5 most mysterious psychic epidemics

This article contains the 5 most inexplicable outbreaks that will not fit in the understanding of the time and for our incredible.

1. The medieval dance plague

In 1374, tens of villages located along the Rhine swept deadly disease — the dancing plague or, scientifically, horeomaniya (or chorea). Hundreds of people danced in the streets and started doing pranks by anyone (except, perhaps, the dancers themselves) do not hear the music. They have almost nothing to eat or sleep, sometimes for days, until the broken foot in the blood did not refuse to hold them.

And then the plague stopped — almost as suddenly as it had begun.

The next outbreak occurred in Strasbourg in 1518, when a woman named Frau Troffea suddenly went out, began to dance and could not stop for several days. During the week, it joined another 34 people by the end of the month the number of dancers has increased to 400. Dozens of people were falling and dying from heart attack, stroke or exhaustion. And in this case, the disease was gone as suddenly.

Scientists of all stripes have tried to find an explanation for this puzzle. For a time it was considered the most likely explanation is that people are poisoned bread, overwhelmed ergot — a fungus that grows on damp rye stalks. When ingested, it causes cramps, fever and delirium.

John Waller, a professor of history at the University of Michigan with this version does not agree — in both cases, it was just about dancing, not about the cramps. Another popular theory — on which the victims were part of a cult dance, too, seemed unconvincing Waller.

Professor Waller proposed his theory: it was a mass psychogenic (caused by trauma) diseases caused by fears and depression. Both outbreaks were preceded famine, crop damage, floods — that could be interpreted as signs of an approaching biblical catastrophe. The horror of the supernatural could bring people into a kind of trance state.

In addition, the dance tent was associated with the name of St. Vitus — Christian martyr, dancing in front of a statue which, according to legend, it was possible to find health. That is the idea for the sake of dancing was already seated in the minds of people. All that was needed — one person who would have started this marathon.

Strasbourg outbreak was not the last — in 1840, something similar happened in Madagascar.

2. The epidemic of laughter in Tanganyika in 1962

This nightmare began January 30, 1962 with the usual jokes. Three student girls' school in Tanganyika began to laugh and could not stop. Soon laughter swept the 95 schoolgirls. The scale of the epidemic was quite a hardball, and the school had to close for two months.

Laughter gave way to tears, accompanied by bouts of fear and, in some cases, outbreaks of aggression. These symptoms quickly spread around the school (perhaps by contact with an infected person), and can last from several hours to 16 days.

School was closed in March, when the number of infected to 95 of the 159 students in the school. 10 days after the closing of a new outbreak occurred — in one of the neighboring villages. Several girls' schools have been closed a native of this village, and apparently brought the infection home. As a result, from April to May in the village have become victims of a mysterious epidemic 217 people.

All the victims were mentally healthy people. They have not observed nor heat, nor cramps in their blood was not found anything unusual. Theories about the impact of a psychoactive fungi in the absence of other symptoms did not materialize. A mystery to this day remains unsolved.

3. Dromomaniya or pathological tourism

Most of us from time to time like a change of scenery. But there are also those who, once started, will not be able to return to a sedentary lifestyle. The epidemic dromomanii or uncontrolled desire to change places swept France 1886-1909 period.

The man who served as a model for the European dromomanii medical establishment was gasman from Bordeaux named Jean-Albert Dada. In 1886, after he returned from a truly epic journey, he was admitted to the hospital St. Andre. The man was, of course, exhausted to the extreme, but it's not so bad — it was in a fog, he could not remember where he was and what was done.

Doctors managed to recreate the crumbs of his story and make a medical journal called "Mad traveler." It turned out that there was a passionate desire to travel at Dada in 1881, when he was somewhere in the south of Belgium left the French army and moved first to Prague and then to Berlin, and then through the eastern Prussia reached Moscow. Dada was arrested in Moscow (just the murder of Alexander II) and deported to Turkey. In Constantinople he was received at the French Consulate and sent to Vienna, where he again found work gasman.

Shortly after his story became known to the public, at Dada got followers, in any case, we know more about some cases dromomanii in France around this time. No cases of the disease was not so much, but talk about this phenomenon in the medical community was so much that it is drawn to the real epidemic. They gradually subsided by about 1909.

4. Coronary syndrome or retractable genitals

Coronary syndrome — is occurring in men panic when they feel that the penis begins to retract into the abdominal cavity. This attack has appeared in the form of an epidemic, the first known case which relates to the year 300 BC Most often manifestations of carotenoids were observed in Africa or Asia, and were accompanied by the fear of impending death. The last outbreak of coronary occurred in 1967 in Singapore, where more than a thousand men tried to prevent retraction of his manhood with everyday items — various clips and sticks.

The women, too, there was something like that — they experienced a panic that their breasts or nipples disappear. But the men were victims of yet immeasurably greater. Psychologists believe that such epidemics are characteristic of the cultures in which a person's worth is measured by its ability to reproduce. Most often, the epidemic followed periods of social tension and general anxiety. In China, considered to be the originators of coronary spiritual foxes, and in Africa believe that this is the result of witchcraft.

5. Motor hysteria

In the Middle Ages messages about all sorts of hysterical states among the inmates of monasteries were uncommon thing. In a monastery, for example, nuns suddenly began to meow and climb trees and generally behave like a cat. Similar epidemics occurred for over 300 years (since 1400) across Europe. One of the most recent cases occurred in 1749 in Würzburg (Germany), when, after mass fainting and foam from the mouth of the nuns, a woman accused of witchcraft and beheaded. Usually epidemic ended after a visit by a priest and ritual exorcism.

Waller (the one that studied the possible causes of the dancing plague) proposed the theory that the strange epidemic disease among the nuns were caused by a combination of stress and a religious trance.

Women are often sent to a monastery by force, to the same place it was a fairly stringent laws, especially since 1400. Devotion to the spiritual battle the forces were far from each and many nerves were frayed. Any strange behavior was interpreted by the dark forces of intervention:

"They themselves admitted the possibility that they can become obsessed and subconsciously take on this role," — said Waller.

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