10 Strangest Mass Hysterias


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Author's Note: 10 Strangest Mass Hysterias

I've never fallen prey to an episode of mass hysteria, although I was around during the day care ritual abuse panic. I definitely remember reading about it and being appalled. But I was young and didn't have any children of my own at the time, so I wasn't that invested in the story. What's scarier to me today is a situation like one in Le Roy, New York, where 18 girls began twitching. Some said it was conversion disorder, but others disagreed, insisting it must be because of an infection or some kind of contaminant in the soil (during a 1970 train accident in the area, toxic chemicals were spilled). The girls eventually got better through counseling and antibiotics. Since the antibiotics could have cured an infection or "healed" the girls through the placebo effect, in the end the episode is still a mystery.

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