Thrive as Holy Scripture: The Emerging Religion of “Conspirituality.”

In a few articles on this site (and also in one on my other blog) I make an argument that the movie Thrive is largely a religious document. It is a statement of faith by Foster Gamble, and a plea to its viewers to adopt the same religious faith, which is a synthesis of New Age concepts, conspiracy theories and far right-wing Libetarian political ideology. Thanks to a recent article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion, not only does this idea have academic support, but the faith that Thrive advances now has a name: “conspirituality.”

In January 2011, two authors—David Voas, a professor at the University of Manchester, and Charlotte Ward, an independent researcher in the field of alternative spirituality—published an article called “The Emergence of Conspirituality” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Contemporary Religion. (The cite is Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 26, No. 1, January 2011, 103-121. The abstract for the article is here but unless you have access to an academic database, you will have to pay to download the full article. If you want to see it for free, I suggest you visit a library that has a subscription to JSTOR or another academic database—it’s well worth your time). Although the article—which I only just recently became aware of—was published eleven months before Thrive’s release, I think it is extremely apposite to the film. In fact, if the article had been published after the film’s release, I have no doubt it would have been discussed as a case study of conspirituality.

The Ward/Voas article was peer-reviewed. That means that knowledgeable researchers in the field of contemporary and comparative religion reviewed drafts of it—their identities not known to the authors—and provided critical comments. Peer review is not infallible, but it is the hallmark of academia and it’s what separates publications like academic journals apart from other publications where material may or may not be independently checked. Most major trade magazines and reputable newspapers employ fact checkers, but academic journals operate on a strict system of review. It’s worth noting that virtually none of the “sources” that Foster Gamble and Thrive rely upon are peer-reviewed—such as the now-infamous, which is the film’s go-to source on crop circles.

What is “Conspirituality”?

The authors of the article have coined a new word—“conspirituality”—to describe what they see as a recently-emerging religion that melds New Age sensibilities and conspiracy theories. The best way to explain it is to quote from the article itself:

“We argue that conspirituality is a politico-spiritual philosophy based on two core convictions, the first traditional to conspiracy theory, the second rooted in the New Age:

(1) A secret group covertly controls, or is trying to control, the political and social order (Fenster).

(2) Humanity is undergoing a ‘paradigm shift’ in consciousness, or awareness, so solutions to (1) lie in acting in accordance with an awakened ‘new paradigm’ worldview.

Conspirituality is a web movement with diffuse leadership and constantly shifting areas of interest.”

In order to understand what this means, you need to understand how the authors define both “New Age” and “conspiracy theory.” Here’s what they say on that:

“[New Age] groups embrace the idea of a person as an integrated whole, with mind, body, and spirit subject to a common set of principles. The second ideology is conspiracy theory. Here one finds a denial of contingency, the discovery of patterns in events that might otherwise seem to be random, and the attribution of agency to hidden forces.”

The article goes on to explain that the central feature of New Age thinking is this idea of “new paradigm” or “new consciousness.” Many, many examples of this belief can be found in many places, and especially on the Internet, from which most of the authors’ examples were drawn. A frequent theme in New Age milieu is the idea that there is a massive shift taking place, or about to take place, in human consciousness. A good example of this type of message is what some people are saying about the “2012” prophecies. While some people literally do believe that the supposed “end” of the Mayan long-count calendar in December 2012 will mean the end of the world, in New Age circles it’s much more common for people to predict some sort of massive consciousness shift. Whitley Strieber, a noted New Age author (and conspiracy theorist) who is most famous for his claims of having been abducted by aliens, makes this sort of argument here.

As for conspiracy theory, well, that’s easy. If you read this blog or have seen Thrive, you know exactly what this means: bizarre, unsupportable and factually bankrupt assertions like the Illuminati or the “Global Domination Agenda,” “false flag” attacks, suppression of free energy, etc. The authors make the interesting point that the conspiracy theorist underground is overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, and usually politically conservative. I’ll return to that point in a little while.

As for how New Age and conspiracy theories go together, I’m going to quote something I published a few months ago. I had an email correspondence with a British academic back in January where he talked about exactly this phenomenon. Here is what he had to say (it’s quoted in this article):

“I suspect that what’s going on is that New Age, now entering its third generation, has developed a theodicy. Now, this is a theological term, but it essentially means an explanation of the existence of evil – why bad things happen to good people. For some of those in the New Age milieu – Foster Gamble, David Icke, Whitley Strieber, Duncan Rhodes and others, all incidentally in middle age and with a long term involvement in the New Age milieu – an explanation is needed as to why, if we’ve entered the Age of Aquarius, is the world less peaceful, equal and progressive than ever? Conspiracy theories offer such a theodicy – the New Age hasn’t happened because evil people prevented it from happening.”

What is an Example of “Conspirituality” In Practice?

One very prominent example cited in the Ward/Voas article is another buzzword that has appeared occasionally on Thrive Debunked: the Zeitgeist Movement. In case you don’t know, the Zeitgeist Movement is an Internet-based organization—many call it a cult, and that term is apposite—which sprang out of the fanbase for the 2007 Internet conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie, and which proposes that the world be remade with something called a “Resource Based Economy,” which is basically late-stage Communism with robots and computers standing in for the dictatorship of the proletariat. By melding conspiracy theories (including “9/11 was an inside job” theories, which were the film’s major selling points) with this sort of new consciousness argument, Zeitgeist’s leader, Peter Joseph Merola, minted one of the most paradigm examples of a conspirituality religious organization. Here’s what the authors say about that:

“The second [example of conspirituality] is weighted towards conspiracy theory. It was taken from the Zeitgeist Movement, a web site promoting global activism connected to Zeitgeist the Movie, a 2007 web movie. Zeitgeist alleges, among other things, that organised religion is about social control and that 9/11 was an inside job. The producers claim that the movie has been viewed 100 million times.

[quoted from the Zeitgeist Movement Facebook page:]

The elite power systems are little affected in the long run by traditional protest and political movements. We must move beyond these ‘establishment rebellions’ and work with a tool much more powerful: We will stop supporting the system, while constantly advocating knowledge, peace, unity and compassion. We cannot ‘‘fight the system’’. Hate, anger and the ‘war’ mentality are failed means for change, for they perpetuate the same tools the corrupt, established power systems use to maintain control to begin with. [. . .]

