Update on LeRoy NY Tourette’s outbreak: more victims, including an adult, new town involved too

On January 20, 2012 I reported that a strange thing was occurring in upstate NY at the town of LeRoy. A dozen girls had suddenly taken sick with Tourette’s-like symptoms. The girls began twitching, having seizures, and manifesting other strange tics and body movements. Medical causes have been hard to find. The school and town tested public buildings for environmental reasons and came up empty. The girls say that though “severe stress” has been touted as a possible cause, that they are not stressed, and doctors, stumped, proclaimed that it is likely a conversion disorder, otherwise known as mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness.

In that blog entry I said that a spiritual reason didn’t seem to have been explored, and while not knowing the state of their belief in Jesus, that it could be a demon infestation.

The news says: “The mystery illness surfaced several months ago when 12 girls who had been attending the Le Roy high school began to display tics and involuntary verbal outbursts. Both the state and the local school district did extensive testing of the school grounds to see if there might be any signs of an infectious disease or some toxin the girls might have come in contact with. All those tests came back negative.” (source)

The diagnosis of mass hysteria is so unusual (these days, but remember Salem Witch mass hysteria in 1682?), that NINDS organization is now involved in the case.

“The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NINDS, is currently conducting research on conversion disorders and is running a clinical trial to investigate uncontrollable shaking in people who have no known underlying brain or medical disorder.” (source)

Well, here is an update:

The first update is that the famous environmental lawyer Erin Brokovich (yes, that Julia Roberts movie Erin Brokovich) has gotten involved and is attempting to see if there is an underlying environmental cause, So far she has found that thirty years ago a chemical accident from a train derailment spilled some toxic chemicals into the ground. However, that was thirty years ago and the train accident was near but not so near the school and the neighborhood where the girls live. Unfortunately, of the original girls who have come down with this, their symptoms are worsening.

Secondly and more ominous is now it seems that more teens have come down sick. Other kids, including one boy, have now began manifesting the same symptoms. Worse news is that they are not all in LeRoy but are from other towns in NY. New outbreaks are occurring in places like Corinth NY, 250 miles to the west of LeRoy.

Mystery illness gaining national attention
“The number is now more than two dozen girls, all with Tourettes like symptoms, including twitching, jerking and vocal ticks. As our health reporter Marcie Fraser reports, the case spans New York State and is gaining national attention.”

The article above notes that the girl in Corinth who came down with symptoms stopped to eat dinner in LeRoy after an away game, but the same article notes that she began manifesting symptoms in May 2011 and didn’t stop to eat dinner in LeRoy until July, eight weeks later. “The NYS Department of Health has released this statement, saying in part, “DOH reviewed both the epidemiology and the clinical evaluations and found no evidence of environmental or infection as the cause of the girls’ illness..”

Number of students with Tourette’s symptoms grows
“The number of students across New York State — from Genesee County to Saratoga County — who have now come down with Tourette syndrome symptoms continues to grow. The figure now stands at 17. In addition, for the first time, it’s not just girls who have been affected. A boy from western New York has become the latest victim. The number of students from Le Roy High School in Genesee County who have now been confirmed with conversion disorder is 15 — 14 of them girls and now one boy. It is not clear at this time if there’s a connection to the two teenage girls from Corinth in Saratoga County who have displayed similar tics and involuntary movements.”

Lori Brownwell is one of the LeRoy girls who first came down with the mystery illness. She has been making videos to chronicle the changes in her life. Her YouTube channel is here.

On that channel in her latest video, Miss Brownwell makes note that a new person in LeRoy is starting to show symptoms, a “very reputable adult female and it is quite a shocker…”

I want to say something and I am eager for it not to be misunderstood. I have no idea of the spiritual condition of the girls. But here is what the bible says:

If a person is not in Christ, they are in satan. (Matthew 12:30). Satan is god of this world, blinding the minds of those who are not in Jesus (2 Cor 4:4) and he and his minions attack, delude, harass, scheme, and fight against all who are on it and even struggle against the obedient angels, too.

“Satan and his demons now look to destroy and deceive all those who follow and worship God (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons are described as evil spirits (Matthew 10:1), unclean spirits (Mark 1:27), and angels of Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satan and his demons deceive the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), attack Christians (2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 5:8), and combat the holy angels (Revelation 12:4-9). Demons are spiritual beings, but they can appear in physical forms (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons/fallen angels are enemies of God, but they are defeated enemies. Greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the world (1 John 4:4).” (source, GotQuestions).

Remember this set of verses in Matthew?

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Mt 12:43-45)

That explanation, given by Jesus, tells us a lot about how demons operate. First, demons are active. Second, they go in and out of people. They seek dry places (waste places, fitting for them.) Also if we remember Jesus is the Living Water then it stands to reason that demons would always thirst and be dry, restlessly seeking that which they thirst for but never will acknowledge. Third, the verses tell us that if a person is only outwardly clean and after vain attempts to remain clean in his own strength that the demon will soon come back in force to re-occupy the person. Only that which is of Jesus can truly repel a demon, because it only Jesus who has the victory.

I applaud the LeRoy officials for looking into most of the possible causes of the unfortunate distress affecting so many families in this area. They’ve looked into medical, neurological, psychological and environmental causes. I have not found one article that has considered spiritual causes. Believers in Jesus know that satan is active and strong, restless and endlessly seeking that whom he may devour. A spiritual cause is worth looking into!

In Mexico they have been having problems with demons for a while, so much so that in 2010 a new chapel dedicated to performing exorcisms opened up in the district of Queretaro! The Catholic Church there said at that time they had about ten cases per month and that the phenomenon was on the rise.

In this recent news article, Huffington Post obtained photos from modern day exorcisms in Mexico City.

From a spiritual standpoint it needs to be said that though ninety percent of Mexicans are Roman Catholic, it is not a true religion. It teaches things contrary to the bible and any person who adheres to those precepts is not saved, including the priests performing the exorcisms. However from a cultural standpoint it is useful to note that where there is not true faith, demonic occurrences are on the rise.

Please pray for the girls, families, and new victims of this outbreak in NY, whatever it is. Pray that the local pastors would have discernment and have courage to propose that there may be a spiritual source for this. At the very least, if the issue is raised it may be that it can be excluded from the list of possible catalysts. And if not then it may lead to a blessed event of salvation of afflicted souls.