We stood within the car parking zone staring on the night sky for 20 minutes. Watsun Atkinsun had simply bummed a cigarette and held it up with two fingers, tracing the streaks of jet exhaust above us. He went on about chemtrails, direct vitality weapons, and the arsenal of instruments the sorcerer elite had deployed in opposition to humanity.

The tattoo artist from Portland, Maine, was inked from head to toe in occult patterns, Iron Maiden insignia, and a neck piece that learn: Not afraid to experience. Not afraid to die. Atkinsun drew on his menthol and returned to our dialog.

“The globe mannequin is the simplest factor on this planet to disprove,” he mentioned. “We know the world is flat. But what’s subsequent?”

I had no clue. I nodded politely and went again inside.

It was Day Two of the first-ever

The story, in keeping with Davidson’s documentary, ImpossiBall, begins with Nicolaus Copernicus, whose principle of heliocentricity, which positions the Sun because the centre of the universe, was seized upon by the ruling elite. As Mark Sargent, a outstanding flat earth YouTube persona, mentioned onstage, “I do not essentially wish to get into naming, whether or not it’s the Illuminati, or the Bilderbergs, or the Trilateral Commission, or the Vatican, or on and on. But it’s a small scary group of smoking males sitting round an extended desk.”

As flat earthers see it, this elite propagated the “lie” that the world is spherical and exists in an infinite universe of billions of planets, many with an opportunity of internet hosting alien life. This lie was conceived to distance people from God and usurp his position on Earth.

“They wish to conceal God,” was a typical chorus from behind the rostrum, one which practically all the time acquired applause. For flat earthers, then, the one solution to reclaim humanity’s identification and liberty on this corrupt society is to buck all authority and re-establish man and Earth on the centre of the universe.

The flat earth is the last word conspiracy. If you possibly can be lied to in regards to the very floor you stand upon and satisfied to not imagine your very personal senses (all of which supposedly level to a flat earth), then you possibly can be lied to about something. It’s the logical conclusion of the conspiracy rabbit gap convention attendees had been digging down for years.

Aspiring YouTuber Flat Earth Focker with the $100 payments he makes use of to evangelize the motion

The Moon touchdown and the September 11 terror assaults have been the litmus take a look at of “globeheads” who may very well be transformed. “If they imagine the official story on both of these, then overlook about it. Talk about sports activities or one thing,” mentioned Rob Skiba, a outstanding Biblical literalist who constructed his title researching an historical race of giants described within the Old Testament, throughout his speak onstage.

The motion encourages folks to query every little thing they’re being instructed, to do their very own analysis, and draw their very own conclusions. These are wholesome tenets of life in a democratic society. But when mixed with conspiratorial paranoia and a perception that being criticized means you’re heading in the right direction, it leads to a completely warped actuality.

“Of all of the issues to name an individual, you’ll be able to name them a troglodyte, a moron, a retard,” as Rob Munroe, a mechanical engineer on the convention, instructed me. “But in the event you name them a flat earther, it’s worse than all of this. That’s a touch they’re hiding one thing.”


With nobody to belief in authorities or the scientific neighborhood, flat earthers flip inwards to search out their proof. They espouse zetetics, a 19th century philosophy that takes human sensory expertise as the very best type of reality.

In this vein, a nonprofit referred to as “FE Core” was launched on the convention to assist additional scientific endeavors on the topic. Part of the undertaking features a $1.4 million exploration mission to ship a crew of flat earthers to the ice wall, the sting of the world—in any other case often called Antarctica. And later that month, California daredevil “Mad Mike” Hughes introduced he can be capturing himself 1,800 toes within the air aboard a home-made rocket crowdfunded by flat earthers, presumably to show there isn’t a curvature within the earth.

“Unless we’re on the market testing and exploring, we’re no totally different than the physicists making shit up,” mentioned Jeran Campanella, convention presenter and host of the Jeranism YouTube channel, which boasts practically 85,000 subscribers.

It would seem flat earthers’ anti-authoritarian streak seeps into their very own ranks. One lady was ejected from the convention for heckling an end-times Christian preacher, an expulsion that triggered whispers and accusations that Robbie Davidson or different audio system have been really puppets of the elite.

Rob Skiba, a biblical literalist whose YouTube channel has over 100,000 followers, presents on the convention

Apart from its shock worth, the flat earth concept does present some sense of solace for its believers. On a person degree, outright denial of truth affords a manner to deal with the merciless world past on-line chat rooms.

“The motive they embrace these notions that the Boston Marathon bombing or Sandy Hook by no means occurred, [is that] they do not wish to dwell in a world that harmless faculty youngsters can go to high school and find yourself lifeless on a classroom flooring,” Ninamary Maginnis instructed me. Maginnis was a proud “globe defender” however had come to the convention in a determined try and reconnect with a conspiracy-obsessed niece she hadn’t seen in years.

In some methods, the motion speaks to fears inside us all—that we’re being lied to about what’s greatest for us, that society is shifting too quick, that we’re being left behind. The flat earth is a reconstruction of the universe to at least one the place you are on high, the place you possess a data nobody else has, see a reality nobody else does, and it is everybody else—not you—that is being left behind.

As we stood beneath chemtrails and waves of weaponized 5G waves within the car parking zone, Watsun Atkinsun agreed. For him, and for others, the flat earth is liberation from the pressures of the fashionable world and a lens by means of which to reinterpret every little thing.

“We are in one of many darkest nights of the soul of humanity. So the flat earth is simply a kind of fallacies you dismantle and then you definitely grow to be a part of this illuminated resistance,” he instructed me. “You grow to be part of the revolution woke up. It’s the best sense of true freedom.”

Get six of our favourite Motherboard tales day-after-day by signing up for our e-newsletter .

This article sources data from Motherboard