Boston Bombers: Debunking the Top 5 Conspiracy Theories

It is almost inevitable that when something big happens, an assortment of conspiracy theories will rapidly arise as a means to cope and to also explain. So what “theories” has the Boston Bombing given birth to? We can obviously dismiss wild assertions that come with exactly zero evidence, but what about those that do have some evidence that appears to conflict with official accounts, is there any real substance to any of them? Well, lets take a quick look at five examples.

1: Facebook Pages Appeared prior to Bombing

There are claims that a number of the Facebook Boston Marathon bombing-related pages that were created after the tragedy to offer condolences or collect donations for victims have creation dates that indicate that they were created prior to the event.

“Ah Ha” shout the conspiracy theorists, “Here is proof that this was all planned by …” (insert your favourite target here).

Pictured on the left is a FB page entitled “Thoughts go out to all involved in the Boston explosions”. It is gone now, but at the time it bore a “Joined Facebook” date of Saturday, April 13 (two days prior to the bombing).

The problem with this claim is obvious, it simply reflects a lack of understanding of  how Facebook works. “Joined Facebook” dates by themselves do not provide reliable timelines documenting the creation date of a Facebook page for a specific purpose. Facebook page names can be changed and pages which were initially created prior to an event for other reasons can and often are renamed/re-purposed.


2: The Boston Globe Tweeted about explosions prior to the event

On the day of the event the Boston Globe tweated this …

“Ah Ha”, claim the conspiracy folks, “Here is proof that officials planned a “controlled explosion” at the same time as the marathon explosions.

Er no, this tweet went out after the bombings, not before it. Apparently they had found a suspicious package and were dealing with it in an appropriate and safe manner.


3: There were no victims, just actors

Pictures have been presented as “proof” that those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing are not who they claim to be, but instead were “actors” doing a staged event. Here is an example of one that claims that a U.S. Army lieutenant who lost both his legs to an IED explosion in Afghanistan in November 2011 played the role of victim in Boston.


Nope, wrong, these are different people …

  • Pictured in the top right is Nick Vogt. He is the U.S. Army lieutenant who tragically lost both his legs to an IED explosion
  • The guy in Boston in the top left has been identified identified on Facebook as Jeff Bauman Jr., of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, by his father, Jeff Bauman Sr. “Can everyone pray for my son Jeff Jr.?” Jeff Bauman Sr. wrote that in an emotional plea on his Facebook page hours after the bombings at the Boston Marathon. Mr Bauman Sr posted that message under the news photo of his son being rushed from the scene


4: The Guy On The Roof

College student Dan Lampariello, while taking pictures of the race, captured the moment when one of the bombs exploded. What is of interest to many is that in that picture you can see a man on the roof of a high-rise building across the way as the explosion occurred on the street below

“Ah Ha”, some might exclaim, “Obviously this guy was involved in all this, so clearly this was all stage managed”.

Actually no, there is no evidence for that claim at all. People can and do go up on roof’s for a wide assortment of reasons, one very obvious one is that it renders a great view over a far wider area of what is going on below, but there are many other quite valid reasons. Take a second closer look, it appears to be a roof-top area that has a potted plant and some seating, so seeing somebody up there is not a surprise, he was most probably up and out for a quick smoke, or had simply been up taking a break.


5: Fake Death

There is a claim that Suspect 1, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was in perfect health when arrested … (see pic below) …

But that later, he mysteriously turned up dead … (there is a pic, but I’m not posting it due to its graphic nature). We all now know the details, as reported widely and verified by the doctor, he was taken to hospital unconscious and covered head to toe with many wounds from the previous gun battle, so many wounds that there was nothing they could do to save him, hence he died.

To counter the official story we have images such as the above circulating with claims that he was in perfect health when in police custody, hence the assertion is that the official story is bogus and has been manufactured.


The guy pictured is not Tamerlan

On Thursday night while police were hunting in Watertown, Mass. for bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, at one point they arrested a naked man who looks a lot like Tamerlan.

Police say the naked man is not Tamerlan, despite various conspiracy theories going around the Internet.

