Despite these delusions, Ms. Gilbert – a self-described mystic who wrote four books, titled “Swami Soup” – mostly made me feel like a New Age eccentric who could Use a while to stay away from screen. She looks down on the mainstream media, but she agrees to profile, and we keep in touch.
Through a series of conversations, I learned that she had a longstanding suspicion of the elites dating back to Harvard, as she felt out of place among the people she considered rich. snob. As an adult, she joined the anti-founding left wing, advocated for animal rights and supported the Standing Rock pipeline protests. She admires the hacktivist group Anonymous, and admires whistleblowers like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. She was a Registered Democrat for most of her life, but she voted for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, in the 2016 presidential election after deciding that both major parties were corruption.
Gilbert’s path to QAnon began in 2016 when WikiLeaks posted a series of hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign. Soon after, she started seeing social media posts about something called #Pizzagate. She had explored conspiracy theories in the past, but Pizzagate – who falsified that powerful Democrats run a chain of child sex out of a pizza shop in Washington, and all. These are all detailed in code in Clinton emails – which made her think. She thought, if it were true, it would connect all her doubts about the elite, and explain the terrible truth they had concealed.
“The world unfolds in Technicolor for me,” she said. “It’s like the Matrix – everything is just starting to download.”
Pizzagate hinted at Ms. Gilbert about QAnon, which she discovered through YouTube videos of a British psychic. It quickly took over her life, and pulled her politics to the right. It seems that overnight, her Facebook feed switched from recommendations on Change.org and cute animal photos to Gateway Pundit and “Killary Clinton” meme links.
Like many damn QAnon, Ms. Gilbert has a purely virtual attachment to the movement. She said that she has never attended a QAnon rally, or even met another QAnon fanatic in person. She works from home as a freelance audiobook, rarely leaves her apartment, and scoffs when I ask if she ever took Q.’s hand.
“I’m a digital soldier,” she said. “I work through a computer.”
She was not at the Capitol riot, and she denied that QAnon was a violent movement. She said there was no evidence that the participants were QAnon followers, and suggested that they could be camouflage anti-French activists – all of which was widely exposed. She seems disappointed that Mr. Biden has been certified as the winner of the election – something Q never predicted – but she says that hasn’t shaken her beliefs.