Cuba Rejects Kidnappers

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
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Mental illness, right-wing conspiracies seen as volatile mix for Joshua and Sharyn Hakken
Saturday, August 17, 2013 5:23pm
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TAMPA — In April, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken, college-educated engineers who were hiding with two boys and an elderly rat terrier on a sailboat moored west of Havana, ventured ashore looking for help.

Sunburned from a 300-mile sea voyage, the couple had shed most of the trappings of their former middle-class life on Sterling Avenue in South Tampa. Joshua Hakken, 35, had grown a tangled, auburn beard that looked like an accessory from a costume shop.

"We cannot safely return to the United States and are seeking political asylum in your country," the Hakkens wrote in a letter explaining their predicament to the Cuban government. They claimed to have uncovered a shocking fact through their engineering jobs: U.S. officials were secretly trying to control Americans' minds with chemicals spread from airplanes.

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"After these discoveries … we were subjected to multiple attacks from our own government," the Hakkens wrote. "These attacks included surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA), hacking of our personal computers, microwave radiation weapons attacks, drugging of our food, false imprisonments and the kidnapping of our two small children."

The three-page letter was part of a cache of documents theTampa Bay Times obtained last week after a judge ordered the disclosure of prosecutors' evidence — what attorneys call discovery material — in the Hakkens' criminal case.

The documents chart in unprecedented detail the world view that took the Hakkens from a quiet neighborhood north of MacDill Air Force Base to a cramped boat rocking off the coast of an island autocracy.

Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are now charged in Hillsborough Circuit Court with kidnapping their sons and sailing with them to Cuba after a court stripped their parental rights.

The Hakkens claim to have met with a Cuban attorney, but it is unclear whether they delivered their asylum letter to any foreign officials. Within days of their arrival at Hemingway Marina outside Havana, Cuban authorities gave the United States permission to apprehend the family and extradite them to Florida.

The boys, 5-year-old Cole and 3-year-old Chase, are living in Tampa with their maternal grandparents. The grandparents also gained custody of Nati, the 15-year-old dog who had gamely endured a week before the mast.

The newly released evidence could transform the Hakkens' legal terrain, perhaps most significantly with indications both parents suffered mental illness.

Federal, state and local law enforcement records depict them losing their hold on reality — ranting about mind control and secret government plots to poison them — in a downward slide that was likely accelerated by heavy marijuana use.

The documents also shed further light on the vexing topic of the Hakkens' personal politics. Described as "antigovernment" by authorities, the couple have assumed a status close to that of folk heroes among some conservative commentators.

Investigative reports and the Hakkens' own writings suggest the couple did subscribe to several conspiracy theories popular among right-wing extremists. But experts say the extent of what FBI records describe as the Hakkens' "paranoid ideation" suggests that psychiatric problems, not political convictions, drove their journey across the Gulf of Mexico.

"These are people who are mentally unbalanced, who are attracted, perhaps because of their personal paranoia, to conspiracy theories," said Mark Fenster, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and author of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.

Roots on the right

While the Hakkens' beliefs sound outlandish to the unpracticed ear, some of their ideas have a recognizable lineage among political extremists.

Once confined to fringe ideologues in the John Birch Society and 1990s militia movements, such concepts have experienced a renaissance among tea party activists leery of government.

In a July 2012 Facebook message to an acquaintance, for example, Joshua Hakken made ominous reference to a U.S. atmospheric research station in Alaska — called the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program — that conspiracy theorists believe secretly controls the planet's weather.

"If all hope is lost, head to the four corners in the Hopi reservations but stay the hell away from Denver International Airport," Hakken wrote, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report. "They're using HAARP to detonate underground ICBMs throughout the Midwest."

Fears of HAARP and "chemtrails" — the airplane exhaust patterns the Hakkens highlighted in their Cuban asylum letter — are common discussion topics on some tea party Web forums. Both made the Southern Poverty Law Center's 2010 list of the radical right's 10 most popular conspiracy theories.

The FBI assessment notes that Joshua Hakken also thought he "was destined to be a member of the Illuminati" and that he and his family "had to disappear so that they could not be found by the Illuminati."

The Illuminati were an 18th century society of Bavarian freethinkers, believed by conspiracy theorists to endure and clandestinely steer world politics. They are often associated on the radical right with a "New World Order" working behind the scenes to establish global, totalitarian government.

