25 Crazy Cases Of Mass Hysteria

The mind has tremendous power over the body. Under certain stressful conditions, our brains can create flu-like symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, rashes, or vomiting. We’d like to think it’s a virus, but it’s really just our minds. Well, cramming all that anxiety into one place can ignite a wave of mass hysteria and make people do bizarre and crazy things. Here are 25 Crazy Cases Of Mass Hysteria.


Phantom Slasher of Taiwan

1600px-A_aesthetic_billhookSource: http://ergotism.info

In 1956, citizens of Tapei, Taiwan were horrified they’d be the next victims of a supposed slasher going around randomly cutting people. Twenty-one victims were reported getting cut by this slasher. However, after further investigation, they found these victims would report everyday scrapes or wounds that happened throughout the day. But these people truly believed they were cut by the slasher. Police concluded the multitude of reports were psychological only.


Salem Witch Trials

Matteson-witchSource: http://www.history.com

Perhaps the most notorious American case of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials were a brutal display of how far people will go because of fear and panic. In 1691, eight girls displayed bizarre behavior from bizarre speech, convulsive movements, and strange conduct. The girls accused two elderly women of witchcraft and before long, more women were arrested for being witches. Twenty residents lost their lives due to the moral panic.


West Bank Fainting Epidemic

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)Source: http://www.nytimes.com

In 1983, 947 Jordanian women in the West Bank produced symptoms of fainting, dizziness, abdominal pain, and headaches. People feared the Israelis were secretly gassing them. Over a fifteen day period among heavy media speculation, investigators concluded that no gas had been used, and it was the results of paranoia and widespread panic.


Mad Gasser of Matoon

mad gasser of mattoonSource: http://backpackerverse.com

Matoon, Illinois was a quiet town until September 1944 when a young girl and her mother called the police, reporting that a man standing at their window had sprayed gas in their room. They had become nauseous and light headed. The story appeared in the local newspaper and more people came forward reporting similar things. In total, twenty-nine females reported something to the police. However, a University researcher looked further into things and concluded it was a mere case of mass hysteria, nothing more.


The Loudun Possessions

Urbain_GrandierSource: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk

In 1634, nuns in the French town of Loudun claimed they had been possessed by demons. The Catholic Church got involved and investigated the account. Fingers pointed at local priest Urbain Grandier and exorcisms and a trial proceeded. With false evidence and poor testimonies against him, Urbain was convicted and burned at the stake. Many believe the Catholic Church stirred up hysteria in order for more conversions.

Photo: 25. Thamizhpparithi Maari, A aesthetic billhook, CC BY-SA 3.0, 24. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 23. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 22. backpackerverse (Fair Use: No Free Images Available), 21. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 20. Wendy via flickr. CC by 2.0, 19. Robert Frank Gabriel, Nun Deep in Prayer, CC BY 2.0, 18. Rosino, Laughing (59303979), CC BY-SA 2.0, 17. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 16. Hydrel, Bouteille de Coca-Cola d’un litre cinq 001, CC BY-SA 3.0, 15. Pexels.com (Public Domain), 14. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 13. Crosa, Scream crosathorian, CC BY 2.0, 12. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 11. Pexels.com (Public Domain), 10. Orrling and Tomer S, Itch 02, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 8. Sharon Mollerus from Duluth, USA, Strawberries with hulls – scan, CC BY 2.0, 7. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 6. Pexels.com (Public Domain), 5. Dan.soap, Albrechtsburg Meissen bei Nacht, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 3. fiona.mcgowan via flickr. CC BY 2.0 , 2. Adbar, School in Badulla District, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1. Edinburgh City of Print, Printers mallet, CC BY 2.0

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