[Ward/Voas comment:] This could be called a ‘spiritual’ awakening.”

What Does This Have To Do With Thrive?

In a word: everything.

Thrive is an even more obvious and clear graft between New Age ideas and conspiracy theory ideology, which according to Ward and Voas is the definition of conspirituality. This is the point I made in my other blog’s article on how the conspiracy theory world has been changing—and in that article I made the point, several times in fact, that Zeitgeist and the Zeitgeist Movement are the progenitors of Thrive, and most likely the example Foster Gamble was trying to follow. But, just to line up a few factors that I think demonstrate that Thrive exemplifies the Ward/Voas concept of conspirituality, let’s look at this:

  • Thrive telegraphs its New Age associations, and tries to sell itself to a New Age audience, early in the film by heavy use of New Age concepts such as crop circles, ancient aliens and UFO contact.
  • One of Thrive’s central messages is that humanity must have some sort of “paradigm shift” if we are to break out of these horrible conspiracies that Foster Gamble says we suffer from.
  • Thrive’s promotional poster features an image of a woman removing a blindfold. The whole theme of “waking up” surrounds promotion of the film. Additionally, many Thrive supporters who have commented on this blog have advised me to “wake up” or employed similar language to urge me to change my thinking regarding the film.
  • Thrive pretends to impart to its audience hidden knowledge or forbidden knowledge that “they” don’t want you to know.
  • Thrive regards factual support of its conclusions as largely unnecessary. By looking at the ridiculous “Fact Check” section of the Thrive website, one sees right away that any factual support for the movie’s assertions is perfunctory, poorly-researched and shoddily done. The message is that it’s faith and belief, rather than facts and evidence, that make the difference between swallowing Thrive’s message and rejecting it.
  • The middle section of the film churns as many conspiracy theories as it possibly can, as fast as it can, and with as few facts cluttering the presentation as possible. It is obvious that this section of the film was built as a sort of “big umbrella” to welcome into the Thrive milieu as many conspiracy theorists as possible by appealing to a very wide range of disparate (and often mutually exclusive) theories.
  • The final section of Thrive purports to offer “solutions” to the problems it identifies. Its solutions either consist of ending the conspiracies, or implementing far right-wing Libertarian political ideology such as abolishing taxes, abolishing education, etc.
  • Thrive and its milieu exist mostly on the Internet. Like the Zeitgeist Movement, to the extent there even is a “Thrive Movement,” it is almost totally web-based. As the article makes clear, the Internet is overwhelmingly the main channel for proselytizing the conspirituality religion.

If the Zeitgeist Movement is a paradigm example of an organization offering a conspirituality religious message, I can see little doubt that Thrive would also qualify. The British researcher I talked to put it in very stark terms. Thrive asks the question, “Why hasn’t this New Age consciousness shift occurred?” and then answers it by pointing a finger at the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and “bankers” and says, “It hasn’t happened because they prevented it.”

An Interesting Angle: Foster & Kimberly Gamble and the Gender Issue.

The Ward/Voas article makes a very interesting point about the gender dynamic within the emerging religion of conspirituality. I hope they won’t mind if I quote them again, because they say it better than I could:

“Notwithstanding these shared principles, there is a wide gulf between the ordinary understandings of conspiracy theory and the [New Age] milieu. The former is male-dominated, often conservative, generally pessimistic, and typically concerned with current affairs. The latter is predominantly female, liberal, self-consciously optimistic, and largely focused on the self and personal relationships. It is therefore far from obvious how a confluence of these two streams could be produced.”

I argue that the husband and wife team of Foster and Kimberly Gamble represents a living example of the union between these previously incompatible belief systems. Foster Gamble, obviously male, seems to be very conservative politically; he believes, for example, that taxation is theft (a classic Libertarian idea) and in Thrive he even denounces the very idea of democracy as a form of tyranny and oppression. [Note: in this discussion I am not conflating political conservatism with support of the mainstream Republican Party in the U.S. I am not alleging that Mr. Gamble is a Republican, just that he espouses at least some politically conservative ideas. They’re not the same thing, though they overlap to some degree]. Clearly Mr. Gamble is concerned with current affairs, and his outlook is relentlessly pessimistic, at least regarding the current state of the world. Kimberly Gamble, by contrast, is shown in Thrive as more of a touchy-feely figure. Her subjects of discussion regard holistic healing, health issues, etc. Also note that in the film Mrs. Gamble generally appears in a much more optimistic-looking setting (a home-like room drenched with light) whereas Foster Gamble usually appears, through bluescreen effects, to be hovering in a dark space.

I believe the husband-and-wife presentation of Thrive was carefully calculated to appeal to both sides of the conspirituality coin. A male figure who speaks well and appears friendly gives the message about evil conspiracies, then recommends the implementation of far right-wing Libertarian political ideology as a potential solution. A female figure, conveying a softer tone, speaks of personal issues and seems well-connected to the New Age milieu. Her message, even more than Mr. Gamble’s, seems to hinge upon belief and faith rather than fact and evidence.

Even beyond the gender dynamic, I believe there is also a generational dynamic. Foster Gamble is in his 50s. He claims in at least one interview to have learned about the principles of conspiracy thinking from his son, who must be in his 20s or 30s. That demographic—white males in their 20s and 30s, or even teens—are the key consumers of conspiracy theory material, which can be witnessed by noting that the overwhelming majority of members of the conspiracy-minded Zeitgeist Movement fall into this category. Foster and Kimberly Gamble may be positioning themselves as sort of a “mother and father” team, administering their philosophy to a global family of New Agers and conspiracy theorists.

The Future?

If Thrive is an exemplar of a conspirituality religious text, what does this mean for the future? How do those of us who still live in the rational world deal with the emergence of conspirituality?

I don’t know the answer to this. I find it interesting that academics are now beginning to study the phenomena that we (those of us who debunk conspiracy theories) have been noting for the past few years, the trend of groups and individuals, like Foster Gamble or Zeitgeist’s Peter Joseph, to use conspiracy theories as a marketing tool to gain adherents to a political, social or religious philosophy. That’s the change I wrote about in my article in February. Does this development make movies like Thrive more or less dangerous, divisive, harmful and irresponsible?

