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April 02 , 2009

Mass Hysteria in Schools

A Worldwide History Since 1566


This book comprehensively surveys the colorful history of mass hysteria and kindred phenomena in schools, documenting outbreaks of demonic possession during witchcraft scares, to modern incidents of collapsing bands, itching frenzies, ghost panics and mystery illnesses. Strange behaviors and illnesses in students are examined through the centuries. Possessed children went into trance states and began to bark like dogs in 16th and 17th century Holland; an epidemic of twitching, trembling and blackout spells swept through European schools during the latter 1800s; an outbreak of Tourette's-like symptoms struck schoolgirls in western New York in 2011-12. In addition to the US and Europe, separate chapters detail accounts from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania. A variety of theories to explain outbreaks are examined.

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