What Conspiracy Theorists & Bad "Psychics" Have In Common

Conspiracy theories have been proliferating lately, and as someone who practices a few different kinds of divination and is well-aquainted with how subjective the whole process can be, I noticed that conspiracy theorists seem to be basing many of their claims upon what what appears to be one of the most inept forms of divination I've ever seen. What do I mean by that? Read on!

First uploaded: November 9, 2021.

Table of Contents

The similarities

So, I'm familiar with various forms of divination, and I practice at least semi-regularly. I'm pretty good with tarot and other forms of card reading, and I can read a natal chart or come up with a horoscope fairly well. I've also used pendulums, dice, and even a ouija board. (And no, I did not get haunted from the ouija board!) And lately, I've come to realize that many conspiracy theorists and believers are themselves functionally practicing an extremely clumsy and uncritical form of divination.

The thing about divination is that you are not handed clear, unambiguous messages. Instead, it tends to be an extremely subjective process, and the messages or meanings you come up with will be shaped by your own beliefs, feelings, and desires. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, because you're effectively prompting yourself to think creatively and to examine situations from angles you might not have considered before. For example, if you aren't sure where to take your story next, you might lay out a few tarot cards. Or if you want to develop a character's personality more, you might generate a natal chart. You can also use your preferred form of divination whenever you feel stuck or overwhelmed and don't really know what to do with yourself to give yourself a potentially fresh perspective.

However, those who practice divination without realizing this can set themselves or others up for serious trouble, especially if they're trying to gain serious life advice or foretell the future. When you practice divination without this kind of awareness, you can end up simply reinforcing your own biases and prejudices. For example, someone who sees an astrological alignment that seems to foretell a great victory will most likely assume it means a great victory for their side, even though there's no special reason it should apply to them and their group in particular. There's no tarot card or spread that's going to spontaneously challenge your beliefs about the shape or age of the Earth. Divination is very much a "garbage in, garbage out" kind of deal. If you practice with wacky assumptions and beliefs, you will make wacky readings.

Believers in Satanic conspiracies often believe that the Satanists place their symbols on things to basically brag about their dominance without actually revealing themselves to the public, kinda like that white kid in middle school who'd insult you in Japanese and think they were being so very clever because you couldn't understand them. They also have a belief that the Satanists must announce their plans to the world before enacting them. People don't have to actually notice and read the message, but the message must be there in some form. This is also called "predictive programming," which according to some conspiracy theorists functionally prepares the populace to accept their actions, regardless of how it's framed in the narratives. (Yikes, talk about confusing depiction with endorsement!)

I'll go over some of the problems with all of this.

So, most of these symbols are not Satanic in any meaningful sense; rather, it's the conspiracy theorists who are imposing Satanic meanings onto them, which often have little to no basis in historical usage. For example, they believe that all butterflies are a reference to Project MK-Ultra, a highly unethical CIA program meant to see if drugs such as LSD could be used to extract confessions from prisoners. The project also expanded to see if people could just basically be drugged and tortured into any kind of compliance, and victims often included vulnerable people such as prisoners and the mentally ill.

Project MK-Ultra was cruel and unethical, no doubt about it. However, butterflies were never attached to the program anywhere outside of the imaginations of conspiracy theorists, and the whole purpose of this imaginary connection is simply to create "evidence" of a Satanic conspiracy out of basically nothing. For example, if a celebrity appears in a butterfly-print shirt, the conspiracy theorists will claim that the celebrity has been placed under MK-Ultra mind control, and is being used as a sex slave by the "Hollywood cabal." (A quick note - "cabal" is another one of those terms that basically just means "Jews," as it derives from Cabbala, AKA Kabbalah.)

Meanwhile, butterflies have plenty of folkloric, mystical, and occult meanings that are unrelated to mind control. According to Jacob Grimm in Teutonic Mythology Vol. II, alps, or elves, can transform into butterflies, and the Greeks associated butterflies with the soul of the deceased departing from the body. In Teutonic Mythology Vol. III, he says that it's believed that the souls of witches engaging in what we might call astral travel today take the soul of a butterfly. Butterflies also have plenty of popular connotations that aren't even mystical whatsoever - carefree happiness, springtime, dreams and wishes, and things like that. Also, people just find them pretty.

