Conspiracy theorists have taken the deaths of eight people at the Travis Scott concert and spun it into an unwieldy conspiracy about a ritual satanic sacrifice and Kris Jenner’s birthday.
Scott held his Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston over the weekend. Friday night’s show, which featured Scott with a number of high-profile guests (including Drake), ended in tragedy when the crowd surged towards the stage, crushing some attendees, leaving eight dead and dozens injured.
It appears to be another incredibly sad instance of people being trampled and suffocated to death at a concert, but in the world we now live in, every mass-death event is proof of a grand conspiracy or something greater. So it’s depressingly unsurprising that a plethora of content has been created pushing the conspiracy that a popular rapper conducted a large-scale ritualistic sacrifice to Satan in plain sight took place this weekend.
The conspiracies offer a variety of “proofs,” like the T-shirt Scott was wearing, the imagery surrounding the event, and, of course, doctored and misrepresentations of videos from the concert. Like with all of these conspiracies, the numerology being broken down is never-ending and includes the time Scott posted his apology on Instagram, Kris Jenner’s recent 66th birthday, and that “Astroworld was exactly 666 months + 6 days after the founding of the Church of Satan.”
Scott and his organizers didn’t help matters with the imagery and messaging they used heading into Astroworld. Much of it, either real or perceived, featured nods to the occult. One, frequently cited, is the large head Scott fans walked through to get into the festival (it’s the head from Scott's album Astroworld) resembling the famous Hieronymus Bosch painting Christ in Limbo. Another is Scott tweeting “Feast this Friday” before the event.
Occult imagery paired with music is as old as popular music itself. This is just the latest iteration of a Christian mom burning her kids’ Judas Priest albums. Nor is “satanic panic” new to hip-hop either, as just recently Lil Nas-X caused a similar hubbub. However, with the real deaths being exploited, it’s hard to see this on the same level as Lil Nas-X angering suburban moms with a video of him twerking on the devil.
For QAnon and other conspiracy influencers, the deaths are the conspiracy du jour. John Sabal (known online as QAnon John, a prominent figure in the QAnon world and organizer of the recent large QAnon conference in Las Vegas) has posted several times about the conspiracy to his large audience, citing numerology.
“Just more proof that cements this as a ritual SACRIFICE…These people are SO UNBELIEVABLY SICK, AND EVIL,” he wrote. “They do things like this to mock us, because they think we don’t know any better…Also, they are laughing at our stupidity, and naivety. There is NO such thing as ‘coincidence’. Ever. This Satanic ritual was WELL planned out in advance, and presented to be IN YOUR FACE WICKED.”
It spread on TikTok, of course, where one user with over 20,000 followers spoke about her purported time at the concert and urged those watching “not to listen to what the news says.” The video has been re-uploaded across the internet and is used as evidence that this was a satanic ritual. The user also said the number of dead at the festival was far more than what the news and authorities reported.
“We’re all suffocating, dying, and on the screen, it says ‘See you on the other side’ along with all the Illuminati symbols and the praying hand sucking our energy from us,” she said. “I’m 100 percent convinced that this was literally an energy harvest, that this was a satanic ritual. Travis Scott was snatching people’s souls.”
According to Facebook, the topic “Astroworld Sacrifice” was trending with 39,000 users talking about it. Other stats showed an increase in people using terms associated with satanism on Twitter. The videos were more of the same with one wrapping Hillary Clinton into the conspiracy. Many are pushing the idea that the media is covering up the baseless story that hundreds died at the concert, not eight.
The satanic sacrifice tale is popular, so it was unsurprising that more mainstream figures would jump on it for views. Rich Lux, a YouTuber with almost half a million followers, who talks about drama, makeup, and conspiracies, posted a video about the conspiracy that has over 52,000 views. In the video, Lux bloviates about multiple rather out-there conspiracy theories including a doctored video of a demon walking on the top of the stage.
“You have numerology, you have demons walking on stage, you have demons jumping around,” said Lux at the end of the video. “Travis Scott, I feel, was in a trance.”
Lux is far from the only YouTuber to have posted about this. In most videos on YouTube, even ones discussing the tragic reality of the situation, the comment sections have been inundated with people spreading the conspiracy.
While the satanic conspiracies are the most talked-about, they’re far from the only theories going around about the event. In the anti-vax world, this is being spun as a mass death event because of vaccines. There is also the idea spread by police that someone was going around injecting people with fentanyl at the show—experts told VICE News earlier this was unlikely.
It's gotten to the point where some conspiracy theorists have moved past trying to see if it’s true to trying to explain why Scott killed so many of his fans. One Christian YouTuber said that God told him about the ritual sacrifice. He said a concert is the easiest way to kill a lot of people because they can “make up excuses like people injecting people with drugs or that people can’t breathe or people got trampled over.”
“Come on, man. People really believe in this stuff, people who I thought had sense,” he said about those who believe the accurate reporting on the event. “What actually happened was this dude is out here putting spells on people; there were satanic rituals around the whole platform. I gotta imagine they have so many witches working for them.”
“Finally someone speaking some sense,” a commenter responded.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.