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THE GLOBAL MIND STORM

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THE GLOBAL MIND STORM

India is not alone when it comes to cases of mass hysteria. World over, there have been reports of mass hysteria.

The Dancing Plague: In 1518, dancing mania gripped Strasbourg, France. Many took to dancing for days without a break. It began with a woman dancing in the street. Within a week, 34 others had joined and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Most of these people eventually died from heart attack, stroke or exhaustion. It is not known why these people danced to their deaths.

The organ panic: This mass hysteria is not uncommon and over the years, continues to surface from time to time with the latest outbreak in 1967 in Singapore. Such was the panic among men that their genitals were getting smaller and would eventually disappear that the Government and medical officials had to step in and launch a campaign to reassure men that this was anatomically impossible.

The War of the Worlds: In 1938 during the airing of HG Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds over the radio, people in the US went into panic after some listeners heard only a part of the broadcast and took it for news. The result — it saw people fleeing and calling up newspapers and the police that they could smell gas and see lights flashing.

The toxic lady: Gloria Ramirez in California was called the toxic lady by the media after many hospital workers got ill and fainted on being exposed to her body and blood. Apparently, her body gave out a garlicky and fruity smell and her blood contained flecks of a strange substance like paper. The conclusion — the health department issued a statement which said that those who had become ill were suffering from mass hysteria.

Morangos com Açúcar Virus: In May, 2006, an outbreak of Morangos com Açúcar Virus was reported in Portuguese schools. Around 300 students at 14 schools reported similar symptoms like rashes, difficulty breathing, and dizziness. The Portuguese National Institute for Medical Emergency dismissed the illness as mass hysteria.

Mysterious illness: In 1962, a mysterious disease broke out in a dressmaking department of a US textile factory. The symptoms included numbness, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Around 62 employees developed this illness, and some had to be hospitalised.The US Public Health Service Communicable Disease Center, it was concluded that the case was one of mass hysteria. Researchers believed some workers were bitten by a bug, though no evidence of the bug was found, anxiety was likely the cause of the symptoms.

The Tanganyika laughter epidemic: In 1962, an outbreak of mass hysteria occurred on the western coast of Lake Victoria. Apparently, a joke was told in a boarding school triggering laughter in a small group of students. So much so that the school from which the laughter sprang was shut down. But the epidemic affected thousands and it took almost six to 18 months for it to die down.

Spirit possession: In 1987, 36 Muslim girls in a Malay hostel in Alor Star, Kedah, came under the grip of hysteria that involved shouting, running and mental confusion, crying, bizarre movements, trances and spirit possession. The girls, ages 13-17, complained of too much religion and study and too little recreation. Malays are susceptible because of their belief in spirits.

 
 
 
 
 

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