It’s All In Your Head? 9 Strange Cases Of Mass Hysteria
The Fainting Epidemic
In October 1965, an all girls school in Blackburn, England, experienced an unusually high number of fainting cases. The faintings began amongst the 14-year-old students but then steadily moved down through the younger school population. In all, 85 students were rushed to the hospital complaining of "swooning, moaning and chattering of teeth." How romantic! An investigation of the incident in the year following the fainting spell found that it was likely caused by a bizarre conflagration of events. The girls had participated in a three-hour parade which had caused 20 legitimate fainting spells and there had been a recent polio epidemic. That left the schoolgirls particularly prone to the suggestion that they, too, were sick.