Conspiracy theories are not a new fact, but their preeminence has exploded with the health crisis. However, very eccentric theories were already circulating well before 2020 concerning regions of the world such as Drenthe in the Netherlands, or the city of Barrancabermeja in Colombia. Here are some of the most publicized conspiracies about places that actually never existed.
Finland is a Japanese lake
The conspiracy theory is originally an anecdote told by Reddit user raregan. The latter testifies that when he was young, his parents had made him believe that Finland… did not exist. World maps are distorted to hide the fact that Finland is a fake country. The reason ? The interests of the Japanese fishing lobby. With restrictions on fishing and public opposition forcing the country to cut back on overfishing in the Pacific, Tokyo struck a deal with Russia to fake the existence of a country, Finland.
In fact, in Finland’s place is a sea in which the Japanese fish profusely. The fish are transported to Japan via the Nokia company, which is actually a fish company: the reason? The Japanese imported a lot of Nokia products at the time, but no one had ever seen a Japanese with one of their phones. The highlight of the theory is the name of the country: Fin meaning fin in English, the Japanese have chosen to call the false country Finland, “the land of fins” (of fish).
But this theory has finally gained momentum, especially with the “r/finlandConspiracy” subreddit which collects evidence, supposedly real or ironic, showing that Finland does not exist. If the theory is more of a big joke than anything else, it does not lack detail.
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The Bielefeld Plot
This plot comes to us from across the Rhine and talks about Bielefeld, a small town whose existence some deny. It all starts with a student party in 1993, where a student responds to another who insists he comes from the city of Bielefeld: “Das gibt’s doch nicht”, it does not even exist in French. Work carried out around Bielefeld prohibiting access to the city by motorway revived the joke at the end of 1993: this “coincidence” was shared on the Usenet, an ancestor of the local Internet. The theory, which accumulates more and more “evidence”, is shared on the Internet and has a national scope. Some begin to suspect the CIA, Mossad, Aliens, others censor the name of the city, calling it B*e*e*e*d, or B-Wort.
The theory has since become a German collective joke taken up even by Angela Merkel: the latter, during an award ceremony concerning her in 2012, alluded to the city of Bielefeld, before adding: “…if however it exists”.
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Australia, invented by the British
An island larger than the entire European Union cannot exist: this is the theory shared on conspiracy forums since the 2000s, without it being possible to know whether the people in question really believe in it or not. The British, who are said to have exiled tens of thousands of prisoners there, actually invented a fake island where these convicts would live, in order to hide the fact that they were simply being executed.
According to Shelley Floryd, a Facebook user who shared this theory virally on Facebook in 2018, millions of people are keeping this lie alive: When you fly to Australia, you are actually dropped off in Asia or America. , and the locals lie to you about your place of arrival. A variant concerns Tasmania: this island south of Australia is an invention, while Australia itself is very real.
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Wyoming, the false state unveiled by Garfield
Wyoming is the least populated of the 50 American states, and one of the most isolated. To the point that a theory explains that it does not actually exist. But who came up with this idea? The cat Garfield himself. In his 1989 cartoon, the feline hosts in some episodes a television show named It must be true!, in which he cites false information presented as being true, since it is on TV. In one of these episodes, the ginger cat explains that Wyoming was invented at the time of the discovery of America, and its name would actually be an old Italian word meaning “not a state”.
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The theory has since been conveyed in the United States, with unstoppable proof: no one has ever met an inhabitant of Wyoming. The Brazilian state of Acre or the Italian region of Molise are involved in a similar conspiracy due to their relative isolation within the country.
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