Another example of this is the claim that the "horned hand" symbol that has become popular in metal circles is a Satanic symbol. In reality, the gestures they're talking about was introduced to the metal scene by Ronnie James Dio, who was imitating his grandmother's use of an Italian folk charm against the evil eye.

One other example is pyramids. To make a long story really short, Western society has a huge fascination for Egypt that we can at least partially attribute to the Greeks. When you understand that the concept of "Western Civilization" is built on the idea that the Greco-Roman world was super rational and smart, and understand that the ancient Greeks thought the Egyptians were just the bee's knees, then it makes sense that some of this would rub off on modern people. When we hear Plato telling us that his friend Critias heard from his grandfather that his father heard from his buddy Solon who heard from an Egyptian priest that Atlantis sunk nine thousand years ago, most of us go, "yeah, sounds that sounds right" and don't question it further. Another contributing factor is the fascination with Egypt that arose from Napoleon's campaigns into Egypt. It was at this period in 1799 that a soldier found what would be known as the Rosetta Stone and people could begin translating ancient heiroglyphic writing. The 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb sparked the flames of Egyptian fascination again, and strongly influenced the Art Deco movement.

Meanwhile, Egyptian religion had nothing to do with Satan, a figure that developed in the context of post-exile Judaism and Christianity. And I think it's worth mentioning that actual Egyptian religion was nothing like the cruel, whimsical Satanic religion conspiracy theorists imagine. One only has to research the concept of Ma'at to see that ancient Egyptians valued morality, justice, and harmony. Furthermore, their concept of an eternal reward or eternal punishment in the afterlife should look very familiar to Christians.

To many conspiracy theorists, all outgroups are functionally cultural monoliths, and they are pretty much all controlled by Satan. Therefore, they see no need to ask themselves how they can be sure that all of these symbols really mean these things, let alone do any historical or anthropological research to verify it. They also count on you not to do any real research either, and to simply take their assertions at face value. Once you "understand the symbols" in this way, of course everything appears to be full of Satanic symbols, messages, and "programming."

Let me make an analogy that will hopefully highlight exactly how ridiculous these people are being.

If I taught you to believe that every church podium was secretly meant to evoke Lucifer attempting to exalt himself above God and creation, and that every pastor and preacher who stood behind one was symbolically taking on the role of Lucifer and installing himself as a false god, then you would see basically every church as Satanic.

If I convinced you that the four arms of the cross actually represent the world itself, with the horizontal arms representing the terrestrial world, the upward arm representing the Heavens, and the bottom arm representing Hell, and that the bottom arm is the longest to show that Satan's power and domain exceeds that of God and man, you would see "Satanic programming" in pretty much every church and the vast majority of Christian art.

If I got you to believe that the wings on depictions of angels meant that the angel being shown was actually a fallen angel because Satan rules "the kingdom of the air" and that the wings symbolize belonging to this kingdom, you would see Satanic imagery in everything from Bible illustrations to Christmas ornaments.

I hope these examples of "Satanic symbolism" sound absolutely absurd to you, because they really are. I literally just made them all up. Making up Satanic interpretations of these things doesn't negate centuries' worth of cultural and historical context behind them, and it doesn't mean that Pastor Bob from the local Baptist Church was secretly a Satanist all along, nor that he was leading his congregation to unknowingly worship Satan instead of Jesus.

(By the way, if I can make up stuff like this in under an hour, imagine how much stuff professional conspiracy theorists can make up in a week!)

Back to the topic of "predictive programming," conspiracy theorists frequently claim that many TV shows and movies "predicted" major world events years in advance. What these people aren't taking into account is that a lot of popular media is inspired by real historical events and therefore reflect things that can actually happen and will very likely happen again at some point; or is inspired by popular fears and concerns, some of which have a reasonably high likelihood of actually playing out at some point. And with so many movies being made and books being published, it's simply a matter of time before some of them resemble things that actually happen.

What conspiracy theorists are doing here is basically a form of shotgunning. In psychic readings, shotgunning is a technique in which the alleged psychic makes so many vague statements that a few of them are bound to match the experiences of their client. Here, you have conspiracy theorists claiming that so many pieces of media describe the future plans of the New World Order that a few of them are bound to resemble real events at some point.

