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Top 6 Most Mysterious 'Mass Hysteria' Cases in the World History
Cases of Mass Hysteria Through History

What is Mass Hysteria?

Mass sociogenic illness or mass hysteria, also known as mass hysteria or dissociative disorder, occurs when a community has widespread symptoms with no known medical cause. “Think of it like a placebo effect,” said Dr. Robert Bartholomew, senior emeritus lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, New Zealana.

Hysteria is a mental and neurological disorder. The disease arises from excessive anxiety, manifested by over-stimulation, inability to control emotions. Hysteria is often the result of pent-up inner conflict...

The disease can appear in both sexes, with a frequency of about 3 to 5 people in every 1,000 people. The disease is more common in girls aged 14-25 because of their natural susceptibility.

Mass hysteria is a term used to describe the situation in which physical or psychological symptoms appear en masse, spreading rapidly throughout communities, and occasionally across whole cities and countries. During an outbreak, afflicted individuals may experience uncontrollable laughter, fainting, fits, dizziness, muscle weakness, or any number of other symptoms that do not appear to have any physical cause. Cases of hysteria have been reported all over the world for centuries and provide a fascinating insight into the complex nature of human psychology.

Here are six mass hysterias that are said to be the most mysterious in human history:

1.The 'jumping plague' or 'dancing mania' of 1518

It all began on a summer day in Strasbourg, France in 1518. Frau Troffea, the citizen of the city, began dancing non-stop for almost a week. Within a month, 400 citizens of the eastern French city were stimulated to dance endlessly until they had a stroke, heart attack or exhaustion.

The state of these people is like being hypnotized. Authorities initially attributed the cause to "warm blood in the brain", but ordered the reluctant dancers to continue dancing around the clock to treat and ward off the demons inside them, even Build a stage and hire more dancers and musicians for them. This makes the situation even worse. Versions of the "jumping plague" in France then "spread" to Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Some historians suggest that the inhabitants unwittingly ingested ergot, a toxic mold that causes muscle contractions - but that wouldn't explain why they danced for so long. so. Others attribute the cause to the stress of disease and famine raging in the area, along with a group of people who believe in the "curse of dancing".

Top 6 Most Mysterious 'Mass Hysteria' Cases in the World History
Dance mania, otherwise known as the Dancing Plague, St. John’s Dance, or the Dance of St. Vitus, gripped mainland Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries.

The Biting Nuns (15 th Century)

In the 15th century, another outbreak of mass hysteria occurred in Germany when a nun in a convent started biting the other sisters. Before long, the behavior spread throughout the convent and, as news spread further afield, so too did the phenomenon, resulting in biting outbreaks in convents across Germany, the Netherlands and Italy.

As described by a 15th-century doctor: “ A nun in a German nunnery fell to biting all her companions. In the course of a short time, all the nuns of this convent began biting each other. The news of this infatuation among the nuns soon spread and it now passed convent to convent throughout a great part of Germany principally Saxony and It afterward visited the nunneries of Holland and at last, the nuns had biting mania even as far as Rome.”

2.The "Writing Pandemic" of 1892

In 1892, the hands of some schoolgirls in Groß Tinz, Germany began to shake uncontrollably as they wrote. Some experience memory loss and altered consciousness. The following year, students in Basel, Switzerland began to experience a similar situation.

Dr Bartholomew said: “The hand tremors when writing in post-19th century Europe were a direct result of a new teaching method that treated the mind as a muscle that needed exercise. The tedious and repetitive exercises took a physical toll on the students. So the illness broke out as a subconscious way of trying to get out of the dreaded writing class.”

Salem Witch Trials (1692–1693)

One of the most notorious instances of mass hysteria is that which occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Dozens of young girls displayed fits of uncontrollable screaming and contortions, which eventually triggered a flood of witchcraft accusations. The result was a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft, known as the Salem Witch Trials, which resulted in the deaths of 25 citizens of Salem and nearby towns.

The witch trials of Salem, which became a highly influential event in U.S. history, have been used in political rhetoric and popular literature to highlight the dangers of isolationism, religious extremism, false accusations, and breakdowns in due process.

3.Matton gas poisoning, 1944

During the height of World War II paranoia, the town of Mattoon, Illinois was filled with rumors of a mysterious man spewing gas at random victims.

