In Danvers, mass hysteria may have caused dozens of students to suddenly suffer from hiccups and vocal tics. Danvers, Massachusetts is the location of the former Salem Village.
Students of Essex Agricultural and Technical High School began displaying bizarre symptoms in January. A handful of students at the North Shore Technical High School in Middleton, Massachusetts displayed similar behavior. Up to 24 students were affected by the mysterious attacks.
As reported by New Castle News, state officials have worked diligently to determine the cause of the symptoms.
The state health department conducted visual inspections and air quality tests on both buildings. They have concluded that there is nothing present in the buildings or in the air that would affect cognitive ability.
Health officials have requested releases to review the students’ medical records. However, less than half of the parents have responded to the request. Officials explain that the data is essential to conduct a thorough investigation.
As no cause has been determined, some health experts blame the illness in Danvers on mass hysteria. The condition is also called contagious conversion disorder.
As explained by Discovery.com, mass hysteria happens when “psychological symptoms manifest as physical condition.” As the physical symptoms occur, they can become contagious.
Symptoms can include convulsing, twitching, tics, fainting, dizziness, and a number of other bizarre behaviors. The symptoms are often brought on by stress and can be experienced by a number of people within a group.
Ironically, those persecuted during the witch trials in Salem Village were likely affected by mass hysteria. As their bizarre behavior could not be explained, the residents were accused of practicing witchcraft.
At least 20 accused witches were executed as a result.
Nearly 160 years later in the former Salem Village, strange behavior in Danvers may be mass hysteria. However, state health officials are reluctant to blame a psychological condition. They continue to gather data in an effort to explain the mysterious behavior.
[Image via Wikimedia]