Denver International Airport (DIA) is known for many things – it’s the largest airport in North America by total land area, it has an iconic tent-like roof designed to mimic the snowy peaks of the nearby Rocky Mountains, and it houses one of the most discussed public art installations in the world. The airport’s murals, with their vibrant colors and complex imagery, have captivated and puzzled visitors for years. From seemingly peaceful scenes that take a sudden turn towards the apocalyptic, to strange symbols and cryptic inscriptions, the murals have become the source of numerous conspiracy theories.
At first glance, one might not expect an airport – a place typically associated with the mundane bustle of travel – to become a hotbed of conspiracy theories. But DIA is far from typical. The murals themselves, a collection of large, colorful, and dramatic pieces of art, tell a story that’s open to many interpretations. Over time, this ambiguity has resulted in a number of intriguing, if not downright sinister, theories.
In this article, we delve into the mystery and intrigue surrounding these famed murals. We’ll uncover their history, the artist behind their creation, and the meanings they were intended to convey. Furthermore, we’ll explore some of the most popular conspiracy theories these murals have sparked, revealing a fascinating side of DIA that goes beyond its role as a transport hub.
The History Behind Denver International Airport’s Murals
The murals at Denver International Airport were created by Leo Tanguma, a renowned Chicano artist known for his socially-conscious and often politically-charged work. Commissioned in 1994, these murals were intended to encapsulate the environmental and humanitarian issues that concern society. They were installed as part of DIA’s dedication to house an extensive art collection, a requirement by the city’s “percent for art” ordinance which dictates 1% of a public project’s budget be devoted to art.
There are two sets of murals at DIA, “In Peace and Harmony with Nature” and “The Children of the World Dream of Peace“. As their names suggest, these murals aim to portray themes of peace, harmony, and unity, but also environmental destruction and the horrors of war. Tanguma’s work is often characterized by a transformation from despair to hope, a theme clearly evident in these murals.
Tanguma used community members as models for his paintings, wanting to include the Denver community in his work. Moreover, he invited school children to sign one of the murals, making the project not just a work of art, but a community endeavor.
However, since their installation, these murals have raised questions and sparked debates. Their apocalyptic imagery, juxtaposed with peace and unity, made them prime material for conspiracy theories. And thus, since their inception, they have been embroiled in the mystique that surrounds the airport.
Conspiracy Theories Behind the Denver International Airport Murals
There are many conspiracy theories linked to Denver International Airport, and the murals, with their captivating imagery and cryptic symbolism, are at the forefront of these. The theories range from sinister global agendas to hidden messages, and have become so popular that they’ve arguably become part of the airport’s identity.
In the following sections, we’ll delve into the most prevalent theories, examining their origins, what they propose, and if there’s any concrete evidence supporting these conjectures.
New World Order/Illuminati: Symbolism and Secrecy
One of the most enduring theories associated with the DIA murals is their supposed connection to the New World Order and the Illuminati, secret societies alleged to be orchestrating global events. The theory suggests that the murals serve as a billboard for their plans of world domination.
Proponents of this theory argue that the murals are filled with symbols related to these secret societies. For instance, they interpret the rainbow and dove in the mural “The Children of the World Dream of Peace” as references to the biblical flood – a sign of the New World Order cleansing the earth.
Others point to the mural’s depiction of a masked soldier wielding a sword and an assault rifle as representative of a militant enforcement of the New World Order’s authority. The alleged presence of a freemasonic symbol on a capstone in the airport further fuels these claims.
However, the lack of concrete evidence supporting the existence of the Illuminati or the New World Order makes it difficult to substantiate these claims. While it is undeniable that the murals contain powerful and occasionally unsettling imagery, attributing them to the secret machinations of shadowy organizations may be a stretch too far.
Apocalypse and Secret Agendas: Foreshadowing Catastrophe
Some theories posit that the murals are a forewarning of future global catastrophe. Proponents of this belief maintain that the murals depict a series of apocalyptic events or hold hidden messages about a planned worldwide disaster.
The mural “In Peace and Harmony with Nature” is often referenced in support of this theory. The first part of the mural shows children surrounding a destroyed environment and extinct species, which theorists interpret as a prediction of environmental disaster. The depiction of a soldier with a gas mask in “The Children of the World Dream of Peace” is taken as an omen of biological warfare.
Again, the absence of any supporting evidence or substantiated prediction makes these theories speculative at best. Leo Tanguma has stated that his murals, while they depict harsh realities, are ultimately about humanity coming together to heal and live in peace and harmony.
Nazi Connections: Hidden Ideologies
Another theory suggests the murals contain veiled references to Nazi ideologies. Theorists often point to the dedication plaque that mentions the “New World Airport Commission,” an organization that, in reality, does not exist. This has led some to draw parallels with the New World Order and the alleged global dominance by secret societies.
The soldier depicted in “The Children of the World Dream of Peace” is often seen as further “evidence” of this theory. His appearance has been compared to a Nazi stormtrooper, and his gas mask and weapon are interpreted as symbols of oppression and totalitarian rule.
