Manchester Arena Bombing On Trial

An eight part series with Joel Hill

Release schedule: 

10/4: Episode One

17/4: Episode Two

24/4: Episode Three

1/5: Episode Four & Five

8/5: Episode Six

15/5: Episode Seven

22/5: Episode Eight


Members of our Shill and Handler tiers on Patreon can get early access to the full 8 part series NOW.


On the 22nd of May, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the foyer of the Manchester Arena at the end of an Arianna Grande concert killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more.

A conspiracy theory claiming that this bombing was hoaxed and everyone involved was a crisis actor soon became a dominant narrative in the Conspirasphere. One of the main proponents of this theory is Richard D Hall. Over the course of this series we will be examining and deconstructing the claims made by Richard D Hall in his book and documentary "Night Of The Bang" only to discover where the truth lies. 

As usual, our deep dive series are split into two halves. In the first four episodes we present the conspiracy theory faithfully and with as little judgement as possible. All the while attempting to give our perspective as former believers as to how or why the theory may be believable. 

In the final four episodes we revisit the theory and provide the often missing context and facts which prove the theory wrong.

You have questions? We have answers. 

Please be aware, this series will be examining a deadly bombing and we will be discussing details of death and injury. Listener discretion is advised.

The Manchester Arena Bombing On Trial 

Welcome to 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy', where we are adept at navigating the murky waters surrounding events that capture the world's attention. Today, we're diving into a particularly divisive topic: the conspiracy theories around the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. This incident, which left many dead and injured, has been the subject of various conspiratorial claims, particularly those propagated by Richard D. Hall in his work 'Night of the Bang'. With assertions of crisis actors and a hoax bomb event, these theories permeate deeply, affecting victims, families, and observers alike.

As your navigators through this storm of misinformation, we've vetted each claim with a fine-tooth comb and will shed light on the evidence—or lack thereof—supporting these controversial hypotheses. It's a journey of truth-seeking, where we honour facts over fiction and empathy over sensationalism. Let's begin by untangling the complex narratives and examining the roots of the alleged conspiracy.

Table of Contents

  • The Birth of a Conspiracy
  • The Reality of Trauma and Memory
  • Dissecting the Evidence: Fact vs. Fiction
  • The Ripple Effect on Actual Victims
  • The Role of Technology in Uncovering Truth
  • The Human Cost of Misinformation
  • Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Conspiracies
  • Conclusion: Where Do We Go from Here?

The Birth of a Conspiracy

Conspiracy theories are nothing new; they've existed for as long as humans have sought to make sense of catastrophic events. However, the digital age has amplified their spread, prompting a wave of misinformation that's hard to combat. This was certainly the case with the Manchester Arena bombing—an event so horrific it seemed unfathomable to the collective consciousness. Into this milieu stepped Richard D. Hall, who claimed the bombing was a hoax executed with crisis actors. He centered his arguments on his book and documentary 'Night of the Bang', which presented an array of supposed evidence to the public.

Hall's material played into a narrative eagerly consumed by a subset of people predisposed to believe in large-scale deceptions by authorities. Swinging the pendulum of opinion to his side, he cast doubt on the authenticity of the event, pulling in federal agencies and public sector organizations into his sweeping assertions. The aftermath was a community divided, with one faction rallying behind his cause, while others pushed hard against the convoluted fabrications.

In our investigation, we probed the roots of Hall's theories—analyzing his motives and digging into the methodology behind his claims. The truth, as we soon uncovered, was not as clear-cut as Hall portrayed. His claims, which we'll dissect thoroughly in this series, were peppered with unverified data, erroneous interpretations, and a blatant disregard for the victims' trauma. It is our aim to strip down these claims and reveal the firm ground of reality beneath the quagmire of conspiracy.

The Reality of Trauma and Memory

Traumatic experiences often leave an indelible imprint on our memories. However, the way we encode, store, and recall these memories is far from straightforward. Our podcast has emphasized the importance of understanding this complexity, particularly when examining witness accounts of the Manchester bombing. According to psychological research, high-stress situations can both sharpen and distort our recollections. Memories can be vivid yet fragmented, clear in some aspects yet missing in others—all of which can contribute to seeming discrepancies in accounts.

