The tragic events of 9/11 left an indelible mark on our world and, unsurprisingly, spawned a whole new realm of conspiracy theory that has had an enlightening evolution.
Occurring in the nascent days of the Internet, the tragedy which claimed the lives of 2,996 people and injured thousands of others almost immediately became the prime focus of researchers who did not believe the official story of what happened that day.
The idea of a conspiracy theory behind the event was initially dismissed by the vast majority of Americans in the immediate aftermath of that fateful Tuesday in 2001.
To suggest that any nefarious forces, aside from terrorist hijackers, were behind the event was unfathomable to some and verboten to others.
But in subsequent years, the '9/11 Truth Movement,' as it has come to be known, emerged via a vast amount of websites, books, conferences, and films that expressed suspicions over the mainstream version of events.
Throughout the aughts, the movement became somewhat of a cause du jour as celebrities began expressing their doubts about the official story and a few major media outlets even began reporting on the conspiracy theory, albeit in less-than-glowing terms.
The veritable cottage industry of 9/11 conspiracy even spawned a counter movement of skeptics who challenged the veracity and plausibility of alternative theories for how the tragedy unfolded.
However, much like the JFK assassination, which 9/11 seemingly has replaced as the quintessential American conspiracy theory for a new generation, the Truth Movement seemed to lose momentum in recent years.
Although cynics may wish to blame this on in-fighting among researchers and a general splintering of the field, there are several other factors which likely also contributed to the apparent stagnation of the Truth Movement.
An oversaturation of media, produced by a myriad of researchers doing exhaustive and often commendable work, has also rendered the 9/11 conspiracy an incredibly complex topic for newcomers looking to learn about the concept.
Additionally and ironically, the simple passage of time played a significant role as 9/11 continues to fade further into society's collective memory and new terror-related tragedies seem to be happening at an alarming frequency in our modern age.
In turn, conspiracy researchers, themselves, have seemingly 'moved on' as cases like the Sandy Hook shooting, the concept of 'crisis actors,' and the 2016 presidential election have drawn the attention of what once were primarily ardent advocates for a 9/11 conspiracy.
That said, the influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement can been seen in how these new conspiracy theories grow and evolve online in tight-knit communities of voracious researchers.
One unfortunate byproduct of the notoriety and media ridicule from the heyday of the 9/11 Truth Movement is that it provided skeptics with a derisive new term used to diminish conspiracy theorists: 'truthers.'
Meanwhile, UFO research and cryptozoology, which experienced a noticeable downturn in popularity during the years following 9/11, have begun to recover from that lull and regain their place near the top of the paranormal hierarchy.
Nonetheless, there remains a group of hardworking researchers still diligently trying to decipher what may have happened on 9/11 that could be hidden from the public.
Alas, if past conspiracy theories are any indication, it's unlikely that we'll ever truly know if the 9/11 Truth Movement has served to shine a light on sinister forces that may have been behind the tragedy and or if they are simply spinning their wheels trying to solve an 'inside job' that simply does exist.
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