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The Weirdest Ever Literary Conspiracy Theories

November 8, 2016

Conspiracy theories question everything: Did Lee Harvey Oswald really assassinate JFK? Did man really land on the moon? Did the guy who wrote Alice in Wonderland secretly murder a bunch of people?
Literary Conspiracies

J.K. Rowling didn’t write Harry Potter

Having never published a novel before, British author J.K. Rowling emerged in the late ’90s as the author of the incredibly successful Harry Potter series. Her engaging tales of wizards and witches and good against evil have captivated millions and she’s worth more than $1 billion—the richest author in history. It’s an especially compelling success story because Rowling wrote the first Potter book as an unemployed single mother on welfare. In 2005, a Norwegian filmmaker named Nina Grunfeld claimed that Rowling’s story is too magical to be true. Grunfeld claims that it’s impossible for one person to have written more than half a dozen books in 10 years that sold 250 million copies. Furthermore, Grunfeld says that the woman presented as Rowling is actually an actress hired by a team of publishing and movie industry executives that created Harry Potter as a cynical, international commercial enterprise.

Lewis Carroll was Jack the Ripper

Oxford mathematician and minister Charles Dodgson created the pen name “Lewis Carroll” to keep his career as a fabulist and children’s writer separate from his more high-minded pursuits. A writer named Richard Wallace thinks Dodgson had another secret: He was the notorious—and never caught—serial killer known only as Jack the Ripper. In his book Jack the Ripper: Light-Hearted Friend, Wallace claims to have discovered anagrams in Carroll works that he takes an admission of guilt. He has to cut a bunch of letters out of some of the original passages, but still—Dodgson and Jack the Ripper were alive at the same time.

Emily Bronte didn’t write Wuthering Heights

In 1847, two of the three Bronte sisters published classic novels: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. While Charlotte would go on to publish many more books, Wuthering was Emily’s only manuscript. Some literary experts believe that a woman from the provincial moors of Yorkshire in the 1840s was incapable of writing a book of such high quality, and it must have been written by the Brontes’ brother, Branwell.

Geoffrey Chaucer was murdered

Former Monty Python member Terry Jones of all people wrote a book called Who Murdered Chaucer? In it, the comedian—in all seriousness—makes a case that Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales and called “the father of English literature” was murdered. His reasoning: Even though he was the most famous writer of his era, his death wasn’t officially recorded by anyone. The reasons for the murder: Chaucer made a lot of enemies with his writing and spoke out against the Catholic Church’s officials in England…who apparently had him killed.

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