According to the official account, Tamerlan died after a shootout with cops, riddled with bullets and shrapnel before being run over by his brother who was fleeing the scene in an

The Watertown police department got back to us via email just to say that the naked man was not Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers occurred on Laurel Street. Naked man [was] captured near Nichols and Dexter, literally down the street from the shootout.

Naked man was apparently stripped, questioned, clothed, questioned some more, and reportedly let go. It’s likely police stripped him because they were under citywide bomb threat and wanted to make sure he didn’t have a suicide vest, but the police did not comment on that.

Here is a news report of what happened …

Oh and least you wonder, no this guy was not driving around naked, when the police stopped him they feared he might be wired for explosives, so they demanded that he strip off. The witness in the above video confirms this.


Odd Coincidences do happen

When reporting the tragic event in Boston, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an advertisement for pressure cookers adjacent to the story. Given that we now know that the Boston bombings were carried out using pressure cookers packed with explosives, that is perhaps a bit of a “Yikes” moment.

So is this evidence for a conspiracy of some sort? No of course not, life is like that, sometimes weird Coincidences do pop up. What this really tells us is that the pattern seeking engine sitting between your ears is kicking in and making a connection between two completely unrelated items.

Clearly there is no actual connection, and so there is no scope for building a conspiracy theory out of this … (anybody want to run with “Macy’s endorses and motivated Boston Bombers” … er no, I guess not). However, I think you get my point. People can and will make connections between unrelated things and then use them to weave a narrative that conforms to a specific world-view that they embrace.

So why Do Conspiracy Theories Proliferate?

When faced with things beyond our control or understanding, humans attempt to grasp and maintain control by constructing a narrative that can be manipulated to gain both control and understanding. Yes, I need not state the obvious, the control and understanding is an illusion and not in any way real, but given a choice between facing the truth that the world is a place where bad things can and do happen randomly for no reason or retaining the illusion, the more enticing narrative tends to dominate.

Now if you are wondering, “What the heck are you babbling on about?”, OK let me render this into very simply terms.

American behaviourist, author, and inventor, Burrhus Skinner, discovered something very interesting back in the 1940s. Skinner famously placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that randomly delivered food at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird’s behaviour. He soon observed that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as the food was delivered, and that they subsequently continued to perform these same actions to get more food …

One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another repeatedly thrust its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. A third developed a ‘tossing’ response, as if placing its head beneath an invisible bar and lifting it repeatedly. Two birds developed a pendulum motion of the head and body, in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return”
‘Superstition’ in the Pigeon, Journal of Experimental Psychology #38, 1947. Burrhus Skinner.

We respond in exactly the same manner to random events in the world around us. This not only explain why conspiracy theories arise, but also explains where religion comes from.  As our ancestors strove to grasp meaning and control out of chaos they crafted beliefs and rules to then appease gods to ensure that they would be rewarded. Over successive generations such rules evolved into quite sophisticated belief systems, often involving complex rituals.

What might strike some as rather odd is that those who embrace conspiracy theories do so with a passion that is akin to religious belief. Often the true believers are immune to all their “facts” being debunked and the core belief remains. It is not about intelligence, we might indeed like to think it is, but many of those who embrace such beliefs are not stupid. In fact, the smarter they are, the better they are at dreaming up ways to rationalize away all the debunking.

The prime driving force behind it all is our need to gain both control and understanding, not because of some mental defect, but rather because as humans we have evolved to layer patterns on to everything around us. This of course has given us a distinct survival advantage, but alas sometimes the patterns that pop up are a form of mental paradolia and yield patterns for things that are not actually real. Letting go of such patterns is quite hard for those who find both comfort and a sense of control and meaning in them.

We are all potentially prone to being trapped by such thoughts … Gods, Aliens, New World Order, etc… that is why encouraging an independent critical thinking mindset matters.

