The Conspiracy Theories Just Keep Coming

by Chris Tognotti

Now three months into 2015, we're creeping up on an unfortunate one-year anniversary — on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished while flying from Kuala Lumpur to the Chinese capital of Beijing, setting off a furious search and a deadly mystery that's persisted to this day. You're probably still wondering what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and if you take a brief tour around the internet, you'll find any number of conspiracy theories about MH370 aiming to answer just that.

In 365 days, the ideas we've all heard kicked around have ranged from the credible-seeming, to the doubtful, to the downright absurdist. Whether you think that North Korea could have been involved, or that the flight's pilot might've been to blame, or something slightly more supernatural, there are no shortage of theories — and people begging you listen.

It's important to note, of course, that like any claim about a plane (or, well, anything) that's literally vanished without a trace, these are completely unverified — this is as much a glance at where the human mind goes when nothing seems to make sense as it is anything. Here are some of the possibilities people have floated to try to explain what appears inexplicable.

1. MH370 Was Shot Down Inadvertently

Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This is an obviously appealing explanation for those who're prone to suspicion about foreign governments — just the kind of theory Rush Limbaugh can sink his teeth into. In the week following MH370's disappearance, Limbaugh regaled his listeners with his own, personal theory of how the plane vanished, as detailed by Mediaite's Matt Wilstein.

Let me try this theory on you. How about the jet is flying along and you have a total electronic failure but the engines keep working? ... I don’t know if this is possible, given electronic ignition and all that, but let’s say it is. So then the crew says, 'We got to get back home. We got to get back to Kuala Lumpur. We can’t fly with no electronics.' It's dark, nighttime. They fly over a bunch of unfriendly countries, and they can't identify themselves, and they're not identified, there are no lights on. There's been a total electronic failure. What if some hostile country flew up there and shot it down and then discovered their mistake and nobody wants to admit what happened?

2. The Pilot Committed Suicide

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

This theory gained prominence in the months following the disappearance, with everyone feeling further and further vexed that no explanation had come to light — maybe the plane crashed due to an act of suicide? The question is whether Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (to say nothing of the plane's co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid), could've decided to take his own life while still responsible for 238 more. To want to kill yourself is one thing, and a profoundly tragic situation at that. But deciding to do it in a way that takes hundreds of people with you is another matter altogether.

Of course, there's no concrete or credible evidence to suggest this is what , just like there's scant evidence to suggest any one thing about MH370 over the others.

3. It Was Hijacked By Russians

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Of all the theories, the one authored by Jeff Wise for New York Magazine last month has loomed large. The basic idea is this: maybe the plane never crashed, but was hijacked by Russians.

In truth, there's a bit more to it than that. Wise discusses his months-long, unpaid and slightly obsessive analysis. He acknowledges, quite reasonably, that he can't say for certain that his theory is correct — though his quip that three Russians aboard the plane struck him as "the sort who might battle Liam Neeson in midair" is pretty wildly offensive, considering that in reality they're almost certainly innocent, and almost certainly dead.

He clearly believes in it, though, with all the force and conviction of someone who's either on to something compelling, or blinded by an intricate conspiracy theory (isn't that always the problem?). But in short, Wise argues that maybe MH370 actually landed at a Russian air strip in Kazakhstan.

4. It Was Swallowed By A Black Hole

Because you knew it was coming. This one never gets old — it's such a classic that I wrote about it back in December, when Lemon won an award from the Columbia Journalism Review for "worst journalism in 2014".

A lot of people have been asking about that, about black holes and on and on and on, all of these conspiracy theories. Let’s look at [these tweets], Noah says, "what else can you think? Black hole, Bermuda triangle." And then Deji says, "huh, just like the movie LOST." Of course, it’s also referencing The Twilight Zone, which has a very similar plot. That’s what people are saying. I know it’s preposterous, but — is it preposterous, do you think, Mary?

Is it preposterous to think that a commercial airliner was sucked into a black hole? Yes, Don Lemon, it is preposterous.

Images: Getty Images (3)