Despite such influences, experts say it could be a mistake to overemphasize the Hakkens' political convictions in light of the prominent role psychiatric problems played in their saga.

"We often see mentally ill people who have absorbed one or another shard of conspiracy theories from the extreme right," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "But the governing rule is their mental illness."

Fenster noted that the logic of the Hakkens' antigovernment views appeared to break down in their decision to seek refuge in a communist country.

"Some of the things that they seem to be afraid of are the same things the tea party (activists) are afraid of," he said. "But then they go to Cuba. What?"

Insanity defense?

The documents released in the Hakken case leave little doubt that mental illness, along with a combustible view of government, was a major factor in their saga.

While at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the FBI assessment states, Joshua Hakken "felt the Air Force was trying to 'poison' the minds of cadets." A similar theme emerged from 34-year-old Sharyn Hakken during a June 2012 encounter with police in Louisiana. She was found ranting about her brain being "reprogrammed," according to records.

Dr. Francisco Fernandez, chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, said recurring worries about mind manipulation are a symptom of psychotic disorders.

Heavy marijuana use, Fernandez said, can "unmask and aggravate" such conditions. For the Hakkens, regular drug use may have been a catalyst in their break from society, according to the newly released records.

Joshua Hakken lost his engineering job last year because of "erratic behavior and continually coming to work smelling of marijuana," according to the FBI assessment. "While the reported marijuana use may serve as a sedative to Josh and Sharyn, it is also possible that it could exacerbate any mental illness," the assessment states.

Since the disclosure of evidence in the case, the Hakkens' attorneys have been guarded about defense strategies, which could also be complicated by another revelation.

Joshua Hakken told police officers last year he beat and choked his wife to remove "spirits" that "would take over her body and talk through her," the records show. If Sharyn Hakken asserts her husband coerced her into criminal acts, such abuse could lead to a split in what has been a joint defense.

The psychiatric problems on display in the newly released documents could also be invoked by the Hakkens to help their cases.

Defendants with mental illness can tack in two directions to avoid prosecution: arguing they are incompetent to stand trial or presenting an insanity defense.

In the first circumstance, a judge must rule the defendant is so severely impaired that he cannot understand court proceedings or communicate effectively with a lawyer. The accused is then typically sent to an institution for treatment with the goal of restoring competency.

Under the second scenario, defendants assert that mental illness blinded them to the consequences of their crimes or prevented them from realizing what they did was wrong. This is the argument more likely to arise in the Hakken case, Tarpon Springs criminal defense attorney Jerry Theophilopoulos said.

"It definitely looks like it's going to go through an insanity type of defense, based on the history of the individuals," Theophilopoulos said. "If they knew what they were doing, did they actually know that it was wrong? I think that's what's going to come into play in this case."

Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3337. Follow him on Twitter
@petejamison.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts...cies-were-volatile-mix-for-joshua-and/2137007
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Timeline of the Hakken kidnapping case
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Published: April 10, 2013
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken were arrested and charged Wednesday in the abduction of their young sons, Cole, 4, and Chase, 2. Here is a chronology of major events in the case (times are approximate):

February 2012 – Joshua Hakken comments on the libertarian website Adam vs. The Mann under the handle “sailingbull.” He writes of “challenging authority, sticking it to the man, and giving the millennial generation a voice.”

June 17 – Police are called to a hotel in Slidell, La., to investigate a disturbance and find the Hakkens acting “bizarre” and talking about traveling the country on a "journey to the Armageddon,” officials say. Joshua Hakken is arrested after officers say they find marijuana and weapons in the room. Their young sons, Cole and Chase, are present. Hakken is jailed “about a week” and the boys are placed in temporary foster care.

July – Joshua Hakken shows up at the foster family home in Hammond, La., with a gun demanding the return of his children, police say. The foster parents call 911 and Hakken leaves without his sons.

In recent months, Louisiana authorities send the boys to live with their grandparents, Bob and Patricia Hauser, at 14040 Shady Oaks Drive in North Tampa.

Jan. 25 - Joshua Hakken buys a 25-foot sailboat for $3,500, according to an FBI affidavit. He pays $400 for a boat slip and begins stocking the vessel with supplies.

April 2 - A Louisiana judge grants permanent custody of the boys to the grandparents. Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee, after reading the report, says “there was clearly neglectful behavior” and the Hakkens “did not participate in the system.”

