The Bin Laden Itch has been one of the weirdest cases of mass hysteria in modern day America. In the light of the 2001 attacks, paranoia had grown in the country. Spanning from October 2001 to mid 2002, primarily younger students showed signs of itching and rashes which could last from a few hours up till two weeks after which it vanished without a trace. Many believed that this was a case of bio terrorism, however, scientists bashed this theory. According to scientists, parents and nurses who were well aware of bio terrorism started becoming overly cautious regarding body rashes. Also, some children deliberately caused rashes on their body by rubbing sand paper on it in order to miss school. So the Bin-Laden itch was nothing but a hoax.
Many believe that the major causes of mass hysteria are psychological in nature. Back in the year 1999, people were made to believe that more than a 100 students in Belgium fell ill after consuming this popular beverage which had a huge monopoly in Europe. The inept PR handling added fuel to fire, which lead to the boycotting of the soft drink. Moreover, the company had to lose out on $200 million along with a several day ban. However, after an extensive examination of the tainted batches it was believed that though the drink included bad phenol and carbon dioxide, the amounts were too small to cause any real damage. It was believed that the victims underwent a “psychogenic illness” which lead to this mass hysteria.
A psychiatric ward in London was hit by mass hysteria in the early 1970s. A 17-year-old girl named Louise confided that she was pregnant, which was untrue. Her best friend was expecting a baby and underwent subsequent death post her pregnancy, which triggered Louise to put up this fake act. She had phantom pregnancy symptoms which were later replicated by other female patients in the ward as well. The pregnancy panic in majority of the patients caused a lot of ruckus in the wards.
In the spring of 1939, a girl in Louisiana experienced massive twitching in her leg during the annual homecoming dance. The twitching worsened over the weeks which lead to other girls complaining about the same problems. This whole incident also led to a stampede. The frantic behavior of the parents continued and all this hullabaloo took more than a week to calm down. Later investigations proved that Helen, the patient zero Helen was a bad dancer and was scared to lose her boyfriend to a freshman who was better at dancing.
The Halifax slasher is one of the most interesting examples of mass hysteria. Back in 1938, some really weird incidents were reported in Halifax, Yorkshire in England. Incidents of women being attacked by a dark figure wearing shoes with bright buckles were reported. These women were attacked by razors, hammers and knives. Later, detectives proved that there was no “Halifax slasher” and most of the cases reported were that of self-inflicted wounds.