Frequent travels will tell you that it doesn’t matter whether you are going to Heaven or Hell, you have to go through Atlanta to get there. If, however, your destination is the crazy world of conspiracy theories, the best place to catch a flight is Denver International Airport.
Nearly everything about the airport has raised suspicions. Its size, shape, cost, and artwork are all used as evidence of attempts at world domination, extraterrestrial invasion, demonic worship, and plans for the end of the world. Keep in mind that these theories abounded long before Colorado legalized the use of marijuana.
Be sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full, upright, and locked positions. Double check that your tinfoil hat fits securely on your head. We are about to begin our descent into Denver International Airport and the crazy conspiracy theories that surround it. Keep your seatbelt fastened, because we’re certain to encounter some turbulence along the way.
When it opened in 1995, Denver International Airport became the largest airport in North America by land area. Covering 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 sq km), it is the second largest airport in the world. Runway 16R/34L, with a length of 16,000 feet (3.03 mi; 4.88 km), is the longest public use runway in North America and the seventh longest in the world.
Rumors From the Beginning
Rumors started to swirl about the airport while it was still being constructed. Since Denver already had an airport, Stapleton International Airport, many questioned why they needed another one. Additionally, the new airport is 25 miles (40 km) from downtown Denver — almost twice as distant as Stapleton.
Cost overruns and delays plagued the airport from the beginning. Originally slated to open in 1993, it ran 16 months behind schedule. The final price tag of $4.8 billion was nearly $2 billion over original projections.
As United Flight 1474 from Colorado Springs began its descent toward the new airport, becoming the first commercial flight to land there, more than one passenger had to look twice at the sight. From the air, the layout of the airport’s runways looked disturbingly like a Nazi swastika. Similar observations have been made by countless travelers since. This has led many to speculate that the airport was built for reasons other than convenient flight connections.
REALITY: Airport runways are designed to make the best use of prevailing winds and to avoid obstacles. The north/south and east/west configuration of the runways allows simultaneous takeoffs and landings in the same direction with safe distance between planes.
Connections to the New World Order
The airport’s dedication marker contains a plethora of clues about the sinister designs of the facility. It contains the logo for the Freemasons, as well as the dedication date of March 19, 1994. Numerologists are quick to point out that the numerals of the date — 1, 9, 1, 9, 9, and 4 — add up to 33. Thirty-three is the highest degree one can achieve in Freemasonry.
That leads us to the next line on the marker, containing the name of the group that was responsible for the airport’s design and construction: New World Airport Commission. That sounds distressingly like New World Order. No, not the English rock band of that name, but the name given to the secret political cabal that seek to take over the world. The New World Order has been suggested to include Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, and Nazis.
Concerned about this blatant attempt to use Denver’s new airport for world conquest, investigators attempted to find out more about this mysterious New World Airport Commission. It turns out that no such organization ever existed. This is proof positive that some devious scheme is afoot.
Beneath the dedication marker is a time capsule, with instructions that it not be opened until 2094. The contents of the time capsule are unknown. If the designers of the airport planned for it to be opened in 2094, we can take some comfort in knowing that they did not anticipate the end of the world before that date.
One popular theory is that the braille tablet above the dedication stone is actually a keypad. Touch the raised dots in the right sequence and the time capsule will be released early. One airport employee says she’s heard reports of Freemasons visiting the capstone and trying to swipe their Masonic membership cards near the time capsule, just to see if it will have any effect.
REALITY: You may be wondering why an organization that is bent on secrecy would unnecessarily put its name on a dedication marker that could be seen by millions of travelers. If so, you are thinking correctly. The name appears to have been adopted by the airport commission, but since it was not necessary for the commission to incorporate, there was no reason to file paperwork for the name.
Bluecifer, the Demonic Blue Mustang
One of the most memorable pieces of the airport’s artistic culture is a 32-foot (9.75-meter) fiberglass sculpture by Luis Jiménez. Officially known as “Blue Mustang,” its terrifying red eyes have earned it the popular nickname “Bluecifer.”
Those who see the airport as part of a plan to bring about the end of the world as we know it, believe the sculpture represents one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Sadly, a tragedy during the creation of the sculpture has only added to the ghoulish legend of Bluecifer. While the artist was working on the project, the 9,000-pound (4,082 kg) piece fell on him, severing an artery in his leg. Jiménez was killed, and his masterpiece had to be finished posthumously.
It didn’t help the airport’s reputation when it temporarily hosted a 26-foot (7.9-meter) statue of Anubis the Egyptian god of death. Airport authorities were forced to issue a statement that the statue was there merely to publicize a traveling Egyptian art exhibit and that it would not be a permanent feature.
REALITY: Unfortunately, the tragic death of the sculptor really happened. That doesn’t connect the statue to anything sinister, however. The red eyes of the mustang are a tribute to the sculptor’s father, who owned a neon sign business. Yes, the whole effect is a bit terrifying, but in terms of creating a memorable iconic piece for the airport, the mission was accomplished successfully.
The Artwork is … Well… Weird
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one man’s rubbish is another’s art. Even so, there are some truly questionable pieces in the art collection of Denver International Airport.
There is the odd choice of cast bronze gargoyles emerging from suitcases at the east and west baggage claim areas. a sculpture of a gargoyle emerging from a suitcase. More than one startled traveler has mistaken a gargoyle for a satanic image. When luggage is lost or delayed, the ghoulish creatures become the obvious targets of blame.
Then there are the murals with some very paradoxical elements. One image appears to show children from many nationalities, waving banners that proclaim peace. They are, however, rallying around a giant sword and appear to be trampling the desiccated corpse of a soldier.
