Meeting The QAnon Shaman

In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, supporters of President Donald Trump, including Jacob Chansley, right with fur hat, are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. Congress is set to hear from former security officials about what went wrong at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That’s when a violent mob laid siege to the Capitol and interrupted the counting of electoral votes. Three of the four testifying Tuesday resigned under pressure immediately after the attack, including the former head of the Capitol Police. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Frederick Kaufman at Harper’s Magazine: Jacob Angeli-Chansley, the man the media has dubbed the QAnon Shaman, had been released from federal custody six weeks before when we met for lunch at a place called Picazzo’s, winner of the Phoenix New Times Best Gluten-Free Restaurant award in 2015. Despite a protracted hunger strike and 317 days isolated in a cell, Jacob’s prison sentence of forty-one months for obstruction of an official proceeding on January 6, 2021, had been shortened owing to good behavior, and he was let out about a year early on supervised release.

It took some doing to get him to sit for an interview, as Jacob is wary of what he calls Operation Mockingbird, an alleged CIA-sponsored effort begun in the Fifties to use mass media to influence public opinion. Jacob believes that people like me are the tools of the Mockingbird operation, of the deep state, international bankers, pharmaceutical cartels, and corporate monarchies that control the world. People like me believe in medicines that are addictive drugs, in food that is poison, in environmentalism that is ecocide, in education that is ignorance, in money that is debt, in objective science that is not objective. “People are brainwashed by the elites and their propaganda networks,” he said. “Mass hypnosis, bro.”

He had agreed to meet with me on a number of conditions, including:

1. That I mention Dr. Royal Raymond Rife, the American inventor of an oscillating beam-ray medical technology that, according to Jacob, is a cure for cancer that has been quashed by the government, the military, and pharmaceutical giants; and

2. That I call attention to the existence of a clean, free, wireless, and renewable energy source powered by the earth’s magnetic field that was discovered by Nikola Tesla but suppressed by the government because such a technology would make the existing energy grid obsolete, and thus threaten the rule of the globalists and their corporate monopolies.

Jacob believes he has been sent to earth to combat wicked forces such as Warner Bros. and MGM. He believes in the clear and present danger of a global ring of slave-trading, adrenochrome-swigging Clintonistas. He would also like to lift the ban on psilocybin mushrooms. And he’s been doing the work for a long time—for “millennia,” he told me. “I have reincarnated on this planet numerous times throughout the ages.”

Jacob is as apt to paraphrase Shirley MacLaine as WikiLeaks Vault 7 or Alex Jones, which is why I had reached out to him. He is Exhibit A of the widely reported observation that MAGA, QAnon, and the broader conspiratorial mishmash draw substantial support from the consciousness-raising, om-chanting, sound-healing, joint-toking, crystal- and chart-reading crowd, the long-haired hippies who half a century ago were lumped together with the fellow travelers of the left, but have been reincarnated two generations later as pivotal elements of the Trump coalition. Jacob and his cosmic vibrations epitomize that political reversal. Perhaps, I thought, there was something in his belief system that could explain how the self-evident truths that guided the foundation of American democracy had lost their way in the wilderness.

I figured the tattoos would be a good place to start. As he was perusing Picazzo’s menu, I mentioned the marks on the backs of his hands. They were planets, pyramids, and runes, he said—the alphabets native to early Germanic and Norse peoples. The massive dark blots on his shoulder took six and a half hours. “My reality—what I thought was reality—was ripping at the seams right in front of my closed eyelids,” he said, recalling the ordeal. “I was seeing the quantum particles.”

He was also tripping on mushrooms.

Thor’s hammer he mostly did himself. “It would have looked a lot better,” he told me, “but I got locked up.” The tattoos on his shoulder, Jacob said, “represent manhood.”

The bricks that adorn his arms are a result of his dad having introduced him to the psychedelic space-rock band Pink Floyd and their wildly successful stoner opera The Wall, which tells the story of a fatherless musician who can perform onstage only after a drug injection leads him to believe he is a fascist dictator. (Roger Waters, mastermind of the production, has demonstrated his own penchant for parading around onstage in Nazi-style regalia, flanked by men dressed like storm troopers.) Jacob explained that the wall of bricks was a means of “healing from all the mental and emotional pain of growing up with an alcoholic dad who I loved very much and I know loved me.”

His biological father spent most of Jacob’s youth in jail and played no role as a parent. His stepfather, whom he calls his dad, committed suicide.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “when one has not had a good father, one must create one.” Carl Jung ratified the idea of the fantasy father in 1919, when he labeled the concept an “archetype,” by which he meant a mental compendium of mythic, legendary, and fairy-tale fathers all wrapped up into one enormous daddy issue.

Jacob, who was born in 1987, came of age in the wake of Robert Bly’s Iron John, a book published in 1990 about modern man’s alienation from heroic male archetypes that spent sixty-two weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was a seminal work of the mythopoetic men’s movement. Like Jacob, Bly served in the Navy. Like Jacob, Bly’s father was an alcoholic. Like Jacob, Bly was interested in Old Norse mythology—in particular, the epic tales of the principal Norse god Odin, who, in order to gain mystical knowledge, subjected himself to nine days and nights of torture. He lanced himself with a spear and hung upside down from Yggdrasil, the cosmic tree that connects the nine realms of the universe, a tattoo of which lies over Jacob’s heart.

More here.