If the virus doesn’t get you, the cultists will

Isn’t it odd how people will refuse to get vaccinated, because they “don’t know what’s in it” (while in reality, the contents of a vaccine are precisely specified and measured down to the last nanogram), but then they’ll turn around and slurp up toxic goo mixed up in a church basement by a kook?

The family of a Dallas’ QAnon cult member is sounding the alarm.

Multiple members of the Leek family confirmed that their relative, who left her husband and children behind in Delaware to follow a fringe QAnon cult leader to Dallas last month, has been drinking a chemical cocktail containing chlorine dioxide, an industrial disinfectant, among other substances.

Their relative has been drinking this cocktail alongside her fellow cult members and has been the one to mix it up and distribute it amongst the group as well, says family, who have declined to reveal the name of their relative in the group.

“She was proud to tell us that she was the one mixing it up and giving it to everybody,” a family member said.

The cult leader in this case is the same guy who prophesied that assassinated president John F. Kennedy was going to appear in downtown Dallas and make Trump president again. I guess if you believe that, you’re also ready to drink poison from the same guy.


  1. nomdeplume says

    The ability of many Americans to believe complete and utter nonsense seems to be exponentially increasing. The question is, PZ, how have you managed to stay so sane in an insane society?

  2. springa73 says

    I don’t know if the number of people who believe nonsense in the US or anywhere else is really increasing, or if the “true believers” are just more visible because of the way the internet and modern media works.

  3. beholder says

    Do they have videos of the incident? Anything more than the family’s say-so?

    It hews too close to allegations from the Satanic Panic for me to take their word for it.

  4. raven says

    This is not surprising in the least.

    The ICUs are now full of the pandemic of the antivaxxers.
    Almost all of the patients that end up on the ventilators/ECMO are unvaccinated.

    In a lot of Red or rural places, most of the Covid-19 virus ICU patients have been treating themselves with horse dewormer Ivermectin.
    They are always surprised when it doesn’t work.

    This is truly a culling of the herd by IQ and education levels.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    This – along with the political situation – is the nadir of the post-WWII USA history.
    But, when we look at other historical trends, we may see another thesis -antithesis swing. Once the pandemic has killed a million americans and the corporate Democrats alongside the Republicans have proven their utter uselessness (by letting everything go down the toilet) maybe there is a hope the system will get rebuilt from the ground up.
    By then there will be smoking ruins left of the economy and the environment but this is the future the ruling idiots chose.

  6. blf says

    Whilst the article cited in the OP doesn’t seem to explicitly say-so, the links therein confirm the toxic solution is MMS (Miracle Mineral Supplement, Miracle Mineral Solution, and several other names). There’s at least one cult — teh gensis ii blah blah — pushing this stuff, worldwide, in (from memory) a multi-level marketing (MLM), or “pyramid”-style, scheme. The Guardian has had a series of articles about mms & gensis ii, etc., going back over a decade; one pre-pandemic example is ‘Church’ to offer miracle cure despite FDA warnings against drinking bleach (April-2019, “Group to hold effective alternative healing event in Washington state in which they peddle a sacrament known to be industrial cleaner”).

    Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 was quickly added to the list of stuff mms does something about other than kill you; as one recent example, US company illegally peddling ‘miracle cure’ bleach for new Covid variants (April-2021). And qAnonsense has been on this toxic bandwagon for a long time; as one example, QAnon YouTubers Are Telling People to Drink Bleach to Ward Off Coronavirus (January-2020) — note the date, qAnonsense has been pushing mms since essentially the start of the pandemic !

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Maybe they should all join the Japanese neo-fascist Happy Science cult?
    (Viewers of God Awful Movies may groan as they recognise the name)

  8. robro says

    birgerjohansson, @ #9

    Once the pandemic has killed a million americans and the corporate Democrats alongside the Republicans have proven their utter uselessness (by letting everything go down the toilet) maybe there is a hope the system will get rebuilt from the ground up.

    I was reading recently about the Great Famine of 1315–1317, and the entire “Cirsis of the Late Middle Ages.” One of the key factors to the disasters was the failures of the leadership. They really didn’t know how to manage the crises, or adjust their efforts when things failed. Of course, they were rich, self-serving aristocrat oligarchs with only marginal interest in helping working people deal with severe weather changes, bad harvests, livestock diseases, and the Plague. It sounded so familiar I wanted to cry.

    Same as it ever was.

  9. chesapeake says

    Pz “ assassinated president John F. Kennedy was going to appear in downtown Dallas and make Trump president again.”
    That’s JFK Jr.

  10. wzrd1 says

    At this rate, we’ll get the hospitals open for non-COVID patients in five or six years.
    That’ll be a comfort to the cancer patients, heart attack patients, stroke patients and people like me with an abdominal aortic aneurysm that needs surgical correction.
    So, drink chlorine dioxide! Hell, mix us all up some chlorine trifluoride to drink! We’ve got two major glaciers in the antarctic melting off, weather extremes that redefine broken records, a plague we refuse to properly handle and control, a “progressive” from West Virginia who’s made the Democratic Party look equal to the Republican Party, Putin threatening cobalt-60 salted hypersonic missiles aimed at our ports and greenhouse emissions increasing daily. So, a drink that instantly combusts one’s body sounds a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the tearing of an aorta or experiencing the ramp up to Venus II.
    But, if there is a hell, there are a lot of motherless bastards that I’m gonna be shoveling coal onto.

