be careful where you clique
It has recently been reported that atleast 3 indigenous communities living along the Coco river in northern Nicaragua have been stricken by a mysterious illness termed grisi siknes. The affliction manifests with convulsions, tremors and dsypnea. The Miskito Indian population who inhabit the area report over 40 cases of the malady. Local doctors and anthropologists believe it to be a socially transmittable hysteria.
This is by no means rare. In 1962 at a boarding school near Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, a joke was told… and a laughing sickness ensued for over 6 months. Episodes were so severe that the school was forced to close for the term. The illness which was accompanied by rash, fever and respiratory distress quickly spread to the surrounding regions.
In April 2008, a wave of “Penis panic” gripped the population of the Congo. Victims claimed that via some sort of witchery, genitalia had been temporarily removed or retracted. Some reports even claimed that upon return, the members were indeed smaller or not the same. Police were called in to investigate after 12 people had been killed by angry mobs.
It is widely asserted that such outbreaks are often mechanisms of social subconscious release- i.e. such events usually occur in the context of great collective distress/change. We are social animals. The power that groupthink and belief has over us is immeasurable.
Unexplainable herd behavior is rampant, look at Bernie Madoff- a guy everyone knew was just too good to be true. A more historical scenario is the convent. For hundreds of years, young women were whisked away from their friends and family, often by force, and made to take vows of celibacy and poverty. Often the shock of such trauma took years to manifest itself, but when it did… it came out in all sorts of convoluted forms: there were biting rampages, mass suicides, orgies and of course burnings.
Mother Joan of the Angels, the 1961 winner of the Cannes film festival jury prize, is a loose adaptation on the historical figure Urbain Grandier, a monk who is said to have seduced an entire flock of Ursuline nuns. Whether or not the story is true remains a mystery. The whole thing may have been trumped up by Cardinal Richelieu (yes that Cardinal Richelieu)
who seemed to have it out for Brother Grandier.
After being extraordinarily renditioned, the French monk caved under questioning and confessed he had indeed been Mr. resident evil. Proof of his guilt was presented in the form of a letter signed by a number of demons and written in backwards Latin- the standard communication medium of all demons. When deciphered it translates:
We, the influential Lucifer, the young Satan, Beelzebub, Leviathan, Elimi, and Astaroth, together with others, have today accepted the covenant pact of Urbain Grandier, who is ours. And him do we promise the love of women, the flower of virgins, the respect of monarchs, honors, lusts and powers. He will go whoring three days long; the carousal will be dear to him. He offers us once
in the year a seal of blood, under the feet he will trample the holy things of the church and he will ask us many questions; with this pact he will live twenty years happy
on the earth of men, and will later join us to sin against God. Bound in hell, in the council of demons. Lucifer Beelzebub Satan Astaroth Leviathan Elimi The seals placed the Devil, the master, and the demons, princes of the lord. Baalberith, writer.
Hmmm. Go Figure. As Charles Mackay noted,
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.