Mass Hysteria & Shared Delusions - The World Is Weird 2


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Episode 13 | Mass Hysteria & Shared Delusions - The World Is Weird 2

Host: Derek DeWitt

Mass hysteria, collective delusions or just people freaking out - whatever you call it, you can't deny that history is filled with reports of people losing it en masse. We'll look at nuns that bite and meow, fainting and twitching schoolchildren, uncontrollable dancing, large scale paranoia, mysterious attacks on windshields and a worldwide epidemic of creepy clown sightings.


  1. 02:14 - Hysteria: Not Just a "Female Problem"
  2. 03:41 - Nunsense: Mass Hysteria in Convents - Biting Nuns, Meowing Nuns
  3. 05:59 - The Devils of Loudon
  4. 09:08 - School Daze: Seizures in Switzerland & Canada, the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic, Louisiana; Blackburn, England; Twitching in Vinton, Virginia; Portugal's Strawberries with Sugar Outbreak
  5. 14:10 - More School Stuff, Conversion Disorder, Somatic Countertransference, Hysterical Contagion
  6. 16:01 - Hysterical Contagion: The 1962 June Bug Epidemic
  7. 17:11 - Folie à Deux/Trois/Famille/Plusieurs, Folie Imposée/Simultanée, Physical Repercussions of Hysteria
  8. 19:27 - Cut a Rug: The Dancing Plague of 1518 & Other Dancing Outbreaks
  9. 23:50 - Possible Causes of Uncontrolled Dancing
  10. 24:22 - Crowd Control: The Milan Poisoning Scare
  11. 28:12 - The Irish Fright
  12. 31:04 - Collective Delusions: The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic
  13. 33:54 - Mass Hysteria: The Hollinwell Incident
  14. 35:49 - Collective Delusion Meets Social Media: The 2016 Clown Sightings
  • Music by Fanette Ronjat

Hear about the Vampire Panic in Bohemia and Moravia in an episode of our sister podcast, Prague Times: Ghosts in Prague


  • I mispronounce French words all over the place in this episode. Sorry, French speakers.

NEXT WORLS IS WEIRD: October Surprise: Fact or Fiction?


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Other Podcasts by Derek DeWitt

  • DIGITAL SIGNAGE DONE RIGHT - Winner of 2020 Communicator Award of Excellence for Podcasts Series-Corporate Communications and on numerous top 10 podcast lists.
  • PRAGUE TIMES - A city is more than just a location - it’s a kaleidoscope of history, places, people and trends. This podcast looks at Prague, in the center of Europe, from a number of perspectives, including what it is now, what is has been and where it’s going. It’s Prague THEN, Prague NOW, Prague LATER.

31 episodes