I think it might depend on how conspirituality continues to develop. If it becomes very clear to most people that what Thrive espouses is a religious belief system, people and society at large may come to accept it on those terms, which is fine. Some Christians believe the world was created in six 24-hour days, about 6,000 years ago; many Mormons believe that Joseph Smith actually found golden plates and that a civilization called the Nephites lived in what is now the western U.S. These are accepted as religious beliefs. If adherents of conspirituality believe that 9/11 was an inside job and that aliens create crop circles, I suppose it’s not so bad so long as people realize that these are religious beliefs, which exist in the realm of unfalsifiable phenomenon—faith, essentially—and do not rise to the level of empirical matters that must be proven by actual facts and evidence.

On the other hand, if adherents of conspirituality reject the conclusion that what they’re espousing are religious beliefs, and continue to insist that the things they believe are true as a matter of objective fact—and demand that society act on those matters as if they were fact—I could see this becoming a major societal problem in the decades to come. As a practical matter I don’t them agreeing passively that what they’re peddling is a religion. Believers in the Zeitgeist Movement, to use that as an example again, emphatically reject any suggestion that the organization they follow is a cult or some sort of quasi-religious belief system; they insist it’s based on fact, and they usually insist that the conspiracy theories upon which their movement is based are also facts.

Conversely, the vast majority of Thrive fans who have posted comments critical of this blog seem to believe, for whatever bizarre reason, that the assertions contained in the movie are factual, though I admit that many of them seem more interested in arguing the efficacy of the film’s or the filmmakers’ proposed solutions—the spiritual meat of conspirituality, in a sense—more than the facts. (This is why I get so many comments to the effect of, “Well, what are you doing to save the world?” or “Why don’t you do something more productive with your time?”) As I pointed out in my February article, the arena in which traditional fact-based debunkers have been battling conspiracy theorists over the past few years is rapidly shrinking—largely because conspiracy theorists have come to care less and less about, and swayed less and less by, matters of fact and evidence. It’s the faith and the beliefs that are important to them, not the facts. That’s a world I would rather not live in, but unfortunately I think that’s the world we’re headed for.


The main point of this article is this: I hypothesized some time ago that Thrive is essentially a religious text, proffering beliefs that are probably more correctly classified as tenets of faith rather than matters of fact, and I believe the Journal of Contemporary Religion article lends support to this hypothesis. Furthermore, the Ward/Voas article gives us a name for this emerging religion—conspirituality—and begins to lay an analytical framework for us to understand it.

Boiled down to its core essence, it’s a rather simple equation. New Age beliefs plus conspiracy theories equals conspirituality, a religious belief, and the Internet is conspirituality’s church. I think everyone who sees Thrive should be aware that, when they hear Mr. Gamble’s soothing voice and watch pretty CGI images of glowing purple space donuts, they may well be taking part in a sort of high-tech mass—an initiation rite into a new religious belief system. This system is not an organized church in any traditional sense, but I think the signs are becoming ever more clear that it is a religion, or starting to become one. Where this belief system will take its adherents in the future, no one yet knows.

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44 responses to “Thrive as Holy Scripture: The Emerging Religion of “Conspirituality.””

  1. Mr. Anon says :

    The Thrivers won’t like to see this… Brace yourself, Muertos. I predict we’ll see personal attacks appear in the comments.

    • muertos says :

      As if being called stupid, closed-minded, a collaborator, a Nazi, retarded, evil, dangerous, and a paid disinformation agent isn’t a personal attack? I say, bring it on.

      • Gerhard says :

        After reading the debunking blog, muertos , the things you say has no real value, and what you have done for society and people are recommended, but, the real way of contributing to all and the planet, is to raise consciousness. We have to live as higher conscious Beings. And that is why mr Gamble has my full support for this film and its causes.

    • Hope says :

      This article is obviously an attempt to undermined the facts. The truth set you free. Thrive not only is right on and continues to grow. The solution groups are more and more active. Eat your heart out.

      • anticultist says :

        Don’t get mad at me for giving you an advanced told you so when you are sat re reading this last post of yours when as an old age pensioner. Thrive is nothing but a bad internet fad you fell for.and time will prove me correct and you stupid.

      • mattybed says :

        Totally agree with you buddy. Government trolls created this site

  2. 2012ctt says :

    I think Meurtos as well as everybody else on skeptic project have dealt with people involved in Conspirituality religious groups before. It comes with the territory . Unlike the leader/members involved in this Conspirituality religious sects Muertos nor I or anybody on skeptic project claim to be able to change the world through a utopia or in general, or claim to be a guru. Therefore attacking such skeptics who debunk using logic and reason does nothing besides bring attention to a blog (or whatever it is) as well as expose those people who are in the Conspirituality religious sect to a outside audience.

    Muertos would you say that people within a Conspirituality religious group/movement often spam random websites with there newly founded ideological belief systems as well as attempt to counter people who are critics of there belief system?

  3. Nameless says :

    Muertos: another spot-on post. I’d like to track down that Journal of Contemporary Religion piece.

    It strikes me that ‘New Age’ is really just a consumer lifestyle driven by marketing of re-hashes of various religious traditions. Its merging with conspiracy theory culture is only to compensate for the fact that since people started banging on about a ‘New Age’ earlier in the 20th Century and it hasn’t come about then conspiracies are a convenient way of appealing to the already mystified and superstitious attitude of the average New Age consumer and explaining why no actual ‘new age’ has come about. And of course many conspiracy theories have a paranormal dimension which is already part and parcel of the New Age.

    Historically, New Ageism most often connects with conspiracism in the context of UFO cults and origins of UFO cults are such that many if not all promote extreme right-wing ideologies. As has been pointed out, conspiracism usually tends to mask a right-wing libertarian political outlook — but this is also convenient in terms of marketing of New Age balderdash. The apparently ‘spiritual’ paradigm of New Ageism, which is just a consumer product, in order for it to thrive as a product, ideally has to operate in a ‘free market’ in which anyone is at liberty to sell any old fraudulent crap and make money off it without being made subject to quality control, democratic consumer rights or any legal or governmental constraints.

