This is the second part of our discussion with our good friend Bence Szlamka about the murky grey area between cults and conspiracy theories. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of our moderators. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories.
Our last episode largely focused on QAnon, which dominates the modern conspiracy landscape. In this instalment, Scott talks to Bence about some of the weirder aspects of modern conspiracies, including, mole children, flat Earth adherents, and the role of Jesus in network security.
While we try to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories involve unpleasant ideas. QAnon, especially, embraces various beliefs about the abuse, trafficking and sacrifice of children. We avoid going into too much detail, but be warned that we at least touch upon these subjects. In the end, however, this is an RPG podcast, and our focus is to find inspiration for our games.
We will be back next week with a regular episode: the second part of our journey into the weird west.
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Anti-vaccination movement
- Alex Jones
- Save the Children Rallies
- Mole children under Central Park
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
- “The Rats in the Walls” by HP Lovecraft
- Praying Medic
- John F Kennedy Jr conspiracy theories
- The murder of New York mob boss Franceso Cali
- Other violent crimes committed by QAnon followers
- Marjorie Taylor Greene
- The Omega Kingdom Ministry
- Comet Pizza conspiracy theory
- Prosperity Gospel
- Bastard Operator From Hell
- The King in Yellow
- Flat Earth
- Mark Sargent
- Sovereign Citizens
- Bad faith rhetoric
- Cambridge Analytica
- Internet Research Agency
- Bot farms
- “The Call of Cthulhu”
- Canadian Flat Earth Conference
- “The Broadsword” from Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron
- Delta Green
- Global Frequency
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Thanks for these special episodes!
By the by, your discussion in this episode about Charismatic Christianity brought to mind an article in The Washington Post last week about about People of Praise, a cult that the soon-to-be U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, was raised in by her parents and in which she subsequently rose up to the position of “Handmaid” within the cult’s hierarchy (which, ironically, is mostly devoted to insuring that women are subordinate to men).