Conspiracy theories: they’re as fascinating as they are maddening. For every ridiculous idea that the stoner in your life insists on telling you about every time you see him/her, there’s another theory that sounds like it could just be true. Here at Flavorwire this week, we’re investigating conspiracy theories in pop culture: yes, it’s Conspiracy Theory Week! Don’t tell the Illuminati.
The most intriguing of today’s DVD and Blu-ray releases is Room 237, director Rodney Ascher’s ingenious montage documentary showcasing the wildest fan theories about Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. Among them: that the film is an apology for the genocide of the Native American, that it is an examination of the crimes of the Holocaust, and (best of all) that Kubrick helped fake the Apollo moon landings while making 2001, and though he could never tell the truth about that job, he inserted various clues and explanations into The Shining as an apology/confession. Sounds crazy, huh? Well, there’s plenty more, even stranger movie theories floating around the Internet, and since we know how much you love this sort of thing, here’s a few of the odder ones.
The Three Men and a Baby Ghost Theory
Arguably the most famous of these theories, and certainly the oldest — dating back to 1990, when such theories were spread by word of mouth and checked out via VHS (leading to a spike in sales immediately before Three Men and a Little Lady hit theaters, prompting whispers of an altogether different conspiracy at work). Curious parties put their finger on the pause button for the scene where Jack (Ted Danson) is visited by his mother (Celeste Holm). As they walk by one of the many windows in Jack and his buddies’ bachelor pad, a short male figure can be glimpsed, unnoticed, in the background. The story is that the figure is the ghost of a little boy who committed suicide in the apartment where the film was shot. (The grislier variations even hold that he did the deed with a shotgun, which you can see the figure holding if you squint just enough.) The boy’s mother was shocked when she saw the film, and asked Disney to remove the scene; when they refused, she appeared on Geraldo, Donahue, and several other shows to tell the grisly tale before (in some versions) going insane. The trouble with the story, as Snopes points out, is that the movie wasn’t shot in a real apartment building, tainted by suicide or otherwise: it was shot on a Toronto soundstage. The figure in the window is a cardboard cutout of Danson (who plays an actor), leftover from a cut storyline about him doing a dog food commercial.