6:10 a.m. April 3 – Officials say Joshua Hakken breaks into his mother-in-law’s home, ties her up and kidnaps his sons in the Hausers’ 2009 Toyota Camry. Officials say he dumps the car and meets up with his wife a few blocks away; the family then travels in Hakken’s black GMC pickup to Madeira Beach.

6:40 a.m. April 3 – Patricia Hauser frees herself and calls 911. “My son-in-law just kidnapped my two grandchildren,” she says. “… He’s not supposed to be near them. He’s been missing for nine months.”

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. April 3 - Joshua and Sharyn Hakken arrive at the boat slip in Madiera Beach with their sons, an FBI affidavit states. The children are placed in the cabin. Joshua Hakken tells the slip owner he may be headed to Key West or South America, the affidavit states.

10 a.m. April 3 – Unknown to authorities at the time, the Hakken family is on the 25-foot sailboat leaving Johns Pass, heading into the Gulf of Mexico. The escape is later seen on surveillance video.

1:30 p.m. April 3 – An Amber Alert for the boys is issued in Florida. An alert is also issued in Louisiana.

8 p.m. April 3 – Investigators execute a search warrant at the Hakkens’ South Tampa house and seize a computer, credit cards, an Ethernet card, bank paperwork, a map of Gila National Forest in New Mexico and North Carolina, and a list of contacts.

Midnight April 4 – Sheriff’s officials announce the GMC pickup is found abandoned on the second floor of the Johns Pass parking garage in Madeira Beach.

April 5 – Investigators learn the Hakkens left Johns Pass on the sailboat. Images of the boat are released by investigators.

April 6 - The Amber Alert is modified to include only states that border the Gulf of Mexico. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers begin extensive search offshore from Pensacola to the Florida Keys. Other boaters are advised by officials to watch for the Hakkens’ vessel.

April 8 – Hillsborough County officials learn from Cuban authorities that the Hakkens may be in Havana. A dialog begins between U.S. and Cuban officials over the case.

April 9 – The Hakkens and their children are spotted by reporters in the sailboat, docked in Havana’s Hemingway Marina. One of the boys is seen playing on the deck. They are under the close watch of armed Cuban security officials.

4:50 p.m. April 9 – Cuban officials decide to return the family to U.S. officials.

10 p.m. April 9 – Federal, state and local officials board a flight from Tampa to Havana.

1:30 a.m. April 10 – A plane touches down at Tampa International Airport carrying the Hakkens, their children, the American authorities and a counselor. The boys are returned to their grandparents.

2:30 a.m. April 10 – Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on kidnapping and other charges.

Sources: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, The Associated Press, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, Slidell (La.) Police Department.
http://tbo.com/news/timeline-of-the-hakken-kidnapping-case-b82476497z1
 
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ranting about mind control and secret government plots to poison them — in a downward slide that was likely accelerated by heavy marijuana use

Peter Kusznir exhibits very similar characteristics. He admitted publicly his own drug use. It is difficult to not draw conclusions.
 
Mentally ill people are going to latch onto something. The question is if it's possible to have a world where everything is so reasonable that there's nothing for them to feel suspicious about. I think not.

You don't want to portray "chemtraillers are all crazy", because there's a whole spectrum of people out there.
 
I think "targeted individual" is closer to the point with this couple. Amazing that they both have the same pathology.
 
How are they Right wing conspiracies ? Oh I see ,
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Fears of HAARP and "chemtrails" — the airplane exhaust patterns the Hakkens highlighted in their Cuban asylum letter — are common discussion topics on some tea party Web forums. Both made the Southern Poverty Law Center's 2010 list of the radical right's 10 most popular conspiracy theories.
SPLC is a danger to the American public .haarp and chemtrails is not a right wing conspiracy , that would be The birther thing :) those people were just paranoid stoners
 
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The SPLC is not a danger to the American public unless maybe someone is in the KKK. Chemtrails and HAARP tend to be shared conspiracies, by the extreme right wingers and libertarians. I see little mention of them on liberal sites, their conspiracies tend to run to big oil, big pharma, big ag and a general dislike of banks (but without the illuminati crap in the way). Environmental groups seem to be all over the place in which conspiracies they favor.
 