Another shows several horrified children, standing in front of a burning building. In the midst of the children are dead animals and deceased children in transparent coffins. Additionally, there are animals enclosed in glass cases. Inexplicably, there is also a blue whale, although there is no sign of water anywhere nearby.
To top it all off, we have the charming image of a Nazi officer in a gas mask, holding a gun and sword over some distressed children.
Presumably, this art was chosen because nothing sends the message, “Have a nice flight” better than thoughts of traumatized and threatened children.
REALITY: Seriously, the artwork is odd. As far as devious reasons, there’s not much there. Artist Leo Tanguma intended to portray a hopeful message of world peace and stewardship of the environment prevailing over the evils of the world. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Conspiracies That Go Below the Surface
Thus far, we have just scratched the surface of the bizarre rumors surrounding the airport. What lies beneath the runways and terminals is just as convoluted.
As the costs increased and the timetable for opening the airport kept getting pushed back, some suspected nefarious reasons. Granted, Denver’s construction costs were nowhere near the $20 billion spent on Hong Kong’s airport, which was built at about the same time. Nor was its postponed opening anything close to the bungled 9-year delay of the Willy Brandt Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Even so, rumors began to swirl that Denver’s construction problems had to do with the things being built that the public could not see.
A former construction worker has claimed that the reason why the airport was so far behind schedule was because five multistory buildings that were constructed underground. He said these buildings and a massive, complex network of tunnels have no obvious role in airport operations.
Theories about the purpose of the subterranean development are wide-ranging. Among the hypotheses are that it constitutes part of an underground network of New World Order command bunkers; fallout shelters for the global elite to ride out the coming apocalypse; and a concentration camp operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Others say that the site for the airport was chosen because of an already-existing underground command post for the Illuminati and that the airport was simply a convenient cover for the true work, which was to vastly expand the underground infrastructure for this hidden city.
The tunnels are said to go as deep as six levels below the airport before branching off into escape routes leading all the way to NORAD in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado Springs 120 miles (193 km) away.
Others have claimed that the underground complex is the headquarters for the Lizard People who are systematically taking over world governments. For more information about the Reptilian conspiracy theory, read “Are Reptilians Running the Government?”
REALITY: The airport’s plans, from the beginning, called for a state-of-the-art automated baggage transport system. Using 22 miles (35 km) of tracks and conveyor belts, it was to seamlessly move luggage between planes and to baggage claim stations with minimal human contact.
The ambitious plan ran into problems from the start. When demonstrated in 1994, the press were treated to the sign of colliding carts, crushed luggage, and scattered belongings. It came to be known as “the baggage system from hell.”
A 2008 report by Calleam Consulting, Ltd. concluded, “The plan rapidly dissolved as underestimation of the project’s complexity resulted in snowballing problems and public humiliation for everyone involved… Thanks mainly to problems with the baggage system, the airport’s opening was delayed by a full 16 months. Expenditure to maintain the empty airport and interest charges on construction loans cost the city of Denver $1.1 million per day throughout the delay.”
The Calleam report said the baggage network’s designers underestimated the project’s complexity and failed to build adequate backup and recovery capacity to cope with system failures. It noted “the tendency of the system to enjoy eating people’s baggage.”
When the airport opened, it employed the old-fashioned tug-and-cart method. The automated system had some limited use, primarily by United Airlines. Its propensity toward malfunctions generated about $1 million per month in repair costs. The system was abandoned in 2005.
Coordinating With Extraterrestrials
A possible explanation of why the airport was built so far from the city might have more to do with flying saucers than with airplanes. According to one theory, the airport’s map coordinates W104′ 44′ 30′ N40′ 36′ 10′, are significant, because those are the same coordinates given by visiting extraterrestrials in the 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
REALITY: If that was the plan, something went horribly wrong. If you enter these coordinates into a map, you will land 51 miles (82 km) northwest of the airport.
Even more distressing to fans of the Steven Spielberg masterpiece, those coordinates don’t even coincide with the Devil’s Tower monument where the aliens landed. It is 275 miles (444 km) off.
Sinister Symbols and Maleficent Messages
If the freaky art and hidden infrastructure wasn’t enough, theorists point to obvious hidden messages all over the airport. One of these is the nonsensical phrase, “DZIT DIT GAII,” inscribed on the floor. Another is the message “Au Ag.”
Among the theories to explain these cryptic messages is that “DZIT DIT GAII” s a secret Nazi message about a “black sun.” Another holds that “Au Ag” is the chemical formula for the deadly toxin Australia Antigen.
REALITY: A less-sinister explanation is that “DZIT DIT GAII” is from the Navajo language, a tribe of Native Americans indigenous to the area. The words, when translated into English, are “the mountain that is white.” Even this explanation has been used to prove evil intent. Conspiracy theorists believe the white mountain is meaningful to the Knights Templar (a precursor to the Freemasons), who signed their charter at Mt. Blanc (White Mountain) in France.
The airport’s explanation for putting the recipe for one of the world’s most dangerous substances in plain view is that “Au Ag” are, in reality, the chemical symbols for gold and silver. The letter appear as part of a larger artistic representation of Colorado’s mining history.
The weird theories surrounding the airport took on a whole new life in 2010 when they were featured in an episode of Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory. (View the episode here). Rather than resist the rumors, the airport decided to run with them and created a marketing campaign featuring the most popular myths.
The public relations department for the airport has a website devoted to the most popular myths and legends. Periodic displays throughout the airport promote the different stories, while offering a reasoned explanation for the less-interesting reality.
But then again…. If you were at the heart of a vast conspiracy involving Lizard People, the Illuminati, Nazis, and extraterrestrials, and you were planning on using your facility to take over the world, what better way to distract people from the truth than to make a big joke out of it?
Hmmm…. Maybe you’d better take a closer look next time your plane lands in Denver.