not necessarily endorse any of the individuals on this list, or any organizations they may be associated with. Some of the individuals listed may be considered by some to be controversial figures, but all of them have had an impact upon the genre of conspiracy theory.
1. Alex E. Jones
Love him or hate him, the shock-jock talk radio personality, actor and filmmaker Alex Jones is undoubtedly the most influential figure within the genre of conspiracy theory. With nearly two dozen documentary films, a syndicated radio program, and millions of visitors each month to his websites Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com, this conspiracy guru has catapulted a once-taboo topic into the realm of mainstream discussion.
As an expert on the New World Order conspiracy theory, he is a frequent guest on the extremely popular late-night talk show Coast to Coast AM and a regular contributor to TruTV's Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. He is an advocate for national sovereignty and constitutional government and is one of the leading figures of the controversial 9/11 Truth Movement.
Among his more popular films are TerrorStorm: A History of Government Sponsored Terrorism (2006), Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement (2007), and The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off (2009). He has also made appearances in the Richard Linklater films Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006).
2. David V. Icke
When it comes to the grand-daddy of all conspiracy theories the views of David Icke take the cake! Described by some as a New Age philosopher, this former BBC sports anchorman turned prominent Green Party spokesman, turned conspiracy theorist is perhaps best known for his beliefs concerning aliens, infinite consciousness, and the existence of a holographic universe.
His theories concerning an ancient earth and reptilian humanoid shape-shifters have made him by far one of the most talked-about conspiracy theorists of our time.
Despite his obvious New Age overtones and often bizarre theories, the views of David Icke have attracted individuals from all age groups across the religious and political spectrum. His website DavidIcke.com attracts over a quarter million visitors a month, and his books continue to draw the attention of critics and supporters alike.
He is the author of over a dozen books of which his book, The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World, is considered by some to be the Rosetta Stone for conspiracy theorists. Some of his more influential films include The Reptilian Agenda (1999), Revelations of a Mother Goddess (2005), and Secrets of the Matrix (2003).
3. Gary Allen (1936-1986)
A Conservative journalist and speechwriter for George Wallace—and author of the best selling book, None Dare Call It Conspiracy—Gary Allen is perhaps the most important figure in awakening the public's interest in a New World Order conspiracy.
He was a very prominent member and spokesman for the John Birch Society and the author of numerous books that dealt with the roles of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, income taxes, war profiteering, and central banking in a New World Order conspiracy dedicated to the destruction of all national sovereignty.
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Some of his other works include Communist Revolution in the Streets, Richard Nixon: The Man Behind the Mask, Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter, Kissinger: The Secret Side of the Secretary of State, The Rockefeller File, and Say "No!" to the New World Order.
4. John Robison (1739-1805)
One of the least well known, but by far one of the most influential individuals within the broad spectrum of conspiracy research and especially that of secret societies is Professor John Robison.
This remarkable man may be responsible for single-handily and unwittingly creating the modern conspiracy theorist counterculture, and is most certainly the very reason the word Illuminati has become synonymous with conspiracy theories.
He was a Scottish physicist and mathematician, a Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, member of the Glasgow Literary Society, the inventor of the siren, and author of the extremely influential post-American Revolutionary War era book, Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free-Masons, Illuminati and Reading Societies, etc., collected from good authorities.
In his book, he purports to have knowledge of a group of individuals who infiltrated the Freemasons and other such organizations with the intent to utilize the secrecy and influence of these groups to destroy organized religion, bring down entire governments, and otherwise create a new global order through deception and cunning. He traces this group to the Bavarian Illuminati and connects them to such major world events as the French Revolution.
It is because of the enormous impact his book, Proofs of a Conspiracy, has had upon generations of conspiracy theorists that John Robison is arguably the single most important figure concerning the formation of the conspiratorial view of history.
5. Steven M. Greer, M.D.
One of the most prominent conspiracy theorists in the field of Ufology, Dr. Steven Greer is a self-proclaimed contactee who is an author, a lecturer, and the founder of both the Disclosure Project and the Orion Project. He has made appearances on Larry King Live, CBS, BBC, NTV, Sightings, Encounters, and the History Channel's Ancient Aliens, as well as radio appearances on Coast to Coast AM and the Armstrong Williams Radio Show.
Dr. Greer is responsible for coining the term "CE5," or "close encounter of the fifth kind" to describe human-initiated contact with extraterrestrials. He is the founder of the Center for Extraterrestrial Studies which teaches meditation techniques, remote viewing, cosmic consciousness and other such activities to aid in initiating contact with alien beings.
He has also arranged numerous press conferences concerning UFOs and is known for his allegations of a vast government cover-up involving extraterrestrials, alien technology, free energy and top-secret "black projects" working with the oil industry.
Dr. Greer's published works include Extraterrestrial Contact: The Evidence and Implications, Disclosure: Military and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History, Hidden Truth – Forbidden Knowledge, and Contact: Countdown to Transformation.
6. Jim Marrs
An expert on JFK conspiracy theories, Jim Marrs is a best-selling author, former journalist and police reporter, and one of the most prominent researchers in the genre of conspiracy theory. His book Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy has sold over 1.5 million copies.
This conspiracy guru has taught a course on the JFK assassination at the University of Texas since 1976 and served as a chief consultant for the screenplay and production of Oliver Stone's film JFK .
