The followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which hypothesized based on anonymous forum posts that the Mueller investigation was actually a cover for Trump investigating Democratic treason, have had to shift gears a few times now. The official release of the Mueller report, which contained no revelations about Obama’s connection to the Rothschilds, eliminated a crucial chunk of the Q mythos. The repeatedly promised catharsis of Trump arresting all the Deep State sickos in a Night of the Long Knives has still not come to pass after two long years.
In the meantime, aging conspiracists have directed their efforts toward scaring each other with email forwards about what they imagine Democrats must be doing in their secret pizza dungeons. What they usually come up with is a cross between The 120 Days of Sodom and Monsters, Inc. which combines elite sexual perversion with the idea that one can harvest valuable spirit energy from frightened children. While aspects of the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory remained within the bounds of technical possibility, these new stories simply crank the “Evil” dial to 10 until the dial breaks off. This is the text of an email forward that circulated last year and was cataloged by fact-checking site Snopes.
“An ‘extreme snuff film’ featuring Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin raping and mutilating a prepubescent girl is circulating on the dark web, according to sources familiar with the material.
In the video, they take a little girl and they fillet her face, according to reports, and then they take turns wearing the little girl’s face like a mask. It is believed they were terrorizing the young girl, deliberately causing the child’s body to release Adrenochrome into her bloodstream before bleeding her out and drinking the blood during a Satanic ritual sacrifice.”
I should provide some background for this new narrative, which argues that Democrats are not just kidnapping children for sexual purposes, but actively harvesting their blood in torture dungeons in order to get high and achieve immortality. The real-life version of adrenochrome, the purported sicko-lib drug so potent that it can only be harvested from the glands of scared children, isn’t actually psychoactive. It’s a derivative of adrenaline that doesn’t do anything. In the 1950s, a couple third-rate Timothy Learys theorized that adrenochrome is essentially LSD made by the human brain and that schizophrenics were just, like, tripping on their own natural LSD, man. This was later debunked, but in the meantime Hunter S. Thompson came across the theory and adapted it for a scene in the semi-fictional book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
This is where the idea that adrenochrome must be harvested from living human subjects, rather than synthesized with ease like adrenaline, originates. “There’s only one source for this stuff… the adrenaline glands from a living human body. It’s no good if you get it out of a corpse,” Dr. Gonzo tells Thompson’s self-insert. The throughline between Fear and Loathing and the theories about Hillary Clinton eating children is, of course, YouTube — there’s a clip of that scene in the 1998 film adaptation with comments like “This is real, the elites of the world actuality [sic] take this stuff and have human farms.” A mini-documentary on YouTube called “ADRENOCHROME: The Elite’s Super Drug,” which leans heavily on clips from Fear and Loathing and connects Thompson’s made-up psychedelic to “intergenerational Satanic cults,” has 100,000 views.
Reiterations of this new urban legend on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook frequently come paired with an exclamation that “these people are sick!” Believers are clearly getting some kind of visceral thrill from imagining these depraved vampiric acts, and the stories themselves seem tailor-made to produce this type of reaction. It’s not just child trafficking, but Satanic child trafficking, and they’re also drinking the child’s blood while wearing a mask made of its skin. It certainly recalls the medieval blood libel against Jews — and that particular ethnoreligious group does tend to come up a lot in QAnon circles — but it’s hard to say whether one inspired the other. It could just be that bored English peasants in the 13th century and Boomers who never watched the Saw movies arrived independently at similarly overwrought horror scenarios through the same process of freaking yourself out by imagining the most twisted serial killer of all time.
What is more important, her emails or the child trafficking?— #BuildtheGallows ⭐⭐⭐ (@MjpArchAngel777) June 2, 2019
Yeah, I believe POTUS is going after the worse unimaginable crime in our lifes history. Child sacrifices, manufacturing of their favorite drug adrenochrome, cannibalism, these people are sick and need to be eradicated
This concept — spooky stories, not explicitly marked as such, spreading across the internet both as fact and fiction — is not new. The “creepypasta” genre of short stories, which originated on forums in the 2000s, is built upon the same flimsy suspension of disbelief that made The Blair Witch Project compelling. Creepypastas are often just corny campfire ghost stories translated into the idiom of Reddit, but the conceit of it being some guy’s blog about exploring his basement rather than Stephen King’s The Basement lends the stories a certain immediacy even for conscious skeptics. Unfortunately, the downside is that without an explicit disclaimer, a minority of people will think the stories are real-real.
The most infamous creepypasta story is that of Slender Man, a tall, thin man in a suit who abducts children via supernatural means. In 2014, two 12-year-old girls who read the story and took it seriously stabbed one of their classmates 19 times in order to appease Slender Man, leading to a brief moral panic over creepypasta. Last year’s “Momo challenge” hoax, which saw the national news jump on the idea that some ill-defined scary thing on the internet was goading children into suicide, was rooted in this same tension between online horror stories and reality — and in the same fear that letting people without basic digital literacy run wild on the internet might not be good for them.
What interests me is how much these QAnon email forwards resemble a spontaneous boomer recreation of creepypasta. Both genres share an underlying fear of child abduction by supernaturally aided pedophiles, and they are both often constructed of recycled horror movie tropes. While the recurring ancillary themes in creepypasta — cursed Pokémon cartridges and lost episodes of Spongebob and The Simpsons — are wholly millennial, the Hillary Clinton blood libel stories are infested with boomer bugaboos. There’s the focus on the Clintons to begin with, but there’s also the idea (a throwback to the 1980s) that the Church of Satan is a real threat rather than a glorified Dungeons & Dragons group. There’s the fact that the “adrenochrome” legend comes from people who were total squares during the hippie era retroactively experiencing how crazy it was years later through a movie released in the 1990s, the most boomer of all phenomena.
Yes adrenochrome withdraws are real... see movie -fear and loathing in Las Vegas— Mack (@muchfish2) May 25, 2019
remember these people are Sick and worship Satan..
What makes the Boomer equivalent to believing in Slender Man more dangerous is that the subjects of the stories are real and make frequent public appearances without body armor. It took a toxic friendship between two mentally ill children to produce the Slender Man attack; theoretically, a story in which there is one villain and he is imaginary should not produce any attempted murders. The perpetrators in Boomer creepypasta stories are conservative hate-figures like Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and Barack Obama, all of whom have already been targeted for violence by right-wing zealots.
The point of these stories is to provide the reader with an enjoyable wave of visceral disgust, but also to dehumanize opponents of Donald Trump as child-murderers and cannibals the way Europeans once dehumanized their colonial subjects. Regular use of the trope that one’s opponents are drinking the blood of children doesn’t always lead to violence — pro-life activists sometimes use this same frenzied tone to describe what they think goes on at Planned Parenthood — but most of them have an understanding that the gory rhetoric is only one component of a project that mostly involves ushering dorky Georgetown alums into the federal judiciary. Occasionally, though, someone takes the rhetoric about genocide and dismembered children as seriously as it sounds.