10 Examples of Mass Hysteria and how it effected Society
when you think of mass hysteris you think of Crazy people but there is an extreme danger of allowing mass-hysteria to take over control of society. Think your safe think again here are ten examples of mass hysteria most of which are in recent history
1.The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. Some listeners heard only a portion of the broadcast, and in the atmosphere of tension and anxiety leading to World War II, took it to be a news broadcast
. Newspapers reported that panic ensued, people fleeing the area, others thinking they could smell poison gas or could see flashes of lightning in the distance. Some people called CBS, newspapers or the police in confusion over the realism of the news bulletins. Initially Grover’s Mill (the site of one of reports in the drama) was deserted, but crowds developed. Eventually police were sent to control the crowds. To people arriving later in the evening, the scene really did look like the events being narrated, with panicked crowds and flashing police lights streaming across the masses. There were instances of panic throughout the US as a result of the broadcast, especially in New York and New Jersey.
1.7 million thought it was true, and out of those, 1.2 million were actually frightened.
2.The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
In the 1930s -- all the way through to the mid 40s -- the residents of Botetourt County, Virginia, and Mattoon, Illinois, were terrorized by a surreal specter. Also called the "Anesthetic Prowler" or "The Phantom Anesthetist," he was supposedly a dark, mysterious figure responsible for dozens of victims falling ill from mysterious gasses flooding their homes. Whole families reported sudden attacks of choking, dizziness, headaches and various respiratory ailments.
The cops couldn't catch him and doctors were baffled by the mysterious ailments of his victims. The FBI was called in but they couldn't catch him either. Bulletins were circulated, newspapers warned residents to be on the lookout, vigilante groups roamed the streets trying to catch him -- in short, everyone went more than a little nuts trying to catch this gassy assailant.
But evidence suggests that he never existed. Sure, lots of people got sick, dozen and dozens and dozens more reported seeing dark and mysterious figures up to hideous no good stalking the night, and the authorities were run ragged with reports but there were no leads, nothing solid; nothing but suggestion, victims suffering from anxiety and fear, and the bizarre power of mass hysteria.
3. Salem Witch Trials
the Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex,Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Despite being generally known as the Salem witch trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in a variety of towns across the province: Salem Village (now Danvers), Ipswich, Andoverand Salem Town.
The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town. Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused but not formally pursued by the authorities. All twenty-six who went to trial before this court were convicted. The four sessions of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693, held in Salem Village, but also in Ipswich, Boston and Charlestown, produced only three convictions in the thirty-one witchcraft trials it conducted. The two courts convicted twenty-nine people of the capital felonyof witchcraft. Nineteen of the accused, fourteen women and five men, were executed by hanging. One man, Giles Corey, refused to enter a plea and was crushed to death under heavy stones in an attempt to force him to do so. At least five more of the accused died in prison.
The episode is one of the most famous cases of mass hysteria,
It later spread to other towns and lead to the deaths of over 2,500 people
The practice was so widespread that in later years absurdity of these accusations caused the term to adopt a connotation of malicious false accusations and persecution such as the anti-communist accusations during the McCarthy era
4.The Dancing Plague of 1518
In July 1518 in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, a large number of people spontaneously started dancing for days without rest over a period of one month. Most of the people ended up dying due to heart attacks, strokes, or exhaustion. The plague started with one woman, in a matter of a few days that number increased to 340, and within a month to 4000. To this day the cause of the mass hysteria is unknown
5.The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic
This laughter epidemic started in a Tanzanian village in 1962. Starting with an innocent joke in a boarding school, the resulting laughter is said to have perpetuated itself and spreading to thousands of people. The laughter, some people claim was incapacitating.
No one knew what to do. The school administrators were puzzled, local
doctors were confused. Trying to put a lid on the phenomena, the administrators shut the school down.
But that was too little, too late: Whatever it was began to spread. It infected other schools and worked its way into the village, seemingly carried by infected students. It traveled to another village 20 miles away, and another 55 miles from Kashasha.
