In our recent episodes about cults, we mentioned how social media has blurred the line between cults and conspiracy theories. Phenomena like QAnon display many cult-like attributes but lack formal leadership. We thought it would be interesting to dig into this a little more.
As none of us knows much about modern conspiracy theories, we turned to our good friend Bence Szlamka for help. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of the moderators there. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories. Scott talked to Bence for a couple of hours, delving into the darker corners of QAnon, the anti-vaccination movement, flat-Earthers, and other cult-like conspiracy theories.
While we tried to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories revolve around 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.
This turned into quite a long discussion, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Bence and Scott talk about some even stranger contemporary conspiracy theories.
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Knowledge Fight podcast
- Alex Jones
- Bill Cooper
- The Satanic Panic
- The Shaver Mystery
- The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
- David Icke
- Q clearance
- Sovereign citizens
- Witch panic
- Changelings in fairy folklore
- Blood libel
- QAnon Anonymous podcast