  4. Antonio Monsegue says :

    You should probably find a better source for “conspirituality”… That article by Ward/Voas was proven to have incorrect and, possibly, misleading source material… Try the one written by Charles Elliot… He always verifies all his sources before publishing…

  5. fuljat says :

    You can see the whole article more or less with stuff on something called tribes tribes net….

  6. davidvoas says :

    I appreciate the thoughtful commentary – it’s always good to see articles in scholarly journals discussed in a more accessible forum. And to return the compliment, I’m in awe of the time and effort you put into this work – I’d have given up long ago.

    • muertos says :

      Dr. Voas, thank you very much for commenting, and thanks for the compliment on the site! I really appreciate it, and I wish you the best with your future research on these topics.

  7. muertos says :

    This comment was emailed to me by someone who wishes to be known as Mark. He had technical trouble posting the comment, so he asked me via email that I post it for him. As per the comments policy, I will do so. WordPress does occasionally stop legitimate comments from being posted.


    Fascinating. Not sure what I expected from the Ward/Voas paper, but having read it, it was an excellent overview of notable New Age proponents who also promote conspiracy theories; a very convincing case for conspirituality. Happy to see Dr. Voas here, and hopefully this feedback will be useful to him in some way. Excellent footnotes and references, especially Barkun’s “A Culture of Conspiracy,” which goes into more detail on David Icke, and the evolution of New Age beliefs in the 1900’s particularly in relation to UFOs. I found a copy here:

    Click to access A%20Culture%20Of%20Conspiracy%20-%20Michael%20Barkun.pdf

    A few questions: To what extent do conspiracy theories appearing on New Age web sites correlate with their acceptance among New Age audiences? What percentage of people who identify with New Age beliefs profess belief in any particular conspiracy theory? Is there data that certain conspiracy beliefs are held among New Agers at a higher rate than the general population (for example, do 80% of New Agers believe in chemtrails conspiracies, versus perhaps 5% of non-New Agers)? Such statistics would help indicate just how strongly conspirituality has become rooted in New Age spiritual circles.

    Given the “web ethnography” method described, it would be hard to miss Icke, Wilcock, and Project Camelot as some of the foremost conspirituality proponents. Have Icke and Wilcock ever met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like, so long as they can weave it into their fear the Illuminati/NWO narrative? You were quite kind in your references to David Wilcock’s work; a mention of his past heavy LSD use, and his belief that he is the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, would give a wider perspective on his claims of “spiritual awakenings and contact with extraterrestrials.” Regarding offline precursors to conspirituality, consider Art Bell’s “Coast To Coast AM” show dates back to the late 80’s, and routinely covered conspiracy theories, as well as paranormal and pseudoscientific subjects of interest to New Agers; regular guests included David Wilcock and Zecharia Sitchin, popular among the New Age crowd, to conspiracy heavyweights such as Alex Jones and Richard Hoagland. A Dec. 12, 1992 show panders to the notion that humans were genetically engineered by ETs, for example. Coast To Coast also helped set the incredibly low bar for plausibility or acceptance of fringe beliefs, a tradition apparently embraced by the conspirituality site, which describes its content thusly:

    “Discover the many choices you have to acquire arcane knowledge, learn hidden truths, explore controversy and conspiracy, delve into the New Age and develop your spiritual awareness.”

    BBSRadio is a mind-numbing mix of web radio shows containing every flavor of New Age esoteric beliefs to HAARP, Chemtrail, Agenda 21, and NWO/Illuminati conspiracy theories. Any ̶c̶r̶a̶n̶k̶ wannabe radio host can get their own bi-monthly show for just a few hundred dollars a year, with no pesky editors to ̶f̶a̶c̶t̶ ̶c̶h̶e̶c̶k̶ censor interesting content. I tried to use the wayback machine at to search BBSRadio to see how many years they’ve been promoting conspiracy content, but has no back records (no) thanks to a robots.txt file prohibiting archives on the site. A (dis)honorable mention goes to, which has been promoting New Age news mixed with creative conspiracy theories for over a decade, including the old NESARA conspiracy which refuses to die. Their daily email alerts have promoted conspirituality for at least 10 years now.

    My observation is that there are 2 basic types of New Age web sites, those that are group-oriented or news-oriented that aim to spread various esoteric New Age beliefs and related news, versus the New Wage ones that are selling some sort of New Age service or product, such as books, channelings, tarot readings, astrological readings, reiki, distance healing, “activations” etc. The latter tend to be sole proprietors, almost always involving some gimmick or specialty in whatever technique they advertise to distinguish themselves from other New Wagers offering similar services. Those selling a service or product almost never promote conspiracies on their web sites. Maybe it has to do with the New Age taboo on negativity, or anything perceived as negative, the idea that “negative focus
    attracts or energises negativity,” (a fancy way to justify denial). Those with chat rooms or forums, such as Wilcock’s and Icke’s web sites, or lightworkers org, for example, are filled with the usual alerts about HAARP, chemtrails, Agenda 21, YouTube videos predicting imminent disaster, and Alex Jones drivel. Dr. Voas, if you’re reading this, did you notice anything similar in your research? Does conspirituality present itself primarily where New Agers exchange news and ideas, rather than services and products?

    I think it would have been helpful and instructive to identify approximately when certain conspiracy theories began to circulate in the New Age community. Specifically, for example, paranoid beliefs about HAARP, chemtrails, Agenda 21, and shapeshifting reptilian NWO types (the first two, of course, promoted by the Thrive movie). I don’t recall any such mention of these beliefs 10 or 15 years ago among New Agers I’ve known. (Although, Barkun’s book has numerous examples of the evolution of the reptilian theme.) Only in the past 18 months or so have I noticed New Age groupthink jumping on the “Agenda 21 is evil” bandwagon, despite the UN’s Agenda 21 being passed 20 years ago, and available for anyone to read on the UN’s web site. While mentions of chemtrails in alternative print journals goes back at least as far as 1999, its only in the past 5 years or so that I have heard more widespread acceptance of chemtrail conspiracies among New Age groups; here are couple early examples from 1999 and 2001:

    Skimming through the indexes by year of The Star Beacon website, one finds that it has been promoting conspiracies (specifically UFO-related) to New Age audiences since 1987; in 1996, they added conspiracies about HAARP and Nikola Tesla (in the past few years, Tesla conspiracy theories also gained wide acceptance in New Age circles). is a sort of New Age forum open to anyone; the web site opened in May of 2003. Google suggests its “custom range” date search feature’s accuracy is best for pages indexed from 2001 to present. Using Google’s advanced search feature and tools, including the “custom range” feature on search dates, to date there are 1500 references to HAARP (conspiracies) on, yet the first mention of HAARP (as a mind control device) there was August 1, 2007. A similar search of shows the word HAARP first appearing around March 24, 2006 (can’t verify this via Google’s cache or though), with over 700 hits by April 1, 2007 (shortly after the Icke web site added open user forums for discussion). Wilcock’s web site first mentions HAARP in its user forums on April 8, 2007. The earliest mention of HAARP on was Feb. 17, 2007 by a Henry Deacon, followed by January 27, 2008 by Richard Hoagland, and March 30, 2008 by Benjamin Fulford. Project Camelot has web pages dating back to early 2002. Earliest mention of HAARP on all 4 web sites: late March 2006, regularly discussed on David Icke’s web site by 2009.

    As for the word chemtrail or chemtrails (Google is indexing them differently), it first appeared on Feb. 14, 2008, although the alert that was shared was dated from 2000, signed by “Blue Skies International” though the [mis]information seems to originate from A mention first appeared in David Icke’s forums on Jan. 10, 2007, and only 3 months later there were almost 700 mentions in the forums (pre-2007 Google hits for chemtrail on Icke’s site are questionable; none appear in Google’s cache to verify, and first shows Icke’s forums becoming active in early 2007, unsure if Icke had user forums prior to that). Chemtrail first appeared on David Wilcock’s web site April 15, 2007, but with only 63 overall hits through today 7/19/2012 (versus 79,900 hits on David Icke’s site through present day). Project Camelot has a single mention on Sept. 19, 2002 from a Dan Burisch interview, but the next mention there wasn’t until Oct. 6, 2006, and a total of 29 hits through present day. Again, David Icke’s site is far and away the #1 promoter of chemtrails to a New Age audience here.

    The phrase “Agenda 21” was first mentioned on Mar. 5, 2010, with a total of 11 Google results through present day. The sinister Agenda 21 conspiracy belief (as opposed to the actual, benign UN Agenda 21) was first promoted on David Icke’s web site on Aug. 6, 2006, and links to a xenophobic screed by Joyce Morrison (Agenda 21 conspiracy theories have gotten much weirder since then). Few mentions of Agenda 21 appeared there until someone tacked on a rumor of forced global depopulation, linked to reptilian influence, of course. Still, with a total of only 430 hits to date on the phrase, that’s relatively little discussion compared to HAARP and chemtrail conspiracies. Perhaps that’s because anyone can go to the UN’s web site and read for themselves that the sinister Agenda 21 beliefs are conspicuously absent from the actual document’s text. David Wilcock’s site doesn’t seem to endorse Agenda 21 conspiracy theories…only one mention by someone in a comment. Similarly for Project Camelot. Conspiracy web sites that are pretty much devoid of New Age content, such as Alex Jones Infowars, Jeff Rense, GodLikeProductions, and Above Top Secret are overflowing with Agenda 21 nonsense. Still, I personally know at least 4 New Agers (bless their deluded souls) that have recently imbibed in the imaginary Agenda 21 kool aid, and are completely unable to discuss it on any factual or rational level, even refusing to read the actual text on the UN’s web site, so it seems to slowly be gaining some acceptance within New Age circles. The Southern Poverty Law Center mentions some of its proponents here:

    Clearly this method is only as useful as the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of Google’s indexing, but could provide a starting point for searching New Age periodicals by date for confirmation. Some numbers may be inflated due to the way Google indexes discussion threads and reindexes older web pages. Specifically, a web page first indexed in 2001, but which first added references to chemtrails in 2005, and reindexed, is sometimes counted by Google as having first mentioned chemtrails in 2001; thus, if anything, total counts would be skewed slightly higher the older the cutoff date is for date-specific searches. This method also doesn’t have any metric to adjust for the explosion in web-based content from 2000 to 2012, which would also account for more hits in recent years. A clear description of exactly how Google indexes web pages in the date range search would help verify the accuracy and limits of this approach; I was unable to find a detailed description of how Google indexes and searches for web pages given specific date ranges. Still, it does help pinpoint the start date that certain conspiracy theories were first introduced to various New Age web sites.

    A slightly more generic search could be conducted using the phrase “New Age” and also searching on the word chemtrails using date ranges, but the phrase “New Age” is also a common cliche that appears commonly in a non-spiritual usage. Better to use the New Age specific term Lightworker and conspiracy keywords with date specific searches. A date range specific search using the words lightworker and HAARP shows a huge increase between 2009 and 2010; specifically, between 8/1/2009 and 9/1/2009. A search on the word lightworker and a random word such as combustion yields a total 713 hits through today, versus the 34,200 hits using the words lightworker and HAARP (some topics are trendier in New Age discussions than others). Try experimenting on a search using the words “lightworker” and “conspiracy” (or “Tesla”) between 2000 and 2012, and see where the usage of the word conspiracy or Tesla takes off on New Age web sites.

    If these date-specific trends can be confirmed, it would indicate that while exposure of New Agers to certain conspiracies (HAARP, chemtrails, Agenda 21) can be traced back to the early to mid 1990’s, widespread acceptance of these conspiracies is apparent on most New Age web sites only in the last 5 years or so.

    Finally, if resource(s) exists documenting the presentations and content of various New Age expos over the past 20 years or so, further precursors to web-based conspirituality and its evolution could be confirmed.

    • panthervariable says :

      Something about these conspiracy “movements” reminds me a lot of multi-level marketing (pyramid schemes, basically), which in the modern day also has a lot of New Age ties. In fact a lot of promoters for new age beliefs seem to have MLM promoters, something discussed on Cosmic Connie’s Whirled Musings.