  11. says

    @#11, wzrd1:

    a “progressive” from West Virginia who’s made it impossible to continue ignoring, as most of the Democratic base has for multiple presidential administrations now, that the Democratic Party look is equal to the Republican Party

    There, fixed that for you.

  12. blf says

    chesapeake@10, There’s been a variety of claims; e.g., Hundreds of QAnon Fans Are Going to Texas to See JFK Return. No, Seriously. (early-November 2021):

    QAnon influencers are promoting several different versions of the conspiracy theory, and of what will supposedly happen Tuesday night.

    According to Whiplash347, an account with almost 250,000 followers, Trump will be reinstated as the 18th president of the United States, because everything since 1871 (the date the Sovereign Citizen movement claims the US became a corporation) is illegal.

    Whiplash347 continues that Trump will then step down, and John F Kennedy Jr, who died in a plane crash in 1999, will become president like he would of if it wasn’t for Killary plotting to kill him. Joining JFK Jr as vice president will be disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

    At this point, Trump will ascend to “become 1 of the 7 new Kings. Most likely the King of Kings.”

    Michael Brian Protzman [teh cult leader mentioned in the OP], who runs the Negative48 channel (over 100,000 subscribers), sees things slightly differently.

    Protzman has long claimed that the Kennedy bloodline is directly linked to Christ. He told his followers that on Tuesday [November 2nd], JFK Sr, Jackie, and JFK Jr will be reintroduced to the world. Then, the JFK Sr will travel around for seven days, then will pass.

    Before he dies, however, JFK Sr will transfer power to Donald Trump and JFK Jr will be Trump’s vice president.

    Another part of the conspiracy claims that JFK’s return will coincide with the reversion to the Julian Calendar, which means the date will change immediately back to Oct 20.

    A snippet about that cult leader loon from Rationalwiki:

    Protzman ran a Telegram channel that combined Protzman’s Messiah complex, deeply anti-semitic content, predatory financial scams, gematria, QAnon phrases, passages from the Bible, and a strange fantasy world where John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy were the physical second incarnation of Jesus and Mary Magdalene and Donald Trump was the Holy Spirit.

  13. birgerjohansson says

    BTW Sarah Palin just stated she will get a Covid shot “over her dead body” .
    The jokes practically write themselves.

  14. hemidactylus says

    Well if anything the pandemic got me deeply interested in immunology again. I had an undergrad course in the late 90s and the immunology memory went dormant but came back with a vengeance. Reading Larry Moran’s recent post where he analyzes a preprint comparing fully vaccinated (Spikevax, Comirnaty, and the J&J whatever) and boosted responses to Delta and Omicron was a treat:


    Glad I got boosted. At least for the antibodies. But here’s something about T-cell epitopes that looks promising per Omicron:



  15. hemidactylus says

    The preprint Moran looked at is:

    Some limitations they point out: “Furthermore, we did not assess other antibody-mediated functions such as complement deposition, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity, or antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, which may contribute to protection even in the absence of neutralizing antibodies. We did not assess the role of vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses mediated by T cells and NK cells, which are likely to play a key role in disease prevention for vaccine recipients.”

    People are very focused on antibody titers understandably, but there are other helpful components of immunity. High antibody levels don’t last forever.

    The key images are:


    And if you wind up with a breakthrough there’s the potential consolation prize of hybrid immunity:

    Though this was not looking at Omicron: “Results of this study showed substantial boosting of humoral immunity after breakthrough infection, despite predominantly mild disease. Boosting was most notable for IgA, possibly due to the differences in route of exposure between vaccination and natural infection. In addition, breakthrough sera demonstrated improved variant cross-neutralization, and Delta breakthrough infections in particular exhibited improved potency against Delta vs WA1, suggesting that the protective immune response may be broadened through development of variant boosters with antigenic inserts matching the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Limitations of this study include the small number of samples and the difference in time from initial vaccination to serum collection between the breakthrough and control groups, which emerging evidence suggests may contribute to the development of variant cross-neutralizing antibody responses.6”

    IgA is part of mucosal immunity which is kinda akin to having well placed snipers guarding the vulnerable entrances to your respiratory system. I’m taking the sniper analogy for antibodies from Philipp Dettmer in his recent book Immune.

  16. brucegee1962 says

    @11 wzrd1

    a “progressive” from West Virginia who’s made the Democratic Party look equal to the Republican Party

    and Vicar @12

    a “progressive” from West Virginia who’s made it impossible to continue ignoring, as most of the Democratic base has for multiple presidential administrations now, that the Democratic Party is equal to the Republican Party

    Is it the actual content of the Build Back Better bill that you object to, or the fact that it didn’t pass?

