Conspiracy Theories and Myths: JFK Assassination by CIA, Moon Landing Faked, 911 an Inside Job, Lemmings Jump of Cliffs, and Rolex Restricts Supply to Boost Prices

The (or at least one) definition of Faith is a strongly held conviction or belief that is not based on proof. Faith in a conviction e.g., religion, is a powerful force that can bond many people together for good or for evil. And when somebody has faith in their belief, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to convince them otherwise, e.g., the vast number of Americans that still passionately believe that the last US election was stolen despite absolutely zero evidence to support that.

Another powerful driver of faith, and conspiracy theories, is that human beings are social animals. We are (usually) much stronger and safer living and working in a cohesive group than as individuals. We have evolved to trust (by having faith in) our group or tribe even when the evidence might indicate doubt is called for because that’s generally the safest bet.

Social media has amplified crazy beliefs because now, rather than having that germ of a totally unsubstantiated flaky idea being squashed by those with saner heads around you, you can simply find a new tribe online that makes you feel that if anything, you weren’t thinking crazy enough.

“When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?” is communally attributed to British economist John Maynard Keynes, however it likely came from American economist Paul Samuelson. It’s a great sentiment to live by; however, the fact is that once we have a belief, all the facts in the world are unlikely to change it. It’s called belief perseverance.

Apollo 11 moon landing was staged

When Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon back in 1969, it didn’t take long before a few people had faith in the conspiracy theory that the landing was staged. A conspiracy that the Russians did their best to spread as it made them look bad. However, it was the box office hit film Capricorn One that really caused the moon landing myth to grow.

Even today, when we have a plethora of photos taken by subsequent missions of the Apollo 11 landing site, around 10% of Americans and Brits, 20% of Italians and over 50% of Russians have faith in their conviction that the Apollo 11 moon landing was a conspiracy.

Further reading: Moon landing conspiracy theories, debunked



Lemmings don’t jump off cliffs en masse

If you ask anyone what they know about lemmings (a small Artic rodent), they are likely to reply that they commit mass suicide from time to time by jumping of cliffs en masse. But pre-1958, few people outside the Artic had even hear of lemmings. That changed with the 1958 Disney nature ‘documentary’ White Wilderness that showed apparently migrating lemmings leaping off a cliff in great numbers rather than change their direction.

It turned out that not only didn’t this species of lemming migrate, the wildlife photographer James R. Simon transported the lemmings to the cliff and threw them off to get the shots he wanted.

Despite the facts coming out soon after the film was released, the belief has held for over a half a century. It’s hard to shake a widely held belief, even when there’s absolutely no dispute about the facts.

Further reading: Do Lemmings Really Commit Mass Suicide?

JFK assassination

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 spawned numerous conspiracy theories, most based of the belief (based on conjecture, there’s zero evidence) that he didn’t act alone.

It’s such a well-rooted belief that the official FBI website has a dedicated page stating After conducting some 25,000 interviews and running down tens of thousands of investigative leads, the FBI found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The Warren Commission, which spent nearly a year carefully studying the assassination, agreed.

65% of Americans are thought to believe that the truth still hasn’t just not come out, it is actively being concealed (along with the truth about aliens).

It’s possible that evidence will one day be found (and no, Oliver Stone’s JFK was as much a factual ‘documentary’ as Capricorn One) as , but until then, anyone believing a conspiracy theory is doing so on faith rather than presently known facts.

Further reading: Who Really Killed JFK? After 60 Years and New Clues, the Truth Looks Different



911 Twin Towers

It didn’t take long after the Twin Towers collapsed on 911 for the internet to go crazy with conspiracy theories, many based on the ‘fact’ that it was impossible for the planes to have brought down the buildings.
Even though engineers clearly demonstrated how the innovative construction design at the time led to the collapse, that hasn’t stopped many from believing in the conspiracy theories.

Further reading: Popular Mechanic Special Report: Debunking the 9/11 Conspiracy Theories of the World Trade Center

Water swirling down plug in opposite directions in the northern and southern hemispheres

This one is a myth, not a fact and it’s one I believed for decades: water swirls down a plug hole in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and an anticlockwise direction in the southern hemisphere due to the Coriolis effect.

Hurricane and cyclone rotating in opposite directions (photos courtesy of NASA)

Coriolis animation

While it’s a myth not a conspiracy theory, it is widely believed because, like most conspiracy theories, it includes actual facts. And like most conspiracy theories, those correct facts are wrongly (or deliberately) misinterpreted. The Coriolis force, which causea northern hemisphere hurricanes and southern hemisphere cyclones to rotate in opposite directions, is caused by the earth’s rotation.

But because the earth rotates relatively slowly (once in 24 hours), it is a weak force that in imperceptible except over huge distances like oceans and the atmosphere. In a basin or bath, the shape of the container plays a far greater role and the water will flow in the direction the basin dictates whether clockwise or anticlockwise in either hemisphere. This is one experiment you can safely try at home.

