Wild conspiracy theories, including alleged cannibalism and Ebola, spread online as torrential rain transforms Burning Man 2023 into a muddy mess.
Burning Man, the iconic desert festival known for its art, music, and counterculture spirit, took a dark turn this year as torrential rain transformed the event into a muddy quagmire. With more than 70,000 attendees stranded in the Black Rock Desert, a bizarre and baseless wave of conspiracy theories has swept across social media.
The festival, renowned for its radical self-expression and communal atmosphere, faced unprecedented challenges as Friday night’s downpour turned the dry lake bed into a swamp. Authorities urged festival goers to “shelter in place” until conditions improved and conserve their dwindling supplies. Most entrances and exits were closed, trapping attendees in the muck.
Tragically, festival organizers confirmed one death, which occurred during the rainstorm, but the circumstances remain under investigation. As news of the incident circulated online, a slew of outlandish conspiracy theories emerged, ranging from the spread of Ebola to allegations of cannibalism within the festival grounds.
One particularly bizarre rumor suggested that a billionaire had been found dead and partially consumed by survivors facing food shortages. Despite lacking any credible evidence, the story gained traction on platforms like Reddit and Twitter, with users speculating about a nightmarish scenario where a group of festival goers resorted to cannibalism after being stranded by the trash fence.
Social media posts further fueled the frenzy, including a tweet featuring a photograph of an alleged victim, described as an ageless billionaire. Fortunately, a clarification soon followed, debunking the claim and confirming the individual’s continued existence.
Despite the disturbing rumors, there have been no verified reports of cannibalism or the spread of Ebola at Burning Man. While the festival’s challenges this year are undeniable, sensationalist claims remain unfounded.
In the wake of this surreal situation, a slew of memes mocking the festival’s misfortune have flooded social media. Some users repurposed footage from a muddy 2022 Balenciaga fashion show, humorously attributing it to Burning Man. Others celebrated their “Joy of Missing Out” (JOMO), expressing relief at not attending this year’s beleaguered event.