Saturday, April 14, 2012

Panic In The Streets

Another non comic book topic today.  M is all about mass panic, or mass hysteria.  More research has been done on Wikipedia and while I understand it's not the most reliable source of information, at the moment it's the quickest.  Mass hysteria can also be known as collective hysteria, group hysteria, collective obsessional behavior.  There were a few interesting examples on the Wikipedia website but my favorite example of mass hysteria is the incidents surrounding Orson Welles' and the Mercury Theater's broadcast of War of the Worlds. 

It's been said that many of the stories surrounding the events of the broadcast are exaggerated but you can't deny the effect it had on people.  Most of the time mass hysteria presents in people like an illness.  It spreads in almost the same way too.  An interesting one that I read about in that same article was called the "Strawberries with Sugar virus".  It occurred in 2006 and happened when 300 or more students contracted the symptoms of a disease that had affected the school in a popular teen program guessed it Strawberries with Sugar.  That's the English translation of the Portuguese title of the show.  The kids actually reported symptoms of rashes, dizziness, and difficulty breathing.  It forced schools to close and was later ruled as a case of mass hysteria. 

There are many other examples of mass hysteria all more interesting to read than the next.  It's amazing how people get caught up in the things, and it's not really that hard to believe. 


  1. One word. Salem.

    Dropping by on my A-Z visiting schedule and enchanted to find a fellow geek.

    New follower


  2. When my grandmother was a kid, her family was caught up in the War of the Worlds panic. They actually started evacuating!

  3. We had a small version of mass hysteria in the UK a couple of weeks ago when it was suggested oil tanker drivers might go on strike, and a government minister suggested people might like to fill their tanks. No strikes were even planned and many petrol stations ran short of fuel - madness!

  4. Wow, talk about psychosomatic issues at a social level! How fascinating!

  5. Talk about mass hysteria, I live in So. Cal. just the mention of "earthquake weather" and everyone is stocking up on water and batteries.

    Happy A to Z-ing!