Living on the Fringe: When Anti-Vaxxers thought their children were aliens

Beyond the normal reaches of our society lies an endless array of others: some living, some dead; some known, some obscure. This is about the fringe of the fringe.

Adherents of fringe beliefs don’t tend to see reason when their favorite nonsense is debunked; they just slide on to tanother. They go effortlessly from Gamergate to Pizzagate to QAnon(gate) with nary a bit of self-awareness; from the Rapture of 2011 to the “Mayan” apocalypse of 2012 to the arrival of Nibiru in 2017; from starting a Final Fantasy cult to starting a Hannibal cult. Yes, really.

When this happens, the old bullshit tends to go down the memory hole. And so it is with anti-vaccine maven Jenny McCarthy, who’s done all she can to bury that she once explained her son’s autism not with debunked science, but by believing she, and him, were literally magic.

Such is the way of the Indigo Child believer: the precursor to anti-vax, and a strange movement in its own right.


McCarthy’s awakening came when a woman on the street yelled at her.

No, really. Someone told her that she was an Indigo & her son was a Crystal child. And on the word of a Lady Screaming On The Street, she found her purpose in life.

McCarthy embraced the Indigo child identity hard, but only a few years later, she deleted all pages about her belief in Indigo children – and her crusade against vaccines began.

But what exactly were Indigo Children? And how were they related to anti-vaxxers?


Well, let’s look them up. In a delightful field of embarrassingly sincere artwork, we find a succinct, 14-point checklist of Signs You May Be An Indigo Child:

This is a narrow list that limits Indigo Children exclusively to: every overly-sincere-and-awkward teen; every liberal arts student who just discovered politics; every Weird Horse Girl. Wow, truly a paranormal phenomenon at work.

But the Indigo Child phenomenon relied on its vagueness, on the ability of just about any mom to fit their child into their rubric. Other countdowns make it even more weaselly: you may have had a difficult childhood. Or a nice one. The Indigo Child tent is big. Pagan author Lorna Tedder claimed every pagan mom she knew had an “Indigo child”, and some believers claim as many as 95% of children are born with Indigo or Crystal ~ E N E R G I E S ~

But what are Indigo Children?


To put it simply, Indigo Children are children born with indigo auras, and Crystal Children are children born with crystal auras.

“Ah”, I hear you say. “Ah.”

The internet’s most respectable resource, Crystalinks dot com, seems surprisingly dubious on the phenomenon, but does quote the original 10-point indigo child list:

They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it).

They have a feeling of “deserving to be here,” and are surprised when others don’t share that.

Self-worth is not a big issue; they often tell the parents “who they are.”

They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).

They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.

They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don’t require creative thought.

They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like “system busters” (nonconforming to any system).

They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.

They will not respond to “guilt” discipline (“Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did”).

They are not shy in letting it be known what they need.

“Born feeling like royalty”, does not follow rules, doesn’t respond to consequences – a magical indigo child, or a rich kid? The results will NOT surprise you!

Commentary on the Indigo child is effusive in its praise, but hazy in the specifics. Indigo children have ‘special auras’. Indigo children will ‘change the world’. But what of the specifics? Let’s look at THIS reasonable looking site:

“Put simply, thousands of years ago we began to “think” instead of “feel.””

Ah.

“With past as our guide, we gave our power to the ego, which made us fearful. The intellect caused us to lose our connection to the collective consciousness, making us feel alone.”

Ah,

“Some adults have been able to gain at least a part of this former knowing. They in turn are giving birth to children who remember how the collective consciousness works and they are using it. The indigo offspring is their descendant.”

Ah…

But this site lays bare the truth. A Indigo child ‘bores easily’. Is ‘prone to insomnia’. ‘Has a history of depression’.

“Has probably been diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD”.


Indigo children were almost universally children with ADD or ADHD, raised by parents who would rather believe their child was an alien than that their child need Ritalin.

And here is where we see the seed that birthed anti-vaxxers; that made their transition from talking about auras to talking about debunked medical science.

