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United States of Paranoia: They See Gangs of Stalkers

’Mental health professionals say the narrative has taken hold among a group of people experiencing psychotic symptoms that have troubled the human mind since time immemorial. Except now victims are connecting on the internet, organizing and defying medical explanations for what’s happening to them.

The community, conservatively estimated to exceed 10,000 members, has proliferated since 9/11, cradled by the internet and fed by genuine concerns over government surveillance. A large number appear to have delusional disorder or schizophrenia, psychiatrists say.

Yet, the phenomenon remains virtually unresearched.

For the few specialists who have looked closely, these individuals represent an alarming development in the history of mental illness: thousands of sick people, banded together and demanding recognition on the basis of shared paranoias.

They raise money, hold awareness campaigns, host international conferences and fight for their causes in courts and legislatures.

Perhaps their biggest victory came last year, when believers in Richmond, Calif., persuaded the City Council to pass a resolution banning space-based weapons that they believe could be used for mind control. A similar lobbying effort is underway in Tucson. …’

Source: New York Times