John F. Kennedy, his son John F. Kennedy Jr. and Donald Trump allegedly share the blood line of Jesus. They have been working together in secret for years to hatch a plan to lead America together from the White House.
“Aren’t JFK and his son dead?” you might ask. But those who ask such questions aren’t part of the group that mixes Christian themes, numerology and Trump worship into a powerful blend of conspiracy theories and cultic tendencies that is tearing some families apart.
Members of the group spoke to CNN for the news special Waiting for JFK: Report from the Fringe, which aired Sunday and is now streaming on cnn.com. You can catch a free audiocast of the special here, see a preview of the show here, and see an article here.
They follow the teachings of Michael Protzman, aka “Negative48,” a social media conspiracist who died two months ago. His mother says Protzman became overwhelmed by conspiracy theories and was jobless and living in his car until his teachings found an audience on the Telegram instant messaging service and he became a mini-celebrity and, to some, a prophet.
One group member acknowledged JFK was, indeed, assassinated at Dallas’ Dealey Plaza in 1963 but added a new twist. “He was brought back to life by two Tiffany Blue angels,” she said.
The woman says JFK Jr. faked his own death in a 1999 plane crash, has been staying out of the public eye, and is ready to emerge and rule with Trump and save the world from evil.
Asked why members of the Kennedy clan, an iconic Democratic family, would team with Trump, another Protzman follower said, “The system’s rigged.” Democrats and Republicans are both complicit in the evil dragging America down, she explained.
Hundreds of people gathered at Dealey Plaza Nov. 2, 2021. Many showed up after Protzman said JFK and/or JFK Jr. would appear that day. When they didn’t, some followers left the group but others became even more committed, leaving their families and using their life savings to devote themselves to their new community of true believers.
When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship held its 2022 General Assembly at the Dallas Hyatt Regency, a short walk from Dealey Plaza, the Baptists mixed with a remnant of the conspiracy theorists who were still holding vigil seven months later.
The CNN special is reported by correspondent Donie O’Sullivan, who spent a year tracking down and interviewing members of this fringe group. He never makes fun of them, even as he struggles to comprehend their journey deep down the rabbit hole.
He explains the group to viewers with the help of two experts who have followed it.
Jesselyn Cook is a reporter with NBC and author of the 2024 book The Quiet Damage, which examines how QAnon and related conspiracy theories are destroying lives and families.
“These beliefs are part of who they are, and facts can’t change that,” Cook said. She says members are connected to others not by ideology but by identity. “It’s more important to belong to the group than to believe in the truth.”
The CNN special also features Diane Benscoter, a former member of the Unification Church who now leads Antidote, a nonprofit that helps people who have fallen victim to disinformation and cults. The group views “psychological manipulation as a public health problem.”
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