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Faye Flam

How the QAnon Conspiracy Seduces Normal People

The theory contains many of the same features that make games and detective novels so enjoyable.

QAnon supporters are just like the rest of us.

QAnon supporters are just like the rest of us.

Photographer: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images North America

QAnon is such a weird theory that it’s tempting to think humanity is getting dumber. But it’s better seen as a highly sophisticated way of manipulating people. QAnon may one day be considered a masterpiece of propaganda.

This cult-like belief revolves around a conspiracy theory in which prominent Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are systematically victimizing children in order to extract something called adrenochrome from their blood. They consume this substance, so the story goes, as both a youth elixir and a recreational drug.