The moon wanes on a dark night. As the hooded figure approaches the tome, they speak the ancient and forbidden words. In a flash, the obsidian blade moves over their hand, and a trickle of blood stains the paper. The air grows cold. The eldritch chanting grows louder. And when you feel the power of the Horned One reach into their frail body, the cultist turns to meet your gaze and whispers, "Don't forget to smash that like button."
Many people have turned to YouTube to perform sinister deeds for the sake of greed. But enough about Logan Paul. If you truly want to see the limits YouTubers will go to manifest their desires, you should check Blood Over Intent, a popular YouTube-centric cult that practices online blood rituals. While other sorcering communities condemn the use of blood magic as being dangerous and highly volatile, this cult boils it down to three easy to follow steps. First, you write your wishes on a piece of paper. (Step 1: Intent) Then, you cut yourself and bleed on the page, 'charging' the magic. (Step 2: Blood). Finally, you upload a video of the ritual to YouTube.
Everything else is left to the whim of the spellcaster. Some wish for self-acceptance. Others wish for a Nintendo Switch. Some bleed only a few drops into a geometric pattern. Others smear half a cup over the page like a hemophiliac toddler during finger painting class. But YouTube remains an integral part of the incantation. Why? Blood Over Intent practitioners believe that their magic achieves peak potency if witnessed by a large crowd. And since uploading videos onto YouTube technically makes everyone in the world with a wi-fi connection part of your bloody coven, their blood powers increase with every view like an influencer vampire.
At this point, you may be wondering: Aside from a weird blood fetish, what's so satanic about what is basically a gothy version of a vision board? Heck, one of their most popular incantations is to end letters with "and bring forth Heaven onto earth for the benefit of all." That sounds quite wholesome. But what else would you call a cult run by The Devil himself? At least, that's what Blood Over Intent's originator, Mark Braun from Coral Springs, Florida, claims to be. Or to put it in his poetic words: "I am fucking Satan in the flesh. Get over it."
While not everyone who performs the Blood Over Intent ritual knows Braun, they do know what he's offering. Perform his ritual, Braun claims, and your name will be added to the biblical Book of Life. Else, you will remain one of the walking dead, living a meaningless existence full of suffering. Again, the Lucifer of Key Largo says it best: "Blood up or shut up." What else does the YouTube cult prophet have to say? Braun likes to post lengthy, incoherent rants about the coming apocalypse. He also uploads videos of him talking backward. Reverse the audio, and you can be witness to his dark messages. Messages like "I am the Devil in the flesh. You are a little pussy” and other creeds you'd expect from an edgy middle schooler who lived through the Satanic Panic.
But being Satan or harnessing the power of blood isn't the only thing that Braun believes in. Take a peek at his online profile or those of his "blood brothers" and "blood sisters" (did I mention their catchphrase is "blood thick"? As if their ritual needed more help reminding people of a commercial for sanitary napkins) and you'll find they all believe in some hodgepodge of the internet's favorite conspiracy theories, from Q to chemtrails to lizard people.
In fact, if you dig deep enough, you'll find that the Blood Over Intent cult is a strangely sanguine offshoot of YouTube's flat earth community. That makes a lot of sense once you realize that, just like believing in conspiracies, putting your faith in blood magic is not about gaining power but erasing blame. To believe that the powers that be are conspiring to keep you weak and meek (like by poisoning you with vaccines, or spraying you with chemicals, or making the earth … flat) is just the same as to believe that you need blood magic to level the playing field. It's not your fault that life sucks. You just didn't realize nothing short of a pact with Satan will get you that promotion, get you to stay sober, or get your estranged son to start talking to you again. And at least the members of Blood Over Intent have a good excuse to keep falling for these empty promises. You wouldn't be able to think straight either if you kept bleeding all over your legal pads.
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Top Image: Jonathan Cooper, YouTube