During our discussions, we highlighted how conspiracy theorists, like those following Hall's lead, have exploited these natural memory processes to foster doubt and propagate their claims. They point to altered or contradicting witness statements as evidence of deceit, when in fact, these are common occurrences in honest recollections of traumatic events. Memory experts discuss how high emotions during a traumatic incident, like the bombing, can affect the clarity and accessibility of memories, with cortisol and adrenaline influencing the fidelity of these memories.

This knowledge sheds light on the challenges faced by those telling their stories. It's not only a matter of recounting the sequence of events but a battle against the misperceptions of those who misinterpret the human memory's function. As we continued to sort through the testimonies, the scientific consensus remained clear—trauma affects each person differently, and its effects on memory are far from being indicative of falsehood. This is a crucial understanding as we navigate through the accounts and separate fact from fiction.

Dissecting the Evidence: Fact vs. Fiction

When the claims of conspiracy come knocking, evidence is the best line of defense. We at 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy,' try our best to always be vigilant in scrutinizing the proof offered. Hall's assertions were no exception. He based many of his arguments on evidence he deemed irrefutable, such as the presence of crisis actors and inconsistencies in eyewitness accounts. Our podcast has dissected these claims, relying on technology, expert testimony, and critical thinking to unravel the knots of misinformation.

CCTV / bodycam footage and witness testimonies unveiled at the inquiry painted a picture starkly contrasting Hall's narrative. Tools like radiology allowed us to validate the injuries suffered by survivors like Martin Hibbert, whose situation Hall cynically questioned. Furthermore, the contributions of experts have provided clear debunking of supposed 'evidence' indicating fakery. It's meticulous work, but essential in separating the wheat from the chaff or, in this case, the hard facts from the fabrications of conspiracy.

Claims such as the authenticity of injuries and the presence of victims on social media post-incident were further unfurled. Specific examples include debates over the scar's location on Martin Hibbert's body and the survival of his daughter Eve against all odds—a rarity that conspiracy theorists like Hall exploited to propagate their hypothesis. By examining the evidence, not in isolation but within the full context of events, we have aimed to provide a comprehensive appraisal of the accusations' strength. As a result, we've found that most conspiracy claims fail to hold up against the robust scrutiny of fact-checking.

The Ripple Effect on Actual Victims

It's often overlooked how the spread of conspiracy theories can affect those who lived through the event. We aim to give a voice to the silent sufferers—the real victims of the Manchester bombing who faced not just physical injuries but relentless conspiracy-driven harassment. These stories underline the human side of a narrative tainted by baseless speculation.

Every theory that claimed the presence of crisis actors, or argued that the bombing was fake, cast aspersions on actual people, many of whom live with the daily consequences of the tragedy. We believe it is important to amplify their voices and tell their side of the story. The effects of the bombing didn't end when the news cycle moved on; for those affected, the repercussions continue to unfold every day. And when allegations of fabrications are levied at them, this adds an exhausting layer of trauma on top of what they're already enduring.

It became evident that the conspiracy allegations against them have a damaging ripple effect through their lives. The internet, as an amplifier of conspiracy theories, enabled a harassment campaign against some survivors. This harassment turned their already difficult recovery into a battle against both psychological wounds and cyberbullying. Remembering their experiences, we stand by the victims and denounce the injustices they've faced at the hands of those perpetuating these cruel myths.

The Role of Technology in Uncovering Truth

Technology has been pivotal in our investigation of the Manchester bombing conspiracy theories. Our ability to assess and interpret the data from that night came down to understanding technologies such as Exif metadata. Throughout various episodes of our podcast, we broke down how this information helped dispel myths about edited or staged photos that conspiracy theorists like Hall presented as 'evidence.' It's in these bits and bytes that we often find the overlooked details that can make or break a theory.

