To Max Spiers — British conspiracy theorist and UFO theoretician — the world was a fantastical place ruled by nefarious alien forces controlling the unthinking masses.
For some, Spiers's YouTube videos were luminous, compelling and incisive, shining a bright light into crevices that wouldn't otherwise exist — and revealing the diabolical inner-workings of global power.
To others, his rants about government breeding programs, political mind control and extraterrestrial Nazi alliances sounded like scraps left on the cutting-room floor by spit-balling "X-Files" writers.
At worst, his words sounded like the inane gibberish of an unhinged mind.
In Spiers's deeply skeptical eyes, after all, even the ascent of Britney Spears was a conspiratorial matter.
Perhaps it's not surprising then that one of the last texts the 39-year-old sent to his mother didn't stray far from his typical script.
"Your boy's in trouble," Spiers wrote to his mother in June. "If anything happens to me, investigate."
Days later, the Telegraph reports, Spiers was found dead in Warsaw, unleashing a wave of suspicion among UFO researchers who have flooded message boards and YouTube with theories about his sudden and unexpected death.
In an interview posted on YouTube, Vanessa Bates, Spiers's mother, said her son was becoming a prominent conspiracy theorist and had been invited to speak at an upcoming conference in Poland.
"He always had an interest in the mystical," she said, recalling her son's childhood.
"He was staying with a woman who he had not known for long and she told me how she found him dead on the sofa," she said. "But I think Max had been digging in some dark places — and I fear that somebody wanted him dead."
Bates said her son was "in good health" and the death certificate from Polish authorities asserts Spiers died of natural causes, although no postmortem was performed.
Several days after the interview aired, Metro reported that an autopsy was performed once Spiers's body was returned to England. The results, however, will not be available for several months, authorities said.
Authorities at the North East Kent coroner's office confirmed investigators are in the "very early" stages of an autopsy, according to the Telegraph.
Spiers, who had two sons, was buried in a Canterbury cemetery, according to reports.
"He has a brother, Josh, and sister, Becky, who are both devastated, as are his two boys," his mother said. "We all want answers to this and I will continue to fight to get to the truth."
Some, like UFO blogger Craig Hewlett, have implied that Spiers was murdered.
Others have called for more medical scrutiny from authorities.
“If it wasn’t true what he talks about then why would they kill him?" Hewlett told Metro. "Healthy people don’t just get sick and die, they get poisoned.”
Nigel Watson, author of the "UFO Investigations Manual," told Metro that if UFO researchers are being killed, there's likely an organization behind the deaths.
‘It relates to the concept of Men in Black [MIB], who are either aliens in human disguise or government agents, who stop UFO witnesses from making their sightings public," he said, without offering any proof of his claim. "MIB usually verbally intimidate people, but it seems logical that ‘they’ would stretch to violence and murder when needed."
As conspiracy theorists gush, British UFO expert Nick Pope, who once investigated UFOs for a government agency, offered an alternative view.
On Twitter, Pope called Spiers's death "a tragedy," but refused to endorse the idea that any government was behind it.
The death of Max Spiers was a tragedy, but having run the UK government's UFO project I promise we don't go around killing UFO researchers.
— Nick Pope (@nickpopemod) October 17, 2016
It's crazy to say the government killed Max Spiers. Real whistleblowers like Snowden and Manning are pursued by legal means, not murdered.
— Nick Pope (@nickpopemod) October 18, 2016