What is Spirit Cooking, and what does it have to do with Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John Podesta?
Buckle in, because this one is as strange as they come.
For those wondering about the trending hashtag on Twitter, there is a dark and strange story connecting the term Spirit Cooking to Clinton’s campaign. Like the bulk of Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories late in this election cycle, it started with WikiLeaks and a leaked email from Podesta’s brother inviting him to the home of performance artist Marina Abramovic.
The email referred to the event as a Spirit Cooking, which the Washington Post explained is actually a form of performance art that started with her 1996 “cookbook” filled with implausible recipes. As the report noted, one called for “13,000 grams of jealousy” and another required the person to stand on top of a volcano.
But the news sites pushing the Spirit Cooking conspiracy theories latched onto one that had an instruction to “mix fresh breast milk with fresh sperm milk.” Right-wing blogs and Twitter users from there decided that the event was a blood-splashed tribute to Satan, one with John Podesta and Hillary Clinton in attendance.
John Podesta never replied to the email inviting him to the Spirit Cooking, and in a later email with his brother it is made clear that he did not attend, the Washington Post noted. But still, the Spirit Cooking story managed to gain a foothold on Friday among right-wing and conspiracy theory news sites, which tried to connect John Podesta and Hillary Clinton to satanic rituals.
InfoWars, the site run by Donald Trump-backing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, breathlessly described it as an “intimate spiritual ceremony.”
“Spirit cooking refers to ‘a sacrament in the religion of Thelema which was founded by Aleister Crowley’ and involves an occult performance during which menstrual blood, breast milk, urine and sperm are used to create a ‘painting.’
“According to Marina Abramovic, if the ritual is performed in an art gallery, it is merely art, but if the ritual is performed privately, then it represents an intimate spiritual ceremony.”
The Spirit Cooking story was then connected to another conspiracy theory being pushed, an even more bizarre claim that John Podesta and Hillary Clinton are engaged in some kind of satanic child sex trafficking ring.
But though the Spirit Cooking story has gained a foothold in the shadowy corners of the internet and even gotten some more mainstream attention as a Twitter trending term on Friday, there is no evidence that either John Podesta or Hillary Clinton ever participated in any kind of satanic ritual.
In fact, Abramovic has spoken out about the event, telling Art News that it was really just a dinner to reward people who pledged $10,000 or more to her Kickstarter campaign.
“It was just a normal dinner,” Abramovic said. “It was actually just a normal menu, which I call spirit cooking. There was no blood, no anything else. We just call things funny names, that’s all.”
And the Kickstarter page actually gave full details about what went on at the Spirit Cooking event.
“A dinner night with Marina during which she will teach you and other backers at this level how to cook a series of traditional soups, which you will all enjoy together. The night will end with the making of a golden ball, a recipe given to Marina in a Tibetan monastery. Marina will bring to this dinner a Spirit Cooking memento for each backer to keep.”
The Spirit Cooking story highlights the bizarre twists that the 2016 presidential election has taken in its final days. This story, combined with the other story claiming that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were involved in a satanic child sex trafficking ring, shows what appears to be a last-minute attempt to smear Clinton ahead of Election Day.
The popularity of Twitter hashtag #SpiritCooking shows that it’s at least succeeding in getting attention, but how many people actually believe the Spirit Cooking claims about Hillary Clinton and John Podesta is another story.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]