Throughout the course of history, people and conspiracy theories have gone hand in hand. From the JFK assassination to the alien landing at Roswell to the birth certificate of President Obama, there have always been people willing to believe what they want or need to believe. Millions of dollars have been made on television shows (X-Files, Fringe) and movies (National Treasure, The DaVinci Code) because the entertainment industry exploits this need to believe.
Maria Monk’s scandalous tale of of “Awful Disclosures” added fuel to an already growing fire of the anti-Catholic sentiment at that time. Even though her story was discredited within months of being published, it still created that seed of doubt that non-Catholics clung to in order to justify their school of thought. Beginning the story by basically saying that the readers did not have any reason to believe her but that she did not have any reason to lie, she helped to ease the doubt that the reader might have had. The details that she added like the times of bells and the descriptions of the rooms helped to add to her credibility. The careful construction of her story by the priests who actually wrote it helped to justify the beliefs that non-Catholics had about the corruption occurring within the Catholic religion. Even after Maria Monk was exposed as a fraud, there were still people willing to believe that the “Awful Disclosures” of Maria Monk was true. These people may be distant relatives of the people that think that Elvis is still alive.