Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Conspiracy Theories & The Paranormal: Why the belief and promotion of both can be dangerous

Recently while I was on a skeptics message board I met a young man who was having trouble getting over the belief in the Illuminati and spirit communication via the Oujia board. While I believe his belief in the Illuminati has been has been destroyed, it appears he just can't get over his fear of the Oujia board due to all of the stories about dark spirit and demon communications via the Oujia board on the internet. These stories are at the very least nothing but then misinterpretations and mass hysteria, and at the very worst, outright lies, but this young man just can not seem to get over the fact that people do lie about this stuff, or that people don't understand that people do stuff subconsciously with the Oujia board, and because of this, these stories are terrifying him, even though he does know they aren't real, he just can not seem to get that concept completely into his mind.

Another young man that I've been in communications with via Twitter also was having anxiety because Illuminati conspiracy theories, and FEMA camp conspiracy theories, and that he was having trouble getting over those beliefs as well, and that these conspiracy theories terrified him so badly that he had seriously considered committing suicide due to his fear that he and his family would be thrown into a FEMA camp or killed. His autism probably didn't help with his anxiety over these conspiracy theories either. So this young man, instead of drowning in his fears, decided to start his own debunking blog called Autistic Skeptic as a way to help him as a way to get over his anxiety, and fears, and beliefs in these conspiracy theories.

On another blog I sometimes visit there were posts in the comments section of one blog article that were made by a young man who claimed to have post traumatic stress disorder due to the "conspiracy" involving the 9/11 attacks. This person had more then just PTSD, and appeared to be very mentally disturbed, and was posting threatening pictures on his Facebook page that he saw as "art".

These three young men's stories are just a few examples of what may be thousands, if not millions of people who have believed in conspiracy theories and the paranormal, or still do seriously believe  in conspiracy theories and the paranormal, or are having trouble getting over the fact that these conspiracy theories and stories about the paranormal just aren't real, and are entirely made up as a way to promote some sort of political or religious agenda, or that these people who post this stuff on the internet are just misinterpreting things that happen to them, or what they saw, or that they're making this stuff up to get attention. This has become even easier now because of the internet, because you don't have to look a person right in the face and lie.

Because some people have trouble determining what is real and what is not real over the internet, and that some people may have mental issues, or because of how they were raised and what beliefs they were taught, these conspiracy theories and stories of the paranormal can terrify them to the point where it affects their lives. Even if they know it's not real, if they have any bits of belief in them of these fringe subjects, and they are very gullible and easily scared, it can very badly affect their out look on the world, and their health. It can even lead some people to commit suicide, or worse, murder.

For those who do seriously believe in conspiracy theories and the paranormal, not only can these affect both their physical and mental health, it can also affect how they interact with the people around them as well. Constantly talking about and insisting that such things are real can lead to some people who don't believe in such fringe things to end up cutting communications with that person because they can't deal with that person's paranoia. Beliefs in fringe things can also lead to believers cutting off communications with friends and family members because they can't deal with people trying to convince them that what they believe isn't real, or they might even begin to believe that those people are working for some forces that are trying to destroy them. To people that they don't know, sometimes they will act extremely nasty towards them, sometimes to the point where the other person feels threaten and they end up calling the police.

This is what makes conspiracy theories and stories of the paranormal so harmful, and why I debunk this stuff. It's not because they're real, because most often times they are not, but because the shear thought of their existence can terrify some people to the point where it drives them crazy and they may end up harming themselves, or others.

To read more about the Autistic Skeptic's story please go to his page about his personal experiences with conspiracy theories, and read about his struggles over his beliefs in conspiracy theories, the anxiety brought on by those beliefs, and his struggle to rid himself of those beliefs and the fear that comes with them.

1 comment:

  1. Is there a mirror or new blog site for the Autistic Skeptic? Great post!