Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theory: Adrenochrome and Child Sacrifice

In a recent TikTok video, a young woman aims her phone camera at her bathroom mirror. It is a wholesome, suburban-looking bathroom. Oyster walls. Tasteful plastic flower arrangement. The woman, with her blonde hair casually pulled back and sleeveless shirt shoved into her jeans, could be any American woman you see on a Friday-night patio, sharing nachos with her girls while chewing over the latest developments on The Bachelorette.

But she isn’t here to do one of those cute TikTok dances or pull a prank on her roommate. Her lips are taut with stress and dismay. Her eyes have the wild, bulging appearance of someone who has reached the outer limits of patience.

“Quick question,” she barks at her unseen audience, “Who has not been able to watch a movie or TV show or listen to the radio in the past couple weeks ’cause you just don’t know if who you’re watching is a Satan-worshiping, child-abusing, adrenochrome-drinking pedophile?”

Her hand shoots up in answer to her own question and the screen goes dark.

Social media is full of such questions. During and after Pizzagate, the theory that the “elite” terrorize and murder children in order to harvest and ingest their adrenochrome caught fire online. According to these vague yet ubiquitous rumours, the thirst for adrenochrome is particularly strong among Hollywood bigwigs, Democratic politicians and financial wizards. All of these people worship Satan, and get high on adrenochrome during their orgiastic rituals. It is now said that Tom Hanks didn’t really have COVID-19 earlier this year, but went into hiding because he was suffering from the debilitating effects of adrenochrome withdrawal (and/or he got into a bad batch of adrenochrome, and/or was under secret house arrest). The theory is incredibly popular among QAnon followers.

Where did this theory originate, and what does it mean?

Adrenochrome is a chemical compound produced by the oxidation of adrenaline. At one time, some researchers tentatively linked it to schizophrenia, but subsequent studies failed to substantiate any connection. It may have psychoactive properties, but it is not known to be addictive.

Until the 1990s, discussion of adrenochrome was limited to recreational drug circles, and even then the talk was mostly casual, speculative and literary in nature:

  • In The Doors of Perception (1954), Aldous Huxley briefly explored the possibility that adrenochrome could have effects similar to mescaline. He had not taken it, and didn’t know of anyone else who had. The only concrete information he could offer was that adrenochrome is spontaneously produced by the human body as “a product of the decomposition of adrenaline.”
  • In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971), Hunter Thompson wrote that adrenochrome “makes pure mescaline seem like ginger beer” and described an adenochrome trip. This triggered some intense interest from psychedelic connoisseurs. However, in his commentary on the Fear and Loathing DVD, director Terry Gilliam mentioned that Thompson told him he fabricated the entire adrenochrome portion of the novel. It is likely that he borrowed the idea from The Doors of Perception, as it was the only major work that mentioned the possibility of adrenochrome having psychedelic effects. Gilliam himself was unaware that adrenochrome even existed.
  • One year after Fear and Loathing was published, Adam Gottlieb described adrenochrome in his book Legal Highs. He claimed it was “physically stimulating”, inducing “a feeling of well-being, slight reduction of thought processes”. Gottlieb did not specify how he obtained this information.

As it turns out, adrenochrome does not have psychedelic properties. Huxley’s hunch was wrong. The compound can induce “changes in thinking…similar to those observed in schizophrenia”, according to Abram Hoffer (one of the schizophrenia researchers), but you do not trip on it. Self-reported effects from recreational use are nonexistent to mild.
It is not addictive. Adrenaline is classified as a Schedule IV substance by the FDA, meaning there is low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. A byproduct of adrenaline is not going to be more addictive than adrenaline.
It does not have age-defying properties that QAnon theorists attribute to it. It does not have any known beneficial side effects at all, in fact. Far from being the Best Drug Ever, it is not even considered a drug.

So how did we get from “maybe you can trip on adrenochrome” to “Satanists murder children to harvest their adrenochrome”?

Two men are largely responsible for that. In Fear and Loathing, the characters establish a few “facts” about the drug that have worked their way into conspiracy lore:

  1. You can’t buy adrenochrome through normal drug channels. The character Duke comments, “I think there’s only one source for this stuff, the adrenaline gland [sic]…from a living human body.”
  2. Dr. Gonzo says he got his adrenochrome in lieu of cash from a “Satanism freak” accused of child molestation who owed him money for legal services. We aren’t told where the “freak” obtained the adrenochrome, but by identifying his supplier as a child-molesting Satanist, Gonzo implies that someone was killed for it.
  3. As Duke trips on the drug, he listens to Nixon talking about the violence and sacrifice of the Vietnam war, reinforcing the imagined link between adrenochrome and brutality.
  4. As Duke and Dr. Gonzo discuss adrenochrome, they also bring up the pineal gland. Many adrenochrome conspiracy theorists believe that the pineal gland has something to do with adrenochrome harvesting, but it is the adrenal glands that produce adrenaline. The pineal gland produces melatonin.