  8. Professor Pious says :

    Good grief. Talk about conspirituality…only 2 days and some New Agers are claiming the Colorado shootings were “staged by the government.” [Insert Facepalm here.] They’re circulating claims made by Alex Jones and Mike Adams of Naturalnews. Surprise, surprise, David Icke’s web site added the Naturalnews claims yesterday, and of course, someone else posted the came on the Project Camelot forums. No evidence necessary, just rampant speculation and paranoia. It seems like a cognitive diet rich in conspiracy beliefs leads to a reflexive tendency to view all current events through conspiracy goggles.

  9. Professor Pious says : has a bunch of reviews of the THRIVE DVD (NTSC). Here’s a few entertaining highlights from the 1 through 3 star reviews:

    “It’s just weird as all get out. It’s a mixture of Ancient Aliens, Alex Jones, Ron Paul, interlaced with dashes of Krishna and martial arts.” -Jay

    “…Gamble describes an oligarchy of evil and malevolent intent. He’s going in the right direction describing abuses of power and aggrandizement of the same. Then he charges right off the cliff. Funny how many Lemmings went with him giving the film five stars.” -Waviator

    “My jaw dropped when the movie made the fallacious point that the sub-prime loan meltdown was orchestrated by this ‘global elite’ conspiracy.” -Jake WIlco

    “Is this rich heir to the uber-wealthy Proctor and Gamble fortune just looking to indoctrinate the progressive/ spiritual/ community into extreme libertarianism in order to ensure his wealth and elite status? I really don’t think so, although this argument could certainly be made. It is clear, though, that Thrive is a slick piece of propaganda.” -Jake Wilco

    “This film consists of 99% pseudoscience, conspiracy theories and lies – the remaining 1% is critics about capitalism. It can only serve as entertainment for the uneducated and unscientific person believing in everything you present with cheap FX effects and self proclaimed experts. Carl Sagan would turn in his grave and add 50 chapters to “The Demon Haunted World” after watching this movie.” -Christian Holata

    “Thrive is visual and ideological kitsch with unicorns and rainbows on our side and black-suited, menacing thugs in ski-masks on “theirs”; appealing to open minds is the means of snake-oil peddlers and threateningly demanding for it is that of paranoids.” -Azazello

    “Not a shred of concrete scientific evidence is presented in this smoke and mirrors nonsense with a presenter who is nothing short of a snake oil salesman.” -A. Rezanov

    “Incredible the amount of money invested in this rough work. Look like they are intoxicated by his own fantasy. Is it possible to gave a zero?” -C. A. Lovatto

    Here’s a few snippets from the 5 star reviews:

    “…a combination call-to-arms and Disney ride.” -TroughtonFan

    “All you need is an open mind and open eyes and open ears.” -Factfinder

    (Every cult, New Age guru, and LGAT opens with this sales pitch.)

    “I woke up 4 1/2 years ago after discovering and listening to Alex Jones and his hundreds of informative and knowledgeable guests.” -Kevin J. Copenhagen

    (How embarrassing for you.)


    (Alternative wording used by cults, New Age gurus, and LGATs to promote and sell their agenda.)

    “Thrive was like finding a “hundredth monkey” link because the vision and concepts presented by the Gambles echoed those of my own consciousness and awareness.” -Janet Florence McCormack

    Funny how all those New Agers and life coaches who continue to perpetuate the 100th Monkey Effect myth fail to realize it was debunked back in 1985. Following an investigation by Ron Amundson of the Skeptical Inquirer, author Lyall Watson admitted to making the phenomenon up:

    • Chris B. says :

      I am not on either side of this debate. Just dropped by to tell Prof Pious that your post does little to nothing to further your side. In examining the site, then looking at your examination of the reviews, it is quite obvious you cherry pick the most rational reviews against, and the most irrational reviews for, the film. Also, the way you let the ‘rational’ negative reviews speak for themselves, then feel the need to ‘subnote’ the irrational 5star reviews to point out the lack of logic or how tired the argument is, is just pitifully biased. My question is, what exactly is your post trying to accomplish? You won’t sway anyone on the fence with this kind of subjective bias, and of course people on your side will say ‘Amen’ before you even speak, and people hardlining the other side would just as easy reject you outright than even bother reading your slanted response. Just my two cents.

  10. dailydisorder says :

    Have you seen Chris White’s film debunking David Icke? The mentality behind much of the “new age” beliefs are the teachings of theosophist Alice Ann Bailey who founded Lucifer Publishing and the Lucis Trust whose World Goodwill organization used to be on consultative status with the UN. Last I checked, their consultative status had expired; however, they still have offices on Wall Street, in London, and Switzerland. If you google them, you will find a page in their philosophy “The Esoteric Meaning of Lucifer” where they glorify the “fallen solar angel” Lucifer. Alice Ann Bailey was pro Nazi during WWII. If you’re wondering who is behind this. I quote the Saturday night church lady – “Could it be…SATAN?!?”

    • The Teraphim says :

      Alice A. Bailey was re-interpreting Theosophist doctrine of the time. She made some apparently anti-Semitic comments in ‘Externalization of the Hierarchy’ but was a friend of, and promoted Robert Assagioli, who was Jewish and had a significant impact on modern psychology.

    • Thomas says :

