The Fortean Times is a highly entertaining magazine that features in-depth investigations into all things bizarre and wonderful, all creatures great and small, and the "World's Weirdest News". The term "Fortean" arises from one Charles Hoy Fort, a sort of Victorian Fox Mulder who set out to prove that all scientific data was biased and could not explain phenomena which fell outside its realms. His "I want to believe" dictum was "One measures a circle beginning anywhere" - but that doesn't quite have the appeal of tacky poster in a forgotten 1990's FBI basement. Still, the man kicked alien butt, and Forteana now refers to all the bits and pieces that those in control (pesky Illuminati!)would rather you didn't think about. Like a giant "Thunderbird" that was shot and killed in Arizona in the 1800's, or who (if anyone) really took out Princess Diana, and how they did it. Split over the three floors of the University of London University Union, the Unconvention featured guests who write books that you always want to read but are too worried others will think you're being silly. Which is not to say they are silly. There was a renowned anthropologist, an internationally recognized biologist and a speaker named Peter Brookesmith who was so paranoid his picture was in silhouette. These are the people who I am told spend years dedicated to finding out what really happens in this magic show we call life. As Einstein said, "reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one."
After a few beers and a Jesus-was-really-a-nasty-fellow-who-murdered- his-political-rival John-the-Baptist-as-proven-by-Leonardo da Vinci afternoon banter, I felt more settled. The scary characters were innocuous folk who seemed to go about their thing like anyone else. There was this one woman though, about 4ft 8, with oversize almond eye and stretched skin that looked like it belonged to someone else. She was no doubt, a representative from the notorious Grey alien clan. She fitted in well.
1) The Royal Family: Diana was rumoured to be 6 weeks pregnant, marriage to a Muslim arms dealer by the future king's mother would destroy the monarchy. Diana was meddling in politics, an inconvenient time bomb. MI5 and the CIA assisted in the hit. The paparazzi were a convenient scapegoat to divert attention to some blatant inconsistencies in the investigation.
2) The Chinese Arms industry: Diana had just cost the biggest land mine manufacturers in the world billions. She was taking on a very dangerous industry, and had to be stopped, much like a car is stopped when it crashes into a concrete wall.
3) Drug lords: Dodi was the hit, Diana was the message ("we don't care who you are"). A vial of cocaine was confirmed to be found in her bag. Bet you didn't hear that in the press, but it's in the police report (allegedly). Dodi reeked of Bad Karma with drug dealers, arms dealers, poker dealers, you name it. Not the kind of guy a popular princess should be running about with.
4) Satanic ritual: The car crashed into the 13th pillar, on a site that has been a Satanic hot spot for centuries. She was the princess that had to be sacrificed, and the whole plot was organized by those drug-peddling Royals who are seriously into their black magic and witchcraft. Yep.
5) Elton John: his career was flagging. Candle in the Wind (the Diana version) was heard before her death! Someone, somewhere swears it. And don't forget the UK Floral Association. Yes, now it all makes sense.
There were other theories, most of which received a laugh. Even weird folk maintain some tennis grip on reality.
If Conspiracy is really just Paranoia's girlfriend, aliens a muddle of dreams, and hallucinations the side effect of some haywire CIA mind experiment, then it's a pretty safe guess that life is far simpler than we think it is. We are born, and we die. We are awake, and we sleep. We never have dark, dangerous thoughts because it's wrong. We never do bad things because that would be naughty. Angels are playing the harps up in heaven, and Father Christmas is ho-ho-ho-ing somewhere up North with the Easter Bunny. It all makes sense. Unless you choose to believe the US Government has not told us a fraction of everything it knows regarding assassinations and aliens. Unless you choose to believe it is all lies. What if disinformation is a kind of phlegm in the froggy throat of our perceptions of reality. Ignoring it is to be blissfully ignorant, and yet to fight it is to be labelled paranoid, crazy, and neurotic. Somewhere in the middle lies curiosity and awareness, which is what brought me to the event in the first place. An old Greek proverb says it all: "When you hear there are plenty of cherries, always carry a small basket." When you visit an Unconvention, always be sure to leave plenty of room in your head.