Furthermore, not all alleged "predictive programming" even matches up with real world events at all. For example, one recent video claims that zombie media, including the Resident Evil franchise, is predictive programming for the release of a real zombie virus. (I'm not linking to this video, but it's not hard to search up if you really want to see it.) In this video, a woman claims that COVID was supposed to be the zombie virus, but "white hats" swapped it out for a less dangerous virus, and that the bad guys started putting the zombie virus in the vaccine. Later she goes on to claim that the virus-infected alligator in Resident Evil 2 was "predictive programming" for Rudy Eugene, whom she claims was bitten by an infected alligator that escaped from an underground laboratory. Mind you, there is no evidence that Rudy Eugene was ever bitten by an alligator, let alone an alligator carrying any kind of disease. (Also, I have to wonder who would decide it's a good idea to build an underground lab in the middle of swampy, hurricane-prone Florida.)

Later on still, she actually does a weird backtrack on her claim that the vaccine was created to deliver the zombie virus, claiming that "most of the harmful vaccines were intercepted with the Evergreen thing," and goes on to refer to these allegedly harmful vaccines as "rogue vaccines." But if the zombie virus vaccines are rogue vaccines, wouldn't that mean that most of the vaccines are actually real, and that the zombie virus is being spread by a small group of easily-thwarted terrorists, rather than an all-powerful global conspiracy? In that case, how are they powerful enough to influence the creation of the thousands of pieces of zombie media she claims are predictive programming for this alleged zombie outbreak?

Yeah, it just doesn't add up.

I also want to mention, this lady thinks that the Umbrella Corporation from Resident Evil is actually real, and claims that they're responsible for Project Mayhem, which she says created invincible cybernetic supersoldiers with metal bones. Now like, you shouldn't have to be a biology major to understand that having metal bones isn't actually feasible. Certain bones contain red marrow, which is responsible for producing our red blood cells. But hey, this is the kind of thing people can start believing when they think comic books and video games know more about science than actual scientists.

So basically, the whole concept of predictive programming might as well be called mediamancy - the art of trying to divine future events through the observation of media. It's not that some all-powerful conspiracy is putting certain themes into media to show you what they have planned for the future; it's that you're specifically looking for messages that appear to foretell what you think they might have planned for the future. If you didn't have as uncharitable assumptions about the world as these people do, you might come to some very different conclusions; for example, you might watch a few superhero movies and conclude that some benevolent being is telling you that no matter how bad things get, some good people will get together and set things right again. Or you might watch media like Good Omens and Pacific Rim and assume you're being told that the apocalypse is a thing humanity can and will ultimately opt out of. Conspiracy theorists, however, are generally mean people, and so they read mean messages into things.

I would also like to add that this whole idea that you have to somehow announce your intentions before acting upon them is not actually a thing in any real occult philosophy or metaphysical worldview, outside of the worldview of conspiracy theorists. If anything, occult philosophies that involve or focus on magical workings tend toward the opposite viewpoint: you keep quiet about your work. Some things are just considered too sacred or personal to share, and there's often a belief that telling people about the magic you plan to work will actually make it less powerful.

If this Satanic cult they're talking about is as huge as they say, and announcing your intentions is actually a crucial component of conducting a successful magical operation, then it's highly unlikely that this concept wouldn't have filtered into other occult ideologies and practices. One might try to argue that the Satanic conspiracy is intentionally keeping this out of books meant for the general public, but we're talking about a conspiracy that is apparently unable to stop thousands of people from making and spreading content online. If they were really so good at keeping things silenced, then the video I watched should have never been findable in the first place.

One other way conspiracy theorists operate like really inept diviners lies in how they interpret Q's many, many cryptic posts.

Q has never acted like a real whistleblower leaking critical information. Real whistleblowers collect as many incriminating files as possible, and drop them all at once. Q's posts, on the other hand, are an entirely different animal. They contain no incriminating information whatsoever. Instead, they're filled with innuendos, insinuations, and questions that prompt readers to fill in their own answers.

