Church giggles to the extreme
February 22, 2008 10:28 AM Subscribe
posted by lauranesson (30 comments total)
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In 1962, in a mission-run girls' boarding school in Kashasha, Tanzania, a student started laughing uncontrollably. Her laughter spread throughout the school, and the girls grew violent when teachers tried to calm them. Administration closed the school, sent some girls home, and the "epidemic of laughing and crying
" spread to villages up and down the Bukoba district.
The blog entry is from Radiolab
producer Ellen Horne, who traveled to Tanzania with funding help from the folks at TED
. The resulting segment can be heard today on the season 4 premiere, or later this week on their podcast.
More recent episodes of "mass sociogenic illness
" include a 2007 epidemic among students in Virginia high school
, and a 1999 outbreak involving recalled Coca-Cola in Belgium
Here's a take on MSI in the British Journal of Psychiatry