Living Mystery Effect

The Living Mystery Effect: The impractical act of advancing and cultivating a mystery in the face of irrefragable evidence with complete refusal of acceptance of any and all thoughts, theorem, or undisputable facts as they relate to the mystery or its subject.
— G.S. Smith,

The Living Mystery Effect (LME) is a theorem developed to identify the cause and effect of refusing basic, and complex, aspects of history, science, and in some instances, religion. The LME comprises two basic governing bodies that explain the mechanism by which the tenet of a given mystery remains intact. The complex psychological process that gives rise to, supports, and advances a given mystery can be found in skepticism and doubt. Princeton psychology professor and renowned author Susan Sugarman noted in her 1998 book Freud on the Acropolis: Reflections on a Paradoxical Response to the Real, a strange and unique phenomenon that, without question, exists within the psychological nature of a percentage of the populous: “The prospect alarms one sufficiently that even in the absence of any original doubt, one may provoke a doubt. At least one may start behaving, and feeling, as one would if one had an authentic doubt.” This type of subjective thought process, in replacement of realistic fact, is the foundation on which the LME theorem is supported. Furthermore, doubt, as it relates to history, is damaging to truths, as the skeptical nature of the behavior can, and will, contradict verifiable fact and understanding.

The first governing body of the Living Mystery Effect is the advancement of the mystery without any existing theory regarding the origin of the mystery or its corresponding subjects. That is to say that one who is a student of a particular history-based mystery has no plausible answer to the root of a given mystery but vigorously perpetuates the mystery as unsolvable based solely on a lack of knowledge, lack of perpetrators, and lack of physical evidence. 

The second governing body within the LME is the refusal to accept any, and all, plausible answers to a given mystery. That is to say that one who is a student of a particular mystery may have many plausible answers to a given mystery but because of the deep-rooted need for the mystery to remain unsolved, will refuse and reject all facts and evidence that may point to a final solution to the mystery.

Within the two governing bodies of the LME, one essential requirement dominates both aspects of the thought processes that allow for the effect to be complete: the deep-seated need for a mystery to stay a mystery in the face of overwhelming physical evidence. From a psychological standpoint, this need may seem, to the untrained eye, to be counterintuitive to thought processes and isolated to a very small segment of the population; however, in the shadow of ongoing mysteries in US history, many of which are crime related (D.B. Cooper hijacking in Washington, Zodiac killings in California, Axeman of New Orleans, Servant Girl Annihilator of Austin, the Black Dahlia murder, and so forth), a significant percentage of the population displays at least one of the two governing bodies of the LME in regards to true mysteries in history. The number of individuals who display elements of the effect is growing exponentially. This explosive growth may be directly proportional to the amount of social media access that the population has regarding their preferred mystery. True students of a mystery can, and often will, be swayed by the passionate ramblings of others who are not proficient, or are uneducated, in a particular mystery that exists in US history. The effect of advancement of misinformation can, and will, be devastating to the true facts of history as the long term effects are problematic and irreversible.

In 2014, a Louisiana man, Gary L. Stewart, uncovered information that suggests his biological father, Earl Van Best Jr., was the Zodiac Killer, who murdered five people in Northern California between 1968 and 1969. In 2011, an Oklahoma woman who was born and raised in Oregon, Marla W. Cooper, came forward to claim that her uncle Lynn Doyle Cooper was the perpetrator of the 1971 D.B. Cooper hijacking of Flight 305. In 2003, Los Angeles Police Department homicide investigator Steve Hodel wrote the book Black Dahlia Avenger, wherein he suggests that his father, Dr. George Hill Hodel, was the perpetrator of the brutal, and very bizarre, 1947 killing of Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia. In 1948, Hico, Texas, resident William Henry Roberts came forward to claim that he was the infamous Billy the Kid, who was reported to have been killed by Pat Garrett in 1881. In 1878, John St. Helen of Grandbury, Texas, claimed to be presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, who was reported to have been killed on Garrett’s farm in 1865. 

All of these individuals, Stewart, Cooper, Hodel, Roberts, and St. Helen, in a pursuit to unravel the hidden truth of their own pasts, have encountered ostracism and evasiveness from the history community, ridicule, and disdain in mass and social medias, mockery, and denial from the conspiracy theorist community, and the full force of the Living Mystery Effect. In the face of strong evidence, these various communities continue to deny truths that are hidden, as well as clearly visible, to fulfill the overwhelming need to keep these great mysteries of American history at bay and devoid of truth.