As with the other theories, there is no substantial evidence to support these claims. The “New World Airport Commission” was a group comprised of local business and political leaders who organized a couple of events, namely concerts, for the airport’s opening, but was disbanded afterward.
The theories surrounding the DIA murals demonstrate the power of art to inspire discussion and ignite imagination. Despite their contentious reputation, these murals contribute to the unique character of Denver International Airport, turning an ordinary hub of travel into a destination steeped in intrigue and mystery.
Freemasonry and Occultism: Hidden Gatherings in Plain Sight
Certain theories focus on the relationship between the murals and alleged connections to Freemasonry and occultism. Proponents argue that the airport serves as a meeting ground for these secret societies, with the murals acting as coded messages or instructions for their members.
Symbols perceived to be linked to Freemasonry, such as the capstone with the Masonic square and compass emblem located in the airport, are often used as evidence supporting these claims. Some theorists argue that the ‘New World Airport Commission’ mentioned on the dedication plaque is a smokescreen for Masonic involvement.
Furthermore, the mural “The Children of the World Dream of Peace” is believed to portray a Freemasonic initiation ritual. The image of a sword-wielding soldier, they claim, symbolizes the Masonic “tyler” or outer guard, who stands with a drawn sword at Masonic meetings.
However, the connections between these symbols and the theories remain tenuous at best. Denver International Airport has acknowledged the Masonic symbol as a tribute to the local Freemason community who contributed to the airport’s construction.
Population Control: Sinister Symbolism of a Global Agenda
Some theorists interpret the DIA murals as reflecting a global population control agenda. They suggest that the artwork, with its images of destruction, despair, and rebirth, symbolizes plans for mass death, genocide, or a deliberate reduction of the world’s population.
This theory is often linked to the New World Order conspiracy, with the idea that this secret group aims to maintain power by controlling the world’s population. The mural “In Peace and Harmony with Nature,” in which animals and their environments appear devastated, is seen as portraying this global catastrophe.
However, like many other theories, the claims of a population control agenda are largely speculative. Leo Tanguma has consistently maintained that his murals are meant to inspire and uplift, rather than to signal a nefarious global plot.
Alien or Reptilian Influence: A Galactic Conspiracy
Among the more fantastical theories are those suggesting extraterrestrial or reptilian involvement in human affairs. The DIA murals, according to these theorists, contain hidden messages or imagery hinting at the influence or presence of alien entities or a reptilian ruling class.
Theorists often point to the alien-looking children depicted in the murals, as well as a poem embedded in the airport floor that mentions the ‘pale white horse,’ which some interpret as an extraterrestrial reference.
Despite its popularity among a certain segment of conspiracy theorists, there is little to no evidence supporting this theory. The alien or reptilian interpretation of the murals seems to stem more from imaginative speculation than from any concrete symbols or signs.
Time Capsule or Underground Bunker: Secrets Beneath the Surface
Another prevalent theory posits that beneath DIA lies an extensive underground complex. This could be a bunker for the world’s elite, a massive underground city, or a storage for priceless artifacts. The murals, according to this line of thought, hold the key to its existence or purpose.
The origin of this theory can be traced back to the early days of DIA’s construction, when reports of extensive underground tunneling circulated. Fueling these rumors are the barbed wire fences around the airport which face inward, a feature typically associated with detention facilities.
Again, the evidence for this theory is largely circumstantial. DIA officials have confirmed the existence of a tunnel system, but it’s used for airport operations such as baggage transportation. As for the inward-facing fences, they’re a standard feature at many airports to prevent unauthorized access to runways and other operational areas. The murals themselves offer no clear clues to support the theory of an underground bunker.
Meaning Behind the Murals Remains Unexplained
Despite the myriad conspiracy theories, the murals at Denver International Airport remain a significant and intriguing part of its identity. No concrete evidence has ever been brought forward to substantiate these theories, leaving them in the realm of speculation and conjecture. Still, the murals continue to pique the curiosity of travelers, serving as a source of intrigue and conversation.
Leo Tanguma, the artist behind these murals, intended them to be powerful expressions of human pain and resilience, of despair and hope. In his view, the murals are ultimately about humanity’s ability to heal and live in harmony with nature. The numerous theories that surround them may just be a testament to their complexity and impact, aspects that any great piece of art aspires to achieve.
Whether they’re about the New World Order, population control, or reptilian overlords, these theories have only added another layer to the airport’s allure. Ultimately, they speak to our fascination with the mysterious and the unexplained.
If you find yourself at Denver International Airport, why not take the time to see these murals for yourself? “In Peace and Harmony with Nature” is located on Level 5 of the Jeppesen Terminal, while “The Children of the World Dream of Peace” can be found on Level 5 of the Terminal West. Both murals are divided into two parts, which are separated by doors and windows. Regardless of where you stand on the conspiracy theories, one thing is certain: these murals are bound to leave an impression.