With conspiracy theories so much in the news, it’s a good time to re-run this educative entertainment from Tom Scott:
In north-west Germany sits Bielefeld, a city complete with castle, cathedral and citizens. Just one catch: according to something that’s half urban legend, half in-joke, it doesn’t exist. Let’s talk about belief and Bielefeld.
For more on the Bielefeld Conspiracy, see the BBC’s report:
Achim Held, an IT student, was at a party in Kiel, a northern port city, when a guest turned up from Bielefeld – but Achim was quite unaware of the city’s existence. Other party guests were also baffled by Bielefeld, German broadcaster ARD reports.
Soon after that, Achim could not resist posting the message “Bielefeld? There’s no such thing” after spotting that a motorway sign for Bielefeld had been crossed out because of roadworks.
Usenet was very limited compared with the internet, which soon surpassed it, but the message reached enough users to go viral.