Even weirder, it wasn't a constant thing. Like little hysterical explosions, the laughter would pop up, disable small groups for days at a time, then vanish.
Other symptoms included respiratory problems, fainting, pain, and weirdly enough, crying attacks. The phenomenon lasted for about 18 months.
The phenomena is called Mass Psychogenic Illness, more commonly known as mass hysteria, and although the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic is an extreme version, it's more common than you think
6.Soap Opera Disease
Morangos com Açúcar is a famous Portuguese youth soap opera in its sixth season right now, and is popular in predominantly among children and teenagers because of its depiction of adventures of Portuguese youth. In May 2006, an outbreak of the so-dubbed
"Morangos com Açúcar Virus" was reported in Portuguese schools. 300 or more students at 14 schools reported similar symptoms to those experienced by the characters in a then recent episode where a life-threatening virus affected the school depicted in the show. Symptoms of the "virus" included rashes, difficulty breathing, and dizziness.
over 300 students across 14 different schools began reporting symptoms matching those of the characters on the show, including rashes, respiratory difficluties and more, causing many schools to shut down. The ‘disease’ was ultimately dubbed mass hysteria by the Portuguese National Institute for Medical Emergency
The perceived outbreak forced some schools to temporarily close. The Portuguese National Institute for Medical Emergency eventually dismissed the illness as mass hysteria.
7.Tales From The Crypt
Way back in the early 1950's, when the moral panic about Horror Comics was at its height, there was a minor outbreak of mass hysteria amongst kids in Glasgow.
In those days small newsagents and grocers, in Scotland, used to stock imported American comics, like EC Comics with their popular horror and crime titles.
Anyway, one day a rumour went the rounds, amongst some kids in Glasgow, that there was a vampire haunting one of the city's cemetaries. A vampire with steel teeth!
Hundreds of children aged from four to 14, some of them armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling inside the historic graveyard.
They were, they told the bemused constable, hunting a 7ft tall vampire with iron teeth who had already kidnapped and eaten two local boys.
Fear of the so-called Gorbals Vampire had spread to many of their parents, who begged Pc Deeprose for assurances there was no truth to the rumours.
Newspapers at the time reported that the headmaster of a nearby primary school told everyone present that the tale was ridiculous, and police were finally able to disperse the crowd.
8. The Toxic lady
Gloria Ramirez was a Riverside, California, woman dubbed “the toxic lady” by the media after exposure to her body and blood had sickened several hospital workers.
She was rushed to hospital in 1994 suffering from the effects of cervical cancer. The medical staff who attended to her all began to feel ill and eventually fainted. Gloria’s body exuded a garlicky and fruity smell and her blood contained flecks of a strange substance like paper.
The odd thing about this case is that of those who handled Gloria’s body or treated her, more women than men suffered from the ill-effects and everyone involved had normal results in blood tests. The health department issued a statement at the conclusion of their investigation which said that those who had become sick were, in fact, suffering from mass hysteria.
9.Mumbai Sweet Water
The 2006 Mumbai “sweet” seawater incident was a phenomenon during which residents of Mumbai claimed that the water at Mahim Creek, one of the most polluted creeks in India that receives thousands of tonnes of raw sewage and industrial waste every day, had suddenly turned “sweet”. Within hours, residents of Gujarat claimed that seawater at Teethal beach had turned sweet as well. In the aftermath of the incidents, local authorities feared the possibility of a severe outbreak of water-borne diseases, such as gastroenteritis. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board had warned people not to drink the water, but despite this many people had collected it in bottles, even as plastic and rubbish had drifted by on the current. By 2pm the following day, the devotees said that the water was salty again.
The Y2K bug was the fear that the clocks in computers would fail on the first day of the year 2000 causing worldwide catastrophe. While no globally significant computer failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000, preparation for the Y2K bug had a significant effect on the computer industry. Countries that spent very little on tackling the Y2K bug (including Italy and South Korea) experienced as few problems as those that spent much more (such as the United Kingdom and the United States). The total cost of the work done in preparation for Y2K is estimated at over 300 billion US dollars – for a problem that really wasn’t there.
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