Suspicious Minds Competition Winners!

In the spirit of Rob Brotherton’s five-star book Suspicious Minds, reviewed this issue, we asked you to get your subversive thinking cap on and invent your very own conspiracy theory. Three copies of the book were up for grabs for the best new conspiracy theories – all you had to do was come up with a theory that had the potential to convince a gullible person. Extra bonus points were awarded for being witty and making us laugh.

Judging by the entries that came in to our mailbag, it is obvious that there are some truly suspicious minds out there. Proposed conspiracy theories ranged from the sinister (such as flu jabs that kill the elderly to save healthcare costs) to the absurd (Father’s Day being a clandestine plot to emasculate men by eating chocolate.). The Bermuda Triangle, astrology and loyalty cards also all made their customary appearances. But alas, there have to be winners.

Runners up prizes go to Isobel Steer and Sean Mills, who each get a copy of the book. Isobel told us of a secret plot by an agricultural conglomerate (whose name rhymes with Nonsanto) to gain a monopoly on human fertility by flooding the market with genetically modified ‘locust seeds’. Sean made the stunning revelation that spectacles do not actually improve vision but are cunningly crafted filters devised to control our impulses – making us eat far too many potato chips.

The standout conspiracy theory came from Phil Boothroyd, who explained that pot plants are not as innocuous as they first seem. Congratulations on having the most creatively scheming mind in the world of Guru readers. We will never look at a Yucca in the same way again:

First Place – Phil Boothroyd

Potted plantEnjoy gardening? Like to have a few flowers in your house to brighten the place up? If the answer to either of those is yes, you are probably under the control of the ‘Bloominati’ – a group of highly intelligent psychic plants bent on nothing less than global domination.

On the face of it this may seem implausible, but think it through. While there is immense benefit to growing some fruit and veg and getting some tasty food for your efforts, what is the benefit to growing flowers? Absolutely nothing beyond a bit of colour. And even then only for short periods of the year. A longer lasting splash of colour could be created much more easily with a few pots of paint and an over enthusiastic toddler.

Which leaves only on explanation: we grow plants because they are controlling us, making us their slaves. We plant them, feed them and give them homes to live in. Think you bought that lovely house for yourself? No. You bought because of the psychic nudging of the flowers around you. That innocent looking Anthurium sat on your dining room table – it’s making you go to work to pay for its upkeep. It’s making you decorate the room so it has somewhere nice to sit. It makes you want to look after it. And at the weekend, when you should be resting, it compels you out into the garden to care for its Bloominati associates outdoors.

If you don’t believe me try throwing that potted plant on your desk away. Just try it. You will feel an aversion to it, a sense that what I’m asking you to do is ‘just plain stupid’. You will even get a desire to ignore my ‘ridiculous suggestion’. Those are not natural thoughts and feelings. They are the persuasive powers of the Bloominati.

Our two runners up came up with equally creative conspiracies.

Isobel Steer weaves a tale of agricultural giants and big pharma teaming up to steal your fertility (and then sell it back to you, of course.

Runner up – Isobel Steer

seedsTo whom it may concern (and trust me, you should be very concerned),

Have you heard about the plan by scientists to hold human fertility to ransom using GMOs? An unnamed agricultural conglomerate never really shelved those so-called ‘suicide seeds’ (designed without the ability to propagate, so the farmers would have to keep coming back every year to buy more). They claimed the public outcry convinced them to halt ‘suicide seeds’, but instead they developed a new genetically modified seed, called ‘The Locust Seed’, that, when eaten, would transfer that infertility gene straight to the human reproductive organs! This way, the parent company can sell your fertility back to you, via gene therapy available at its Big Pharma branch. The only sure test that you’ve ingested the Locust Seed is to shine a light in the eyes – a side effect is a build-up of metals in your body, which are deposited at the back of the retina. 