      New Age occultism and witchcraft or demon control and spiritualism all has some basis in older religions and even Judaism.
      I have followed a lot of this from a curiosity perspective trying to find the roots for this and there are some amazing links. Where to start? If we start with the Alien concept as David Icke promotes, this goes back more than 6,000 years perhaps as some claim up to 50,000 years. Annunaki or some reptilian race creating man even now pushed by some scholars regarding the Egyptians originally being visited by alien Gods. They were using humans as slaves or worker drones to mine for Gold.
      Interesting to note that some of the evidence that is presented are not only the runes and ancient writing but also the structures that still (As claimed) transmit some sort of frequency that can be measured and interferes with GPS signals in Africa. The Stone Henge and the Pyramids and some ancient calendars that have all been built to face and align with certain magnetic locations that correspond and align with star or astral locations. The Pyramids have been a mystery until recently when as Nikola Tesla had suggested a long time ago it was discovered that they were a sort of Microwave transmitter again pointing to and correlating with Astral bodies. Perhaps there are some facts here as it makes more sense than just having huge Pharaoh burial structures that do nothing? Keep in mind that most ancient and some modern people and civilisations have been intrigued by the after life and immortality. We still have the Eugenics and DNA scientists and Doctors looking into human life prolonging possibilities. Immortal jelly fish and oceanic as well as plant life that can clone it self and the case of a crab that can live for extremely long periods under natural habitats where it is not killed, The record was caught and weighed in at 44.6 pounds. As crabs age 4 years per pound of body mass the largest crab caught would have been over 178 years old. For the African stuff look up Michael Tellinger and on the Religious side Professor Walter J Veith. Then we have the Christian and Cabala and Torah as well as the Book Of Enoch that was not included in the Bible. Genesis as far as we know from the Garden of Eden had Adam and Eve as the first God created people. Yet there were others including giants outside of Eden. Adams first wife was Lillith she was created from the bad earth and was extremely independent as such did not want to obey Adam and left the Garden of Eden refusing to return. She was labelled as the mother of demons and later Lucifer’s wife. After this Adam was put to sleep and god created Eve from Adams rib.
      The Catholic Church had a few orders including the Jesuit order, from this we had the Templar or a break away that created the Free Mason order. Geoff Pike a 33 degree Free Mason started the Seven Day Adventist Church his wife was heavily involved in the occult. The Free Masons believe that through initiations every man can attain the Christ state of consciousness.
      The Satanic part is a bit of a mystery to me as I fail to see how the Masons can have so many books and so much information and yet still believe that Satan is a God? We know he was a fallen angel but not a God? The Bohemian Grove has a giant owl as the alter where they pray and as a coincidence Lillith was capable of turning her self into an Screetch Owl so the Bohemian Grove may have a screech owl or Lillith the mother of demons as their deity?
      There are some countries with North Star and the crescent moon used for the flag. Ancient symbolism has been used repeatedly through out history. Ancient knowledge and religious have been kept as secrets from the general public as the power of knowledge was seen as something that could be used for the advantage of the groups that had it. Strange that some of the worlds best known leaders were religious or believed in the occult. As an example Hitler. The swastika is an ancient cross (The black cross) used in some Asian Religions and even by the order of the Templars but Prior to that during the Greek empire the swastika was used by the Persian or some Eastern European country. Can be bothered to fact check.

      Another ancient belief amongst many even used by the Catholic Church is the humble Pine Cone this represents the third eye or the pineal gland. Now we have the conspiracy theory that the fluoride calcifies the pineal gland and this is the reason our water is being fluoridated as Sodium Fluoride was used on mental patients in the early fifties to pacify them or dulcify them. Interestingly enough Fluoride can not be dumped into rivers, and water ways as it is considered toxic waste and heavy fines can be imposed for offending companies yet we can drink it?

      Some Councils and states are taking steps to ban fluoride in drinking water, China claims that they have tested its effects on children and that in general children that have consumed fluoridated water have been found to be 10% lower in IQ compared with those that have not. They do not have fluoride in their drinking water neither do a lot of European Countries.
      Apparently the Pineal gland controls the functions of higher thought process?
      Just another conspiracy theory that has claimed medical facts and research behind d it?

      But as all these things can have both sides to them we have a choice to either believe or disbelieve.
      In addition, look at the Vaccination issue we know that Vaccinations have saved a lot of lives and yet some have had side effects. As an example of one company that has been in the spot light Merck as the pain killer VIOXX has been responsible for a lot of deaths. Merck makes Gardasil or the HPV Vaccination.
      Japan has according to WND pulled the Gardasil or HPV Vaccinations due to 2,00 adverse effects including deaths for some girls it was given to. 10/ 01/ 2013 article. The funny thing is when people like Bill Gates openly state in an conference that “Vaccinations would be a great way to control the world population and reduce the carbon foot print of the world”? Talk about shooting your self in the foot and did he get media coverage after that people even laughed at him. But he seemed genuine? He even had a formula that described how it would work. ;-(
      Not every one takes humour the same way, some actually believe it. :-0

  11. Daniel says :

    Her’s a real torus if anyones interested…

  12. anon says :

    Once I read “far right-wing Libertarian political ideology” I knew you are an unintelligent person and I stopped reading your liberal, welfare-state ideas, especially since you have no idea whatsoever about the reason why the US was created and why they revolted against England. I supposed the education system and mainstream media (everything on TV, Radio, twitter, facebook, etc.) is to blame on not yourself.

    • Lee says :

      Whatever you call Muertos ideas doesn’t change the facts that most of Thrive “Ideas” are nothing more than or based on conspiracy theories.

    • Anastasio says :

      Revolted against England?!!!

      Muertos has a background in history anon; you I can tell, certainly do not!

  13. ant says :

    The idea that Thrive and the Zeitgeist moment, are linked in any way other than target audience is ridiculous, it also seems you are confusing the first Zeitgeist film with the Zeitgeist movement. you don’t seem to realise how many genuine people, and how much genuine hard work this is attempting to discredit, and though your research is moderately accurate in some areas,(concerning the thrive movement, agendas and inaccuracies, and overlaps with new age philosophies) in others, its shrouded in fallacies, opinions, bad research and disinformation,(specifically your false idea of what the Zeitgeist movement represents, and ideas of Peter Joseph as some kind of leader, if you did your research you would know that its a leaderless movement) … to present this article as if it is in some way a factual document is a disservice to rationalism and your initial point of dis-bunking baseless paranoia and conspiracy theories. please email me I’d be more than welcome to give you a detailed explanation backed by hundreds of sources as to why, much of the content of your articles is based on nothing more than sensationalist and generalist belief’s you have about the thoughts of, what is really very diverse and intelligent group of people. p.s. please watch the following vid, it may give you a more up to date idea of the type of issues addressed, by Peter Joseph, and many others in the movement, i can assure you conspiracy theories are the last of anyone’s priorities.

  14. NO ONE TO VOTE FOR says :

    The new ‘religion’ you identify should fit very neatly with ‘Holocaustianity’…….you know………the other one.

  15. norubit says :

    Whoever wrote this article was paid by the criminals owners of the corporations who are killing the planet and suppressing and slaveing human kind !!!

