Fascinating article on Vice, about a German woman who got sucked into conspiracy thinking, then with the help of a friend, managed to get out:
Here perception was that it was something like a cult, at least in the forums she frequented.At the height of her obsession—especially when it came to chemtrails—Wittschier was part of various groups on Facebook, participated in a forum called Allmystery, and was active on YouTube. But in August 2012, her best friend in the conspiracy world started to question and oppose certain theories, and began the slow process of dissociating herself from the world she shared with Wittschier.
"She just did a complete turnaround from one day to the next. All her opinions had suddenly changed," said Wittschier. They started to discuss the merits of conspiracy theories for weeks, even months, and it wasn't till then that Wittschier eventually became more critical. "She was my best friend, you know, I couldn't just push this fact aside." Wittschier started to ask questions; she stopped sweeping contradictions to her beliefs aside. Ultimately, she dropped out of the scene: "In summer 2013, I finally renounced all this bullshit."
Acording to Wittschier, the issue goes beyond chemtrailers who threaten the press and any former believers. "With hindsight, it was like a cult," she said. "At first it was very exciting to know secrets that others don't, and to be able to educate others. They were a close community with rules, hierarchies and so on. It wasn't until I swung around I realized the pressure they were exerting at the same time—people with different views were, in my opinion, aggresively and systematically attacked and were blocked or deleted within minutes. I was put under observation and everything I did online got recorded, collected, and noted. I can see a lot of similarities to cults like Scientology. For me they are one and the same thing."