Why some QAnon believers think JFK Jr is still alive – and about to become vice president

This week marks 22 years since John Fitzgerald Kennedy Junior’s plane was pulled out of the Atlantic Ocean. The anniversary of the crash that killed him, his wife Carolyn and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, is a sombre milestone for the Kennedy family.

For some QAnon true believers, however, the son of the 35th president of the United States not only survived the tragedy but is poised to make a dramatic return to public life.

A bizarre theory has emerged suggesting that the accident was just a ruse to fake his death and that he will re-emerge – perhaps as early as next month – to join a reinstated President Donald Trump as his VP.

A viral video has even shown a middle-aged man that some QAnon devotees claim is JFK Jr himself.

The theory is strange even by the standards of QAnon – which claims Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are involved in a secret cannibalistic cult which Donald Trump is secretly battling, a theory expounded in cryptic internet messages by a mysterious prophet-like figure known as Q. And while only a fraction appear to believe the JFK Jr angle, experts say it is still damaging to their relationships and their grasp on reality.

Will Sommer, author of the upcoming book Trust the Plan: The Rise of QAnon and the Conspiracy That Reshaped America and a longtime observer of the conspiracy theory, estimates that about 20 per cent of Q followers believe in JFK Jr’s re-emergence, but that those who do, “100 per cent believe”.

“QAnon itself is obviously pretty dangerous. It’s hard to say whether the people who believe the JFK Jr [conspiracy] are more dangerous than the QAnon people who don’t,” he told The Independent.

“Part of the problem, just like with any QAnon belief, is that it’s so bizarre that it alienates people from their friends and family.”

But how did “John John” – poignantly pictured saluting his assassinated father’s coffin at the age of three – come to be drawn into such an outlandish fantasy?

The story goes that after faking his death, Kennedy returned two decades later to help Mr Trump drain the swamp. First he supposedly appeared as Q himself (or close to Q) with the “Q drops” of cryptic information. Then, he was to have revealed himself in 2019, to replace Mike Pence on the president’s 2020 re-election ticket, or maybe the 2021 “reinstatement” (supposedly scheduled for 13 August – although there is no mechanism for reinstating a former president), or maybe the 2024 campaign.

The timeline has kept shifting with each passing milestone.

In the meantime, the lore goes, Kennedy has been in hiding, disguised as a middle-aged, fedora-wearing financial services manager from Pittsburgh named Vincent Fusca.

JFK Jr began trending on Twitter after the comedy duo The Good Liars spotted Mr Fusca at the CPAC conservative conference in July in a video that went viral with 14,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.

The story goes that after faking his death, Kennedy returned two decades later to help Mr Trump drain the swamp. First he supposedly appeared as Q himself (or close to Q) with the “Q drops” of cryptic information. Then, he was to have revealed himself in 2019, to replace Mike Pence on the president’s 2020 re-election ticket, or maybe the 2021 “reinstatement” (supposedly scheduled for 13 August – although there is no mechanism for reinstating a former president), or maybe the 2024 campaign.

The timeline has kept shifting with each passing milestone.

In the meantime, the lore goes, Kennedy has been in hiding, disguised as a middle-aged, fedora-wearing financial services manager from Pittsburgh named Vincent Fusca.

JFK Jr began trending on Twitter after the comedy duo The Good Liars spotted Mr Fusca at the CPAC conservative conference in July in a video that went viral with 14,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.

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