Despite the fact that more than 300,000 German citizens reside in this city—which includes a university and an iconic castle—a tongue-in-cheek conspiracy theory posits that Bielefeld is not an actual place. In fact, it's been going around for decades, alleging that the town is fake and was created by the CIA. Because some people won't let this thing go, German officials have decided to play the same game and offer up $1.1 million to whoever can prove that Bielefeld really, truly does not exist.
Apparently, the speculation of its non-existence all started satirically, as computer expert Achim Held used it to lampoon actual online conspiracy theories, according to the Associated Press. It has since snowballed, with the mayor of the city regularly getting emails asking if Bielefeld is real. (At one point, even the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, jokingly cast doubt as to its existence, too.) There have also been beliefs that Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley may still be alive in the city.
As a result, the German city is challenging people to prove that it's not real, and they are willing to hear all the creative ideas people may have. It has to be valid evidence, though, to qualify for the seven-figure prize.
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