The whole thing has even been compared to an alternate reality game, but notably different in one regard: unlike most ARGs, where players can unintentionally throw the game into a tailspin making connections and chasing after clues where none exist, Q is simply all about prompting people to make whatever connections and see whatever clues they will.

Q's mysterious messages were referred to as "breadcrumbs," and those who tried to draw a coherent meaning from them were known as "bakers." (Which, kind of a weird metaphor, since bread isn't baked from crumbs.) And this process is literally how the vast majority of divination works. The cards, runes, planetary positions, or just whatever all suggest a meaningful message, but it's up to the diviner to try and figure out what that message might be.

As I've mentioned earlier, the diviner's interpretation will be strongly influenced by their own beliefs and biases. Many astrologers and tarot readers, for example, tend toward an over-optimistic worldview and predict huge imminent improvements that never really manifest. Younger people who are just getting into divination often make huge, Hollywood-esque predictions because they don't necessarily know a lot about how the world really works, but they have seen a lot of TV where things happen suddenly and decisively. And people with apocalyptic worldviews will tend to foresee doom and gloom.

(By the way, a general tip for any of you people getting into spiritual groups where somebody's claiming their spirit guides are predicting huge world-changing events around the corner or something, take it with a grain of salt. These kinds of predictions have happened thousands of times before, and I promise you, the people in your group aren't special or different. Not even if they claim they're talking to the Archangel Michael himself. Especially if they're claiming to talk to the Archangel Michael himself.)

Another technique Q employs that is also occasionally used by sketchy "psychics," is asking audiences leading questions. Many of these questions can only be answered with what Q wants people to respond with, which gives the audience an illusion that they are thinking critically when they are actually being tricked by a process of pacing and leading. The audience is led to think that they are thinking for themselves, but in reality they are thinking exactly what Q wants them to think. Basically, Q gave these poeple the Billy Flynn razzle dazzle act, and they ate it all up, clinging to Q's every word despite numerous failed predictions.

This is not an exhaustive look into how conspiracy theorists constantly get things wrong and read the most bizzare ideas into things due to their own biases and prejudices, but I hope it at least solidly demonstrates that this is a thing that frequently happens. I'm not saying that conspiracy theorists are always wrong - sometimes they actually hit upon something if only because a stopped clock is right twice a day - but they absolutely do have the most whimsical, irrational methods of reading and interpreting things, which operate exactly like an incredibly inept form of divination, and occasionally downright dishonest techniques used in "psychic readings."

Questions to ask yourself when you hear claims from conspiracy theorists

How did they come by this information? Do they have actual documents and files to back this up, such as memos, protocol books, training manuals, requisition lists, written reports, and the like? Or does it mostly come down to a bunch of rumors and assertions that basically come down to "I saw Goody Proctor drinking adrenochrome with the devil!"? If they have documents, how many documents do they have? Do they have a large amount of material, or is it small enough that it could be a forgery? (The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion was a hoax. One "discovered" book is not substantial evidence.)

Is it possible they're leaving out critical details or context? Have you done any investigation to find out whether they might be leaving something out, or putting a skewed or dishonest spin on things?

How is their track record with predictions? Do a large percentage of very specific and spectacular-sounding predictions actually manifest, or do the vast majority of the specific ones fail while the most "successful" predictions tend to be the most vague, cryptic, or generic? If you're not sure, start documenting their predictions and keeping track of how many come true. Vague or generic predictions (EG, "war will break out") don't get points for actually coming to pass, because those are pretty much certain to happen at some point. Pay attention and see how much (if any) of the big, shocking stuff actually comes true on schedule - example, Trump getting reinstated as President, a faked alien invasion, etc.

If they're making medical or scientific claims, do you understand medicine and science well enough to recognize the difference between real scientific statements and sci-fi technobabble? If not, then I suggest taking some time to improve your scientific and medical literacy. Here's a hint: the way these people use words like "quantum" and "vibrations" is fundamentally meaningless.

How do their claims of the Satanic cult's alleged behavior and capabilities actually compare with what we know about the behavior and capabilities of known abusive groups and organizations? How do they compare to, say, NXIVM, the the Elan School, Jehovah's Witnesses, or The Children of God/Family International?

