In the wake of James Holmes’ theater shooting rampage, conspiracy theories are springing up on the Internet in growing numbers. They follow a familiar arc; the FBI, the CIA or some other secretive government agency is behind the crime.

The basic facts may be known, but a host of unanswered questions about how a gifted science student turned into such a monster are leaving the door open to widespread speculation about a so-called “secret agenda.”

According to a number of conspiracy sites, which shall remain unnamed to prevent inciting even more rumors, the prevailing theories involve Holmes’ study of neuroscience and a possible connection to government mind-control experiments.

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A corollary to that theory is the view that Holmes was merely the cat’s paw in an even broader conspiracy to enable the government to exert dictatorial control over the population, or at the very least, to crackdown on the right to own guns. Some speculate that even Holmes may be a government agent.

Why else, conspiracy sites ask, were police able to arrest him without incident after the shooting? Did they somehow have knowledge of the attack and merely “extracted” their agent from the scene?

Holmes received a federal grant to study for his PhD at the University of Denver in Aurora, which is one of the most competitive neuroscience programs in the country. Was Holmes himself the subject of mind-altering neuroscience research aimed at controlling individuals?

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“His behavior already reveals stark inconsistencies that question the mainstream explanation of events,” one post proclaims. “None of this checks out. If you’re a killer bent on causing mayhem, why tell the police about your surprise bomb waiting for them back at your apartment?”

Holmes use of sophisticated military gear also is raising suspicions. He wore a gas mask, a ballistic helmet and vest as well as leg, groin and throat protectors during the shooting. He also had a military-style AR-15 rifle, a shotgun, two handguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Some theories hold that Holmes, who was living off unemployment insurance, could never have afforded the equipment, which cost as much as $20,000, without outside help from a law enforcement, or government agency.

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“This is not your run-of-the-mill crime of passion,” one site postulated. “It was a carefully planned, heavily funded and technically advanced attack. Who might be behind all this? The FBI, of course, which has a long history of setting up and staging similar attacks.”

Like other heinous crimes, spectacular tragedies and the assassination of political leaders, the theater shooting may keep conspiracy theorists busy for years.