The Shining: 5 Crazy Conspiracy Theories

From the moonlanding to the CIA, Stephen King's classic over-interpreted

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This week Stephen King released Dr Sleep, the sequel to cult hit and perennial stalker of childhood nightmares, The Shining which – as if you didn't know – was also turned into a rather famous film starring Jack Nicholson.

What you may not know is that film is subject to more conspiracy theories than the US government, in which every background detail, number and shot is awarded coded meanings. There are so many of these theories, in fact, that a documentary entitled Room 237 was made about the creative individuals behind them in 2012. 

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Here is our round- up of the strangest... 

1 | It’s Kubrick’s apology for filming the faked moonlandings

The theory goes that Stanley Kubrick was hired by the US government to film the 1969 moon landings – which were all a fake, designed to assert America’s superiority over rival superpowers. Hardcore theorists say that there is a coded apologies littered throughout the film – Danny’s Apollo 11 jumper, Room 237 being is a reference to Earth’s distance from the moon [237,000 miles] and the twins indicating NASA’s Gemini space program. The biggie is Jack’s screaming rant at Wendy when she wants to leave, which theorists say stands for Kubrick’s own fights with his wife over said fake moon landing footage: "Does it matter to you at all that the owners have placed their complete confidence and trust in me, and that I have signed a contract in which I have accepted that responsibility?". We're almost convinced.
 

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2 | It’s a metaphor for the CIA’s mind control program

The best conspiracy theories are government mind control theories, which is what makes this one so brilliant. A skiing poster that appears in one of the shots with the unbearably creepy twin girls displays the word "Monarch": a supposed code name for the CIA behavioural engineering programme MKUltra, which used LSD, hypnotherapy and sleep deprivation to understand mind control.


3 | The Illuminati killed Kubrick

The second best conspiracy theories are Illuminati ones, even if Dan Brown has ruined them a bit. In this one, the secret society murdered Kubrick and framed it as a heart attack, because of Masonic symbols scattered through the film. Eyes and triangles, visualised through tapered corridor shots, are certainly noticeable, to be fair. 


4 | It's about the Holocaust

One claim is that Jack’s deranged typewriting is a metaphor for the manic list making and genocidal lunacy of the Nazis. Plus their symbol (the eagle) appears on his t- shirt, and instances of the number 42 (1942 being the year that the Final Solution was implemented) are 'everywhere' – the digits of Room 237 multiply to make 42, the number is included on the licence plate of Dick Halloran's rental car and there are forty-two cats in the hotel parking. Apparently. Not that we've added them up. 

5 | It's about the Native American Genocide:

The whole thing as an allegory for the destruction of the Native American people is another genocide based theory. One scene sees Danny focus on a can of Calumet baking powder, which shows a Native American in traditional dress. Navajo wall hangings are shown in the ballroom, and the hotel manager tells Jack that the hotel overlooks an Indian burial ground. When Chef Halloran is slaughtered by Jack, he collapses onto a rug with a Native American motif, and the July 4 date depicted on the vintage photo at the end is seen as being about that Independence Day didn’t apply to the nation’s indigenous population.

Download Esquire Weekly to read an exclusive extract from Dr Sleep 

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