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As supporters of spiritualism were entrenched on YouTube – on the example of videos with bloodletting

In detail about the conspiracy trend of the past few years – people on the camera puncture themselves to perform a “rite of blood” to exit the “illusory world.”

The Internet has become a convenient place for supporters of conspiracy theories: it does not matter whether they touch alien lizards or flat Earth . It’s enough to go to social networks or YouTube to find like-minded people about the version about the demolition of twin towers by the US government or the existence of Zone 51. But these are already familiar forms of conspiracy, unlike rituals with bloodletting.

On YouTube, you can find tens of thousands of videos, where people intentionally prick their fingers or cut their palms, and then smear blood through pages with different phrases. Often the performers are united by one spiritualistic or conspiracy goal, which one day is supposed to be fulfilled. Details of the unusual phenomenon found the publication Gizmodo.

Passion that has become a practice

In August 2017 Hollywood resident Phoebe Castillo (Phoebe Castillo) for the first time conducted a rite on the blood. The 27-year-old girl pondered for about a month whether she should do this, at one point she turned on the camera and gently pricked her finger with a medical knife. “I intend to bring heaven to Earth and free all from slavery,” the girl began to pronounce the speech prepared on paper, while the blood slowly dripped from her hand to the text.

Castillo decided to shed as much blood as possible so that her desire worked for sure. The last process she recorded and published on YouTube.

(Beware, shots in the movie can cause unpleasant sensations)

A similar ritual of blood began to spread to YouTube around 2013, but gained popularity in the past two years. This ritual connects conspiracy theologians, oculists and believers on the Day of Judgment, in fact becoming a condition for the initiation into the community of “blood brothers and sisters”. Although this phenomenon is known for far less pseudoscientific theories about flat Earth and reptilians, sometimes adherents of these camps are fond of blood rituals. “This is the end of the rabbit hole,” says Castillo, meaning that behind the spiritualistic rite the path to unknown knowledge is hidden.

In short, the adherents believe that humanity is imprisoned in a fictitious world, and the rite helps them to see beyond the boundaries of this illusion. For the supporters of the phenomenon, it is important not only to shed blood, but also to show it to associates – in the age of the Internet, social networks or YouTube, where the ritual is seen by everyone, including its adherents, are suitable for this.

Search for like-minded people

“The blood rite is amazing,” says Benjamin Zeller, a writer and member of the religion department at Lake Forest College. According to him, such rituals are still popular in occult communities, and thanks to the Internet it has become much easier to conduct them. Supporters do not need to gather in a place where no one will see them to perform the ritual – just write down the process and put it on YouTube.

“When you wake up, you feel so lonely,” says 36-year-old Hiring (not her real name), who lives with her husband and daughter in Virginia. Through the publication of rituals on the blood, a woman makes new acquaintances and asserts that within the community there is “sincere love and genuine respect for one another.” Castillo mostly talked with like-minded people on the Internet, but met several in person: she describes these episodes as “getting to know another part of herself.”

It is difficult to say with certainty how many people conducted the rite on the blood and put the record on the Internet. On YouTube, you can find up to a million and a half videos on the request of “blood over intent” – sometimes new appear once a week, and sometimes up to 15 short videos per day.

An example of a rite with the application of blood on paper with the text of an oath. In the comments, people support the author and call him “brother by blood”

Some time after the publication of bloodletting, the ritualists spread videos describing the sensations: how their perception of the world has improved or how they began to see in random people around “working robots”. However, not everyone experiences positive emotions after the ritual: in one of the video the author complains that the ritual called for “dark forces” that interfere with his life. In the neighborhood with such videos there are records in which conspiracy experts give advice on avoiding dangerous effects.

Plumber and “messenger of the devil”

With the popularity of the rite came and criticism among the conspiracy and religious community. On YouTube there are video-exposures, where the supporters of bloodletting are accused of “squandering spiritual forces” and the connection with the devil. The last remark has relatively justified reasons – the influence of Mark Brown.

