As investigators search for a potential motive behind the Christmas Day suicide bombing that rocked downtown Nashville, injuring three people and destroying several buildings, new details have emerged about the peculiar beliefs of the suspected bomber.
NBC News reported Wednesday that investigators have obtained evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner, who died in the explosion, may have been a believer in a conspiracy theory that states many of the world’s most powerful figures, from Barack Obama to the late Bob Hope, are evil, lizard-like superior extraterrestrial beings in disguise. Officials told NBC News that investigators, who have been interrogating friends and acquaintances of the suspect and searching for clues of a possible motive for the bombing, have become aware of citations made by Warner about the lizard people conspiracy theory — though it wasn’t immediately clear what those statements were. Authorities also reported that Warner had made several statements to others about hunting possible aliens during previous camping trips he took in his RV.
The so-called lizard people conspiracy theory has taken a back seat to some of the newer and more widely publicized baseless beliefs that have come to dominate the conspiracy scene in recent years. But in 2013, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling revealed that 12 million Americans believed that the country was run by lizard people in disguise.
In some ways, lizard people believers were a precursor to QAnon, the insidious pro-Trump conspiracy movement that was hurled from the dark corners of the internet into mainstream social media feeds and even the halls of Congress over the last three years. Like QAnon, which was founded on the myth that President Trump is secretly working to dismantle a “deep state” cabal of satanic pedophiles, the lizard people theory holds that a secret network of blood-guzzling “global elites” have engineered tragedies from the Holocaust to 9/11. But it gets worse: The nasty world leaders and Hollywood celebrities responsible for all the misery are not humans but shape-shifting reptilian creatures of extraterrestrial origins.
While both conspiracies feature many of the same villains, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, QAnon is more politicized, with Trump and his supporters on one side and almost everyone else on the other. Lizard people, on the other hand, are believed to be lurking across the political spectrum. Blogs dedicated to identifying our reptilian overlords have accused prominent Republicans like former President George W. Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham of being lizard people, in addition to the likes of the queen of England, Madonna, and Britney Spears.
Though the theory says that lizard people have been controlling human society since ancient times, David Icke, a BBC sports reporter-turned-conspiracy theorist and self-styled New Age philosopher, has been considered the leading exponent of the far-flung philosophy since 1998, after he published a book called “The Biggest Secret,” which claimed the members of the royal family to be reptiles in disguise.
Federal investigators have been trying to discover whether Warner also believed in one of the more contemporary yet equally absurd conspiracy theories that have been circulating on the internet about 5G wireless communication networks. The Christmas morning explosion took place outside an AT&T building in Nashville, disrupting 911 service and knocking out AT&T service across the state. AT&T is one of the American telecommunication companies involved in rolling out 5G, the latest standard for broadband cellular networks, which is expected to dramatically increase data transfer speeds.
This spring, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the globe, many rumors began circulating online claiming the new cellular technology was somehow linked to COVID-19, resulting in several attacks targeting cell towers across Britain and other parts of Europe.
Though scientists have debunked claims that COVID-19 is caused by 5G technology, the conspiracy theory is still prevalent, gaining traction within the U.S. as well. As Yahoo News reported this week, law enforcement and intelligence agencies warned in May of escalating threats on social media calling for people to “target critical infrastructure including cell towers, locations associated with the electric power grid, and other sites associated with perceived impending government action against citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
So far, authorities haven't been able to pinpoint an exact motive for the Christmas explosion, though Warner’s girlfriend had reportedly warned police more than a year ago that the 63-year-old was building bombs in a recreational vehicle outside his house. If his goal was to free the world from domination by alien-descended reptiles in human form — well, he chose a wrong way to do so