QAnon’s conspiracy theories are both bizarre and baseless: from the claim that Democrats are running a sex-trafficking ring through a pizza parlour, to the theory that Donald Trump is leading the fight against a cabal of paedophiles, and the story that JFK is returning from the dead more than 50 years after his assassination.
Now, the cult’s latest wild conspiracy centres around the death of its own leader.
Michael Protzman, the 60-year-old QAnon leader, died on 30 June after suffering “multiple blunt force injuries” in a dirt bike accident.
Protzman, who was known to his followers as Negative 48, was driving a dirt bike at the Meadow Valley Motocross track in Millville, Minnesota, when he crashed.
Around a week later he died from his injuries at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the clinic confirmed to VICE News.
Or did he?
In the week since his untimely passing, QAnon members have refused to accept the death of their leader and instead claim the whole tragedy is a hoax.
An admin on the Telegram channel used by members of the group – who Protzman managed to convince Mr Trump is in fact JFK Jr in disguise – said they would be removing all mention of their leader’s death until they “have absolute verification”.
Another member was booted out of the Truth Social group for asking a question about Protzman’s condition, Vice reported.
One follower, Shelly Mullinax, who fell out with the QAnon leader prior to his death offered another theory as to his demise – suggesting that only a part of him had been killed in the dirt bike accident.
She told Vice that the good part of Protzman, who she said was also JFK in disguise, had survived the accident while the evil part of him had been killed.
“If that was the plan that God had for him, I know that everything is going to be revealed soon,” Mullinax told the outlet.
Among the theories put forward by QAnon in recent years, the claim that Protzman’s death is a hoax is actually one of the less strange posturings.
Protzman shot to notoriety in November 2021 when he managed to convince QAnon followers that JFK and JFK Jr would return from the dead.
Hundreds of believers travelled to Dealey Plaza in Dallas – where JFK was assassinated in 1963 – on his command to see their reappearance.
Unsurprisingly, JFK and JFK Jr were no shows.
Protzman then changed his story, telling supporters that Mr Trump was actually JFK Jr in disguise and that they would “reinstate Trump as commander-in-chief and help him in carrying out the persecution of a global cabal of pedophilic, blood-drinking liberal elites that QAnon devotees believe run the world”.
He also told members of the group that Mr Trump was communicating with him during a rally using a secret code that only he could understand.
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