Episode 138: The Mysterious Disappearance of Harold Holt

On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we explore the mysterious disappearance and the conspiracies surrounding Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt. Holt was the 17th Prime Minister of Australia and a lifelong politician. Many of his policies were controversial, such as helping to relax the racist “White Australia Policy,” creating a federal Reserve Bank of Australia, and tripling the number of Australian troops being sent to fight in Vietnam. Many critics claimed he was a stooge of American President, Lyndon B Johnson after Holt famously said “All the way with LBJ!”

On December 17th of 1967, he went swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria. This was his regular swimming spot near his vacation home, and he knew the waters well. However, on this day, he went into the water never to be found again. The simple conclusion is, he drowned, and his body was washed away. But there are a lot of questions and theories that surround this disappearance.

First, the waters were so rough that nobody else in his party would even dare go in. If he did go in those waters, he was almost certain to drown, so why did he? Second, there was no official inquest on the disappearance of the nation’s leader for almost 40 years! Why did they wait so long, and what did they find in their report?

The conspiracies range from the mundane, such as suicide due to political pressure for the Vietnam war to a man who faked his own death to be with his mistress (whom he was with on the beach that day). The theories heat up when the CIA gets involved (did they kill him because he was going to pull troops out of Vietnam or oppose their base at Pine Gap?). Some authors think he was a Chinese agent who was taken by his handlers on the beach that day, and the tin foil contingent believes what Mothman Prophecy author John Keel said in 1970—that Holt was an alien representative on earth and was taken by “elementals” on a UFO. So what’s the truth behind the disappearance of Australia’s most powerful man? Listen, laugh, learn.

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