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The QAnon Believers Camping Out in Dallas for JFK Jr. Are Basically a Religious Cult Now—and It's Terrifying

The QAnon Believers Camping Out in Dallas for JFK Jr. Are Basically a Religious Cult Now—and It's Terrifying
Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The QAnon conspiracy web hinges on the belief that a "deep state" network of satanic cannibal pedophiles secretly controls the U.S. government, and that former President Donald Trump was sent by God to expose it.

Though QAnon's origin is the dark corners of unmoderated chat boards on sites like 8chan, the fantasy is well established in physical space as well, deluding individuals, fracturing families, and even fomenting insurrections.

Among the conspiracy web's seemingly infinite strands is a uniquely deranged belief regarding the late John F. Kennedy Jr. who tragically died in a plane crash in 1999.

QAnon believers at the furthest fringes think JFK Jr. faked his death in that plane crash, and that he'll soon make a messianic return to public life in order to serve as Trump's vice president.

Sure, it's ludicrous, but that belief brought hundreds to the assassination site of Kennedy Jr.'s father, President John F. Kennedy, in Dallas, Texas earlier this month. The subscribers were led there after a series of Telegram posts by fringe QAnoner Michael Brian Protzman. When Kennedy Jr. inevitably didn't materialize, the goalposts moved to later that night, at a Rolling Stones concert.

That didn't happen either, and while even some of the most deluded believers have since returned from Dallas to their homes, a new report from David Gilbert of VICE details a number of Protzman's devotees remaining in the Lone Star State, certain that Kennedy Jr. will arrive.

One of those devotees is the sister of Katy Garner, an Arkansas native whom Gilbert interviewed for his report.

According to the report, Garner's sister became entangled with online conspiracy theories where she eventually discovered QAnon.

Garner said:

"It took her about three months to become totally obsessed. That's all she would talk about. You could call her and somehow the conversation would turn into how we live in a world with reptilians and how the Clintons are evil baby-eaters."

Her sister eventually left her children and husband behind, vowing to stay indefinitely in Dallas until Kennedy Jr.'s mythical arrival. She drinks a solution of hydrogen peroxide while consuming "bio-pellets" in order to ward off COVID-19.

Garner continued:

"She left her children for this and doesn't even care. She is missing birthdays and holidays for this. She truly believes this is all real and we are the crazy ones for trying to get her to come home. But she won't. I don't believe she will ever come back from this. We are in mourning."

Even more disturbingly, Gilbert's report details Protzman's increasingly cultist rhetoric, claiming that he's God's representative on earth and participating in web chats where speakers promoted the need for physical death in order to reach the truth.

The report generated a wealth of concerned reactions online.

Some likened the development to precursors of the mass suicides of cult members at Jonestown.

It's unclear what, if anything, will shake the fringe back into reality.