The moment QAnon took the person I love most


Four years have passed since online posts claiming to be from a self-styled government insider, known as Q, first appeared making extreme assertions about those at the very top of US power and society. It spawned a conspiracy theory that has torn families and friends apart

Nicole’s son took her to the hospital in January of 2021. Nicole was in Kansas when she started having palpitations and her arm and face went numb. I thought I was having a heart attack

Nicole had been through a panic attack after 10 months of watching her mother disappear into her phone screen. The movement of Qanon has inspired protests, split families and continues to find new followers online

Doctors at the hospital told Nicole what she was going through. They had heard about it, as it swept through the small towns in her state

The theory that Donald Trump is fighting paedophiles in government, business and the media is completely false

The conspiracy movement was started in the summer of 2017, when posts on the 4Chan message board appeared to be attributed to someone with a top-secret security clearance. They used a different name, “Q”, to claim to be leaking classified information online

Many people believe that the inauguration of President Joe Biden was faked, and that Mr Trump will be reinstalled as leader. Some followers believe that vaccines are being developed by the wealthy to control the minds of the people

The believers think that one day these secrets will be revealed to the public and lead to a day of reckoning, with the arrest and execution of prominent people like Hillary Clinton



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To Nicole, it’s completely ridiculous. The theories were hard to believe for her mother, and she was choosing to side with the evilcabal over her. They had not been close when she was young, but they have become close in recent years after Nicole had children

Nicole said that she made a wonderful grandma. She was very supportive. She would be right there helping me with them if I had a mental breakdown with the kid crying all night

Nicole’s mother would brag to her friends about how proud she was when she was a mature student. Nicole had always wanted to be with her mother. Nicole’s mother watched a film last year that accused the media of widespread manipulation

“And that was it.” She was immediately into this world

Nicole tried to make fun of her mother’s new beliefs. Nicole would read the article and try to refute it in a respectful way. She didn’t know what her mother was getting into when she was sent articles about fake news and media manipulation

Her mother sent her an article with a list of more than 100 celebrities who were against Trump. The article claimed that these celebrities were going to be arrested and executed on live TV

Nicole was wondering why she would want to see this

Nicole’s mother said that celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Beyblade harvest children’s blood for youth and energy. I knew she was in a cult when I saw her. A cult of death

People get lost in conspiracies

According to a survey, as many as one in five Americans believe in some of the tenets of the organization A recent poll The Public Religion Research Institute is a research institute

Experts say that people of all different background can get drawn into conspiracy theories, but they are often looking to fill a void in their lives

Prof Karen Douglas, a social psychologist at the University of Kent, said that conspiracy theories are more prominent in times of crisis

People are looking for explanations that will help them deal with difficult situations when there is a lot of conflicting information. They might be looking for simple answers that make them feel better, and conspiracy theories might offer those simple answers



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People turn to these theories when they are unhappy. She said that they may need to feel knowledgeable or that the theories will give them a sense of safety and security

Political communities and conspiracy theories are similar. Republicans in the US are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories when a Democrat is in office. The right-wing conspiracy theory that flourished under the Republican president is called Qanon

It can be devastating for loved ones to watch this

Prof Douglas said that people often contact him to talk about family members who have lost their minds to conspiracy theories. They often ask what they can do to find their friend again

He thinks there’s a tracker in the vaccine

People fall into these theories for social reasons, like looking to replace a lost sense of community

There were new conspiracy theories that were created after the Covid-19 outbreak, which claimed the virus was a hoax and that vaccines were developed to control the minds of the people

Lauren’s parents will not be coming to her wedding this year because of their obsession with Qanon

Lauren told the BBC that her parents are evangelical Christians and that she grew up very religious. They still wanted a sense of community, even though they deviated from the religious aspect. In the year of 2016 Lauren’s dad became engrossed in “Pizzagate”, a conspiracy theory that claimed Hillary Clinton was running a child abuse ring from the basement of a pizza parlour in Washington DC. A man fired a rifle inside the restaurant in December of 2016

