It’s All In Your Head? 9 Strange Cases Of Mass Hysteria

Late last year, several female students in the town of LeRoy, New York, came down with a bizarre illness. They began experience Tourettes-like symptoms, including painful tics and spasms and vocal outbursts. The girls all went to their doctors, but no physical or medical cause could be found. The high school the girls attended was tested for potential environmental toxins, but none were discovered. And finally, it was determined that the 12 girls who experienced these debilitating symptoms were actually suffering from mass hysteria.

What is mass hysteria?

It’s the spontaneous manifestation of a series of physical symptoms or behavior by more than one person. Sometimes referred to as conversion disorder, mass hysteria has occurred throughout history — the earliest known recorded case is from 1518. And while many of the LeRoy, New York, girls report a reduction in the severity of their symptoms, their case is no less fascinating. After the jump, eight more weird and fascinating cases of mass hysteria.