You  know you are in deep in a Reddit rabbit hole when you start reading a post about how the world ended in 2012. According to this anonymous source, we have been living in a dream-simulation for almost a decade.

Could have fooled me. This past year has felt like one long waking nightmare. If you, like most of the country, have spent the best part of your simulated pandemic scrolling online, you are likely to have stumbled across at least one or two conspiracies.

Forget the bygone theories of yesteryear (Paul McCartney is dead, that the CIA killed Bob Marley or that the Queen is an extra-terrestrial reptile) In the pandemic, a new virus of Covid-related conspiracies has spread from the fringes into the mainstream. Here are some of the worst, followed by explanations from leading academic experts who have studied conspiracy theories and why they spread.