DUNCAN BARKES Do conspiracy theorists simply find real life too dull for them?

The killing of Osama Bin Laden has given conspiracy theorists everywhere something to really sink their teeth into.

The internet has been positively thrumming with all sorts of conjecture, posted by those keen to believe something – anything – other than the official line.

Conspiracy theorists have been around forever. I rarely pay them much attention, but I am fascinated by their determination to sniff out the sinister.

Man on the moon? It never happened. How could it when jet technology still had not reached its full potential?

No, the whole thing was cooked up and staged on a sci-fi film set so the USA could be seen to beat the Russians in the space war. And besides, there is no wind on the moon, so how come the American flag flutters?

The Kennedy assassination, meanwhile, has nothing to do with a man wanting to make his mark on history. No, really, it was nothing to do with Lee Harvey Oswald, but everything to do with the CIA, three nearby tramps and Fidel Castro.

And what about the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales? She was, according to conspiracy theorists, bumped off for becoming too great a thorn in the side of the British monarchy.

Some go so far as to insist that she was carrying the child of Dodi Al-Fayed, a situation that the British establishment simply would not tolerate.

The destruction of the Twin Towers on September 11th had nothing to do with hijacked airliners being flown into them.

No, believe the conspiracy merchants and you will learn that explosives had been placed in the towers and detonated before the planes hit.

Search hard enough and you can find a conspiracy theory behind almost anything. There is a sizeable chunk of the internet devoted to the belief many of our royal family are shape-shifting lizards.

There is also a belief that Elvis is very much alive, possibly holed up with Glenn Miller and Michael Jackson.

I wish I knew why some people are so desperate to believe conspiracy theories.

I think part of the answer lies in the fact the conspiracy industry is now a multi-million-pound business; there is plenty of cash in books and seminars that explore crackpot theories.

I also think there is an element of escapism about it all; that some people simply need to believe in something beyond the facts, which are often tediously mundane.

We may never learn the full details of Bin Laden’s killing, but in the meantime you can bet that the internet will continue to buzz.

All of which adds spice and colour to the lives of those for whom reality is all too magnolia.