He is also known for his research on UFOs, secret societies, the Federal Reserve, and 9/11 conspiracy theories. He is a current member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
Mr. Marrs has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, TLC, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, Larry King, TechTV, Geraldo, and a number of other programs too numerous to mention. He is often a featured speaker at UFO conferences and currently teaches a course on UFOs at the University of Texas.
Some of his other books are Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us, Rule By Secrecy: The Hidden History That Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons, and the Great Pyramids, Psi Spies, The War On Freedom, The Rise of the Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies That Threaten to Take Over America, Above Top Secret, The Sisterhood of the Rose and The Trillion-Dollar Conspiracy: How the New World Order, Man-Made Diseases, and Zombie Banks Are Destroying America.
7. Jordan Maxwell
Jordan Maxwell is perhaps the preeminent conspiracy theorist of secret societies and world religions. He is well respected in his field despite the controversy that his work undoubtedly creates among adherents to western religious traditions. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of Secret Societies."
His main areas of expertise are astrotheology, the foundations of western religion, secret societies and occult history, as well as ancient and modern world mysteries such as UFOs and Atlantis.
He is the author of a number of books which include Matrix of Power: How the World Has Been Controlled by Powerful People Without Your Knowledge, Symbols, Sex and the Stars, and That Old-Time Religion: The Story of Religious Foundations. He has also appeared in numerous movies including the popular film Zeitgeist.
8. John Lear
Son of the inventor of the Lear Jet, John Lear is one of the most controversial and important figures surrounding UFO conspiracy theories. He is a retired airline captain, multiple world record holder, and the only pilot to hold every FAA airplane certificate. He has flown numerous missions worldwide for the CIA and other government agencies. He is also one of the core members of Pilots for 9/11 Truth.
John Lear is quite a character and the information that he puts out to the public ranges from underground and alien Moon bases to a planet where soul farming is done by extraterrestrial entities. He is one of the key figures in the Bob Lazar incident and also involved with the prominent individuals surrounding the infamous MJ-12 and "Avery" affairs.
In addition, Mr. Lear is perhaps one of the more notable individuals─besides Richard C. Hoagland─who believes in a secret space program that is far more advanced and superior than the space program that the general public is familiar with and is allowed to know about it.
9. John A. Keel (1980-2009)
John Keel was a journalist, Ufologist and author of the extremely popular book, The Mothman Prophecies. He coined the term "Men in Black" which has spawned whole movies and songs after the name itself and of these mysterious agents of conspiracy-lore.
Keel's career as a writer was greatly influenced by Charles Fort, and he began investigating the UFO phenomenon in the 1960s, becoming one of the prominent writers in the field of Ufology. He was also a member of the Screenwriters Guild and wrote scripts for several television shows.
His books include: Jadoo, The Fickle Finger of Fate, UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, Strange Creatures from Time and Space, Our Haunted Planet, The Flying Saucer Subculture, The Eighth Tower, Disneyland of the Gods, The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings, and The Best of John Keel.
10. David Ray Griffin
Retired Professor of the Philosophy of Religion and Theology, David Ray Griffin has been one of the greatest and most outspoken critics of the official story concerning the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He is a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a major figure in the 9/11 Truth Movement, and the author of several books concerning alleged complicity or outright involvement of elements of the United States government in the events carried out on September 11, 2001.
He is one of the central figures in the 9/11 Truth Movement and has given numerous lectures on contradictions in the official story for 9/11 including a speech delivered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which was aired by C-SPAN. He has also been a guest on several alternative talk radio programs including the Alex Jones Show.
His works include The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9-11, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action, Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory, Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?, and The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report About 9/11 Is Unscientific and False.
11. William L. Moore: author, former Ufologist, and key figure surrounding the infamous Majestic 12 documents.
12. Steven E. Jones: Professor Emeritus of Physics, Mormon, and founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice
13. William Guy Carr (1895-1959): Former Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy and author of the influential book Pawns in the Game
14. Donald E. Keyhoe (1897-1988): early leader of UFO research and author of the book Flying Saucers Are Real
15. Jack T. Chick: comic book artist and evangelical Christian Bible tract creator best known for Satanic, Catholic, and Masonic conspiracy theories
16. James P. Tucker: journalist known for his investigation of a secret group of elites known as the Bilderberg Group, and author of Jim Tucker's Bilderberg Diary
17. Jim Keith (1949-1999): author and key figure surrounding Black Helicopter conspiracy theories
18. Aaron Russo (1943-2007): filmmaker, businessman, and extremely influential 9/11 Truth activist. He is best known among conspiracy theorists as the producer of the highly regarded film America: Freedom to Fascism
19. Alan Watt: thought-provoking author and lecturer concerning human behavior and its role in various conspiracies; his website is CuttingThroughtheMatrix.com
20. Augustin Barruel (1741-1820): Jesuit Priest who wrote the important 1797 work entitled, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism.
21. Linda Moulton Howe: Miss Idaho (1963), investigative journalist, filmmaker, and a major contributor to Ufology, crop circle, and cattle mutilation research
22. Myron C. Fagan (1887-1972): a very influential Jewish-American author, film producer, playwright, and conspiracy theorist who is best known among conspiracy researchers for his LPs concerning the Illuminati and the Council on Foreign Relations
23. Clifford E. Carnicom: key figure concerning chem-trail conspiracy theories best known for his film Aerosol Crimes (2005)
24. Mark Dice: 9/11 activist and author of The Resistance Manifesto. He has been featured in many conspiracy related documentaries and is best known for his exposure of various secret societies