Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion / Edition 1

Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion / Edition 1

by Robert E. Bartholomew
     
 

"For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education." A thorough

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Overview

"For a two week period in 1956, residents in the vicinity of Taipei, Taiwan, lived in fear that they would be the next victims of a crazed villain who was prowling the streets and slashing people at random with a razor or similar weapon. At least 21 victims were reported during this period, mostly women and children of low income and education." A thorough investigation revealed however, that: "five slashings were innocent false reports, seven were self-inflicted cuts, eight were due to cuts rather than razors, and one was complete fantasy."

This is one example of many cases of what has traditionally been called "mass hysteria" that are examined in this comprehensive study of human beings' fear of the unknown. Beginning with a concise history of mass hysteria and social delusions, the author differentiates between the two and investigates mass hysteria in closed settings such as work and school, and mass hysteria in communities with incidents such as gassings, Pokemon illnesses in Japan, and medieval dance crazes. Also examined are collective delusions, with information on five major types: immediate threat, symbolic scare, mass wish fulfillment, urban legends and mass panics. The book ends with a discussion of major issues in the area of mass hysteria and a look toward the future of this intriguing subject.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786409976
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
05/23/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
303
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Robert E. Bartholomew has taught sociology in Australia at The Flinders University of South Australia and James Cook University in Queensland. A former broadcast journalist and contributor to news organizations such as the Associated Press and United Press International, he currently teaches at Botany College in Auckland, New Zealand.

Table of Contents

Foreword1
Preface3
Sect. 1Broad Overview5
1Mass Hysteria and Social Delusions: A Concise History7
Sect. 2Mass Hysteria in Closed Settings25
2Epidemic Hysteria in Schools27
3Epidemic Hysteria at Work55
Sect. 3Mass Hysteria in Communities79
4The Mad Gasser of Virginia81
5The Mad Gasser of Mattoon95
6Pokemon TV Show Sickens Thousands in Japan122
7Rethinking the Medieval Dancing Mania132
Sect. 4Collective Delusions143
8Penis Panics: Collective Delusions Outside the West145
9Imaginary Air Raids on Canada: Xenophobia During World War I158
10The Phantom Sniper of Esher, England: How a Community Created an Imaginary Assailant169
11The Ghost Rockets: Anatomy of a Moral Panic183
12The Wish Mania as a Moral Panic in Reverse197
13Before Roswell: The Meaning Behind the Crashed-UFO Myth213
14The Martian Invasion Panic217
Sect. 5Major Issues and Future Directions225
15From Demon Possession to Environmental Fears: The Changing Face of Mass Delusions and Hysterias227
Notes237
Index297

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