It was Thompson who laid out the framework for how adrenochrome would be viewed by the public. However, the man primarily responsible for the Satanic adrenochrome theories is David Icke. You know, the guy who says holographic lizardpeople from space control Earth from a secret base on the Moon? The guy who was recently booted off YouTube? The guy who thinks he’s being poisoned to death with chemtrails made out of chewing gum?

I’m sure that adrenochrome was mentioned in conspiracy circles before Icke’s book The Biggest Secret was published in 1999, but it was this book that launched it into public consciousness in a roundabout way. The book is primarily a melange of warmed-over ancient astronaut notions, anti-religious rhetoric and New World Order conspiracy theories. Its selling feature was that it expounded on a series of relatively new conspiracy concepts:

  1. Millennia ago, Reptilians from another planet secretly took over the world by interbreeding with our leaders, establishing bloodlines that continue to hold power to this day. The Windsors are actually lizards. Many U.S. presidents were lizards. If your family was rich and influential, you might be a lizard.
  2. All religions were created by the lizards as a tool of control. There are no organic religions on this planet, except perhaps the New Age variety Icke himself favours.
  3. The human-lizard hybrids engage in something like Devil worship, practice human sacrifice and are constructing a global government that exercise full-spectrum domination over all mankind unless we recognize the lizards and expose them.

Icke offered up a glut of circumstantial evidence to support the first two theories. This consisted largely of lizardman sightings, sketchy interpretations of ancient texts and “bad vibes” reported by psychics. But the third theory had much stronger evidence: A firsthand confession from a woman who had actually participated in Satanic Reptilian rites.

This woman was an American who referred to herself as Arizona Wilder, and she claimed that she had been raised to become a “Mother Goddess” for the world’s most powerful lizards. Her role was to preside over the murderous blood-drinking rituals central to the Reptilians’ form of worship, which doesn’t have a name. Icke calls it Satanism. Wilder characterized it as an offshoot of Druidic Paganism that used Wiccan and Freemasonic practices to summon bloodthirsty demonic entities. “These rituals invariably take place on vortex points and so the terror, horror, and hatred, created by them enters the global energy grid and affects the Earth’s magnetic field,” Icke wrote. He maintained that the primary goal of Satanism is to manipulate the Earth’s magnetic field for…reasons.

Wilder explained to Icke that “the reptilians and their crossbreeds drink blood because they are drinking the person’s life-force and because they need it to exist in this dimension.” For some reason, they would mix the blood with arsenic.

What, specifically, is in human blood that the lizards find so desirable? Icke attempted to answer this question with things he had learned from unspecified sources: “Apparently, according to former Satanists I have met and read about, some world politicians are addicted to blood taken from a victim at the moment of sacrifice because of the adrenaline which is produced at that time. I am told this addiction is quite common among Satanists, and researchers into the reptilian question suggest that this is the substance the reptiles also want. It all fits.” [emphasis mine]

Adrenochrome is never explicitly mentioned in The Biggest Secret. That connection was made by others. But this is the first reference to Satanists becoming hooked on the blood of sacrificial victims because of a substance in the blood, and the adrenaline-adrenochrome link was already well-known by that time.

Elsewhere in the book, Icke states that menstrual blood is the most precious bodily fluid that the Satanic Reptilians consume (the “starfire” theory developed by another profoundly eccentric Reptilian researcher, Laurence Gardner). So there is some confusion as to just what the space-lizards are doing.

The idea that a secretive, powerful cabal ritualistically slaughters children to harvest their blood is, of course, not a new one.

Icke also discusses the pineal gland at length in The Biggest Secret and several other books, believing it be the centre of consciousness or the seat of the soul (based on the theories of Descartes and/or the conclusions of DMT explorer Rick Strassman). Icke contends that the Reptilian elite try to damage our pineal glands through water fluoridation and other means in order to reduce our powers of extrasensory perception.
The supposed spiritual significance of the pineal gland could be another reason why the pineal gland and adrenochrome are so often discussed simultaneously by adrenochrome conspiracy theorists. Wilder claimed the Reptilians terrorized their sacrificial victims to induce pineal secretions into their bloodstreams, because they enjoyed consuming them.