    If the latter, I’d like to know how you imagine that, if the Democrats were somehow stronger or tougher or smarter or more liberal, they could somehow magically make 49=50. Take your favorite politician, AOC or Bernie or whoever, clone them 274 times, and replace every single Dem in Congress with the mightiest climate change warrior. They still can’t make 49=50.

    Blaming the Democrats for not accomplishing more seems like blaming the Spartans for losing the battle of Themopylae because there should have been more of them: yes, there should be, but that’s hardly their fault. The blame belongs squarely on the minority of Americans who voted red and their craven congressional lapdogs. If we had only had just two more Dem senators, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  17. profpedant says

    Re: #18. The reason that a lot of people on the left dislike the current leadership of the Democratic Party is that they will not try. Politically it is better to lose a lot of votes in a row than it is to not have issues voted on. People need to see that the Democrats will fight for them, and the the Republicans are devoted to making their lives worse. Requiring the Republicans (and ‘Republican-like’) to actually vote on specific issues will help with that immensely. (No more of this big omnibus bill nonsense, that leaves too many ways for someone to have an excuse to not vote for the bill. One issue per bill. Make them be clear about their maliciousness.) Conduct polls at the same time so that you can demonstrate that the US populace support the items that the Republicans are voting against. Run television/internet ads showing the poll results and the Republican (et al) votes. Pound on them instead of whining about ‘oh no, we can’t do anything’.

  18. chrislawson says


    There was never any evidence behind the Satanic Panic, just rumour and innuendo. Surely you would concede that QAnon exists, that it regularly foments astonishingly ridiculous conspiracy theories, that many people subscribe to or repeat these cartoonish QAnon conspiracy theories, and that many people (including a past US President!) have openly espoused ingesting or injecting dangerous chemicals despite a complete lack of evidence or deductive reason to suspect it would be helpful to do so.

  19. beholder says

    @6 blf, @20 chrislawson

    Oh, I certainly entertain the possibility, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is truth to these allegations, for the reasons blf listed. I’m just waiting for better evidence.

  20. lumipuna says

    BTW Sarah Palin just stated she will get a Covid shot “over her dead body” .
    The jokes practically write themselves.

    I just saw a tweet where Elizabeth Warren announced Covid-19 and credited her mild symptoms to being thrice vaccinated. There were thousands of replies, but on a quick glance I didn’t see anyone make the “my immune system has a plan for that” joke.

  21. hemidactylus says

    Listening to recent TWiV podcast where they are chatting it up with Paul Offit and he’s asked about psychological dimensions of hesitancy. I’m transcribing for a baseline here, but he goes on to expand. I think this, beyond the fear of needles kinda nails it outside of conspiratorial thinking and political polarization. Offit (from my rough parsing 35:39 podcast / 36:33 Youtube): “We’re asking people to inoculate them with a biological agent that they don’t understand…to prevent a disease that is scary to them…it’s understandable that people are nervous…”

    I think that nails it. I thought subjectively for me of negligible vaccine risk versus my year long (2020-21) constant fear of death or long COVID and went all in for initial two doses of Spikevax (Moderna) and then the booster. But I had been getting flu vaccines for years and a couple years ago a MMR just to be safe in face of antivax parents.

    It never gets easier with the needle fear. But the mRNA tech was cool as hell to me and with the booster I was envisioning mutant B-cells doing their thing in that red and tooth and claw training landscape in my immune system:

    But for the hesitant the unknown of the white coats and mad scientists asking us to trust them with this newfangled tech seems too much too handle. How to reach the persuadable in their midst?

  22. Reginald Selkirk says

    At least twice I have encountered people online making risk assessments where they compare the death rate due to COVID to the chance of side effects from the vaccine. As if death was the only negative consequence from the virus. As if the percentage of patients who suffer long-term symptoms wasn’t in the double digits (particulars depend on what symptoms and severity you count). As if “Long COVID” wasn’t a real thing.
    That’s the sort of mistake that gets me asking, “Are they really that stupid, or do they just think that I am?”

  23. davidc1 says

    According the the Independent .
    Anti-vax congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene owns stock in three vaccine companies.

    Wot a shocker .

  24. says

    The thing about ‘not knowing what’s in the vaccine’ is that every single person who will use that as an explanation of their behaviour regularly and without thought goes into their local store and buys dozens if not hundreds of prepackaged items, without knowing a damned thing about what’s ‘in’ any of them. Oh, but they have ingredients listed… So does the vaccine. They’re regulated by the FDA…. So is the vaccine…

    If you don’t grow your own vegetables, reap your own wheat, milk your own cows to make your own cheese and drink rainwater, you are, every day, consuming items whose provenance and origins are guaranteed SOLELY by US government regulators. Even then, regulations are lax enough to allow pretty much anything that won’t immediately kill you, and those agencies are shrinking year on year. I don’t see any of these people moving to live in the mountains and hunt game.