The SPLC is not a danger to the American public unless maybe someone is in the KKK. Chemtrails and HAARP tend to be shared conspiracies, by the extreme right wingers and libertarians. I see little mention of them on liberal sites, their conspiracies tend to run to big oil, big pharma, big ag and a general dislike of banks (but without the illuminati crap in the way). Environmental groups seem to be all over the place in which conspiracies they favor.
Really the chick filet shooter would tell me otherwise ? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/cri...-a-sandwiches-ammo-backpack-article-1.1137935 when you put people on a hate list such as David Barton and the Family Research Council . When you label the New Black Panther party as a right wing hate group . No most are libertarians like most of us according to the test ,
 
Are they really ill? Sometimes it's just a case of bad influences + lack of knowledge + wrong time. There are suicide bombers exploding themselves all the time in the Middle East, yet no one seems to call them mentally ill.
 
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I see you inferring that the SPLC should be on a hate list? I have seen that from others on the far right. That story has nothing to do with the SPLC.

Did you condemn the hit lists for abortion doctors and providers?

Have you ever looked at their list of hate groups? I would expect that you would agree with them about some, like the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers.
 
Joe, what yu are doing is a "straw man", picking out something you don't like which is minor to the story. These two criminals went to Cuba seeking asylum saying they had discovered chemtrails. From all accounts, and their own actions, they were a bit 'off'. That is the story here, not if you do/don't like one of the several people interviewed. The trial might be interesting, will you be going?
 
Joe, what yu are doing is a "straw man", picking out something you don't like which is minor to the story. These two criminals went to Cuba seeking asylum saying they had discovered chemtrails. From all accounts, and their own actions, they were a bit 'off'. That is the story here, not if you do/don't like one of the several people interviewed. The trial might be interesting, will you be going?
Yes its a local story and the chemtrail was just an excuse because they are NutZ . Everything From the SPLC is far right wing . Roseann Barr is anything but shes not right wing . Why that as well as the chemtrail angle was added to the story ? Other then being wacko Stoners kidnapping their own kid then heading to a Communist country it really has nothing to do with chemtrails just paranoid delusion .
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Joshua Hakken is a registered forum user on "Adam vs. The Man," the official site of libertarian activist Adam Kokesh.
Most right wingers as I dont like Adam Kokesh he is an Organizing For America supporter and a RT TROLL . i see the story made it rounds on Huff Po and alike . Just a Govenment plot to paint right wingers and conspiracies as wackos . As with Princess DI another conspiracy that might become FACT ! And Jay takes the bait and runs with it
 
Not to take it further off topic, but I'd say it's more of a "red herring". :D
I see you inferring that the SPLC should be on a hate list? I have seen that from others on the far right. That story has nothing to do with the SPLC.

Did you condemn the hit lists for abortion doctors and providers?

Have you ever looked at their list of hate groups? I would expect that you would agree with them about some, like the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panthers.
Yes like david Barton . He is such a threat to the LBGT community http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/david-barton . The story as it is written has everything to do with the SPLC how else would it have gotten the Title ? This is Old News why is it back ? what does losing your kids and taking them away have to do with Chemtrails ? or The Right Wing ? Nothing ! What about the attempted massacre because of the SPLC ? http://www.splcenter.org/get-inform...ican-family-association-the-demonization-of-l Hate groups maybe but they arent killing people . Dont see the Crips or the Bloods on the list ? Im sick of this blame the right bull crap . The SPLC is Just a arm of the democratic party .
 
Why that as well as the chemtrail angle was added to the story ? Other then being wacko Stoners kidnapping their own kid then heading to a Communist country it really has nothing to do with chemtrails just paranoid delusion .

Joe, chemtrails came into the story when the 3 page letter to the Cubans was revealed last week in the discovery material. The Haakens told the Cubans a big story including Haarp and chemtrails:

The three-page letter was part of a cache of documents theTampa Bay Times obtained last week after a judge ordered the disclosure of prosecutors' evidence — what attorneys call discovery material — in the Hakkens' criminal case.

The documents chart in unprecedented detail the world view that took the Hakkens from a quiet neighborhood north of MacDill Air Force Base to a cramped boat rocking off the coast of an island autocracy.

Joe said:
This is Old News why is it back ? what does losing your kids and taking them away have to do with Chemtrails ?

See above.

Joe, since you seem to have not read the article, it looks to me like you simply felt threatened by a few sentences quoting someone from SPLC and felt as if they were attacking you personally. If the shoe didn't fit why did you wear it?
 