Icke specified that children are the favoured victims of lizard blood-drinkers:

“Satanic rituals and human sacrifice, especially of children, are performed on a vast
scale and involve some of the most famous politicians, business people, media owners
and entertainers on the planet. Of course they do.”

Icke even mentioned something that foreshadowed the basement-dwelling Mole Children of Pizzagate/Pedogate lore:

“Phil Schneider, a builder of US underground bases, told the writer and researcher, Alex
Christopher, that when children reached the point where they could not work anymore
in the slave conditions underground, they were consumed by the reptilians.”

The late Phil Schneider was a favourite on conspiracy/UFO lecture circuits. He claimed he helped established several Deep Undergrond Military Bases (DUMB), which were jointly manned by the U.S. military, gray aliens and lizards. He claimed his arm was injured in an “alien firefight” that took place in one of the DUMBs in 1979.

In the video interview Revelations of a Mother Goddess (1999), Wilder told Icke about her time as a Mother Goddess in explicit detail. Her voice is flat and her face remains mannequin-blank as she describes seeing cloned cyborg dolphin-alien hybrids at Area 51, meeting Hitler in the 1960s and conducting rituals that make the Hellraiser films look like a family picnic. “The faintest whiff of blood excites them tremendously. They’re addicted to it.”

Though the man who discovered Ms. Wilder, Brian Desborough, fervently hoped that her revelations would inspire other Illuminati insiders to step forward and share their stories, no one else emerged to corroborate her accounts of a worldwide blood-swilling lizard cult. Other “whistleblowers” offered up information that contradicted Wilder. For instance, Montauk Project insider Preston Nichols said the Reptilian beverage of choice was liquid drain cleaner.

Unfortunately for Desborough and Icke, Arizona Wilder retracted her story in its entirety and declared that there were never any lizards. Her entire life story changed dramatically, and she came up with a completely different narrative about who controls the world and how they do it. You can read all about that in one of my other posts.

Harm had already been done. As with Pizzagate and QAnon, several people used the Reptilian allegations to justify horrific crimes. Notably, a sociopath calling himself Diazien Hossencofft persuaded his gullible girlfriend and two buddies that his ex-wife, an unassuming bank teller named Girly Chew, was a Reptilian priestess who had to be slaughtered.

The adrenochrome conspiracy theory emerged sometime later. Though it became a popular idea in the fringier corners of the conspiranoid universe, it was completely unknown to the average suburbanite. It would surface once in a while without much fanfare. For instance, around 2009 it was rumoured that Al Gore carried around a suitcase full of blood, and conspiracy researcher Steven Soros speculated that Gore was addicted to adrenochrome. 

It wasn’t until Pizzagate that the adrenochrome rumours fully surfaced into mainstream culture. Their origins in Reptilian lore remain unknown to people like the TikTok bathroom woman, who fret about adrenochrome and Pedowood on social media, beseeching everyone to #wakeup and #savethechildren. How and why this rather obscure theory suddenly gained mass appeal at this moment in time and history will always remain something of a mystery.

To recap, the adrenochrome theory evolved like this:

Passages in a novel indicated that adrenochrome makes you high and you have to get it from humans

David Icke heard from anonymous sources and one retractor that the world’s elite are addicted to blood, possibly because of the adrenaline in it. 

Other conspiranoids decided that the elite must be addicted to the adrenochrome, not the adrenaline itself.

With so little information about adrenochrome available to the non-scientific public, it’s easy to see why conspiracy theorists get confused. Pizzagater Liz Crokin maintains that adrenochrome is extracted from the pituitary glands of tortured children. She probably meant to say pineal gland, but no one who talks about adrenochrome addiction on Twitter or YouTube is an endocrinologist.

QAnon researchers, mistakenly believing that adrenochrome is both highly addictive and a youth serum par excellence, like to compare Before and After quarantine photos of celebrities to show the effects of living without a fresh, steady supply of adrenochrome. Actresses with casually-done hair and only a moderate amount of makeup are said to be in severe, Trainspotting-style withdrawal. Weight loss, graying hair and the erratic behaviour that comes from being in quarantine for months are all attributed to adrenochrome withdrawal. This is essentially what Pizzagaters did with Hillary Clinton when she suffered a bout of illness during the 2016 presidential race; they claimed that signs of fatigue, lack of coordination, etc., were symptoms of the “cannibal disease” koro, which she supposedly acquired from devouring children.

