On January of this year, I posted an essay which reported that students at a western NY high school in LeRoy NY had come down with…something. At that time, doctors, school officials, and parents were not sure what they were dealing with. A bunch of girls who attend the school suddenly started showing symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome. They began twitching, having tics, involuntary movements, and for some, their schooling was impacted. They had to drop out of sports teams or drop out of school entirely.
Then a teacher at the school came down with it, and several other people, including a couple of boys. At that point it made national news. The school had conducted tests to determine if their location was a cause. The famed environmental lawyer Eron Brokovich came on the scene to determine if there was an environmental cause. Doctors were consulted. Everyone came up with empty hands.
One doctor dared to state that it was probably a condition known as “mass hysteria” but that diagnosis was resisted. They decided to simply call it Tourette’s. At that point I got interested. Mass Hysteria is a real diagnosis, and is one that is at root of another famed incident: the Salem Witch Trials.
Here are the two previous essays I posted on the Leroy NY mass hysteria incident.
January 20, 2012: “Outbreak of mass hysteria (or demon infestation) in Leroy NY“
January 28, 2012: “Update on LeRoy NY Tourette’s outbreak”
There is new news of the incident. They found no toxins anywhere, the girls were not on drugs, vaccines were ruled out, Tourette’s doesn’t have sudden onset (they finally admitted) and eventually a diagnosis of mass hysteria was declared unequivocally this week:
“Mass Hysteria Confirmed in NY School“
“A bizarre illness affecting nearly 20 students at a Western New York Junior-Senior High school now has an official diagnosis: mass hysteria.The students, almost all of them girls, and mostly friends, began experiencing involuntary jerks and tics. Sometimes their limbs, neck or face would suddenly spasm; other times they would twitch, grunt, or shout. It was strange and troubling behavior, made all the more scary because it had no clear cause.”
“Mass psychogenic disorder is a rare — but not unheard of — phenomenon. The disorder is usually characterized by the mysterious spread of a variety of symptoms without a discernible cause. It frequently occurs in isolated communities. Teenagers and girls are also frequent victims. Collective hysteria can spread when a fear exists of exposure to a disease, combined with a contained, stressful environment.”
This is very interesting to me because as I mentioned in the two essays I linked to above, the Salem Witch Trials in the late 1600s began in exactly this same way. Several teenage girls began manifesting symptoms remarkably like the girls in NY, and like wildfire, the ‘disease’ spread from house to house. The reasons for the hangings that resulted has multiple and complex reasons- cultural, religious, demonic, and societal. There was a feud going on between the merchants and the farmers. A growing town always fights over its direction (to develop or not to develop?) when they hit an important crossroads in its identity. The girls admitted to experimenting with voodoo with Tituba, their South American Indian maid who had been a slave in Barbados. Tituba had also made a witchcake containing dog urine and rye, which is fed to a dog in hopes of determining the person afflicting the sick.
Boredom, pride, and covetousness, and gossip can equally be said to blame for the Salem incident’s catalyst. And satan is behind all of those, not to mention the localized practices of voodoo, casting bones, and fortune telling some of the girls and Tituba admitted to!
As the year of the Witch Trials crescendoed and then ended with a whimper, the aftermath included church-wide repentance, and in particular, “On August 25, 1706, Ann Putnam Jr., one of the most active accusers, joined the Salem Village church, she publicly asked forgiveness. She claimed that she had not acted out of malice, but was being deluded by Satan into denouncing innocent people…” (source)
Any time there is unexplained mass illness it needs to be looked at carefully by the officials whose duty it is to serve and protect the vulnerable in our society. However in this day and age, demonic influence is rarely discussed as a possible root cause of the problem. It was all right for the “backward Puritcanical bible thumpers” to blame satan, but not today.
As I mentioned, the reasons that the Salem Witch Hysteria took off were complex, coming to the fore from a variety of factors. However, the Salem incident is listed today among the medical texts as a case of mass psychogenic illness. (source)
The same could well be true of the Leroy Mass Hysteria incident. There is one question I am sure was not asked amid the tests and diagnoses and reports that resulted in 6000 pages which concluded “We don’t know why this is happening”. Were the girls experimenting with tarot, palm reading, fortune telling or occult in any way? The answer would be very revealing.
Traci Leubner, one of the girls afflicted, said of the Leroy NY testing results, “It’s freaky, because they didn’t find anything. There wasn’t like a, ‘this is what happened’. It was kind of mysterious.” (source)
Please be in continued prayer for the Leroy NY girls and also for the vulnerable of our society everywhere. I long for the day when our children will be safe.