16 thoughts on “Boston Bombers: Debunking the Top 5 Conspiracy Theories”

  1. Hey, I am watching this in 2022 and YOU ARE NOT DEBUNKING any conspiracy theory, you’re speculating with terms like “apparently”, “surely” etc. even more than what conspiracy theorists do. That is to say that to dismantle any theory it is essential to find the truth, and in this case, as usually happens in cases of national strategic interest of the United States, the truth is the official history said by the FBI, built in violation of the law, starting with the Miranda law, as the same American Bar Association has explained, redarding this case, in an extensive document published online. .. With sealed documents, silence, alarmism, restrictions on the right to defense, restrictions of all kinds, concealment of backgrounds, etc., the only thing that is achieved is that conspiracy theories arise and are maintained. That is the responsibility of the government.

  2. I’m not saying I buy into conspiracy theories, but nothing in the de-bunking here presents facts, you can’t reference any of it – eg: the twitter screen grab has no time on it, there’s no link to the original. Having someone post on facebook that the person is their son is not proof, here we don’t even have a link to that post, nor pictures of the two men together, which most father & sons would have. Same can be said of every explanation here – some of the weakest ‘de-bunking’ I’ve ever come across.

  3. It’s funny how the author chose the softest and easy to debunk evidence, but never really had a mouth for the backpacks, the two undercovers with sunglasses that has the explosion backpack before the blast then didn’t afterwards, nothing about the 0 blood before the boat then when we come back from commercial (great timing??) and we see the younger brother covered in blood head to shirt. I mean if you want to say you had a family member die go ahead there are families from 9/11 who suffered. It’s not a big deal to media unless people die. There have to be some people out of the know. Comment to me when you have a dog in this fight and can back up your governments hard lies

  4. what ever happened to the naked guy? not saying i buy into the false flag, but he just vanished…you’d think after being on TV naked and having everyone know about it that someone would come forward and say it was them

    • Officially , the response is that they do not know who he is. It is one of those hilarious situations where each organization simply claims they were not the one in charge of the situation. I’m glad you find it strange that a man who matches the exact same description as Tamerlan was seen in the exact location as he was supposed to be at that moment, being treated the same way one would treat someone being arrested who might have explosives on him. I once again reiterate my assertion that this was all a very realistic security drill and that Tamerlan was not run over by his brother.

  5. oldickeastman – Yakima, Washington – Born 1949 Oakland High School 1967 Lake Forest College B.A. Western Michigan M.A. Texas A & M University M.S. and two years completed in the doctoral program in economics, passing prelims in Macroeconomics I am living in Yakima, Washington and spend much of my retirement writing on public issues.

    How could Dzhokhar put down a black bomb backpack if he only had a white backpack with him?

    Click Google images and type in “Boston Bombing Backpack” and see the FBI released photo of the remains of the black backpack that contained the “second bomb” that Dzhokhar is accused of placing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

    Next Click Google Images and type in “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with backpack”. Many different pictures all of a mostly white backpack with black trim along the edges.

    Now remember that Dzhokhar became a suspect only because he was seen putting down his backpack. To refresh your memory:

    FBI Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers: “Among items partially recovered were pieces of black nylon which could be from a backpack and what appear to be fragments of bee-bees and nails possibly contained in a pressure cooker device. … In addition, this morning it was determined that both of the explosives were placed in dark colored nylon bag or backpack, the backpack would have been heavy because of the components believed to be in it.” (Transcribed from Associated Press recording of Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers and the Joint Task Force news conference of April 16, 2013.)

    FBI Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers: “After a very detailed analysis of photo, video and other evidence, we are releasing photos of these two suspects. They are identified as Suspect One and Suspect Two. They appear to be associated. Suspect one is wearing a dark hat. Suspect Two is wearing a white hat. Subject Two set down a backpack at the site of the second explosion just in front of the Forum Restaurant.” (April 18, 2013)

      • I attempt to do so constantly so I would certainly be glad to present a few quick facts:
        1) we have examples of visual evidence which shows people who are not injured immediately after the blast only to then apply blood or otherwise make themselves appear injured
        2) the injured do not act as injured do nor appear as they would appear normally
        3) a great deal of planning was involved which included such details as colour-coding the patients with tags before even being transported away from the blast site.
        4) witness testimonies very often do not match with visual confirmation
        5) miracles were quite literally supposed to have transpired including someone losing all of their blood and their heart stopping for 45 minutes
        6) the Tsarnaev chase did not make any sense and was rife with contradictions and
        a lack of logic , including a 7 minute shoot-out and scene with Tamerlan
        Tsarnaev charging at the police without a weapon and the police in turn charging
        at Tamerlan without a weapon

        I honestly and truly dare anyone who doubts that this was not an event as described by the mainstream media to take a good look at pictures from the event. Look long and hard whether or not you think it is possible that people there were not in fact injured there and were playing their part in a very realistic security drill.

