William Cooper was the conspiracy theorist to trump all conspiracy theorists. But the multitude of theories he spouted didn't make him less credible in the eyes of conspiracy lovers. Rather, it made him all the more revered.
If believing in conspiracy theories was a faith, Milton William Cooper could be considered a leader of that religion.
1988 was the year Milton William Cooper first made a splash on conspiracy theory scene. By appearing on radio programs and public access shows, he added a fresh take to theories that already existed by expanding them to include government and extraterrestrial involvement.
When Cooper first came about, there was little known of his education and his background was mysterious. Information that was known on Cooper came from the man himself: he served in the U.S Army and served as naval intelligence for the Air Force until he was discharged in 1975.
It was with his alleged background that made him privy to documents connecting the government to extraterrestrial involvement.
The revelations made waves.
But it was the release of his infamous 1991 book Behold A Pale Horse that catapulted him to legendary status within conspiracy theory circles.
He recounted the claims he made a few years back, elaborating on them and incorporating crucial documents.
If you were looking for a comprehensive chronicle of current conspiracy theories expanded on, detailed explanations of new ones, and the melding of several old ones, Behold A Pale Horse ticked all the boxes. It was, if you will, a super-conspiracy theory book.
Conspiracies in the book were backed up by lists of sources, names of people involved, and specific documents that underscored the claims.
Some of the book’s key theories included:
The government’s creation of the AIDS epidemic through a vaccine, manufactured in Arizona, that gave people the disease.
“It was decided BY THE ELITE that since the population must be reduced and controlled, it would be in the best interest of the human race to rid ourselves of the undesirable elements of our society,” said Cooper said in his book. To the government, this meant African Americans, Hispanics, and gay people.
It also accused Dwight D. Eisenhower of negotiating a treaty with extraterrestrials. These claims were based on top Secret documents that, as Cooper said, “I read while with Naval Intelligence.”
In regards to John F. Kennedy, William Cooper referenced an ultimatum that the former president issued in 1963 which threatened to reveal the presence of aliens to the American people the following year. This struck fear in those at the top who knew about extraterrestrial forces and it’s what led to Kennedy’s assassination, with the Secret Service agent who drove his car in the motorcade murdering him.
William Cooper’s book wasn’t just passed around the underground conspiracy scene though. It was widely available in mainstream bookstores. He did a lengthy interview with CNN.
People who ran in UFOligists and militia circles were heavily influenced.
William Cooper moved away from UFOlogy and towards a focus on anti-government subcultures in the 1990s.
He hosted an anti-government radio program called “The Hour of the Time.”
The Guardian deemed him “an ideologue of the militia movement” and his book “the manifesto” of it in an article on the trial of Terry Nichols, one of the men charged with the charged with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The Guardian referenced Cooper in relation the Nichols trial because of a document Cooper published in his book that challenged the central premise of FBI investigations. The document stated that militias in Oklahoma were urged to “stand up and fight” as early as 1990, which contradicted the FBI’s stance that the 1995 bombing was timed to mark the anniversary of the 1993 government raid of a compound in Texas known as the Waco Siege.
In 1998, after already suspecting that Bill Clinton was personally after him, he was charged with tax evasion. By 2000, he was declared a “major fugitive” by the United States Marshals Service.
On Nov. 5, 2001, authorities finally came to Cooper’s home in Eagar, Ariz. to arrest him for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and endangerment stemming from several incidents with local residents. However, according to Cooper, “he would not be taken alive” and shot one of the deputies in the head. In response, the king of conspiracies was shot dead by the police.
No records were found of the extensive involvement Cooper said he had with the army and naval intelligence. Public records indicated a period of service in the Navy, which included a tour of duty in Vietnam. He received two service medals.