Lauren’s father thinks Covid vaccines are going to kill us all. Lauren’s fiancĂ© is an immune-compromised person so she wanted everyone at the service to have been vaccinations. She knew she would have to talk to her parents

I talked to my mom. I think my mom is more willing to listen. She hoped that her parents would be willing to compromise and that they would be able to attend the most important day in her life. Her hopes were dashed

Her mother told her that they were not getting vaccinations

An attack on the Capitol

Nicole noticed a cryptic post from her mother on the morning of January 6. She had no idea what it was, but it made her uneasy. Her mother’s usual long, long posts were not the reason for this one being only one sentence. Bomb emojis followed it

Nicole saw that a group of pro-Trump rioters were storming the Capitol in Washington DC. It was one of the most shocking things she had ever seen



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Nicole wondered if she knew something. I’m looking back, and I wonder if she knew something was going to happen

500 people have been arrested for the January riot, and most of them have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building. The House select committee is investigating what happened that day

The inquiry will look at whether the White House was involved in planning or knew about the riot

I knew my best friend was gone

Will and Zak were inseparable when they were teenagers. WillPhillips told the BBC that he would consider Zak his best friend. He lived with Zak when his parents were fighting. I have a bond that’s almost beyond words with this guy

Zak started sending messages in their group chats that made no sense to Will, like “Do you want to take a red pill?”

Will considered them both liberal. Will noticed that Zak and Jimmy became a little bit more unwound after Trump won the election

He said that it became a joke among their group of friends that their opinions were extreme. Their views were becoming more sinister as they became more eccentric

Things really took a turn in 2020 when a new virus brought the world to its knees. The US was the epicenter of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of 1929, caused by the Covid-19 epidemic

The presidential election campaign polarised the nation even more, and after Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, he accused his opponent of stealing the presidency

Trump’s case was thrown out by courts in multiple states



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Will and Zak had an argument about the results

Zak said that it had been stolen from Trump and that he would be reinstalled as the president, and that there was evidence that a satanic group was keeping him out of office. He mentioned “Pizzagate”

Will said that Zak still believes there are children in that basement

The more he resisted, the more intense Zak’s messages became. He told me I was a liar and that I was spoon-feeding this country into a communist regime

Zak called Will a traitor when he told him he had voted for Joe Biden

It felt like a gut punch, like my mother or father had told me. He’s telling me that I’m a traitor because we grew up together and saw our parents go through divorces

Will and Zak are no longer talking. He thought about the last year of their friendship and wondered if there was anything salvaged from it

Will said that Jimmy was seen on video taking part in the Capitol Riot

Will said that it was the most incriminating thing he had ever seen. The FBI got the video

I bring the victims together

Jitarth Jadeja spent 18 months studying the theories of the Qanon. He was unable to hold a conversation with anyone, even his closest family, because he was too focused on the topic of QAnon

He will be “effectively rebooted” in June 2019.

He was starting a course of treatment for a mental health condition that was previously undetected

I was sitting in front of my computer and I wondered what to do. I was wrong. I was wrong

He reflected on the impact the past 18 months had on his family as he became more used to life after Qanon. He posted about his experiences on the internet. He expected to be ripped apart but he was not



Jitarth Jadeja

“These guys gave me permission to do what I did, because they thought I was human.” They gave me permission to retain some dignity and self-respect, after putting me back together again. I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t done that

He found out about a new forum on the internet to help people who have been radicalised by the internet. He started posting about his experiences on there. Jitarth said that there were only 400 users when he joined. There are more than 180,000

He was made a moderator after Jitarth gave people on the forum help and support. He wants to give people hope that their loved ones will be like him again

I have never met my own dad, so the only person who was present in my life is gone. I’m mourning the loss of my mom before she passes away. She said she doesn’t see herself having her in her life and feeling safe right now

I want it to be known that this is not something to take lightly. You can snap even if you think the people you love are there for you

More on this story

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