Flat-Earthers Are Now Claiming That Australia Is Just An Elaborate Hoax Dreamt Up By The Government

Where one conspiracy theory goes, another one usually follows. After all, studies have found that if someone believes in one conspiracy theory, they’re generally more open to believing in others. Indeed, it seems that rather than the subject itself, it’s the general “conspiracist” state of mind that matters. It’s little surprise, then, that people who believe the Earth is flat, despite evidence to the contrary, also believe in other conspiracy theories. And the latest one is perhaps the wildest yet – that Australia doesn’t actually exist.

It’s no secret that the internet has helped to perpetuate plenty of outlandish conspiracy theories. From a second shooter at the J.F.K. assassination to the “lizard people” that secretly run the world, far-fetched ideas are everywhere. But more importantly, a whopping one in two has suspicions about the former.

And it’s the same story for flat-Earthers. Back in 2009, American Daniel Shenton re-launched the International Flat Earth Society via an online forum. Not that we’re drawing a direct line or anything here, but in a 2018 national survey, YouGov found something disturbing. It seems that only 84 percent of Americans are confident the Earth is round. Five percent are skeptics, and two percent firmly believe it’s flat.

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What’s more, just two-thirds of survey participants aged 18 to 24 felt sure that the Earth is round. It appears, then, that there’s a growing skepticism over the exact shape of the planet we live on, despite thousands of years of evidence saying otherwise. Indeed, the Ancient Greeks figured it out in 200B.C., while astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus proved it categorically nearly 500 years ago.

Why, then, is the theory seemingly growing ever more popular? Well, it may have something to do with the increasingly frequent celebrity endorsements. Basketballer Kyrie Irving, for instance, shared his belief that the Earth is flat on a podcast in 2017. He later claimed he just wanted to make people “have that open conversation,” but he’s since admitted that he really doesn’t know either way.

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Meanwhile, back in 2015, hip hop star B.o.B. – or Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. – wrote on Twitter, “No matter how high in elevation you are… the horizon is always eye level. I’m going up against the greatest liars in history. You’ve been tremendously deceived.” Indeed, Simmons even tried to crowdfund a rocket mission to ascertain the facts for himself.

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It’s perhaps little surprise, then, that the flat Earth movement is growing. In April 2018 a hotel in the West Midlands played host to the U.K.’s first-ever Flat Earth Convention. There, over 200 people gathered to discuss just how not-round the planet really is. And, of course, they sold plenty of merchandise, including flat maps and “Flat Power” t-shirts.

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The convention drew an eclectic mix of attendees, from environmentalists living off the grid to sharply-dressed IT consultants. But the one thing they all had in common was their belief that the Earth is flat. Along, that is, with a handful of other conspiracy theories, including that gravity is a figment of our imaginations.

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Indeed, guest speakers presented all sorts of theories to the eager crowd. “My research destroys big bang cosmology,” said NHS worker David Marsh, according to the Telegraph. “It supports the idea that gravity doesn’t exist and the only true force in nature is electromagnetism.” But there was one theory that resurfaced at the convention that seems truly off the wall.

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Yes, it appears that some flat-Earthers believe that Australia – in its entirety – simply doesn’t exist. Indeed, according to these conspiracy theorists, all 2.9 million square miles of the sixth-biggest nation in the world, a continent in itself, is just one huge bluff, dreamt up by the government. If you’re wondering quite how anyone could believe that, read on.

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Indeed, in March 2017, Shelley Floryd published an extensive post on Facebook detailing the argument for Australia’s, well, non-existence. “All things you call ‘proof’ are actually well fabricated lies and documents made by the leading governments of the world,” she wrote. The flat-Earther went on to argue that everything you thought you knew about Australia is false.

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If you know someone from Australia and are now asking yourself how they could possibly be fake, Floryd has an explanation. According to the conspiracy theorist, they’re simply “actors and computer generated personas, part of the plot to trick the world.” But the reality-stretching theory doesn’t end there.

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Indeed, Floryd says that airplane pilots are also part of the conspiracy. So, if you’ve ever hopped on a plane and spent few weeks “down under,” you may want to double-check those vacation snaps. After all, if Floryd is to be believed, you’ll actually have been to an “island nearby.” Although nearby to where, if Australia seemingly doesn’t exist, we’re not sure.

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Of course, the government didn’t just make up Australia for no good reason. According to Floryd, the country is simply “for us to believe that Britain moved their criminals to someplace. In reality, all these criminals were loaded off the ships into the waters, drowning before they could ever see land again. It’s a cover-up for one of the greatest mass murders in history.”

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The seemingly passionate Floryd then signed off her incredible Facebook post with, “Tell the truth. Stand up for what is right. Make sure to spread the word – Australia is not real. It’s a codeword for the cold-blooded murder of more than 100,000 people, and it is not okay.”

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If all this seems too insane to be true, that’s because it is. Since publishing her rant about Australia, Floryd has revealed that it was simply a joke. But, like a lot of humor, it nevertheless has a basis in truth. Or at least, the truth that many flat-Earthers really do believe Australia is a hoax. The only difference is, they don’t know why.

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One flat-Earther wrote in a 2006 forum post that Australia “doesn’t really exist,” but admitted that they didn’t know why the government would make up an imaginary continent. Still, hundreds of people chimed in to agree with the post. In fact, one boldly stated that “the Australia conspiracy is much bigger than the flat Earth conspiracy.”

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Most of the reaction to the idea that Australia doesn’t exist has been, unsurprisingly, incredulous. For instance, one user on the Guardian newspaper’s website wrote, “If Australia doesn’t exist, a good number of my relatives have been very successful at hiding from me, and faking their hideouts, for a very long time.”

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Meanwhile, Twitter user @attitudemilo sarcastically wrote, “It’s true… NASA pays me 100k a year to pretend to be Aussie. We all live in a big beer can floating out here in the middle of the pacific.” Yes, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, Australia being totally fake didn’t go down too well with people who genuinely live in the real world.

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Of course, none of this takes into account the flat-Earthers who live in Australia. Or at least, the flat-Earthers who think they live in Australia. After all, according to some of their fellow conspiracy theorists, they’re actually just paid actors and government workers. You have to wonder how they never realized…

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