Rock n’ roll band Queen have unwittingly been embroiled in plenty of conspiracy theories over their years.
The massively successful Bohemian Rhapsody stars achieved international acclaim with hits like Another One Bites the Dust, We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Their legacy even spawned the hit blockbuster biopic film of the same name, starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury.
So it’s easy to see why conspiracy theories started flying, as their lyrical genius is still unrivalled to this day.
From pacts with the devil to hidden backwards messages in their hit songs, we delve deep into the reigning conspiracy theories around today.
Deal with the devil
It stands to reason that plenty of folks might have simply been jealous of Freddie’s musical genius.
Plenty were downright convinced that he and his fellow bandmates signed a pact with Satan in order to achieve the wild heights of success they did with Bohemian Rhapsody.
Part of the theory stems from the line in the song, ‘Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me’ – Beelzebub, of course, being another name for Satan.
Speculation was also rife around guitarist Brian May, who was spotted wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the number ‘666’ to signify the devil.
However, it later emerged that the t-shirt actually bore the number ‘46664’ – Nelson Mandela’s prisoner number.
And, upon his death in 1991, Freddie famously said when asked if he wanted to go to heaven: "No, I don’t want to. Hell is much better. Look at the interesting people you are going to meet down there."
Brian May also legendarily released a short film dubbed One Night in Hell back in 2014 – an animation which followed a skeleton into the depths of the devil’s lair, featuring Queen hit We Will Rock You combine with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
Many fans have disputed the theory entirely – instead offering the explanation that the song is simply about living with the choices you make in life.
One Quora user theorised: "If the band had completely failed, [Freddie] might have been left in the position where he would have to ask for help from his parents.
"The band was on the verge of bankruptcy – if A Night At The Opera had not been a success, then the band would have broken up.
"Freddie was already 29 at the time, that meant he spent most of his 20s on this endeavour. It would have been a big personal loss for him if the band did break up," they explained.
And speaking of the Beelzebub line, Freddie himself responded to a fan question about the lyric.
He said: "Why do we use [the line?] It’s just a… I mean, why do we use anything?
"It doesn’t necessarily mean I study demonology things. I just love the word Beelzebub. Great word, isn’t it?"
Several people have claimed to have been haunted by Freddie Mercury’s ghost after his tragic death.
The Queen frontman allegedly appears to guitarist Brian May, who says he still hears Freddie’s voice and that he is still very much a part of the band.
Speaking in 2014, Brian said: "I feel him around a lot. I don’t want to be too mystical about it but he is very much a part of what we do."
Actor Rami Malek, who portrayed Freddie in the 2018 film Bohemian Rhapsody, also claims he has been visited by Freddie’s spirit.
Speaking to Sunday Daily Express, Rami said: "I went to do some pre-recording and it was at Abbey Road – I was a little late, London traffic, whatever.
"I was running across the street and I look back and it’s the iconic crosswalk that the Beatles have the album cover on… and instantly I’m like, ‘what the hell is happening to me now’?"
Rami explained: "I race up the stairs, the meeting is on the fourth floor.
"And around the third floor, I’m passing by all these photos of bands that you love, and suddenly I stop – and I’m like, ‘what are you doing, you’re late, you shouldn’t stop right now!’
"I take two steps back and I see this autographed photo of all the members of Queen," Rami continued.
"Freddie Mercury’s face just kind of staring at me – telling me, ‘don’t do this!’
"It was a challenge. I kind of looked back, and I said, ‘no… no…’. It really felt inspiring. But it definitely was that look of, ‘don’t f*** this up!’"
‘Hidden’ backwards message
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It has been claimed that listening to hit track Another One Bites The Dust backwards reveals a hidden message.
The iconic track, when put into reverse, allegedly reveals the words ‘It’s fun to smoke marijuana’.
And it does sound remarkably like the truth when you play the song backwards – but that could just be wishful thinking on fans’ parts.
One Reddit user pointed out: "It’s funny how the mind tries to make patterns from static.
"If you listen to this gibberish with an open mind, you might hear other, equally ludicrous things.
"For instance, in the backwards [version of] Stairway to Heaven clip, I hear ‘PlayStation’, not ‘Satan’."
The idea of subliminal messaging in advertising has been around since the 1950s, with audiences growing concerned that they could be ‘brainwashed’ by films, TV and music without noticing.
When The Beatles began recording instruments backwards for their Revolver album, the craze went pre-Internet viral – with hippies attempting to discover more hidden meaning in their favourite tracks spun in reverse.
George Michael replacement
After Freddie’s death, rumours flew that pop icon George Michael could be lined up as his replacement.
It came after he performed three songs with Queen at the 1992 Wembley tribute concert, with Roger Taylor dubbing him "magnificent" and Brian May labelling him "staggering".
But Roger laid waste to the theory that George could have replaced Freddie in a role eventually taken by Adam Lambert, admitting in February this year: "I remember hearing the rumours, but it wouldn't have suited us.
"George wasn't really used to working with a live band. When he heard the power he had behind him in rehearsal, he couldn’t believe it. He thought he was on Concorde or something."
The band first joined up with Bad Company Paul Rodgers to provide their vocals, before American Idol star Adam Lambert took over in 2011.
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