Trump’s Occult Online Supporters Believe ‘Meme Magic’ Got Him Elected
Written by Paul Spencer
November 18, 2016 // 10:50 AM EST
On the morning of November 9, Théodore Ferréol sat in front of his computer in Paris and wondered what had just happened. Ferréol is not an American citizen and so hadn’t voted for Donald Trump personally. But as an occult researcher, he knew about those who claimed responsibility for Trump’s upset election victory: an online group that spreads images of a cartoon frog.
This group largely identifies with the so-called “alt right”, a white nationalist group, and believes the frog, named Pepe, is imbued with a magical power to bring Trump into office—as long as devotees plaster the frog’s image everywhere, like a flyer for takeout food.
“I've been observing [this phenomena] first hand for quite some time now,” Ferréol told me. “And I'm fascinated at the way internet folklore is turning into something new—not exactly activism, not exactly religion, but something close to a new form of magic and animism in an era when communities have transformed into tribes. And they are savage, creative and, as we now know, really powerful,” he added, referring to the online communities where Pepe is literally considered a god.