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Inside the weird world of Taylor Swift conspiracy theories

When you're a celebrity as famous as Taylor Swift, it's inevitable that people will gossip about you. Whether you're a fan, a hater, or simply indifferent, it doesn't matter. When an artist gets that big, the rest of us become like satellites pulled into the orbit of a gas giant. Ever since Swift made her debut as a wholesome country singer way back in 2006, her discography and career has always drawn inspiration from her own personal life, and when you're someone who writes love songs and has had as many romances as she has, then you're always going to provoke people into trying to decipher your lyrics.

Tay-tay has had her fair share of feuds over the years, and some would say that she's been a little overexposed lately. Still, the tabloids can't get enough of her, and her fans are among the most devoted in the music industry. Her "pure-as-driven-snow" image has led a lot of internet users to wonder if she really is all that she seems, if she really is sincere about herself. Does she really have that many exes? Is she hiding her true sexuality from the world? Are her famously long legs really insured for $40 million each? The rumours go on and on, getting more and more ludicrous with each retelling, and some of them defy the limits of credibility. Welcome to the insane world of the Taylor Swift conspiracy.

1. The missing navel

If you've ever kept a keen eye on Taylor's sense of style, then you might have noticed her predilection for crop-tops and skirts. Fair enough right? But if you've been paying extra-close attention then you might have noticed that she rarely wears anything that shows off her belly-button. Seriously! If you do a quick image search then you'll see that her navel is excluded from most outfits by the waistline for her skirt. What's going on? Is she ashamed of it? The subject was first brought up in August 2014 when New York Magazine published an article titled "There’s No Proof Taylor Swift Has a Belly Button." Some internet-users even went so far as to speculate that she doesn't actually have one; that her tummy is just completely smooth and flat. The speculation got so wild that Taylor eventually had to clear up the issue personally with a bikini snap on Instagram.

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2. She's had a lizard baby

Taylor's detractors like to call her out on her supposedly two-faced nature by referring to her as a snake. But some of her more paranoid critics seem to have taken this moniker to David Icke levels and have actually outright accused her of being some kind of reptilian. On a conspiracy theory subreddit, Redditor ParamoreFanClub claimed that Swift was pregnant with a clutch of snake babies when she tweeted a serpentine picture on her official Twitter account. Obviously, Swift fans didn't take this accusation very seriously, but her haters jumped on the idea immediately.

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3. She's actually a clone

Similar to the old wives tale about Paul McCartney, this theory postulates that the real Taylor Swift perished in a tragic accident an indeterminate amount of time ago, and has since been replaced by some kind of clone or doppelgänger. A Reddit conspiracy theorist with the handle: "A_D_D_I_C_T" wrote: "Is she already dead and replaced? Failure to comply, she wanted to keep her self, so they killed her and replaced her. This has been done before with Miley Cyrus as the notable example. She was told to flip her image and become a whore but didn't want to so they killed her and replaced her." In support of this sci-fi idea, they cited a lyric from the middle eight of the track "Look What You Made Me Do" where Swift again states: "I'm sorry but the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, 'cause she's DEAD." Personally, I'm not at all convinced by this one.

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4. She's a secret Satanist

Over the years, any number of celebrities have been accused of worshipping hell and praising Satan, so in this regard Taylor is no different from the rest. This theory has sprung up as a result of Swift's unfortunate resemblance to Zeena Schreck - a Berlin-based artist and former High Priestess and the spokesperson of the Church of Satan; because Taylor looks so similar, many fans have speculated that she is actually some kind of double of Schreck, or is related to her somehow.

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5. Her real name is "Becky"

This is one of the more tongue-in-cheek theories out there, but it's still worth mentioning. Back in April 2012, a Tumblr user with the handle "Yallarebrutalizingme" uploaded an image of a tween Taylor Swift, claiming that it was her cousin Becky, before going on to claim that she had died tragically as a result of "snorting marijuana at a party one night." When other Tumblr-users pointed out that the picture showed Taylor Swift, a number of fans started using the name "Becky" as an in-joke. But who knows? Maybe her real name is Becky, and maybe this ties into the clone theory mentioned above.

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6. She tried to tarnish Calvin Harris' reputation

Taylor and Calvin Harris used to be one of the cutest celebrity pairings in the music industry, but they still split up. Why? Nobody seemed to know the real reason. It was beyond fishy. But some of Calvin Harris' fans claim that Taylor took the breakup badly and that she's been waging a b*tchy war on social media to wreck his image ever since. Supporters of this theory even went so far as to claim that Taylor cheated on Harris and that her later relationship with Tom Hiddleston was a cover for the infidelity.

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7. She's a Pizzagate truther

Pizzagate is a conspiracy theory that was bandied about by various members of the alt-right in the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential elections, in which proponents postulated that numerous Democrats in Hilary Clinton's campaign were responsible for covert acts of paedophilia in numerous Washington DC pizza restaurants. Supporters of this theory claim that John Podesta's hacked emails contained coded allusions to acts of child sex abuse. Some Pizzagate truthers have come to believe that Swift also supports the rumours, after the release of the music video for her single "Look What You Made Me Do" contained a black-on-red spiralling imagery, which one theorist claims represents "Pizzagate unravelling and spiralling out of the globalist's control. The full-screen worldwide flash of yellow means the globalists are losing control of their mind control apparatus. Their poison cloud is about to dissipate."

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8. Her open letter to Apple was a publicity stunt

Back in 2015, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple on her official Tumblr post account, protesting how they neglected to pay artists for the use of their songs. The very next day, Apple changed their policy; something which usually takes weeks of planning. Suspicious? Many suspect that after Swift had a falling out with Spotify (one of Apple Music's main competitors) she teamed up with Apple and wrote her open letter to give Apple a free advertisement for their new streaming policy. Taylor later starred in a number of ads for Apple Music, which seems to lend credence to the idea.

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9. Her relationship with Tom Hiddleston was faked

A lot of people thought that Hiddleswift was a bit ... forced. Her brief fling with Tom Hiddleston simply felt somewhat insincere to a lot of people, and although all of her former relationships have fallen under media scrutiny, this one took the cake. Interestingly enough, all the paparazzi pictures taken of the couple together (including the one with that infamous t-shirt) were snapped up by the same agency. Thus some speculated that the romance was actually an elaborate PR strategy created to divert attention from her Calvin Harris split, as well as a number of other regrettable gaffes. For instance, their relationship was outed during the height of the Kim Kardashian feud, when the reality TV star began asking questions about Swift’s knowledge of Kanye West’s song Famous.

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10. Her feud with Kanye West isn't real

We all remember the cringe-worthy moment when Kanye West infamously crashed the VMA stage and interrupted Swift's acceptance speech. Some people have wondered if Kanye’s interruption was actually orchestrated by PR teams. Apparently, if you want proof then all you need to do is listen to the line "I made that b*tch famous" in the titular West song. Some have even gone on to suggest that the Swift/West feuds have always been publicity stunts to keep the artists in the public consciousness. It certainly had been discussed to death by now.

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A Taylor Swift conspiracy will always lead people on. It's human nature to assume that the rich and powerful are up to something, but there are certainly some conspiracy theories which are a lot more convincing than others. I mean, clones, snake babies and Satanic cults? What is this, some kind of comic book? You'll never be certain that Taylor is squeaky-clean, but don't let paranoia stop you from enjoying her music.