Thousands of people across the world are convinced they are being stalked by large gangs. They call themselves ‘Targeted Individuals’.

‘Gangstalking is an umbrella term describing a series of techniques utilized by a group to instil mental instability within a victim with the intent to discredit, sabotage, harass, extort and even drive a victim to suicide. A victim of gangstalking can have their reputation, credibility, careers, relationships and entire life put into ruins.

Techniques such as mind games, perception manipulation, organized stalking, covert harassment, constant surveillance and possibly electronic harassment are used to push a victim to mental instability.’

Gangstalking Subreddit

Targeted Individuals (T.Is) describe trips on public transport where people have appeared to be watching or following them.

In one video a T.I takes a GoPro on the New York Subway and narrates his journey to try to prove the existence of his stalkers. He notes a man in an orange jacket who occasionally looks at him, another tall man who enters the train and makes eye contact with the man in the jacket, and a lady, who he thinks is giving him dirty looks whenever he looks away from her. 

‘For several stops, she just stands there,’ he says. ‘These people really do perform a vicious act. They don’t care if people are driven to suicidal depression like I almost was. It wasn’t until after that I realised this is some kind of sick game I am in. You have to know that you are a good person inside and that they are the bad ones. You have to know that, to maintain your sanity.’

To the T.I, this man, along with the lady and the taller man, are all involved in the same game. In this case, they are off-duty police officers entertaining themselves in their free time by driving him to madness.

Another T.I posts a GoPro video of a routine visit to a mechanics shop. Except, he’s is being watched by COINTELPRO agents. (COINTELPRO was a very real project run by the FBI to try to disrupt the Black Panther Party and other subversive organisations and public figures during the 60s. It ended in 1971.) 

He notices a red Jeep opposite with a man in it. His suspicions aroused, he decides to watch it. He notices the man inside has his hands on his head. The T.I takes a photo. Then a white car enters the car park, stops, then leaves again. The occupant of the Jeep immediately gets out, looks towards the white car and walks inside the shop with his phone to his ear. The T.I notes he isn’t talking.

In the T.I’s alternate reality, the man has his hands on his head because he is distressed at the T.I noticing him. The white vehicle contains his supervisor, who radios instructions to him. Following those instructions, the man in the Jeep maintains cover by leaving his car and entering the shop like a normal customer, pretending to be on the phone. 

These agents are conducting what T.Is term ‘conspicuous observation’ – monitoring the T.I in broad daylight; a tactic intended to be menacing. But in reality, as in the first video, the only surveillance is being carried out by the T.I himself, and the people he videos are just normal people going about their normal lives.

On Reddit, T.Is discuss hearing voices coming from their walls, people spitting into their drinks, cars sounding their horns when they pass their house, and three people in the same shop having the name David – a tactic intended to remind the T.I of another David who bullied him at school. Others discuss seasonal ups and downs of their gangstalking:

‘WTF happened this holiday season?

I know these useless pieces of dog shit get even crazier at this time.i’veknowinngly been targeted a little over 6 years, nov/dec 2012. my gang stalking went up like 1000 at the end of nov/early dec, and hasnt gone down at normal levels. nothing in my life has changed recently and really same shit for years anyway.

wtf happened? anyone elsehave something similar in nov/dec? sometimes shit like thsi happens but eventually goes back to normal.’

Reddit

Another notes that their stalking has decreased since the federal government shutdown began.

Other T.Is come tantalisingly close to realising that what they’re experiencing is a mental condition rather than real harassment:

Posting here reduces the amount of gang-stalking I experience?
I started posting here in August last year. Immediately, the harassment I’d previously experienced stopped.
I stopped posting maybe sometime in November. Within weeks, I noticed an increase in what might be called gangstalking related activity. By Christmas, I’d been driven to back to psychotherapy.

I’m posting again in the hope that I can get back to the peaceful months I experienced before. Does anyone know what is going on with this or has anyone experienced similar?

Reddit

It’s a running theme for the agents to behave in an ‘abnormally normal’ way; acting so inconspicuously that it becomes suspicious. In a Vice documentary about Gangstalking, a gay make-up artist in Los Angeles says he is being harassed and intimidated by a group of fundamentalist Christians from Mississippi.

‘I watched a parking lot fill up with cars. Heterosexual couples would hold hands and stroll through the back of the parking lot like they were on some 1950s sitcom. People that are trying to look incredibly normal look incredibly abnormal, because they’re acting. It’s not authentic. That’s when I started thinking: it’s all of them against me, this is clearly a collective, organised… whatever is happening.’ 

While not everyone who experiences delusions believes they are being gangstalked, psychologists say most people who believe they are are in fact suffering from mental health issues.

But if you find 10,000 people who believe what you believe, how can that belief be insane? 

More likely, those friends of yours advising you to see a psychologist are in fact in on the plot.

Gangstalking beliefs, with their links to legitimate issues of national security and surveillance, present a unique problem. Sufferers of mental illness don’t normally band together online, but Targeted Individuals are a strong community, bound together by paranoid beliefs about their neighbours, doctors, teachers and the local police. 

Online places like Reddit, Facebook groups and YouTube provide comfort and solidarity for T.Is. But they also act as echo chambers which strengthen their convictions. T.Is defy medical explanations for what they’re going through and organise meet-ups in the homes of T.Is. One group in Vancouver even ran a high-profile advertising campaign on the city’s subway and billboards.

A belief in gangstalking is, at its core, a way of making sense of the chaos of life. As with any inexplicable event, when someone begins to experience psychotic symptoms, the logical part of the brain desperately seeks to explain them in a rational way. If we are afraid, there must be a legitimate reason. Over time, and after considering multiple possibilities, we hit on an explanation. 

For people with an instinctive distrust of others, a feeling of victimhood or suspicion of the authorities, gangstalking can be a way of explaining anxiety in a way which can seem logical. 

There is little less desirable than admitting to yourself that you are mentally ill, and a common element in the writings of T.Is, and something they share with many other conspiracy theorists, is the assertion that they are in fact more intelligent and enlightened than most.

Targeted Individuals may drive the same vehicles as everyone else, visit the same places, wear the same clothes, and work in the same jobs. But they feel different. They see, out of the corner of their eye, someone watching them. This makes them anxious. But the anxiety is not random, it’s justified, yes, because they are being followed. Thousands of people dressed in disguises are working against them to disrupt their lives. 

When a car stops next to theirs, it isn’t a coincidence. It’s part of a plan. If someone wears the same clothes as them, takes the same route on the metro, or enters a public toilet at the same time, none of that is chance. It’s a tactic used by stalkers to scare them. If their husband or wife cheats on them, or leaves, it’s not bad luck or their fault. The stalkers have lured their loved ones away. 

The stalkers unpick every area of the T.Is life. Every relationship, every friendship, and every job, until there is nothing left. Nothing left but the fear.