The late 20th Century information technologies revolution democratized access to the documentation of violations of both civil and human rights on all levels of government around the globe. The facts of these conspiracies could no longer be hidden by the bottlenecks created by subject matter experts and the traditional news media. Anyone with a library card and the patience to do the reading could discover proof of clandestine government programs related to overthrowing elected governments to impose military dictatorships, unethical mind-control experiments, and innumerable cover-ups and propaganda campaigns. Most of these amateur sleuths had no journalistic training or credentials to assist them in publishing the findings of their research. Those who did attempt to inform others would face intense skepticism, incredulity, and even outright character assassination. Thus was born the popular trope of the mentally ill “conspiracy theorist” scrawling incoherent manifestos while protecting their brain under a tinfoil hat.
In the cosmic horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft, the narrators will often assert that if they told anyone their story they would be considered insane. This statement expresses the manifest truth of the danger of engaging with these theories too credulously. When rabbits dig their burrows, they construct blind turns and false pathways to confound predators. A fox might chase a rabbit down a hole only to wriggle out the other end of the warren having never caught the rabbit.
Due to their labyrinthine quality, the tunnels rabbits dig are an apt namesake for a class of mystery where multiple threads lead to confusing dead-ends. Of course, what cements the concept of a “rabbit-hole mystery” in our collective consciousness is the story of a little girl who stepped down into one and found herself in a bizarre alternate reality. Even individuals with robust mental health can be deeply disturbed by the cognitive dissonance that results from entertaining the possibility any of these conspiracy theories could be true.
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