K. Thor Jenson
Online is a strange and terrifying place. It’s enabled us to connect with one another, advance the causes of science and culture, and unite the world with a glowing net of data. It’s also enabled people with very… particular interests to find each other. In this weekly series, we’ll be dipping into the Internet Gutter – the strange subcultures and weird worlds lurking in the dark pockets of the World Wide Web.
A wise man once sang “Just because you’re paranoid / don’t mean they’re not after you.” And then he blew his face off with a shotgun, so there we go. But who is the “they” in that lyric? For the poor victims, we’re about to show you; it’s everybody on the planet Earth. This is gangstalking, the belief that the people around you are part of a massive surveillance conspiracy to document your every move.
Here’s how it works: your name gets put on a list, and that list is distributed to a secret society that proceeds to both chronicle everything you do and harasses you into madness. Methods include noise at all hours, social isolation and bizarre “performances” designed to destabilize the target. Police and medical professionals are all in on the act. Victims call themselves “targeted individuals,” and they’ve started to come together and share their stories.
Last year, a fascinating New York Times article detailed the phenomenon, which affects some 10,000 people around the country. But it’s really flourished online, as paranoids connect with each other and share their suspicion.
The comments thread in this post is a great sampling of self-proclaimed victims from all over the world.
I have been gang stalked for 21 years and probably longer but I did know it. It seems that I was born into a targeted family thanks to actions of my grandmother and a wealthy Jewish person. Presently, these sadistic persons, which appear to be at least half of New York City are trying to kill me.
I have ordered a Thermal Imaging unit to locate them in my home. If I find them in here, I am going to have to kill them. They have followed me to Eugene, Oregon, and San Francisco. These people are the sickest of the sick. I learned that there is a gang leader by the name of “SARA” in the Palm Springs area and there are more and more reports of this happening out there. That is where it all started, and it is still going on in Hemet, CA today. I am pulsed with electronic weapons that make you: Tired, Nauseated, Sweat, Sneeze, Stomach Ached, Diarrhe, etc. These people are sickos.
And, of course, because we’re in the realm of the paranoid, it’s not long before that thread devolves into people accusing each other of being stalkers and harassers themselves. That’s the true terror of gangstalking: it’s you against the world unless you can prove otherwise, and you can’t.
The parties behind this organized harassment have access to some high-tech methods of making lives miserable. The most feared weapon in the gangstalking world is the humble microwave, which has gone beyond just making popcorn to become a device that can cause intense pain, confusion and other symptoms with no physical proof. Some believe that microwave radiation on its own is enough, while others think that they have implants in their body that can be disguised as moles or freckles that act as antennae.
Hearing things that aren’t there is another major complaint, and the technology behind that is something they call “voice to skull.” Like a lot of gangstalking worries, it’s based on something sort of real. The U.S. Army was experimenting with this technology back in 2008, but there’s no evidence that it actually works.
Many targeted individuals also suffer from Morgellon’s disease, the mysterious ailment where people complain of small fibers growing out of their skin. They speculate that it’s caused by a host of methods, including implants, and, of course, microwaves.
The Men In Black
So who’s behind all of this organized stalking and harassment? That’s one thing targeted individuals just can’t seem to agree on. The New World Order / Illuminati are a popular choice in many of their worlds, as the concept of a shadowy, unaccountable world government underpins a lot of conspiracy fiction. What those people would want with ordinary working-class Americans is a different question.
Other fraternal organizations like the Freemasons and the Mafia also figure into gangstalking mythology. Because these groups hide in plain sight, it’s easy to cast them as the villains. Interestingly enough, police departments and even firefighters get the same treatment!
Some believe that it’s not humans at all – that the real masterminds of gangstalking are supernatural entities from beyond the vale of reality, who can temporarily inhabit human bodies and control them like puppets. That’s why, when a targeted individual confronts one, they seemingly have no idea what is going on.
Finding The Truth
Unlike many of the weird subcultures we look at here, gangstalking victims have actually been the subject of some science. A study published in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology interviewed over 1,000 stalking victims. Over 10% of them reported being stalked by groups, with familiar complaints like groups of people acting out scenes on the street for their benefit as well as more unusual ones like “remote enlargement of bodily organs.” The study’s conclusions shouldn’t surprise anybody – they found that the gangstalking subjects were primarily experiencing intense paranoia not grounded in reality.
Gangstalking is a truly Internet-enabled disease. Previously, paranoids would mostly keep to themselves, but by connecting with each other across great distances, they feed each other’s delusions and make them stronger. It’s almost impossible to persuade a targeted individual that what they’re experiencing is entirely made up, and I’m pretty sure the comments section of this article is going to prove that a few days after it’s published.