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The dark conspiracy theory that helped create QAnon

James Clarke

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A shadowy group of powerful figures are secretly in control of the United States. They’re abducting children and subjecting them to lurid, Satanic abuse. Our only hope lies with a single brave source, one with first-hand experience of the horrifying conspiracy, to expose the plot.

This may sound like a brief description of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which, after spending a year bubbling at the fringes of the internet, suddenly burst into the mainstream last week at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. It’s actually a description of another conspiracy theory that gripped America in the early 1980s, one that led to the most expensive trial in California’s history and was eventually proven to be utterly false.

In 1980, Canadian psychiatric patient Michelle Smith co-wrote a book with her psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder – whom she later married – titled Michelle Remembers.

Michelle Remembers created a full-blown moral panic in America about Satanic Abuse. After a parent accused the McMartin pre-school in Manhattan Beach of abuse, a police investigation ensued, resulting in 321 counts of abuse being leveled against seven staff members.

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