The same researchers present movies and TV shows as “evidence.” Monsters Inc., in which monsters use the fear of children as a power source, is said to be a thinly-veiled depiction of the Cabal’s use of adrenochrome. Icke declared that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, with its child-hating villains, was symbolic of the Reptilian agenda. Conspiracists also point to a single 2007 episode of a short-lived Inspector Morse spinoff (Lewis) in which adrenochrome is harvested from a living man.

At this point you might be thinking So what? QAnons don’t believe in the lizards. No one with any real influence believes in the lizards. But earlier this week, Trump himself urged his Twitter followers to watch a video about the “cure” for COVID-19 (hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that Trump claimed to have taken even though it has no known prophylactic properties). The doctors featured in the video were participating in an event organized by Tea Party Patriots Action, which was filmed by Breitbart News.

In the video, Houston physician Dr. Stella Immanuel tells the viewers that they don’t need to wear a mask because in her opinion, which is based only on her own work with patients at a single medical clinic, COVID-19 has a cure.

Some of Dr. Immanuel’s other medical opinions, according to the website of her Fire Power Ministries and her now-deleted YouTube videos:

  • Like the witches of previous centuries, Satanists can leave their physical bodies in a dormant state and astrally project their spirits anywhere they wish. They often have sexual intercourse with people in their astral form, and Immanuel believes that many reproductive diseases and disorders (endometriosis, infertility, erectile dysfunction, etc.) are caused by people having sex with “spirit wives and husbands.” Bizarrely, she does not characterize this as rape, even though sudden and uninvited sex from an invisible entity is clearly non-consensual by design.
  • “There are people ruling this nation that are not even human,” Immanuel said in a 2015 video. She described them as “reptilian spirits” who are “half human, half ET.”
  • In the same video, she voiced opposition to the use of “alien DNA” to treat illnesses, as though this was something that occurred. She opposed this mysterious alien DNA treatment not because it was ineffective (or imaginary), but because humans must not interact with demons (and aliens are demons, I guess?).

Trump disavowed any knowledge of Dr. Immanuel’s other beliefs, but there is now only one degree of separation between the Presidency and the Reptilian overlord conspiracy theory.

The Bottom Line

Let’s play Devil’s advocate for a moment and pretend that scientists are lying to us, and you actually can get high on adrenochrome and become hooked on it. In the four decades since Hunter Thompson first teased the idea of adrenochrome as a potent hallucinogen, it has not become a popular recreational drug, even as psychedelics have gained a high profile in the worlds of chemognosis, modern shamanism and self-administered therapy.

If adrenochrome had enough kick to turn Tom Hanks into a blood-guzzling lunatic, I am confident it would have caught on with the microdosing crowd by now. It simply hasn’t.

The fact that conspiracy-thirsty Redditors and YouTubers are holding forth like experts on a drug they know nothing about, and analyzing the debauched lifestyles of celebrities they will never meet, just reinforces something else Hunter Thompson said: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

5 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Conspiracy Theory: Adrenochrome and Child Sacrifice

Add yours

  1. Strangely, Paul Bonacci, one of the witnesses in the Franklin cover-up, claimed that Hunter S. Thompson was involved in filming the abuse and murder of kids that were trafficked by the powerful people implicated in that scandal.

  2. OK I am so glad I decided to check back if any of the blogs I used to follow are still alive because this was GREAT! This was all the info on andrenochrome I never knew I needed! Also, I know we are supposed to deal with QAnon folks with grace and empathy if there is any hope of getting them out but goddamn, the more I learn about QAnon the dumber it seems!

  3. Thank you for your well-written posts. I am someone that was psychologically harmed by certain conspiracy theories when I was younger. Some years ago, I remember your blog being one of the ones that helped me. Thank you so much for your time and research on these subjects. I sometimes used to wonder whether these theories, if left unchecked, would fester and turn into something more dangerous. QAnon answered that for me. But thank you for continuing to provide a light in the darkness.

  4. Thank you. I remember the scene in FaLILV (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I haven’t seen a copy of the book for over 40 years, but I remembered, perhaps wrongly, that he spelled it “adenochrome”.

    When I first read of the Pizzagate “scandal” I immediately remembered that wild ride up Interstate 15, and those iconic lines, “as your lawyer, I advise you to take the ether.”

    I never met Thompson, or his alter ego Dr. Gonzo, and that’s probably a good thing as he was a crazy son of a gun, known to shoot first and ask questions later.

    How any rational human can believe the adenochrome or adrenochrome assertion is beyond me. Thank you for writing this part of the twisted history of the extremely ignorant far-right faction of the Republican party. We should have spent less of our resources on our enormous military, and more on K-12 education.

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