Joe, chemtrails came into the story when the 3 page letter to the Cubans was revealed last week in the discovery material. The Haakens told the Cubans a big story including Haarp and chemtrails: So ? thaey are entitled to their paranoid opinion . hwta did they do ? kidnappened their own kid that was taken because of drug charges . Big deal many do the same . But now its all about painting the right wing or anti-government people as dangerous ? Its a non story hype by the media .





See above.

Joe, since you seem to have not read the article, it looks to me like you simply felt threatened by a few sentences quoting someone from SPLC and felt as if they were attacking you personally. If the shoe didn't fit why did you wear it?
no i read the article and the headline was the kicker . Alex Jones is a libertarian as are most on this site or at least what he says . Soi what the point of the letter ? they were looking for an excuse for cuba to take them with their children . Most would do the same . They were targeted because they are antigovernment Period ! Discovery material LOL .
 
Seriously, "libertarian" is a catch all nowadays for "I'm certainly not a liberal and those republicans are not far right enough for me." They swallowed the chemtrails conspiracy, and many others, hook, line and sinker. Plus they were mentally ill. In your view thought, they were totally normal parents who wanted an excuse to go to Cuba so they wrote a deranged screed about chemtrails and conspiracies. Talk about cognitive dissonance, your picture is in the dictionary Joe.
 
Joe, chemtrails came into the story when the 3 page letter to the Cubans was revealed last week in the discovery material. The Haakens told the Cubans a big story including Haarp and chemtrails:





See above.

Joe, since you seem to have not read the article, it looks to me like you simply felt threatened by a few sentences quoting someone from SPLC and felt as if they were attacking you personally. If the shoe didn't fit why did you wear it?
Seriously, "libertarian" is a catch all nowadays for "I'm certainly not a liberal and those republicans are not far right enough for me." They swallowed the chemtrails conspiracy, and many others, hook, line and sinker. Plus they were mentally ill. In your view thought, they were totally normal parents who wanted an excuse to go to Cuba so they wrote a deranged screed about chemtrails and conspiracies. Talk about cognitive dissonance, your picture is in the dictionary Joe.
Most Truthers and Chemtrail theories started under bush By Liberals who didn't like Bush. Hillary Clinton herself started the whole birther movement . Many Occupy by into the Conspiracies as well . So to call them right wing conspiracies is ludicrous . I believe they are neither right or left wing just plain conspiracies . Like the Lady Di conspiracy that might not be a conspiracy after all ? Funny how some conspiracies wind up being true . I never said they were normal far from it I said if someone took my kids whatever the reason Id do whatever to get them back and if you have kids ? you'd do the same . They were clearly delusional stoners . Well educated as well .
 
I really don't think marijuana has much to do with these people, it seems more like it was thrown in the story to 'fuel the fire'. If you're crazy, you're crazy. There are plenty of people who smoke a lot of dope who are completely sane. There are also plenty of people who don't touch the stuff and are off their trolley.
 
I have to say, i do find the reference to tea party activists to be an off topic, gratuitous pot shot in an otherwise interesting story about two nut jobs. Just saying.

Neither political party has a monopoly on crazy.
 
I have edited the thread title to remove the word "chemtrail", as the story is really not focussed on that, it's simply one of the standard theories that any extreme conspiracy theorist will accept.
 
Extreme conspiracy theorists it seems they really were, and chemtrails were a large part of it, court documents show:
http://tbo.com/news/breaking-news/d...f-couple-accused-of-kidnapping-kids-20130923/


Documents show paranoid side of couple accused of kidnapping kids
tbo_com_storyimage_TB_20130923_ARTICLE_130929646_AR_0_AR_130929646_jpg_MaxH_337_.jpg

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTOS
Joshua and Sharyn Hakken are awaiting trial in state court on charges that include kidnapping, child neglect, interference with custody, burglary and theft. The couple remain jailed and the children were returned to their grandmother’s custody.

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By Elaine Silvestrini | Tribune Staff , Keith Morelli | Tribune Staff
Published: September 23, 2013


TAMPA — Even before they were accused of kidnapping their own children and fleeing to Cuba in April, Joshua and Sharyn Hakken were viewed as paranoid and mentally unstable by many of the people who encountered them.

