How is it possible that huge groups of people can all fall ill or be incapacitated by a physical sickness no doctor can diagnose? How can hundreds of citizens across a city be moved to perform some odd repeated behavior for days or even weeks on end with no biological cause? Today’s episode will explore some famous instances of mass hysteria, and then try to answer just these questions.
SHOW SOURCES & SUPPLEMENTALS
The "Phantom Anesthetist" of Mattoon: A Field Study of Mass Hysteria, Donald M. Johnson, 1945
Protean nature of mass sociogenic illness: From possessed nuns to chemical and biological terrorism fears, Robert E. Bartholomew & Simon Wessely, 2002
Why are Females Prone to Mass Hysteria? Robert E. Bartholomew, Psychology Today, 2017
The Real Story Behind the Havana Embassy Mystery, Jack Hitt, Vanity Fair, 2019