Further reading: Does the direction water rotates down the drain depend on which hemisphere you’re in? Debunking the Coriolis effect in your sink



Rolex and Rolex retailers are deliberately holding back watches to boost prices

This article was inspired by a throwaway line by a collector at Dubai Watch Week 2023. I was talking to Rexhep Rexhepi at the Akrivia booth and, as I was leaving, I had a quick chat to a well-heeled watch collector who had also been visiting Akrivia. He came across to me as a sensible, intelligent young man . . . until he casually said, “Rexhep has worked out how to fix the algorithm, that’s why his watches are so hard to get.

All well as causing millions of deaths and sickness, COVID-19 had a big impact on many areas of society in all parts of the world. And one of the relatively minor effects of the shutdowns was a massive increase in the number of people interested in, and buying, mechanical watches.

This happened across all sectors of the watch market, from the massive Rolex to the tiny independents, all of which experience extremely high demand. And no surprise, the brands were caught out. And as it takes a long time to increase production, demand quickly exceeded supply and many of the popular models of nearly all brands quickly sold out and became hard to get.

Rolex prices on the secondary market (graph courtesy

And again, no surprise, that this caused a significant increase in prices, with many models selling on the secondary market at significant premiums to their retail prices.

But it didn’t take long before the simple demand-exceeds-supply explanation was widely replaced with brands – and being the biggest Rolex featured prominently here – being accused of withholding stocks of watches to boost supply. The fact that if brands had secret stock they could have just sold the watches at a higher price didn’t deter the conspiracy theorists.

Now, while the bubble hasn’t burst, it has certainly deflated, things are getting back to normal, albeit thanks to the COVID-induced increased awareness in mechanical watches, the new normal is still a higher level of demand than the old normal.

Rolex models that were selling way above retail on the secondary market now selling below retail include the Sea-Dweller, Explorer, Yacht-Master, and GMT-Master.

It would surprise me not in the least that reduced demand for these models will lead to even lower demand as many desperately want what they can’t have. There’s nothing like being able to easily get something to dampen or eliminate your desire for it.

Let’s let sanity prevail!

Further reading: Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds and Beliefs Are so Hard to Change?

Your phone is not listening to you

Spurious correlation

Correlation is not causation: I highly recommend looking at the entertaining Spurious Correlations website, which publishes factually correct correlation graphs.

You might also enjoy:

Rolex Case Study: How Many Watches and How Much Money Does Rolex Make?

Flipping Watches: How to Eliminate Both Flipping and the Gray Market

Mixing Money and Watches: A Collector’s Lament on the Current State of Our Hobby

False Scarcity and Steel Sports Watches: A Collector’s View

Watch Goes Up Must Come Down: An Industry Insider’s Top Secret Report . . . Or Is It? Warning: You May Laugh Out Loud

10 replies
  1. J. Quincy Magoo
    J. Quincy Magoo says:

    Conspiracy theory or otherwise, I’d be interested to see where a Submariner Date is selling below retail at this time. At least in good working order.

    • Ian Skellern
      Ian Skellern says:

      Chrono24 has many listing of Submariner Dates in very good condition with original box and papers for around $10,000. And those are asking prices, not selling prices. With demand dropping and Rolex boosting production, prices are likely to fall further.

      • J. Quincy Magoo
        J. Quincy Magoo says:

        I didn’t think that selling prices had come down yet. And there are still no submariners in a rolex store or in an AD. However, rolex will have you wait outside the store in a line so you can be let in at some point to look at watches you are not allowed to buy! Talk about a conspiracy!

      • rileynp
        rileynp says:

        I loved reading your article, thank you for taking the time to go through a good thought experiment like this. However, our facts don’t align as I don’t see any of the current black Submariner Date models for sale on chrono24 for less than a 20% premium over retail. Are you sure you weren’t looking at retired models that came out before the current 126610LN? I would hate for your otherwise excellent article to hit a sour note due to a factual error like this. Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

        • Ian Skellern
          Ian Skellern says:

          You are right, I mistakenly looked at a few superseded models. I will correct that. I expect secondary prices for as new Rolexes to continue to fall over the next 6 months. Time will tell.

          Regards, Ian

          • J. Quincy Magoo
            J. Quincy Magoo says:

            I was beginning to think that you were part of the conspiracy with your saying that submariner date watches had come down below retail pricing.

  2. Tizer
    Tizer says:

    Nobody has been to the moon, Gus grissom wasnt playing ball with it, confirmed by his wife and son scott and betty grissom.

    Dancing Israelis and the complete lack of building material, plus zero sismic readings of the towers impacting the ground-they were infact reflex waves-which is why the reservoir of water from the hudson didnt flood manhattan

  3. Stu
    Stu says:

    The evidence against LHO acting alone or even at all is overwhelming. I don’t think you have done your research. Seems strange that they just stopped going to the moon and haven’t been back for 50 years?


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