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Film

When Steven Spielberg was stalked by a conspiracy theorist

Many aspiring filmmakers and artists around the world dream of being as celebrated and recognised as Steven Spielberg. The director of unforgettable cultural artefacts like Jaws and Jurassic Park, Spielberg has managed to become one of the most commercially successful directors in history but fame has its own costs.

Celebrities are often hounded by fans for autographs and pictures but sometimes, it takes a darker turn. Spielberg has been stalked on multiple occasions by different individuals who were completely obsessed with the filmmaker. The first time was in 1997 when a man named Jonathan Norman tried to enter the director’s house with ominous tools.

At the trial of Jonathan Norman, Spielberg revealed that he had recurring nightmares because of Norman. “I’ve had fans and I’ve had people who’ve been a little pushy before, but not people with handcuffs and duct tape and knives and maps to my home,” he said. “I feel to this day that I am prey to this individual.”

However, the more prominent stalking case involving Spielberg happened in 2001 when the filmmaker was targeted by a conspiracy theorist called Diana Napolis. An ex-social worker, Napolis became affected by the satanic moral panic that gained momentum in the 1980s and she embarked on a dark and dangerous path.

Since she had worked in Child Protective Services, Napolis was convinced that the satanists were child abusers who were using their powers to exploit the defenceless. She took to the internet to harass her targets and routinely made posts which contained allegations about participation in child abuse and satanic rituals.

Napolis felt that this satanic conspiracy was huge and that Spielberg ran a satanic cult with his wife. Not only that, she also claimed that the director had planted a microchip called a “soulcatcher” in her brain which enabled Spielberg and his cult members to control her thoughts, actions, behaviour and almost everything else.

“I am concerned for my safety and security and for the safety and security of my family and others around me,” Spielberg said in the trial before pointing out, “to state the obvious, I am not involved with any form of manipulating Ms. Napolis’s mind or body through remote technology or otherwise.”

Spielberg wasn’t the only Hollywood celebrity that Napolis targeted since she also claimed that actress Jennifer Love Hewitt was a satanist as well. After being released on probation, Napolis was forbidden from contacting the celebrities for 10 years but it became clear to everyone involved that she suffered from severe delusions.

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