Do they seem not to understand or care that all groups are internally diverse, have internal conflict, and evolve over time? Do they act as if certain groups have essentially been unchanging monoliths for decades, even centuries? Yeah, that's not a thing. Heck, the Freemasons are actually a great example of this; like any other widespread religious group, they've actually had a significant amount of internal disagreement and conflict.

Are they blaming Satanic cults for abuses that are more parsimoniously explained by systemic inequality, oppressive power hierarchies, etc.? We know that there's been a lot of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry. But there is no evidence that it was perpetrated by an abusive cult, and plenty of evidence that it was the result of institutional misogyny and general abuses of power and privilege.

Are they fundamentally dividing everyone in the world into evil conspirators, manipulated sheep, and those who know the 'truth', with no room for anything else? Dividing people into categories like this is an ego-centered, elitist mentality, because people who do this think that they know the truth and that no one else could have good, solid reasons for holding another view. While I'm not saying that everyone's opinions are necessarily good or valid, thinking that the only reason people don't share one's own views because they're uneducated or pure evil is extremely irrational.

In closing

If you believe that any of these conspiracy theories have some element of truth to them, I don't imagine that this article will convince you right away. But I do hope that it will at least encourage you to take a deeper look into things and ask yourself whether these conspiracy theories actually make as much sense as their proponents would like you to think.

I'm absolutely not asking you to believe that there is no abuse going on in places like Hollywood, the government, or whathaveyou, because this is absolutely a thing that happens and it needs to be called out. But we also need to be aware that conspiracy theories aren't really about bringing abusers to justice, so much as they're about directing hate toward outgroups and drawing attention away from abuses in one's own circles. Yes, people like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffery Jones are sexual predators, that is absolutely true. It's also true that sexual abuse runs rampant in Evangelical churches. You don't have to belong to some secret demonic cult to perpetrate and justify horrible abuses.

I also hope that this article will encourage you to be a little more discerning and demanding when it comes to evidence. People can and do just make things up - it's not difficult; writers of fiction do it every day. And if we understand that somebody's abusive ex can go on a smear campaign to destroy their reputation, why should it be a stretch to think that someone might do the same thing for an entire group of people, especially if they want to consolidate and maintain their power and status?

I hope it encourages you to do deeper and more thorough research. Don't just take these people at their words; ask yourself well, how do they know that for sure? and get searching. For example, if they tell you that something is in the Bible, then read the relevant book for yourself and see if that's what the text really says. Better yet, start researching the actual history of the Bible, and the historical contexts the books of the Bible were written in - and not from pastors trying to convince you that their own interpretations are the best ones, but from actual historians.

I hope you found this article interesting and thought-provoking. If you enjoyed it please share it with your friends and on your social media, and please consider supporting me on Patreon. I'll also be including links you might find relevant or interesting in the External Resources, so don't forget to check those out!

Other Pages You Might Like:

Relax, It's Not The Mark of the Beast!
Why New Age Spirituality Even Is Creepier Than You Thought
Some Observations On Conspiracy Propaganda
So What's The Problem With Starseeds?
Addressing Claims Of Alien Theorists & Believers
Sketchy Spiritualities & Shady Pseudohistories: What People Need To Know
A Beginner's Guide To Spotting Cranky Websites & Culty Groups

External Resources

Teutonic Mythology Vol. I
Teutonic Mythology Vol. II
Teutonic Mythology Vol. III
Teutonic Mythology Vol. IV
Dictionary Of Occult Hermetic And Alchemical Sigils
Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica

Who are the Illuminati - and what do they control?
Fact Check: Adrenochrome Is NOT Obtained From Adrenal Glands Of Living Children Or Used In Satanic Rituals By The Elite
QAnon Is Spreading a Bizarre and Dangerous Conspiracy Theory About a Drug Called Adrenochrome
The truth about adrenochrome
The Scams and Loopholes of Mega Churches | Multi Level Mondays

The Witch Trials and the Rise of Modernity and Capitalism - Sylvia Federici - Caliban and the Witch
Witches Witch-Hunting and Magic in Early-Modern Europe (FIA Lecture)
Witchcraft - Malleus Maleficarum - The Hammer of Witches - History and Analysis of the Inquisition

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