The first was Aline Kearney. According to her account, that day, there was "an unpleasant sweet smell in the bedroom" that "paralyzed my legs and lower body". When Kearney's husband got home from work, he saw a stranger outside their house. The Kearney family's story was published on the front page of the local newspaper, which claimed that a mysterious "anesthetist" was outlawed. Soon, the entire town was flooded with reports of similar incidents. News of the mysterious stalker caused a panic in the public for a while, but the attacker was never found.

4.Bug epidemic in June 1962

In June 1962, 60 workers in a textile factory in the US began to have strange symptoms: rash, nausea, and numbness. The media quickly picked up on the story, naming it the "June plague". According to the workers, an insect infected them with the plague. However, entomologists dispatched to the scene found no trace of the bugs.

Top 6 Most Mysterious 'Mass Hysteria' Cases in the World History
In 1962 a mysterious disease broke out in a dressmaking department of a US textile factory. The symptoms included numbness, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Word of a bug in the factory that would bite its victims and develop the above symptoms quickly spread. Soon sixty two employees developed this mysterious illness, some of whom were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, psychologists interviewed sick workers. The results showed that more than 90% of the victims worked the same shift, most worked overtime, and 50 of them only started reporting their symptoms after media coverage of the outbreak. . Since then, some have suggested that stress, along with the power of rumors, may be the cause of a large number of people finding themselves "sick".

5.“Laughing Translation” Tanganyika (Tanzania), 1962

In 1962, the country encountered a strange "epidemic" that forced them to close schools for weeks, when dozens of female students could not help but laugh. By the end of the outbreak, more than 1,000 people had been affected. Laughing is not the only problem, many other stressed students present with rashes, fainting and breathing problems. The official diagnosis given to this case was mass hysteria.

6.Monkey Man in India, 2001

The city of Delhi, India experienced intermittent power outages during a heat wave in May 2001. As the inhabitants sought to relieve the heat by sleeping on the roofs, they began to report attacks by a mysterious creature that appeared to be half-man and half-monkey. The victims, mostly men, with low socioeconomic status, came to the doctor with puzzling injuries like bite marks. Two people died from falls in fear, one from the roof, the other on the stairs.

However, a medical report showed that the injuries of these people were self-inflicted. It seems that the hysteria was sparked by media images and out-of-control rumors – including demon possession, frenzied refiners and monkey men.

Symptoms of hysteria

Usually a young woman who is living and working normally, suddenly has convulsions and spasms after a psychological trauma. Although the consciousness is still awake, the patient likes to scream, struggle... because he wants to be noticed by others.

The disease can manifest in a variety of ways by disturbances in emotions, movements, sensations, etc. Emotional disturbances are the patients with mixed emotions, crying, screaming for no reason, speaking for no apparent reason. The ability does not fit with the surrounding theme.

In some cases, the patient has hallucinations, it is easy to suggest and self-suggest (incorrect perception of things happening).

So when someone has a seizure, screams or faints... it will easily cause a chain reaction, causing dozens or even hundreds of other people to have similar seizures, especially female workers or schoolgirls. .

In addition, patients may experience movement disorders such as tremor, convulsions, functional paralysis, sensory disturbances, loss or increased sensation. Visceral sensations are also disturbed such as abdominal pain, chest pain, heart pain...

Causes and treatment of mass hysteria

The cause is usually due to psychological trauma, anger, pessimism, excessive fear, suspicion of having a serious illness...

In order to treat this disease, the doctor first needs to eliminate the diseases with symptoms similar to hysteria such as epilepsy, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia...

The treatment of hysteria is mainly psychological therapy, relatives should take care of the patient gently, the illness will pass in a short time.

In some more difficult cases, it is necessary to use sedative drugs immediately, then use a low-dose antidepressant. Infusion with calcium or potassium has a supportive effect to cut convulsions, numbness...

A proper diet can not only help relieve the pain, but also prevent the recurrence of hysteria.

The diagnosis of mass hysteria by public health officials has often been met with controversy and public outcry because of the stigma surrounding victims of mental disorders, claiming that they ' crazy' or pretend. However, these illnesses are motivated by a belief. We all have beliefs, so we can all be victims