“If we can infer that Bielefeld unequivocally does not exist, we will win a million euros,” states a city’s homepage in a territory titled “#DieBielefeldmillion. Das Ende einer Verschwörung (The finish of a swindling theory).”
The city, home to usually over 330,000 people, has struggled for years with a notice that it doesn’t indeed exist, and is, in fact, all partial of an huge conspiracy.
Now on a 25th anniversary of a theory, it aims to put a parable to bed (or palm over a €1 million).
“All friends of a Bielefeld swindling speculation have a final possibility to infer it!” tweeted Bielefeld on a central city account, with a design proclaiming “Bielefeld: too good not to be true!”
This faith stems from a array of postings on Usenet in 1994 by university tyro Achim Held, who wanted to denote how fast swindling theories can form and spread.
He remarkable that we never seem to accommodate anyone from Bielefeld, nor do we ever hear of any vital attention or German origination imagining in a town.
Bielefeld, in past centuries, is believed to have had a repute as a moneyed centre of a cloth trade, as good as being a domicile of baking firm Dr Oetker. Today it is also home of a University of Bielefeld, that has a tyro physique of around 25,000.
Is this a campus of a University of Bielefeld or partial of a formidable cover-up? Photo: DPA
Held also posited that murky individuals, usually famous as ‘SIE’ (‘THEM’) contingency be obliged for a apparition of a ‘Bielefeld’, and work to keep a law from a German people.
Held’s origination fast widespread from a internet into a genuine world, apropos a partial of German renouned culture, and creation a city a boundary of large jokes by comedians.
Even Chancellor Angela Merkel has referenced a swindling in a debate she gave, joking that nonetheless she had attended a assembly in Bielefeld in 2012, she has no approach of meaningful either she was unequivocally there.
Of course, such a warm-hearted, feel-good story of a internet fun left viral could be a ideal cover story for a most darker truth.
Over a final twenty-six years, thousands of internet postings have suggested that a purported city is merely a front for groups as different as a Freemasons, extraterrestrials, a CIA and a German government, among others.
Merkel in Bielefeld’s City Hall in 2012 – or was she? Photo: DPA
The city referenced some of a swindling theories itself: “Bielefeld doesn’t exist? Bielefeld should be a entrance to Atlantis? Little immature group are ostensible to have sheltered their spaceship as Bielefeld University?” it wrote on a website.
Previous efforts to pierce a mistreat of privacy and discern a law of what Bielefeld truly hides have to date come to naught, with investigators reluctant or incompetent to yield constrained evidence.
At a time of publication, The Local could not endorse either a €1 million prerogative was a genuine pull for publicity, trade on a joke’s popularity, or merely another in a formidable web of lies, meant to mistreat us all.