More than 1,000 pages of evidence released by prosecutors Monday paint a picture of a disturbed couple who had latched onto grandiose antigovernment, apocalyptic ideas with conflicting political beliefs.
Among the revelations in the documents:
* Joshua Hakken believed the red light cameras in Tampa were watching him and had plotted out where all the cameras were, according to Joshua Hakken’s best friend, Stephen Joseph Morris, who described Hakken as “delusional.”
* Joshua Hakken believed the Air Force was using “chem trails of aircraft” to lace the sky to control people, according Jameson B. Rabbitt, who knew Joshua Hakken from when they both attended the University of South Florida. A mechanical engineer with a specialty in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Hakken built an elaborate filtration system in his house to filter out the chemicals the Air Force was putting in the air, Rabbitt said.
* Dorothea Moores, the mother of one of Joshua Hakken’s former Air Force Academy classmates, said she saw the Hakkens when they showed up at her home in Colorado a few months before the alleged abduction. She told investigators Joshua Hakken, who washed out at the academy, seemed paranoid and spoke at length about how people were chasing him and his wife. * Another witness whose name is blacked out in the documents, told investigators the Hakkens had been living at the Land of Pines Campground in Louisiana and spoke about heading to Arizona for Armageddon. They were followers of the fantasy author Terry Goodkind and spoke of “Temple of Winds” on the west coast and going to the “Valley of Rahaan.”

(continued at link)
 
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Well... it does show an effect related to indiscriminate belief in conspiracy theories, ie, that it tends to exacerbate mental illness via the paranoia and desperation they implant.
 
Well... it does show an effect related to indiscriminate belief in conspiracy theories, ie, that it tends to exacerbate mental illness via the paranoia and desperation they implant.

I don't think it does. There's no way of knowing if their mental illness would be any better or worse if they did not have these theories to believe.

Historically people had similar mental illnesses with no need for odd conspiracy theories to bolster them.

External Quote:
Yet it was not until the murder trial, held in early April, that the full extent of Doctor Minor’s illness became starkly apparent. Among the score of witnesses who appeared before the lord chief justice in the court at Kingston Assizes—for this was Surrey’s jurisdiction still, not London’s—three of them told a stunned courtroom what they knew of the sad captain.

The London police, for a start, admitted that they were already somewhat acquainted with him, and that for some time before the murder had known that they had a troubled man living in their midst. A Scotland Yard detective named Williamson testified that Minor had come to the Yard three months earlier, complaining that men were coming to his rooms at night, trying to poison him. He thought that they were members of the Fenian Brotherhood—militant Irish nationalists—and they were bent on breaking into his lodgings, hiding in the roof rafters, slipping through the windows.

He made such allegations several times, said Williamson; shortly before Christmas, Minor had even persuaded the commissioner of police in New Haven to write a letter to the Yard, underlining the fears that Minor felt. Even after the doctor moved to Tennison Street, he kept in touch with Williamson—on January 12, 1872, he wrote that he had been drugged and was afraid that the Fenians were planning to murder him and make it look as though his death had been a suicide.

A classic cry for help, one might think today. But an exasperated Superintendent Williamson did nothing and told no one, beyond noting with some contempt in his logbook that Minor was clearly—and this was the first use of the word to describe the hapless American—insane.

Then came a witness who had something very curious to offer from his observations of Doctor Minor during the time the American was held on remand in the cells at Horsemonger Lane.

The witness, whose name was William Dennis, was a member of a profession that has long since receded from modern memory: He was what was called a “Bethlem watcher.” Usually he was employed at London’s Bethlehem Hospital for the Insane—such a dreadful place that the name has given us the word bedlam—where his duties included watching the prisoner-patients through the night to make sure that they behaved themselves and did not try to cheat justice by committing suicide. He had been seconded to the Horsemonger Lane Jail in mid-February, he said, to watch the nocturnal activities of the strange visitor. He had watched him, he testified, for twenty-four nights.

It was a most curious and disturbing experience, Dennis told the jury. Each morning Doctor Minor would awake and immediately accuse him of having been paid by someone specifically to molest him while he slept. Then he would spit, dozens of times, as though trying to remove something that had been put into his mouth. He would next leap from his bed and scrabble about underneath it, looking for people who, he insisted, had hidden there and were planning to annoy him. Dennis told his superior, the prison surgeon, that he was quite certain William Minor was mad.

