Ever since its construction in 1995, Denver International Airport conspiracy theories have been the talk of the town. The use of bold public art, peculiar architecture and construction issues along with the bizarre theories is what has made the airport a sensation among the public. Besides being on news from its very debut, the airport got more popularity after it was surfaced on Jesse Ventura’s TV show – Conspiracy theories. Many news and science channels followed the trend consequently. Surprisingly, rather than denying the accusation, the airport authorities played along. According to Kim Day (CEO), rather than fighting the conviction of the people, they took it as an opportunity and embraced it. Besides, some of the theories are so amusing and hilarious that they are happily used as a tool for airport marketing.

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet1
Denver International Airport ©www.tripadvisor.co.nz

Here are some of the prevalent theories regarding the Denver International Airport. I hope you have a fun time reading them.

The Capstone and Freemasons:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet2
Capstone showing the freemasonry symbol ©www.thrillist.com

A dedication capstone dated back to 19th March 1994, marks the airport’s entrance from the south. It has a time capsule with “People of Colorado in 2094” written on it and contains coins, Mayor Wellington Webb’s sneakers, a signed opening-day ball from Coors Field, as some of the items. The time capsule also has engraved symbols of freemasons, strange symbols and the name of a mysterious group called the New World Airport Commission.

Due to the presence of such symbols, people tend to believe that a centuries-old secret society named Freemasons controls the operation and functioning of the airport. However, authorities claim that the masons made it as a gift and offered it on the opening ceremony. Besides that, they have no involvement with the airport in any way.

Another controversy is regarding the unknown “New World Airport Commission” group mentioned on the capstone. To which the authorities claim that it was supposed to read “The New commer World Airport Commission ” which was dedicated to the group celebrating the opening of the airport. Further, the strange markings represent the Navajo-language characters and dedication to the airport artists.

The funniest theory about the braille tablet featured on the capstone. The conspiracy says that if the tablet is touched the right way it will open up a portal for the aliens or release toxic gases.

The gargoyles:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet3
Gargoyle on a suitcase at the baggage claim of DIA ©www.flydenver.com

Another element with an uncanny presence is the statue of a gargoyle sitting on a suitcase. People perceive it as the harbinger of evil or wicked. People believed the face to an extent that some church group would put cards with ‘effigies of Satan’ written on it or bible around the statue. However, the artist Terry Allen explains that gargoyles are in fact good demons and the statue was strategically placed at the baggage claim to signify them as the protectors of the suitcase. Further, gargoyles were extensively used in Churches as a guard against bad spirits and the artist was inspired to use them in the airport to signify its importance in its own unique way.

The demonic horse- Blucifer:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet4
The blue mustang ©www.thrillist.com

The blue mustang is a 32-foot high fibreglass horse sculpture located beside Peña Boulevard. The sculpture was commissioned by the Peña committee in the 90s; however the artist Luis Jiménez was working on it till June 2006.

The conspiracy theory arouses when a piece of the sculpture fell and killed Luis Jiménez. The sculpture was eventually completed and unveiled in 2008. The sculpture was referred to as ‘the horse which killed its maker’ and the red-orange coloured eyes added to the sinister attribute. People relate the sculpture to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. However, the artist expressed once that the orange-red eyes represented the ‘wild’ spirit of the American West and the sculpture is a mere artwork rather than a representation of something else. Another theory says that the red eyes pay homage to the artist’s father who used to work with neon signs.

The mural representing the end of the world:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet5
Mural by artist Leo Tanguma ©www.outtherecolorado.com

The airport features artwork by artist Leo Tanguma and his murals generally narrate a story of world peace, hopefulness and health environment. The one installed at the airport is named “Children of the World Dream of Peace”. It expresses the artist’s longing to eradicate violence and war from society. However, the artist’s artworks are generally mistaken due to the horrifying stories they depict. The presence of such a mural beside gargoyles, blue mustang and other such bizarre artworks makes it easier for people to portray grim imagery. The mural is persistently correlated to the existence of Nazism influence throughout the airport.

Swastika shaped runway and tunnel to NORAD:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet6
Aerial view of DIA runway ©www.telegraph.co.uk

Since people closely relate the existence of Nazi influence in the airport, many of the conspiracy theories say that the runway is in the shape of Swastika, which represents Nazism. Further, people believe the airport has a 90-mile long secret tunnel connecting the DIA’s remote location to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD),). However, the theories are ambiguous as the runaway vaguely matches the shape of a Swastika from the aerial view. The rotating fan-shaped design helps to optimize take-off against the wind and control the traffic. Also, the existence of such a long tunnel is very unlikely and uneconomical as the longest underground tunnel (35.4 miles) took over a decade to be constructed.

Secret underground tunnels:

Architectural controversy regarding Denver International Airport - Sheet7
Failed automated baggage system at DIA ©www.bizjournals.com

Many believe that the underground tunnels contain bunkers to hide governmental officials and elite in times of nuclear bombing, war or cataclysmic reckoning whereas other theories claim that Illuminati headquarters lies underneath the DIA.  People also tend to believe that the tunnels houses reptoids (lizard people) and aliens.

Surprisingly, rather than being mere accusations, the history of the DIA arouses such suspicions.  The airport cost much more than the original budget. Some of the initially built buildings were inappropriately built and therefore people believe that instead of being demolished, they were buried to serve as headquarters to secret societies. Moreover, a lot of money was invested into the making of tunnels and automated baggage systems whereas it failed at its first operation and since then has been abandoned completely. This was one of the reasons for the delayed opening of the airport which makes it obvious for people to believe that it was a way of concealing the tunnels.  Also, at the opening of the airport, passengers were directly through beautifully decorated tunnels, however, these ‘alternate’ passages were closed as soon as trams began to operate.

People have been highly suspicious as to why the authorities invested highly on these tunnels if they were not to be used ever. Also, the entrance to these tunnels is prohibited either for security reasons or safety.


It is always easy for people to relate odd events with superstition and doubt the existence of an institution. It becomes easy to connect the dots and make a preposterous story out of it. Moreover, they are so stuck in their mind that people are reluctant to accept the genuine explanation behind the events.

However, some of the unexplained actions are rightly spotlighted by these theories. One of them being the expenditure of billions of dollars in the creation of tunnels and automated baggage systems which are no longer in use. It somehow adds up to indicate the existence of secret places which are not yet revealed by the authorities. Although the authorities are quite certain that regardless of showing evidence against the theories, people are still going to believe what they believe. Therefore, instead of opposing the facts, they have their fun moments while hearing them.


Yashika Sharma is an architecture enthusiast who is keen to explore and learn everything that architecture has to offer. She believes that there is always another perception, value, and essence which needs to be realized and appreciated in architecture. Architecture literature is an essential portal for spreading such ideas.

Write A Comment