When the conspiracists pointed to discrepancies in time stamp data of a photo as a red flag, we tackled it head-on. We initially looked at phone camera clock inaccuracies and time zone differences before realizing the confusion stemmed from a misunderstanding of metadata. It was a eureka moment, shedding light on how easily misunderstandings about technology can seed conspiracy narratives. This underscored the need for expertise and due diligence in interpreting digital evidence.

Our extensive discussions on the topic served to educate our listeners on the nuances and intricacies of technological evidence. Time and again, we found that correctly interpreted data supported the occurrence of a real event, undermining the shaky foundations of the fabricated claims. In the age where digital evidence can be both damning and liberating, it is imperative to navigate this space with caution. Our pledge is to remain at the forefront, elucidating these complex aspects to our audience.

The Human Cost of Misinformation

Misinformation is not a victimless crime; it has a real and lasting impact that can ripple through society and affect many lives. Our 8 part series has shown how the spread of unfounded conspiracy theories surrounding the Manchester bombing caused genuine harm. Take, for instance, the heartache experienced by a security guard at the event, who was not only battling PTSD from what he witnessed but also faced harassment from individuals claiming the tragedy was staged and that he was complicit.

Feeding on the spread of misinformation, some individuals find themselves in the crosshairs of those determined to prove a conspiracy at any cost. This unforgiving witch hunt often occurs with no thought for the affected families and individuals who grieve and suffer. We've discussed the struggles of dealing with these conspiracies and the cruel burden they place on those already dealing with the direct aftermath of the bombing. It's a stark reminder that behind every unfounded claim are real people whose lives are being intruded upon and picked apart by strangers from afar.

This is not just an issue for those directly involved. The wider society bears the brunt of such misinformation campaigns, which can erode trust in institutions, spread cynicism, and deepen societal divides. Our podcast advocates for a conscious consideration of the human cost of misinformation. We've witnessed the damage firsthand and stress the importance of a responsible approach to discussing and reporting on traumatic events. Our hope lies in fostering a community where empathy triumphs over exploitation, truth over lies.

Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Conspiracies

Whenever controversial figures like Richard D. Hall come to the fore, there are not just narratives to dissect but also serious legal and ethical questions to consider. As we've explored these conspiracy theories, we've touched on more than just the inaccuracy of claims. There are defamation issues at play when individuals are painted as co-conspirators in falsehood narratives, affecting their lives and reputations.

Conspiracy theories can create convoluted legal webs. Our discussions have led us to the dark corners where personal vendettas masquerade as truth-seeking. It often results in legal actions, as we saw with the accusations made in the 'Night of the Bang' raising legitimate questions about the motives and consequences of spreading speculative narratives.

Ethically, there are question marks over the recording of individuals without consent and the distribution of images with questionable legality. It's one thing to question, but another to cause harm in the pursuit of 'truth.' We've waded through these moral quagmires, aiming to strike a balance between robust discussion and respect for privacy and dignity. Ultimately, our probe into the Manchester bombing concluded that evidence-backed narratives must be paired with ethical commitments—a stance we'll always champion.

Conclusion: Where Do We Go from Here?

After meticulously analyzing the claims, assessing the evidence, and considering the ethical ramifications, what is our takeaway from the investigation of the Manchester Arena bombing conspiracy theories? We've seen how claims can fracture communities, lead to victim harassment, and muddle the waters of truth. What's clear is the responsibility we have as content creators and journalists to approach these discussions with the utmost care.

We must prioritize the truth, grounded in facts, and the humanity of those involved over the sensationalism and polarization that can arise from such narratives. It's about spearheading a charge for integrity, empathy, and a deeper understanding of the events that shape our world. As hosts of 'Some Dare Call It Conspiracy', we aspire to be an anchor in the storm, providing reliable and sensitive coverage that upholds these principles.

The Manchester Arena bombing, with all its complexities, has been a sobering topic. As we conclude this series, we leave behind a blueprint for approaching sensitive topics with rigorous analysis and a human touch. We extend a heartfelt thank you to our listeners for their trust and invite you to continue this journey of discernment with us. It's in unity, reasoned discourse, and shared compassion that we believe the most meaningful progress can be made. Here's to the pursuit of objective truth and the courage to address conspiracies with critical minds and kind hearts.


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