From the police interrogation notes came the evidence of an imagined motive for the crime—and with them a further indication of Doctor Minor’s patent instability. Each night, Minor had told his questioners, unknown men—often lower-class, often Irish—would come to his room while he was sleeping. They would maltreat him; they would violate him in ways he could not possibly describe. For months, ever since these nocturnal visitors had begun to torment him, he had taken to sleeping with his Colt service revolver, loaded with five cartridges, beneath his pillow.

On the night in question he awoke with a start, certain that a man was standing in the shadows at the foot of his bed. He reached under the pillow for his gun; the man saw him and took to his heels, running down the stairs and out of the house. Minor followed him as fast as he could, saw a man running down into Belvedere Road, was certain that this was the intruder, shouted at him, then fired four times, until he had hit him and the man lay still, unable to harm him further.

The court listened in silence. The landlady shook her head. No one could get into her house at night without a key, she had said. Everyone slept very lightly; there could not have been an intruder. And as final confirmation the court then heard from the prisoner’s stepbrother, George Minor. It had been a nightmare, said George, having brother William staying in the family house in New Haven. Every morning he would accuse people of trying to break into his room the night before, trying to molest him. He was being persecuted. Evil men were trying to insert metallic biscuits, coated with poison, in his mouth. They were in league with others who hid in the attic, came down at night while he was asleep, and treated him foully.

Winchester, Simon (2009-10-13). The Professor and the Madman (P.S.) (Kindle Locations 335-346). Harper Perennial. Kindle Edition.
 
They were just crazy people. This has very little to do with conspiracy theories.

It does have a bit to do with conspiracy theories.

oshua Hakken believed the Air Force was using “chem trails of aircraft” to lace the sky to control people, according Jameson B. Rabbitt, who knew Joshua Hakken from when they both attended the University of South Florida. A mechanical engineer with a specialty in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, Hakken built an elaborate filtration system in his house to filter out the chemicals the Air Force was putting in the air, Rabbitt said.

This is the type of person being manipulated and preyed upon by people like Carnicom and Dutchsinse. There was a youtuber named Bethanyhome7 that believed that she was under electromagnetic attack and that "they" had killed her dogs and were coming after her. She was sucked in completely to Dutch's HAARP/Weather Mod conspiracy to the extent that she made a lot of copycat RADAR videos to which Dutch often linked and commented to encourage her.

I don't think the conspiracy theories make people crazy but they can suck in the crazy and are a tool for manipulators to use to exploit crazy people.
 
But the question is if it makes them any more crazy. Would the "Doctor Minor" from my (true) excerpt above have a worse time nowadays, when he already believed: "men were coming to his rooms at night, trying to poison him." There's always a "they".
 
Do conspiracy theories worsen paranoia? I'm not qualified to say. My gut feeling is that the internet provides ready access to stimuli that could reinforce paranoid thought processes. It might be a tipping point for some. I can only imagine what it must do to someone prone to paranoid delusions to become convinced that contrails are chemtrails. It's got to be like chaining a gun shy dog outside on New Years eve.
 
Do conspiracy theories worsen paranoia? I'm not qualified to say. My gut feeling is that the internet provides ready access to stimuli that could reinforce paranoid thought processes. It might be a tipping point for some. I can only imagine what it must do to someone prone to paranoid delusions to become convinced that contrails are chemtrails. It's got to be like chaining a gun shy dog outside on New Years eve.

I don't agree. The world is already seems incredibly suspicious, and everything is personally significant to the highly paranoid. Telling them about "chemtrails" is just another brick in the wall. If anything, a confirmation of their suspicious might reassure them that they were not crazy, and make them feel better.
 
I don't agree. The world is already seems incredibly suspicious, and everything is personally significant to the highly paranoid. Telling them about "chemtrails" is just another brick in the wall. If anything, a confirmation of their suspicious might reassure them that they were not crazy, and make them feel better.

So do you think there's a clear line between this mental illness (such as the case of the person you referenced earlier) and cases of paranoia or extreme paranoia?
And also, is there a name for this type of mental illness?
 
No. And which type?
The type of mental illness I'm referring to is the case you presented earlier with Doctor Minor being insane. Just curious if there is a name for this type of illness.
I certainly wouldn't lump it in with whatever most conspiracy theorists suffer from (theirs is a lack of understanding) except maybe the hardcore believers who truly think they're being followed. It's some form of extreme paranoia.
 
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