The Living Mystery Effect, as it relates to US history, is not relegated to the mysterious Coopers and Zodiacs in history but extends well into many of the major events in the country’s past. Webster’s Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as follows: “A theory that explains an event or situation as the result of a secret plan by an unusually powerful people or groups.” Freemasons, UFOs and aliens, Illuminati and New World Order, Apollo space missions, fluoride in public water, global warming, and even the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center have been subject of conspiracy theories. Some of the conspiracies have enough compelling evidence to convince an uninformed and unsuspecting public that they may have merit; however, some of the ongoing conspiracies fall under the category of the ridiculous and outright unbelievable. When a conspiracy theory is challenged with history, physics, or logical thought, the Living Mystery Effect is invoked to discredit actual truth and understanding. 

More intriguing than conspiracy theorists using the LME, based solely on self doubt and skepticism to discredit a scientist or historian is the LME being invoked by a conspiracy theorist to discredit another conspiracy theorist.

In July 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft carrying Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from earth on the largest engine ever built by humans, the Saturn 5 rocket. The astronauts traveled to the moon, landed, collected rocks and soil from the moon’s surface, filmed and photographed their mission, and placed an American flag on the moon before successfully returning to earth. The moon landing and exploration missions would be repeated five more times (Apollo 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17) before the end of 1972. In 1976, writer Bill Kaysing published the first of the moon landing conspiracy theorist books, We Never Went to the Moon. Kaysing, who was neither an engineer nor a scientist, became the father of the Moon Hoax conspiracy movement, citing optical anomalies and a lack of stars in photographs, the dangers of the Van Allen radiation belts around the earth, and a lack of technology to travel to the moon. He went on to accuse NASA of staging the Apollo moon walks in a studio under a controlled situation. Before his death in 2005, Kaysing had revised some of his original theories; however, his newer versions of the story hold as much skepticism, distrust, and contempt for NASA, the US government, and the Apollo astronauts as his original writings displayed. Bill Kaysing’s doubt and skepticism first led him to the conclusion that the moon landings could not have been real. The Living Mystery Theory led him to formulate an alternative theory devoid of fact, evidence, or logic. Due to his version of compelling evidence, others, who also lacked the scientific knowledge to understand the various aspects of the Apollo moon landings, began to follow the thinking of the skeptical writer, becoming known as Moon Hoaxers.

Since the time of the moon landings, another group of conspiracy theorists has emerged that contradicts Kaysing and the moon hoaxers sufficiently; however, by invoking the LME in the face of skepticism, their theories regarding NASA and the Apollo astronauts are equally inconceivable. In their uniquely bereft theory, alienists contend that highly trained astronauts did travel to moon but claim NASA, and a full array agencies representing the US government, are hiding the existence of alien craft and hidden alien moon bases from an unsuspecting public. Neil Armstrong’s reports of a housing of the Saturn 5 rocket trailing his spacecraft and pieces of the spacecraft’s launch panels hovering above the Apollo 11 moon landing location have fueled intense and wildly unsupported theories about the existence of alien spacecraft and NASA’s concealment of their presence.

Apollo 16 lunar module pilot Charles Moss Duke Jr., the 10th man to walk on the moon, has been accused of faking moon landing footage and photographs, as well as observing an alien aircraft following Apollo 16 on its departure from the surface of the moon. In the case of Charles Duke, he faced the full force of the LME; however, the retired Air Force general was forced to contend with two widely different unsupported theories. It should be noted that Duke and Armstrong, although the only astronauts cited, are not the only astronauts to be affected by the hoaxers and alienist. Virtually all astronauts that have left earth’s atmosphere for the vacuum of space have been accused of some type of malfeasance in regards to the NASA space program. This type of immoderacy carries skepticism, and doubt, of history to an irreversible level that will remain unrecoverable for all times as the true history of a given event has the potential to be lost. Moon hoaxers and alien theorists alike invoke the Living Mystery Effect to offset the inability to understand the true nature of the historic and technological value of the Apollo program.


German philosopher Emanuel Kant (1724-1802) believed, within transcendental realism, that individuals have a complete and perfect understanding of the limitations of their own personal minds and thought processes. It has been sufficiently demonstrated within the Living Mystery Effect theorem that skepticism and doubt of actual historic and scientific events has led a percentage of the population, often without an understanding of why they are doing it, to formulate inconceivable, unsupported, and in select cases, dangerous theories regarding actual documented events. The psychological properties within each of us that abandon logic and evidentiary facts for wild, unsupported theories and claims are embedded within the fabric of the human behavior. Although this proposition may be unresolved and remain for psychologist and philosophers to reveal, the Living Mystery Effect is the mechanism which explains the cause and effect of refusing truths upon history.     

G.S. Smith,
December 1, 2015