Stephen Hawking and wife Elaine Mason
British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his wife Elaine Alex Grimm/Reuters

Two months ago, when Professor Stephen Hawking, the legendary physicist and cosmologist celebrated his 76th birthday on January 8, 2017, conspiracy theroists were up in arms claiming that the legend was indeed dead long ago and his look-alike was playing his role.

Now that the family of Hawking finally announced that the scientist did die on Wednesday, the conspiracy theorists may now take time to ponder to connect the two incidents before coming up with another wild theory or fabrication.

Suffering from the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or the Lou Gehrig's disease, Hawking has been paralyzed since the early 1970s but lived through his painful life using a speech synthesizer to convey his thoughts since 1986.

These conspiracy theorists had claimed that the legendary scientist died way back in 1985, almost three years before the release of his not-so-theoretical but a general book 'A Brief History of Time', reflecting a vivid departure from his previous scholarly writings.

According to these theorists, Hawking had been replaced by a lookalike soon after his death but they failed to explain why they would have done it. Despite the outlandish claim, conspiracy theorists pointed out five reasons to indicate that the Hawking seen until Monday, March 13 was not the original, earlier report in Daily Mail said.

The mysteries surrounding his disease

Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 1963, and with the disease, he has been surviving for more than 55 years. Under normal cases of ALS, the average life expectancy of a person suffering from ALS is just four years from the date of diagnosis. In fact, his doctors gave him just two years more to live after the diagnosis of the case. This is the first and foremost point which compels conspiracy theorists to think that the Stephen Hawking seen until now was a dupe.

The photo appearance

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking Lucas Jackson/Reuters

To further their point, conspiracy theorists have compared the old photos of Stephen Hawking with the new ones and said Stephen Hawking had become younger in the course of time, and his ear size decreased with age. Unlike normal people whose teeth wear down and fall out as they get aged, Hawking's teeth have undergone a change in the structure without undergoing any major dental procedures. Comparing the past and present photographs, conspiracy theorists have found that the upper teeth of Hawking are now more elongated than they originally were.

The secret behind his wedding photos

Stephen Hawking married Jane Wild in 1965, and they continued their relationship until 1995. But it is the wedding pictures of Hawking with his second wife Elaine Mason which have come under scrutiny. One of the two wedding pictures of Hawking and Elaine showed Mason looking younger, and in the second one, she seemingly looks old, and there is a change in her hair color and style. Conspiracy theorists strongly believe that these pictures are fabricated and the Stephen Hawking we had seen in the picture was not the original scientist.

The complexity surrounding his theories

Since most of the theories put forward by Stephen Hawking are difficult to prove, and beyond a common man's comprehension, and at one point he said that there are two kinds of time -- one is the real-time and another one is the imaginary time. According to the theorist, the real time is measured by the clock, while the imaginary time is a mathematical concept. He also added that the imaginary time does not have an end, and it is just like the earth's surface, where a beginning and end is absent.

Stephen Hawking
Reuters

NASA's hidden game with Hawking's voice synthesizer

According to conspiracy theorists, another point of debate is over his voice synthesizer, the device he used to convey his ideas. Hawking had used the twitching of his cheek muscles, which are converted into words. Conspiracy theorists claimed that no person can do all this by simply twitching the cheek muscles. They also added that Hawking was not moving his face continuously while he was talking. Instead, these theorists said the words of Hawking were actually the messages NASA had recorded for the public consumption. They also claim that Hawking was used as a powerful weapon by the space agency, as people often believed the words of the legendary physicist.

What is the need for a lookalike?

According to conspiracy theorists, there are a group of elite people in the world who control humans and Stephen Hawking was used as one of their mouthpieces as people trusted him. With the help of Stephen Hawking's look-alike, the elite group conveyed their concepts to sow fear in the minds of the general public, they said. As people were panic with Hawking's predictions, especially predicting end of the earth, it would be easier for the manipulators, they noted. The way Hawking reversed his own earlier viewpoints on philosophy and turning into a strong proponent of artificial intelligence, making loud proclamations that science has an answer for everything -- all point out an a contrarian view from the same person before and after, they said.

Now that Stephen Hawking's demise has been announced to the world by his family members, it remains to be seen how such an elaborate conspiracy theory alleging human replacements give ammunition to the plot of a science-fiction movie.

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking Lucas Jackson/Reuters

(With additional inputs from the desk)