Last updated: 12:30 PM ET, Thu April 07 2016

The 4 Strangest Denver International Airport Conspiracy Theories

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | April 07, 2016

The 4 Strangest Denver International Airport Conspiracy Theories

Denver International Airport is, on the surface, just like many other major airports in the United States. It’s busy, modern, and usually filled with fliers. However, for some reason, the Rocky Mountain hub has become a major point of interest for conspiracy theorists and the subject of some bizarre urban legends. 

The first of these rumors popped up about two decades ago, soon after the airport opened. 

The spooky bronco

One of the most obvious subjects for conspiracy theorists is the large blue bronco statue, a 32-foot structure that was meant to be a kind of unofficial mascot for the airport. The horse has glowing eyes that make it appear (unintentionally?) spooky. It didn’t help matters when one of the sculptors was killed while making the statue. A large piece fell on his leg, severing an artery. 

Well before that tragic accident, however, people were whispering strange theories about the airport. 

beloved evil-eyed Bronco

Photo via Flickr/Kelly Cookson

Nazi runways?

It started with the runway layout. From above, some people think that the four runways make the shape of a swastika. Looking at an aerial photo, it is easy to see how someone could claim this. The airport does have a logical reason for the layout. DIA replaced Stapleton Airport, which had one major problem: its parallel runways were too close together, so it was unsafe to use more than one when there was any sort of bad weather. Since bad weather is a common occurrence in the Mile High City, the airport often had to operate a reduced capacity.

Denver International’s runways are spread out on perpendicular planes and do not run parallel to one another. This has led to Nazi-related conspiracy theories, but it has also allowed the airport to operate more efficiently than its predecessor.

Photo via Wikipedia

Mysterious wording

An admittedly strange dedication marker has fed some theories that are a bit harder to explain away. The marker was built over a time capsule that is to be opened in 2094, on the airport’s 100th anniversary. The capsule includes common items from 1994 (a newspaper, a Colorado flag, a credit card). The dedication stone, however, has some strange inscriptions. 

A Freemasons symbol appears on the stone. The Freemasons are well known as the subject of numerous conspiracy theories, many involving the Illuminati. The stone also makes a reference to the "New World Airport Commission," which does not (yet?) exist. The wording makes it seem like perhaps this now-fictional organization was responsible for building the airport. 

Are these mysterious organizations behind the building of Denver Airport? Is there some other reason for its construction? It could be. However, this wouldn’t be the first time that poor word choice and the attempt at futuristic language made an inscription appear to mean something different than it was meant to mean. 

Denver Airport Capstone

Photo via Flickr/K W Reinsch

Secret tunnels... or incompetent builders?

The airport was plagued with problems after it opened. One of the worst was a supposedly state-of-the-art underground automated baggage system that was supposed to revolutionize the way luggage moved around airports. The system never worked, but the tunnels that it was supposed to utilize still remain. This had led people to believe that the tunnels connect to bunkers or hideouts used by the U.S. government for secret activities or by the aforementioned New World Airport Commission or Freemasons for some sort of sinister activity. 

Other early design failures add to the underground mystery. Some early airport structures were supposedly buried when it became clear that they would have to be replaced. This could have been an attempt by the airport’s builders to cover up their own incompetence, or it could be part of a plan to cover up more sinister secrets. Could the buildings be accessed by the abandoned tunnels? Conspiracy theorists like to point out that there is almost no record of these burials happening. 

Some of the urban legends are easy to disprove. The “strange” alien-like words written on some of the floors in the airport are actually words in the Navajo language and symbols inspired by the periodic table of elements. 

One conspiracy theory that people haven’t really focused on, but that is by far the most believable is that the authorities charged with building the airport created the conspiracy theories themselves because they wanted to cover up the costly mistakes that they made during construction. 


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