Nobody is Torturing Children to Harvest Adrenochrome
This is a particularly dumb conspiracy theory.
There is a certain relatively small, but enthusiastic percentage of the population that are prone to believe in conspiracies. Having been someone who has put in some time debunking conspiracy theories over the years, I can tell you a little bit about their patterns of thought and the way that they argue. Usually, conspiracy theorists have such a poor understanding of the subject that they’re talking about that it seems like magic to them and thus, anything seems possible. On occasion, after being dragged over and over again for their conspiratorial beliefs, they’ll learn a little something about what they’re talking about, but their knowledge is often badly flawed because their goal is to “prove” their conspiracy theory right, not to actually get to the truth.
Their style of argumentation is usually illogical and incoherent. They tend to throw pretty much anything against the wall to see what sticks and then insist that you disprove every single thing they come up with, while completely ignoring the much larger piles of evidence supporting some mainstream belief they’re trying to undermine.
If you talk to 10 conspiracy theorists, they will typically all have different arguments supporting their beliefs. Disproving the pillars of their argument has no impact on them because their beliefs have no real logic or structure to them. If you disprove one of their key pieces of evidence, they just move on to the next. They also almost universally ignore the fact that theories don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re measured against competing theories. If I say the world is round and you say the world is flat, then how both competing theories handle questions and statements like, “If the world is flat, where’s the edge?” or “People have looked at Earth from space and we see that it’s not flat,” matter a lot. They do not look at it that way. They believe what they believe, and no amount of contrary evidence is going to change it.
It also must be noted that conspiracy theories often rely heavily on a “them” that you’re supposed to believe are capable of anything. This leads to statements like, “Of course, they’re behind (insert horrible thing here)! You don’t think that the ‘Republicans/Democrats/Jews/Karl Rove/Bushes/Clintons/George Soros/Rothschilds/Illuminati/Big Pharma/white supremacist Martians from Venus/whoever’ are capable of that? Are you naïve?”
After reading this basic rundown about how conspiracy theorists argue things to get you prepared for the aftermath of sharing this article everywhere someone promotes this idea (hint, hint), let’s start to talk about adrenochrome.
Adrenochrome is worth discussing because one of the hottest movies in America today is Sound of Freedom starring Jim Caviezel. Although I have not seen the movie, which is supposed to be based on the life of anti-child trafficking expert Tim Ballard, friends of mine have gone and told me it’s a good flick:
Unfortunately, although Jim Caviezel is a great actor, he is also a conspiracy theorist who keeps pushing the cuckoo idea that there are people torturing children in order to frighten them to death as part of the process of harvesting adrenochrome. The purpose of this, according to the QAnon crowd that spawned it, is that adrenochrome is used by the rich and powerful to stay young and vital looking.
There are multiple examples of Caviezel spewing this utter bullsh*t and here’s the latest one:
Before we go further, it is worth noting that Tim Ballard, who is also out there promoting the movie, has essentially said to Jordan Peterson that there are witch doctors in the world who murder children, but he hasn’t seen any evidence that there are people out there harvesting adrenochrome from kids. In other words, if you buy into this conspiracy theory, Tim Ballard is one of the people that disagrees with you.
Of course – and this is the first enormous hole in the conspiracy theory – there is no need to “harvest adrenochrome” from children. Adrenochrome is a drug that is produced in the body by oxidizing adrenalin. It was first studied in the fifties, and scientists tinkered with it for a couple of decades because they thought it might be causing schizophrenia. Unfortunately, the experiments with the drug didn’t really pan out and although there have been more than a few scientific trials since then, there’s no real use for the substance today. However, if the adrenochrome in these experiments was made in a lab and you can still buy adrenochrome cheaply today, why would anyone be torturing children to get it?
Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous this is, think about creatine. It’s also a substance that is made by the human body and is one of the most popular weight-lifting supplements in America. If someone told you that hardcore bodybuilders get so big because they use creatine that’s made from the bodies of children that were tortured to death, your first question should probably be, “Ehr, why wouldn’t they just order it off the Internet?” Of course, stupid though it may be, that conspiracy theory would actually make MORE SENSE than the idea terrified children are being harvested to produce adrenochrome because creatine actually works. There are all sorts of studies proving creatine helps you do everything from building muscle to getting mentally sharper.