        • You saying these are facts doesn’t make them so. I guess you don’t understand the meaning of the word “evidence”. Your evidence is to direct people to youtube videos with commentary. There’s some proof for you.

        • Daniel- You can claim that things “don’t make sense” based on single snaps of photos, short video, etc. But if you truly believe this is all concocted, I ask you to answer one, single question: Where is my cousin? My sweet, innocent, beautiful cousin. My cousin who was with us and is suddenly gone. The body my aunt and uncle had to identify, the body that the funeral home had to take possession of and we all cried over. My cousin who had the entire world and future to look forward to….is gone. While my cousin may not have “looked injured” or “acted injured” if you saw the photos immediately after (and perhaps you have!) please remember that people go into shock. We hope and believe the pain was quick and fleeting. I know this personally as someone who was in a major car crash and ejected from the vehicle. But Daniel, where is my cousin?

        • And one more question, Daniel. You speak a lot of injuries being fake- to the point you conclude they placed fake blood upon themselves. If this was just a “security drill” I’m assuming that you believe that NO ONE was injured. When hundreds of people (who you feel are “actors” or in on it) were transported via ambulance to three major Boston hospitals- what happened then? Are you implying that the the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, surgeons, paramedics, drivers, etc– and even the hospitals themselves- were all “in on it”? Are you implying that the rehabilitation centers the injured were in for days, weeks, and months…often visited by the media (including Spaulding, New England’s largest) were all “in on it” as well? That the physicians and hospital spokespeople who were interviewed (who are very real, licensed, well respected individuals) risked their careers and lives to participate in a “security drill”? That not one of the literally THOUSANDS of healthcare workers it would take to pull this off, or who would have seen and suspected something…spoke up? That within itself is just utterly impossible, and incredible to me that someone would truly believe this to be the case. It really is amazing.

          • I was going to talk a lot but have too much to say. If you are genuinely interested in the answers to your questions , you can look them up like I have. Doctors , nurses , BAA , BPD , FBI , CIA and all. There were a lot of people who said a lot of things. If you think people aren’t figuring out the details and piecing it together like I am , you’d be mistaken. Just today I believe , a story came out PROVING that Joanna Leigh is a liar. That is just one of the apparent victims who have been proven to be lying. Is it possible there are more?

            • Back in early 1989, my platoon was on the explosive firing range at Singleton NSW Australia. We had fired some 40mm grenades and claymores, none of which became unexploded ordinace as they all went off. Afterwards, we were allowed to go down the range and see the damage these things could do.

              A few minutes later, a half-buried 40mm grenade (M79/M203 from a previous platoon that didn’t clear the range properly) went off next to a shelled car. Fragments went everywhere and so did people. Notably, most of their deep leg wounds etc. weren’t bleeding at all. We patched them up and ferried them to the base hospital. It’s only there that they began to bleed.

              Shock has a way of stemming blood flow.

      • PC
        ummm…. Check all the YouTube videos that show people with cuts to their jeans across knees without any injuries or blood.
        Not to mention the type of bomb used sprayed nails & metal fragments that would imbed into people,not making surgical cuts to clothes only without injury.

        What about the fact Bauman doesn’t mention Williams (hoodie guy) in his book ?
        You can clearly see Williams hovering over Bauman attempting to do something with his right stump.
        Also when Williams is done he rolls over and has not one bit of blood on his shirt after Bauman’s stump had been pointing right at his chest.
        This fact alone would tell you if it was real,Willusms shirt would be drenched in blood DRENCHED.
        Plenty more evidence but I’m sure you’ve research it

        Either you haven’t & your stupid or you have & your a complete moron, or your EVIL


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