  16. Critical thinking is never bad says :

    One more thing i would like to add to your shitty little blog, if i would have gone to 100 americans that share your view on things in the 1970’s and told them “look, i think the government is testing biological and radioactive agents on you in diferent cities of the country, what do you think?’ I would have probably gotten cussed out and ‘debunked’ by some stupid argument that ‘thats not possible, cause people would never do that to eachother, get the fuck out of here you loonie conspiracy theorist nut’
    and yet now we have declassified documents that PROVE beyond a doubt, that the americans tested these weapons ON THEIR OWN POPULATION.
    debunk that, asshole.

    • conspiracykiller says :

      This is known as Hindsight bias in real critical thinking circles.

      You need evidence to make your claims true, not a completely separate instance that has fuck all to do with your claims. Grab a hold of your hat before it blows away with your brain in the breeze.

    • Thomas says :

      Maybe they would have debunked you but remeber the 60ties and 70ties were Flower Power and protest against Vietnam and a whole range of other issues. The advantage now is the Internet. Now we can waste time reading and posting comments on sites like this. And although there are the Thrive debunkers it actually serves as an educational and often informative medium. View with objectivness.
      And in a sense is self defeating. For one example I found out about project Starfish in the 1962 period where the US Government or Military test detonated one or two Nuclear rockets bigger than the ones used on Japan in the Van Allen Belt.
      I wonder if Mr Al Gore knew about this? And if he had shares for his Bllod and Gore Pty Ltd Investment company in any alternate Air Conditioning Gas as the claim that the CFC’s were causing holes in the ozone layer by the old gas we used that was better and lasted longer? Maybe the concept of following the money has some valid claim? I wonder how the Nuclear explosions effected the Ozone layer? And the Earths Magnetic Field? Since scientific data indicates that the Magnetic field has weakened rapidly from 1970 up to now? And the magnetic field is our protection against the Solar and Interstellar radiation.
      Now I can start a new Climate Change Conspiracy 🙂

      • conspiracykiller says :

        You can’t even get the basic facts right.

        Project starfish prime was a high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America on July 9, 1962, a joint effort of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Defense Atomic Support Agency (which became the Defense Nuclear Agency in 1971).

        Launched via a Thor rocket and carrying a W49 thermonuclear warhead (manufactured by Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory) and a Mk. 2 reentry vehicle, the explosion took place 250 miles (400 km) above a point 19 miles (31 km) southwest of Johnston Island in the Pacific Ocean. It was one of five tests conducted by the USA in outer space as defined by the FAI. It produced a yield equivalent to 1.4 megatons of TNT.

      • conspiracykiller says :

        Yes it was more powerful than both Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

        No it was nowhere near the Van Allen belt, the Van allen belts extend from an altitude of about 1,000 to 60,000 kilometers above the surface. The starfish explosions took place 250 miles (400 km) above the Earths surface.
        The ozone layer is mainly found in the lower portion of the stratosphere from approximately 20 to 30 kilometres (12 to 19 mi) above Earth, nowhere near the explosion So any effects or evidence for effects is lacking.

        The Earths magnetic field has fluctuated for it’s entire known existence. It’s not a static field, and there is no indication that the explosions had any impact on the field whatsoever. The Earth’s magnetic field strength was measured by Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1835 and has been repeatedly measured since then, showing a relative decay of about 10% over the last 150 years. 1970 is not even of any significance to the measurements or the fields data.

  17. Emmanuel says :

    Nice article, thanks a lot for it.
    I personnaly think that a religion (in the traditional sense) is not only a belief system that explains the world, it gives also a frame for growing and maintening faith in life, in love, in God, in every kind of positive things, so that the believer live a happy life.
    In Thrive and other conspiritualities (so damn accurate term), the belief system is there and explains the world, but the frame for a happy faith isn’t as strong. Does it make you happy to believe the Rothschilds own your wallet ? I don’t think so.
    In my opinion, this is a big limit for conspiritualities : I doubt they are able to make anybody truely happy.

    • Thomas says :

      Emmanuel. I have emailed thrive regarding my concern that it was too far leaned towards the New Age and the thought that crossed my mind was that they were some Masonic break away. But to my surprise I received an email with an article about the Catholic Church fighting the Illuminate? I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. The content was not anti Christian or accepted religion.
      However, freedom and Liberty in an DEMOCRATIC system offers people a right of religious freedom and choice as long as they are peaceful and do not cause harm to others despite the fact that we do not agree with or may not agree with their opinion.
      People have a right to believe what they choose if we start to take away basic and fundamental rights we may as well become extreme Communists or Fascists.
      Did I agree with the Video? Not entirely but I did watch it as it was so rich in content and I was objective. Most of the stuff on the Video was brief and in summary form compared to the stuff I have seen, researched and cross referenced.
      The alien part/s I have been following since I was 15 on and off but with interest. The alien God agendas we have to be careful with because in my opinion there have been deliberate agendas to steer people into a frenzy of disillusion and away from main stream religions as a possible threat to world peace and survival possibly to create a sense of urgency for global military unification.
      Yes, I know it sounds crazy but if you analyse as many conspiracies as I have a pattern emerges.
      As someone with a keen interest in history and the Military or world conflicts I have noticed that certain common denominators are and were always present. As such there are in my opinion reasons not to completely trust Governments. I am not the only one with this belief. And as a matter of fact people of the US are probably the most known resistance based society on the planet. Your Constitution was designed in such a way. Countries like Australia have not got the bill of rights.
      We have to depend on the constitution and the United Nations human rights as well as the Australian Legislation.
      Recently our State Government has taken away the Miranda right of silence from the common law without consulting the people. This was part of Police and Security training under the crimes act of 1900 to 1914. The Gang (Biker gangs) were used as the reason for this and we have also had the Anti terrorism acts play a part in this. The laws were not made just for the Gangs they can be used against citizens that are in assemblies that can be suspected as being illegal, one person was arrested for association in QLD and held for 3 days? After which the Police had to release him as they stuffed up.

  18. mattybed says :

    I wonder who would go through so much effort to debunk the Thrive movement ??

    So much work done on this site to try and discredit Thrive. Obviously the U.S government trolls working hard away..

    Keep up the good work guys nobody believes this site! Lol

    • Joel T. says :

      As Muertos has noted, it really isn’t that much work. The poor quality of Thrive makes it very easy to debunk.

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