Do you know how many studies there are showing adrenochrome is useful for longevity and looking younger? None at all. Why would there be? Why would anyone think a byproduct of adrenalin would make you look younger? Now, would it have seemed more plausible that adrenochrome might have psychedelic properties given that it was originally speculated to be a cause of schizophrenia? Sure, but after it was studied, it just didn’t work out:
Reflecting back on the "Adrenochrome Hypothesis" in an article published in 1990 in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, the researchers said, "All we did know [about adrenochrome] was that it was readily formed by oxidation of adrenalin [sic] to a red compound in solution ... But we did suspected [sic] it might be a hallucinogen because ... it resembled a few known hallucinogens like ... LSD and ibogaine."
Adrenochrome's psychedelic properties, however, never actually panned out. And, as intriguing as those studies were, "they have been largely discredited due to, primarily, methodological failures. And I think they were unable to ever replicate any of the initial findings that were popularized," Marino said.
However, the idea of adrenochrome as an exotic hallucinogen did catch on in popular culture and it’s likely that Hunter Thompson, the legendary drug-fueled, “gonzo” reporter who was anything but a sober, reliable source, probably created the idea it was acquired from children with a bit of hyperbole in, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
Perhaps the compound's greatest claim to fame is when gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, in his psychedelic classic "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," had a character who said "there's only one source for this stuff ... the adrenaline glands from a living human body. It's no good if you get it out of a corpse." He also described the effects of adrenochrome as making "pure mescaline seem like ginger beer." Thompson later admitted to inflating adrenochrome's "high."
Some of those seduced by the tales of adrenochrome's psychedelic properties reported their rude awakening after trying the drug. Spanish writer Eduardo Hidalgo Downing, in his memoir "Adrenochrome and Other Mythical Drugs," said adrenochrome had "no value in psychoactive terms," adding it would be more useful to guzzle a cup of coffee instead. A few posters on the harm-reduction nonprofit site Erowid.org have also debunked the hallucinogenic claims.
So, what do we have here so far? We have a commercially available drug that, to the best of anyone’s actual knowledge, doesn’t do much of anything useful and yet, according to all these conspiracy theorists, all these rich and famous Hollywood actors are having children tortured to death in order to get this drug.
That begs a third question… who has been arrested over adrenochrome? After all, people have been arrested for doing every sort of illegal drug and terrible thing to children under the sun, right? Someone has been caught and punished for just about every abomination in history at one time or another, right? So, who has been arrested for murdering children for adrenochrome or using adrenochrome created from murdered children anywhere in the world?
Because it’s not a real thing. Nobody is harvesting children for adrenochrome. Again, why would they?
Once you go on from here, you start to get to the “those people are capable of anything” arguments that we talked about at the start of the article. It essentially boils down to, “Pedos exist and Hollywood stars are awful and want to look young, so they must all be doing this.” You might as well be saying, “Pedos exist and Hollywood stars are awful and want to look young, so they’re obviously sacrificing hundreds of kidnapped children to wolves in the woods in order to please Juventas, the Roman goddess of youth!”
It’s just nonsense, especially since most Hollywood stars have overwhelmingly failed to keep their youth and beauty. Granted, there are a few that work out hard, have great plastic surgeons, take the right hormones, use cutting-edge longevity practices, and have dynamite genetics that allow them to look much younger than they are. See Tom Cruise as the perfect example of this. However, that’s life. There are always a few outliers, just like there are 100-year-olds that have been smoking since they were teenagers.
These kinds of conspiracy theories are bad for society, bad for the conservative movement, and ultimately lead to outlets pushing all sorts of crankery to appeal to the sort of conspiracy wackos that flock to anyone who peddles this nonsense. Today, it’s adrenochrome, tomorrow it’s “we really didn’t go to the moon” and next thing you know, it’s Alex Jones claiming that Sandy Hook was a false flag.
If your audience is full of conspiracy theorists, you have to keep coming up with conspiracies to keep them enthralled. Instead, stay in tune with reality, embrace the truth, and test your beliefs to make sure they’re correct. The idea that people are harvesting kids for adrenochrome is just so obviously wrong that anyone pushing that idea is not someone who should be treated seriously. More people should be saying that instead of letting this nonsense spread.