I can’t remember who put me on to the Denver Airport conspiracies within the past year, but whoever it was just know that it has all but consumed me. I still don’t know exactly what’s going on over there but I know damn well it’s something, and something big.
Starting with big, the Denver International Airport is twice the size of Manhattan. Fucking TWO Manhattans could fit inside this airport. For what reason, I’ve no idea. The Harstfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world: 103,902,992 passengers came through ATL in 2017. Seems like that should be the size of at least one Manhattan, but nope, that’s Denver – merely the 20th busiest airport going. The Atlanta airport fits all those people into 4,700 acres of land, meanwhile the Denver airport takes up 33,351 acres (54 square miles). What you doing with all that space over there, Denver? Hmm?
But the total size of the airport doesn’t do the conspiracy as much justice as it should. It’s not just large, it’s DEEP. Like, deep enough to potentially endure a nuclear blast DEEP. Initially the space underneath was supposed to house an intricate automated baggage system, which worked for a grand total of zero days. Grand opening, grand closing. It was never fixed, which is a peculiar move, given how much space and money was dedicated towards it.
From an interview with the architect on The Thrillest:
“Did you read or hear anywhere that I was there on Day 3 of the airport’s opening, when the luggage operations and trams were not working?” he asks me. No, I did not hear that. “Passengers were directed through tunnels containing some of the finest gold leaf mosaic artistry I have ever seen — artwork that makes Tanguma’s beautiful murals pale by comparison. Thereafter, when the trams began operating, those ‘alternate’ passageways were closed. Why do you believe airport financiers would spend vast fortunes commissioning art that travelers would nevermore see?”
I get in touch with the man responsible for the structure itself, Curtis Fentress, the CEO and principal in charge of design for Fentress Architects. His firm took over the building of DIA with its groundbreaking fabric roof design, which not only became a symbol for the airport but also, by his estimates, chopped months off construction by way of cutting 200,000 pounds of steel and 200,000 cubic yards of concrete from the previous plan. (Peña recalls that the primary plan her group eventually rejected called for something resembling an ancient Mexican pyramid. If there are a lot of conspiracy theories now, imagine what a Mayan temple design would’ve sparked.) I ask him, bluntly, if there are any underground tunnels or secret bomb shelters, and I receive an astonishing reply. “Well, I really can’t speak to it,” Fentress tells me over the phone. “I’m sworn to secrecy.”
Unprompted, Fentress goes further. “I understand that they’re going to be creating a tour of some of the underground facilities in the future, at DIA. I just heard that last week,” says Fentress, who has worked on many airports besides Denver International. Then, he makes an unexpected comparison. “When you go to Moscow, you can go down in the area where they were poised to launch a missile strike against America. And they have this big underground bomb shelter about 100 feet down in the ground. Could be similar to that kind of thing with tours to the underground of DIA.”
Ho-hum, nothing to see. Just the architect comparing the airport he designed to a Cold War-era Moscow missile launch pad. No idea why anyone would ever assume there was anything nefarious about the Denver International Airport.
Outside of this gargantuan airport is the scariest horse statue ever of all time.
If the Broncos had that horse statue outside of their stadium, fine. I get it. Football is supposed to be intimidating, flying very much should not be more intimidating than it already is. The Broncos would easily have at least four more Super Bowls if they had this horse statue on their property. But they don’t. The Denver International Airport does. And while you think, “What’s the big deal? It’s not like that horse has ever killed anyone before.” That’s where you’re wrong. The mustang, named “Blucifer” by locals, was installed in 2008 – 12 years after the airport opened, and two years after it collapsed on top of artist Luis Jiménez, severing an artery in his leg. Planting a known death horse outside of your airport is a message, no two ways about it.
Blucifer isn’t the only terrifying art at the DIA. There are multiple gargoyles. Nothing creepy or demonic about gargoyles. Definitely want as many gargoyles around when cramming into a regional flight to Duluth.
Terry Allen, the man behind making the gargoyles, has a helluva spinzone for these fuckin’ things.
When I ask him if he intended anything to be evil, he swiftly denies it. “It’s actually the opposite,” he says. “They’re protectors. Gargoyles are good demons. They face out from the church to keep the bad demons out. If I was being malicious, I could’ve been a lot more malicious than I was.”
Sure dude. Whatever you say. Everyone loves a nice, cuddly gargoyle. Since they’re such great protectors, why don’t they make the whole plane out of the gargoyles?
Finally (since I’m not going to touch on the Free Mason conspiracy because if you’ve read this far and think the Free Masons don’t have anything to do with this then you’re too far gone and I can’t help you) we end on by far the strangest piece of art that is displayed in the DIA. More out of place than the gargoyles, less understandable than the cobalt blue horse of doom, more ominous than any painting that’s ever been commissioned in the history of brushes and easels.
Who the fuck asked for that? In what world was this a good idea to put in an AIRPORT? A bunch of crying mothers holding dead babies near a duel-weapon wielding soldier of some sort and, oh yeah btw that letter tucked in the lower right hand corner was written by a 14-year old who died in Auschwitz. This mural was commissioned, painted, and then a bunch of people saw it and said, “Yup. Needs to be in the airport. People from far and wide must see this glorious piece of artwork. My only question is: did we make it large enough? Our airport is the size of two Manhattans, perhaps we can make this the size of one (1) Manhattan? Is that too much to ask?” Even the fucking teddy bear is terrified.
The Denver Airport is the definition of hiding in plain sight. I respect it, I have no qualms with it, it’s just fucking wild. I look forward to the midnight visit from the Stonecutters to have my head cut off tonight for blogging about this. My severed noggin will probably become their newest art installation by Wednesday. Come say hello if you ever swing by the Mile High City, I’ll be with the gargoyles.