DIA conspiracy theorists "continually surprise and delight us," says airport spokeswoman
The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! But they (allegedly) won't be taking over Denver International Airport, as conspiracy theorists have been claiming for the past month after word got out that twenty Russian soldiers would visit the Fort Carson Army base near Colorado Springs next week to train with U.S. troops. The goal of the mission is for the two countries to share information on basic weapons training, parachute jumps, and medical and mountaineering skills — not to hold a mock takeover of DIA, as conspiracy theorists have suggested. "There is no truth to the rumor that DIA is involved in a military exercise with the CIA and the Russian military; it is absolutely incorrect," says airport spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone. "Conspiracy theorists continually surprise and delight us with creative tales that supposedly link our airport to government secrets. These stories sometimes make it into the mainstream news cycle and take on a life of their own, and that's what we believe happened with this particular story."
Surprise? Maybe. Delight? Probably not. Some of these conspiracy theories have involved aliens living in a massive city beneath the facility, Indian spirits that haunt it, and the New World Order that will begin there, as indicated by a Leo Tanguma mural. Oh, and then there's YouTube doomsday theorist William Tapley's elaborate phallic-symbols-as-end-of-times-signs evidence that's been featured by both Anderson Cooper and Stephen Colbert.
But while the Russians may not be coming, the airport has still seen its share of crazy true stories. Here are some of the weirder ones:
Just a few weeks ago, a woman who was reportedly upset about having to extinguish her cigarette stripped naked inside Concourse B. "Most were shocked," one man told Fox 31 Denver. "No one really noticed her at first because people were trying to get to their planes. Then everyone realized she was just standing there completely naked." The woman was taken to a hospital but not arrested.
In February of this year, Heather Barry, the brand-new, mayor-appointed director of government affairs and external relations for the airport, was stopped by TSA officials after she and her daughter tried to go through an employee checkpoint while she was on personal business. Barry was directed to the regular security checkpoint and later had her DIA clearance suspended for six months; she still has her job...but can't reach her office.
In June 2007, then-Idaho Republican senator Larry Craig was arrested in a men's room at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in a sex-sting operation. It was later reported that Craig might have solicited sex at other locations during his travels, including a bathroom at DIA.
In 2009, a female airport employee and a Denver firefighter began using DIA's $2.5 million, state-of-the-art mobile command vehicle as their own personal sex machine, repeatedly hooking up in the truck. The only problem — aside from the fact that the vehicle was designed more for runway emergencies and repairing bridges than for what Channel 4 described as "sex romps" — was that their fun was all captured by a motion-activated camera on board.
Mustang, aka Blucifer, the gigantic rearing stallion that stands outside the airport with its lurid blue coat, bulging black veins and red, devil-like eyes, was created by New Mexico artist Luis Jimenez as a public art piece commissioned by the city. But the piece came in thirteen years late, over budget and embroiled in a lawsuit. It also killed its maker when a piece fell off in 2006, impaling Jimenez in his studio.
For a list of weird but "nice" DIA stories from Schiavone, read "Three DIA feel-good stories that have nothing to do with conspiracy theories (we think)."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.