Among the occult community, Brown is considered one of the Internet pioneers of bloodletting, claiming that he first performed the ritual on December 24, 2013. On his channel on YouTube posted excerpts from films about demons or monsters, as well as conspiracy clips about Barack Obama’s connection with Nazi Germany. Brown often calls himself a messenger of Satan or the devil, urging people to join his society and be saved.

“The Internet is based on alchemy, and your blood is a philosopher’s stone,” Brown said in an interview with Gizmodo. He claims that bleeding taught him to see the world from a completely new angle, which is inaccessible to ordinary people. Working as a plumber and sometimes working as an electrician, Brown considers himself “the biblical prince of darkness” and the savior of mankind through bloodletting. The blogger claims that after the publication of the first video with the ritual, he wrote down in the “book of life” 144 thousand names of people who are ready to “start their own blood.” The plumber believes that all other people will perish with the onset of the Day of Judgment.

From the many supporters of conspiracy, Brown is distinguished by the fact that his prophecies about the fate of mankind are believed. Including Phoebe Castillo – she trusts an ally, although they never met in a living. Brown does not take money from supporters and does not require worship – to become his friend, enough small bloodletting.

With an American plumber with interest in the occult, there are relatively few people familiar with, and everyone usually learns about the rite from friends or by chance stumbling upon YouTube. Its role in this play the algorithms and videohosting, sharpened to show the user new videos similar in content to those already viewed: sometimes with conspiracy videos people and turn to records of blood sacrifices. And sometimes fall on the analogue of Brown – blogger Davin Maggie, who, unlike his companion, explains the concept of the ritual more friendly and calm.

Sometimes the ritualists argue in absentia in their own videos, and, apparently, in the struggle for popularity , Magie wins – over 50 thousand people signed against his channel against 1,500 Brown. Maybe Maggie is helped by the fact that on the channel he also actively supports the theory of flat Earth.

Spiritistic relationship

Of the two conditional leaders of the occult community, Hiring is more supported by Maggie, but this does not stop Brown from praising the girl in the comments to her entries on YouTube. For example, one of the videos is devoted to the blood ritual of Hiring along with an 11-year-old daughter. “I see a light in it,” said the woman, gently pricking the child’s finger. The girl did not cry, but on the contrary, laughed and left small spots of blood in her drawing called “Paradise on Earth”.

Hiring claims that she is familiar with parents who conduct blood rites with children, “because they want to save themselves and their loved ones.” Sometimes mothers are interested in a woman, can they do the ritual on her own, if she is too young to understand the importance of the process. About an unusual ritual tells his son and Brown: a young man sometimes appears in the commercials and with his father playing video games or practicing in the martial arts. The American told his son that he is Satan, explaining that all people are aware of his “secret identity”.

In 2009, long before gaining popularity thanks to the ritual, Brown recorded a video from his apartment at the moment when the police broke in to him. The man was wearing a naked torso and bandages, and when the patrolmen knocked out the door, he shouted about the violation of his rights. The American claims that on that day he was kidnapped and kept in custody for two weeks, regularly beating.

The representative of the Florida police, where Brown lives, denies the fact of the arrest of a man and claims that that day he underwent a serious operation and fled the hospital home, as evidenced by bandages on the video. Knowing about Brown’s “unstable mental state”, the patrol detained him so that he could not harm himself or anyone else.

Ultimately, it does not matter what everyone believes, Brown believes. His companion Castillo adds that the devotees of bloodletting do not always agree with each other, but as long as it “leads them to the Holy Grail and reveals life,” then everything is fine.

Professor Zeller believes that in the future of networked communities there will be only more about rituals. “At the present time, people can find anything on the Internet. New occult, esoteric or unusual ideas freely penetrate the Internet, forming a digital community. ”

Bleeding helps people feel special, as it tells them that they can access the truth, be different from ordinary people and perceive themselves as something more powerful.

You do not need to enter a secret society or study a complex vocabulary [of terms] or theology. It is simple, understandable and opens up new opportunities for the person. This is the heart of American religious practice, which for centuries has shifted in this direction.

Benjamin Zeller
Member of the Department of Religion at Lake Forest College
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