How did I find out about this fiendish plot, you ask? I am a scientist. I asked around. And, conclusively, no-one told me anything. Nobody acknowledged it at all. I’ve never seen a cleaner cover-up! The plot goes deep, my friends, very deep. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

Dark looks in the coffee room. People suddenly stopping talking when I walk in. But the truth is out there. Do you want to believe?

Anonymously yours,



Whilst Sean Mills theorises on the hidden purpose of spectacles and the altered world they make us see.

Runner up – Sean Mills

GlassesHumans are primarily visual: we extract a huge quantity of salient information from the environment from the pattern of light that reaches our retinas. A huge proportion of our brain is devoted to a complex visual system that has evolved over millions of years to make sense of this data. Vision is intricately entangled with our understandings of consciousness, attention, and memory. Light entrains our sleep cycles, and affects our mood and psychological health. Ultimately, to see, for many people, is closely tied to their fundamental experience of what it is to be human.

But you do not see clearly. And the answer is right on top of your nose.

6 out of 10 people in the developed world wear corrective lenses – pieces of glass that literally distort the image of the world in front of you. They are filters. They block light of certain wavelengths, they limit your ability to fixate to certain distances, they steam up when you drink coffee (making you look, as you always suspected, like a complete idiot).

Moreover, the potential clearly exists to use these filters to manipulate behaviour on a massive scale. What you see has been subtly altered to make you buy more things you don’t need, obey dubious corporate authority, and, once you pop the tin of pringles, not stop.

Not convinced? You may have noticed that people have an astonishing urge to try on other people’s glasses – if there wasn’t a global conspiracy why on earth would this be the case? Perhaps it’s a sign of our helplessness that every time this happens, and the disoriented glasses wearer gets a terrifying look at the world undistorted by the manipulated vision they have become so frighteningly accustomed to, they promptly demand their glasses back.

The terrible beauty of the conspiracy is this: What are you going to do about it? Pay to have lasers slice thin films from the surface of your eyes? Sure, that sounds nothing like a vast evil conspiracy, go ahead.


Who’s responsible for this?

Aliens wearing human skin in order to disguise themselves as the lizard people who secretly run the CIA.

What about bifocals?

Twice as powerful.

Hey, you look great in that tinfoil hat!

Thanks. You too.


Congratulations to our three winners – the book is making its way to you via a Guru drone right now.

Honourable mention – James Lee

Alas, we only had three books to give away, but this entry by James Lee made us chuckle so much that we couldn’t resist sharing it with you:

“Facts: Chocolate is often given as a gift to fathers on Father’s Day. Chocolate contains oestrogen and fat, which and promotes the release of oxytocin (Ed – well close enough, it actually contains oestrogen-like substances). The fat and oestrogen (which, according to the MayoClinic, is used to alleviate the effects of delayed female puberty), promote breast growth, while the oxytocin (a key neurotransmitter in pregnancy and breastfeeding) induces the psychological change. The only side effect is the inevitable weight gain from the excessive amounts of chocolate. Another piece of damning evidence: the name itself. “Father’s Day” was originally spelt “Fathers’ Day” or “Fat-hers’ Day” or “large women’s day”.
Furthermore, the person who founded Fathers’ Day was a WOMAN, Sonora Smart Dodd. Her name being an anagram for “D man sorta dodos”, clearly signalling the intent to cause the extinction of male kind by comparing them to the dodo.
Case closed.”


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Image credit: Laura TaylorPremier Photo, mongo gushi and Pier Francesco Gallenga via Flickr creative commons

Article by Kate Timms

April 7, 2016

Kate Timms

Kate is a PhD student who previously studied Biomedical Sciences (because she couldn’t decide what she wanted to specialise in) and Maternal and Fetal Health (because eventually she did decide). When not working in a science lab at the University of Manchester until an unseemly hour, she can usually be found watching women’s football (usually also at an unseemly hour). She also has a peculiar habit of trying to make other people watch also her favourite sport. Seriously, have you ever watched a game of women’s football?

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