Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tom Swift and His Amazing Underground Conspiracy Theory

When researching my posts on "Do Mysterious Booms Indicate a Secret Aerospace Project?" for this blog, I started to delve into the beliefs on the Internet regarding secret underground facilities, to broaden the piece beyond its limitation to secret aerospace projects. The origins of many of the recorded mysterious booms are almost certainly underground, not showing the signs of sonic booms, hence the research into subterranean construction. But I recoiled in horror and quickly turned away.

My impression was that the "underground conspiracy" theory people are really nutty. Of course, I must recognize that some of this perceived nuttiness is in the eyes of the beholder. How do we differentiate "wackiness" from "scary nutty" is no doubt subjective. I will now compare and contrast a UFO theory with an underground theory by way of example.

Some of the UFO people believe that "the CIA is reverse engineering the alien anti-gravity drive from the spaceship that they recovered at the end of WWII from the Nazi secret laboratory where they had been working on it since the spaceship had crash-landed in the 1930s." This has a certain ring of fabulous imagination to me, for some reason, even if it is a little, just a little, unbelievable.

But many of the "underground" people believe (so I read on their web sites) that "Giant tunnels underneath the USA, from coast to coast, connecting secret and huge underground bases, built by atomic tunnel creation machines that can create a massive tunnel at a rate of 7 miles per day and leave absolutely no residue (the mass displaced is somehow coated onto the side of the tunnel making it perfectly smooth and robust, instantaneously). No radiation, no waste, just instant tunnels. And why is our govenment secretly building these tunnels? Why to destroy civil liberty of course. And they are all in it, all of them, all of those people building these secret tunnels to destroy liberty are keeping this dark secret and those who dare to talk about these tunnels, and the secret bases, and the vast conspiracy are silenced! Except of course those on the internet who talk about it, I guess they are not silenced. But they will be! Just you wait and see! And somehow this is all linked in with the Chemtrails conspiracy and some others that I did not completely follow, something about making us all impotent, I think.

For some reason, I find this much more disturbing than the theory that the CIA is reverse engineering the anti-gravity drive, but maybe it's just me.

Nevertheless, I want to propose to you a theory for where some of these arguably insane belief systems come from. To the best of my knowledge, this theory has not been presented before and so I am out on a limb here as my evidence is circumstantial at best. But maybe someone with more resources, time and credibility can take this idea and develop it sufficiently in the proper venues. If it is perceived to have merit, that is.

It occurred to me that in order to have many of these beliefs, one must be really disconnected from any sort of understanding of physical realities. Gravity is still gravity, even if you have an anti-gravity drive. Matter is still matter, and hot matter has to cool, even if you have a magical tunnel boring machine. Heat, you know, energy, neither created nor destroyed, you know? Just calling something atomic doesn't mean much in this day and age, and hasn't meant something all that special since the 1960s or so. Maybe even the early 1960s at that. Flying saucers from outer space will still make sonic booms in our atmosphere unless they can change their shape during the boom, perhaps, but they will have to do something. They are not exempt because they have a "mysterious" energy source.

Where could these crazy science magic ideas have come from?

Well I do know one potential source. As a child, I had read a series of fake-science adventure stories, where just calling something Atomic did mean that it had magical powers, and where a small number of "brilliant young scientists" could build devices in no time at all that could do amazing things, work the first time, never kill anyone, save the world from the Brungarians (1) and yet everyone could be home in time for dinner. Mom, I have to test the atomic rocketship! Tom, you just be home for dinner, I have been cooking all day! Oh, ok, Mom.

Yes, Tom Swift, Jr.

I read all 33 of these books and even then, 10 years old, I did not think they were plausible. Nothing in our world works the first time, but every one of their amazing inventions did. Never over budget. Never any problems that a good screwdriver and a wrench couldn't fix. And never any lack of money. No US government or local city government to come in and say what are you doing building rockets in your back yard? No problems at all.

So here is my theory. That somehow there are people out there who read Tom Swift Jr but did not realize that this is not the way the world works. They believe that people can actually build the Repelatron Skyway, the Ultrasonic Cycloplane, the G-Force Inverter, the Diving Seacopter, the Atomic Earth Blaster, and yes even the Giant Robot and the Flying Laboratory.

You and I might not be able to, but Tom Swift, Jr could.

And be home in time for his home-cooked, American dinner.   

So maybe these sad, conspiracy theorists are actually just manifesting reflections of a pulp fiction dream, the American inventor who can do anything, for whom no problem is too hard, for whom money is not a limitation, and where the family supports him. All gone wrong of course, and twisted into an evil conspiracy, but a reflection nevertheless of this dream, now long abandoned and never to return.

That's the idea, anyway, submitted for your consideration.

1. In the Tom Swift world, the bad guys were almost always the "Brungarian", which seems to be some conflation of "Bulgarian" with "Hungarian", both of which were at the time these novels were written behind the Iron Curtain.


  1. Fiction? I think not. On that fateful day, I personally saw with my own eyes an Ultrasonic Cycloplane flying into Tower One.