Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

By David Clipper, The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) – Seeley Smith spent a year under the rabbit hole of QAnon, who spends more time online researching and discussing research theory. Eventually she ate it, and she wanted out.

She broke up with the boyfriend who admitted her to the movement, took six months on social media and turned to medicine and yoga.

“I was like: I can’t live like this. I’m single mom, working, going to school and doing the best I can for my kids Kansas Faridabad, Missouri. “I personally do not have the bandwidth to do this and I am showing for my children. Even if all of this was true, I can’t do it anymore. “

More than a week after Donald Trump left the White House, he shattered his hopes that he would expose the worldwide cabal, with some QAnon followers elaborating ever more to keep their faith alive. Have concocted stories. But others, such as Smith, are turning to therapy and online support groups to talk about the harm that can happen when reality collides with reality.

The QAnon conspiracy theory emerged in 2017 on Fringe Internet message boards. At the root, the movement claims Trump is fighting a “deep position” and a secret battle against powerful devil-worshiping pedophiles who dominate Hollywood, big business, and the media. Government.

It is named after Q, a faith poster who claims to have top-secret government approval and whose posts are “planned” and predictions about the upcoming “storm” and “great awakening” In which evil will be defeated.

It is not clear exactly how many believe some or all of the narrative, but supporters of the movement were vocal in their support of Trump and helped fuel the rebels that overthrew the US Capitol this month. QAnon is also gaining popularity overseas.

Former Believers by the Associated Press compared the process of quitting QAnon to drug addiction. QAnon, they say, provides simple explanations for a complex world and creates an online community that offers escapes and even friendships.

Smith’s then boyfriend introduced her to QAnon. He said that all this could talk about him. She was suspected at first, but was convinced after the death of financier Jeffrey Epstein, while facing federal pedophilia charges. Authorities rejected theories that she was murdered, but for Smith and other QAnon supporters, her suicide was too much for her to confess while facing child sex allegations.

Soon, Smith was spending more time on fringe websites and social media, reading and posting about conspiracy theory. She said that she fell for QAnon material, with no evidence, no counter arguments, and yet everyone was very confident.

“We as a society need to start teaching our children to ask: where is this information coming from? Can i trust it ” He said. “Anyone can cut and paste anything.”

After a year, Smith was wanted outside, suffocated by the dark prophecy that was taking more and more of his time, leaving him terrified.

Her then-boyfriend saw her decision to move on as a betrayal to QAnon. She said that she no longer believes in the theory, and wants to share her story in hopes that it will help others.

“I was one of those people,” she said of Qion and its grip. “I came out on the other end because I wanted to feel better.”

Another former confidant, Jitarth Jadeja, now operates a Reddit forum called QAnon Casualty to help others like him, as well as relatives of people still consumed by the doctrine. Membership for more than 119,000 members has doubled in recent weeks. Three new moderators were to be added just to keep.

“They are our friends and family,” said Jadeja of Sydney, Australia. “It is not right who is right or who is wrong. I am here to preach sympathy, for the common people, good people who got brainwashed by this death cult. “

His advice to those fleeing QAnon? Get away from social media, take a deep breath, and put that energy and internet time into local volunteering.

Michael is frink Mississippi Computer engineer who helps operate a QAnon retrieval channel on the social media platform Telegram. He said that making fun of the group has never been more popular online, it would only alienate people.

Frink said he never believed in the QAnon doctrine, but is sympathetic to those who did.

“I think a lot of them realized after the inauguration that they had been taken for a ride,” he said. “These are human beings. If you have a loved one who is in it, make sure they know that they are loved. “

According to Ziv Cohen, an expert on extremist beliefs at Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University, Qion supporters will react in different ways, as reality undermines their beliefs.

Cohen said that only those who drown in conspiracy theories can move forward. At the other extreme, more militant believers may migrate to radical anti-government groups and plot potentially violent crimes. In fact, some QAnon believers have already done so.

In between, he said, are the people who look at QAnon “to help them make sense of the world, to help them feel a sense of control.” These people can modify QAnon’s elastic narrative to fit rather than reality. Hood

Cohen’s believers said, “It’s not about critical thinking, to use a hypothesis and facts,” Cohen said, “They need these beliefs, and if you take it away, because the storm Did not happen. They can only move target positions. “

Now some say that Trump’s defeat was always part of the plan, or that he remained secretly president, or even that the inauguration of Biden was made using special effects or body doubles. They insist that Trump will prevail, and that powerful figures in politics, business and media will likely be executed on live television according to recent social media posts.

“All will be arrested soon. Confirmed Info, “read a post on Telegram 130,000 views this week on a popular QAnon channel. “From the beginning I said it would be.”

But for those who have heard enough, a different tone is emerging in the spaces created for them.

“Hi Mera Naam Jo Hai,” a man wrote on a Q Recovery channel in Telegram. “And I’m a recovering QAnoner.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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