Anna Merlan

Senior Staff Writer, Features

An Ex-Google Employee Turned 'Whistleblower' and QAnon Fan Made 'Plandemic' Go Viral

Zach Vorhies leaked documents to the right-wing group Project Veritas, then became a committed anti-vaxxer and promoter of QAnon. In an April video, he laid out his plan to promote 'Plandemic'.
Anna Merlan

I Tried Hypnosis to Deal with My Pandemic Anxiety, and Got Something Much Weirder

The experience was far more vivid, more surreal and more puzzling than I could have ever imagined, and the process of trying to figure it out took me deep into science, myth, and meaning.
Anna Merlan
Coronavirus conspiracy theories

Coronavirus Is the Crisis of Conspiracy Theorists' Wildest Dreams

Conspiracy peddlers of every stripe are increasingly twisting the pandemic to bolster their world views – and to claim that perhaps it's not real at all.
Anna Merlan
essential workers

FedEx's CEO Says It's Protecting Workers. Video From a Warehouse Tells a Different Story

FedEx has claimed to provide gloves, hand sanitiser and other protective equipment to its workers, but video taken in a Wisconsin distribution centre says otherwise.
Anna Merlan
The Stupid Issue

Bad Hats, Riots, and the Unifying Phenomenon of a Truly Stupid Meme

A 19th century trend for tearing off unfashionable hats and throwing them in the gutter shows how stupid trends can bring us together.
Anna Merlan
Conscious Life

America’s Biggest New Age Expo Is Just Trying to Keep Things from Getting Weird

The Conscious Life Expo celebrates alternative healing, crystals, psychics, mediums, angels and aliens. Its founder says he's been trying to drive out the conspiracy theorist element that sometimes accompanies those things. Is it working?
Anna Merlan

Here Are the Most Common Airbnb Scams Worldwide

Nearly 1,000 people flooded our inbox with their stories. We found some patterns.
Anna Merlan

The 'Energy Worker' Seen on Goop Has Implied That His Treatments Can Disappear Breast Cancer

Gwyneth Paltrow’s new show 'The Goop Lab' is also providing a large audience for John Amaral, a "somatic energy practitioner" who has implied that he’s seen breast cancer disappear under his treatment.
Anna Merlan

The Coronavirus Is an Exciting Opportunity for Conspiracy Theorists

The spread of the epidemic has provided a bonanza for conspiracy theorists with something to promote, like hoax theories, bullshit treatments and xenophobia.
Anna Merlan

In the '70s, Two Women Embarked on a Huge Road Trip to Find Other Feminists

Inside the making of the 'New Woman's Survival Catalog', a sprawling look at the second-wave feminist movement.
Anna Merlan

This Discovery Might Hold the Secrets to the Deadliest Racist Massacre in US History

Archaeological researchers have uncovered a possible mass grave in Oaklawn Cemetery, Tulsa’s oldest graveyard. It could finally reveal how many people were killed in the infamous 1921 attack on Greenwood, Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street.
Anna Merlan

Kabbalah’s Fallen Superstar Would Like to Make a Comeback Now

Just don’t ask him about the explosive lawsuit accusing his family and the Kabbalah Centre of keeping their most devoted members in hellish conditions.
Anna Merlan