What the heck. Everything else in the news this week seems to have careened off into crazytown, so we may as well take a really deep dive into the madness. Covering politics for a living, I’ve run across more than my share of conspiracy theories that leave you scratching your head. But over at Motherboard, investigative journalist MJ Banias has dug one up that’s going to make Q-Anon look like the college debate team. According to one surprisingly popular conspiracy theorist named Richard Van Steenberg, President Donald Trump contracted the novel coronavirus on purpose. But why would anyone do that, you ask? It’s because (you might want to sit down and grab a stiff drink for this one) he believes that Trump is an immortal alien who is planning to “shed his mortal flesh and shapeshift into something else.” Either that or Trump is an Earthly coconspirator working in league with the aliens to enslave mankind. Don’t look at me that way. I didn’t make this up.

QAnon is not the only movement getting worked up over Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis. Conspiracy theorists on the extreme fringe also suspect that Trump—who they believe might be an immortal alien—might have contracted coronavirus in an attempt to shed his mortal flesh and shapeshift into something else.

Steenberg started an online petition three years ago called “Disclose: Humanoid Extra Terrestrials Live Among Us.” His website highlights the bulk of his theories and with nearly 30,000 Twitter followers and over 10,000 signatures on his petition, Steenberg is confident he knows the truth. He is a purveyor of bizarre conspiracies that are largely divorced from anything happening in the observable universe. While he has a following among conspiracy theorists, his beliefs are fringe even for that space.

As most regular readers know, I hang out in the ufology community quite a bit, which is how I came to be acquainted with MJ’s excellent work. (And he produces a lot of great reporting and other content.) As such, I tend to fall down more than my fair share of rabbit holes, but even I’d never heard of this Steenberg fellow. But he has tens of thousands of followers on social media and his petition to force the United States government to disclose the existence of alien hybrids living among us and occupying positions of vast wealth and power has garnered more than ten thousand signatures.

If you read some of Steenberg’s quotes from his prolific collection of online literature and mass mailings, he seems to have a very detailed understanding of this nefarious plan. There are countless Humanoid ETs and alien-human hybrids living among us who can readily pass themselves off as humans. He believes that Donald Trump is either one of the alien-human hybrids or he’s a CEA (a human complicit in the alien plot). Either way, he’s been around pretty much forever and in his current form, he’s known all along that he was going to eventually become president.

From that lofty perch, he would be able to move the plot to take over humanity through psychological manipulation along. But it all has to happen in phases. This phase is coming to an end, so Trump will use the confusion surrounding the tumultuous 2020 elections to pretend to die from COVID-19 while actually transforming himself into a new physical form. He’s apparently a reptilian of some sort, though what planet he comes from originally is not mentioned.

Give the entire Motherboard article a look if only for the entertainment value. But there is one delicious bit of irony in this conspiracy theory. After all the time that Donald Trump has spent railing against aliens of the illegal variety, the joke would certainly be on all of us who supported him if he turned out to be an alien himself. But his caravan came here from much, much further away than Mexico or Honduras.