An incredibly bizarre series of events surrounding a fashion vlogger saw her fans whipped into a paranoid frenzy when they believed she had been kidnapped!
The truly strange saga unfolded over the last few days after 19-year-old Marina Joyce posted a seemingly innocent video to her popular YouTube channel and invited her fans to a morning gathering on Wednesday via Twitter.
To some of her avid viewers, however, something seemed amiss in the video and they began wondering if Joyce was somehow in danger.
As the suspicions fueled themselves in the echo chamber of the Internet, the now-obsessed fans began finding 'clues' to Joyce's peril in previous videos.
Unexplained bruises, a random shotgun in the background of a makeup tutorial, and an alleged off-camera whisper of 'help me' were cited as signs by Internet sleuths that something was very wrong.
The hysteria even evolved to the point where some speculated that Joyce's proposed Wednesday get-together was an ISIS plot and that she was forced to make the video by the terrorist group.
Others theorized that Joyce was being abused by her boyfriend or had developed a drug problem.
Eventually, an extremely concerned fan actually phoned the police in the YouTube star's town and had them check on her well being.
Attempting to quell the panic, Joyce was forced to broadcast a live video where she assured her viewers that everything was fine.
But as with any sensational conspiracy theory, Joyce's attempt to quell the speculation did little to dissuade those who insist that her broadcast was coerced by whatever nefarious forces have her in their clutches.
The entire scenario is a fascinating look at both the dark side of Internet stardom as well as how quickly paranoia and conspiracy theories can spread online.
It also, sadly, shows how deeply fears of ISIS soft target attacks have embedded themselves into the public consciousness.
Of course, cynical observers have suggested that the entire affair is a grand publicity stunt orchestrated by Joyce.
Should that prove to be the case, it's probably safe to say that the scheme worked even better than she could have imagined.
Source: The Telegraph