“Indigo Children who take Ritlin or other psychotropic drugs soon lose touch with their intuition, psychic abilities, and warrior personality. These children were sent to Earth with these three spiritual gifts for the express purpose of cleaning up our planet, environmentally and socially.” Care and Feeding of Your Indigo Child, Doreen Virtue

Suppressive drugs such as Ritlin, can cause an indigo child to forget their life’s purpose, which only delays what HAS to change on our earth for us to continue living on it.

Indigo parents believed their children didn’t really have ADHD; in fact, ritalin suppressed their natural, magical gifts, and so parents should deny their children medicine that could help them.

One of the reasons an indigo, crystal or rainbow child has trouble sleeping is because wayward spirits are attracted to them. These spirits know these children can see and sense them. This makes them more irritable and restless in school. The schools and doctors decide from this they are ADHD or ADD.

Crystal children, meanwhile, were typically diagnosed with autism. And that’s how Jenny McCarthy found her way from crystal auras to antivax: how people went from denying their children medicine so as to not ‘suppress’ their gifts, to suspecting the medicine itself was the problem. From a more outrĂ© type of denialism – doctors are trying to drug the MAGIC out of your ALIEN ghost child! – to the more simple “this one discredited doctor’s study proves this vaccine is bunk, so let’s bring back measles.”

But both are related to hatred of their children – of love that’s conditional. Indigo and crystal children believers could only love their ADD-diagnosed child if they could rationalize it as them really being special in some way; vaccine believers would rather their children be dead than autistic. And both abuse their children by withholding healthcare. Neither is kooky or harmless; and when anti-vaxxers finally disappear, let us hope they disappear for good, and don’t move on to something new.

…though there are also New Agers who think their kids are literal aliens. Or angels. So uh, not holding my breath.

Advertisements

Plain Summaries of What Conspiracy Theorists Actually F**king Believe

Flat Earthers: The world is flat, and some unknown organization is faking space photographs, flights and cruises to prevent anyone from going to the ice wall that they think exists because they misread a map. By means unknown, this organization somehow profits from inexplicably spending millions, maybe billions annually to make people think the Earth’s flat…for…some…reason? Despite their vast resources & nefarious nature, this organization can of course be outsmarted by some Youtubers.

GamerGate: A game developer used corrupt means to make someone who didn’t ever review their game give a positive review that doesn’t exist to a game that was free. You know, for the sales. After reading some articles that suggested maybe gamers weren’t all nerdy young white straight men anymore as meaning that gamers were literally dead, the geniuses of GamerGate pretended a movement whose origins occurred in public was actually about how gaming journalism wasn’t as ethical as it was in the days of Nintendo Power. Despite this, the conspiracy of corrupt game critics could of course be outsmarted by some Youtubers.

Also, everyone who believed this is a Nazi now.

PizzaGate: Campaign staffers ate pizza at a popular pizza joint in DC. Somehow this means there’s a secret child abuse cult based in the basement, despite the restaurant not having a basement, and also every part of that sentence being deranged horseshit. I don’t even know here. Despite the cult’s resources, this grand Satanic conspiracy can of course be outsmarted by some Youtubers.

Also, everyone who believed this is a Nazi now.

Medicine denialists: Pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on cures for diseases, only to throw them in the trash, for some reason, I guess? Also, the cure for your toxic toxins in your body are [insert whatever scam you’re pitching here]. Despite the pharmaceutical industry’s shadowy nature & vast resources, this conspiracy of greed can of course be outsmarted by some Youtubers.

White genocide: People who aren’t white exist, have kids. Literally. That’s it.

Also, everyone who believes this was already a Nazi.

QAnon: A rando on 4Chan knows secret blah blah I can’t do this anymore. What the fuck. How was that a thing.

Also, Nazis, all of them, etc.

Debunking Paranormal Videos (That Were Just Viral Ads)

Welcome back. I sure didn’t update much in 2018, except to celebrate the ongoing death of the InfoWars empire.

Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in Austin… near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read…

And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Alex Jones, buy my brain supplements;
Before Obama turns frogs gay!’
Nothing beside remains.

Solemnly presses F.

But we’re snared in an ongoing conspiracy hell, and so the Space Lizard Report must rise with…a post about viral ads people think are evidence of the paranormal.

“It’s a viral ad” is the most tired of suggestions tossed out whenever a paranormal event is recorded, no matter how unlikely (I have fond memories of people accusing Cartoon Network of planting the Montauk Monster corpse). But sometimes it’s true: something created as part of a guerilla ad campaign loses its context, loses its last-second website link or show tease, and is believed by many thousands, even millions of people as evidence of the supernatural. Here are some examples.

WTC UFO

Most popular upload: 449K views; millions across multiple uploads; appeared on Japanese TV show

Real Origin: Sci-Fi Channel ad campaign

Here’s one I covered before. A series of fake ads for the Sci-Fi Channel, Sci-Fi Happens seemed destined to be forgotten…until this one ad from 2000 gained new and horrible significance. Half-remembered viewings fed into the myth, even transforming into a sighting “the day before” the attacks instead of an ad from a full year earlier. It was easy to forget it was an ad; it was easy to assume it had been on Sightings or some other paranormal show, or even on the nascent paranormal internet.

Of course, now that we have the video there’s no excuse.

This Man

Spread as: Internet meme, myth, odd and unexplained cameos in the revived X-Files

Real origin: An ad agency doing…something?

This Man was a creepy myth about a man who appeared in the dreams of man all over the world. What was he? What was he doing? What was his sinister plan?

To be an…art project? Failed film pitch? Who…knows? Crafted by an ad agency. Sure.

“Alien Attacks Police Officer”

Spread As: 660K+ views across popular uploads

Real Origin: Viral ad for The 4400

Oh, The 4400. A good mid-00s sci-fi show on USA, The 4400 focused on 4,400 missing people who returned in a ball of light after years, even decades away. Soon, they discover that many of the 4,400 possess supernatural abilities; and all are back for a reason…

Sadly, The 4400 is a good display of what could be termed the Anti-Lost: that is, the opposite of Lost. The 4400 is that rare show that explained too much: by the end of the six-episode first season, we’ve been told the entire story behind the abductions. The 4400 never became a bad show, except during a stretch where it made a character’s baby grow up in seconds & become an all-powerful demi-god, which, what even, but it never reached the heights of a Lost or even early Heroes.

And so, by the time of The 4400‘s final season, only 8,000 people watched a video called “Promicin Freak Kills Cop”.

…and so it was easy-pickings for someone to strip off the The 4400 promos at the start and end, and turn it into a dubious paranormal video stalwart for years to come.

Source for debunking: IsaacKoi

John Titor, Time Traveler

Spread as: internet meme; urban legend

Real Origin: Ad for a book

Another one I’ve covered previously, the news that John Titor had long been solved – as an ad for a shitty book that no one read – was a tremendous disappointment. Now, let us move on.

English Sewer Alien

Spread as: 1 Million+ views over multiple uploads

Real Origin: April Fool’s Day prank by a utility company

Multiple videos uploaded by United Utilities show an unnerving creature hiding in England’s sewers; they’ve become a mainstay of creepy video compilations ever since.

Of course, they brush past a few facts: the video’s April 1st upload date, or that its creators openly said it was a prank meant to make people think about the real issue of flushing waste down the drain. Oh well.

Teleporting Girl In China

Spread as: 11 million views on most popular upload

Real Origin: ad for a MMO

Another mainstay of bullshit video compilations, here we see it uploaded with an ostentatious Guy Fawkes Mask intro.

The invaluable IsaacKoi also provides the source for this one: after apparently debating if angels exist for several pages, AboveTopSecret noticed a game company’s logo subtly inserted into the video. Then they discovered that the video was straight-up linked on the game’s website. Whoops.