A Case of Hysteria - Sigmund Freud - Oxford University Press

Posted by 2018 article


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Mass hysteria can hit almost anywhere, so long as there is a group of people ready to fall into a collective delusion. While it’s easy to look back in hindsight and laugh at the whole thing, it’s an entirely different world for those involved. Mass hysteria (like the ones listed below) is a lot like a natural disaster—devastating and leaving behind a heck of a mess to clean up.

During the Middle Ages, a baffling case of mass hysteria gripped an undisclosed convent in France. The incident started with one nun meowing like a cat , with the rest of the convent soon following. The group would meow together for many hours at specific points during the day. The incessant caterwauling baffled and infuriated residents of the surrounding neighborhood. The nuns finally ceased their meowing after soldiers, who were sent to the convent, threatened to whip them with rods.

A similar case also gripped a convent in Germany, when a nun began biting her companions. Subsequently, it triggered a biting epidemic that spread to other convents and nunneries and reached as far as Rome . The nuns’ bizarre behavior could be attributed to the period’s intense belief in the supernatural. The nuns—with their cloistered lives and rigid religious expectations—were the ones most vulnerable to episodes of hysteria.

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Connect your Spotify account to your Last.fm account and scrobble everything you listen to, from any Spotify app on any device or platform.

Mass hysteria can hit almost anywhere, so long as there is a group of people ready to fall into a collective delusion. While it’s easy to look back in hindsight and laugh at the whole thing, it’s an entirely different world for those involved. Mass hysteria (like the ones listed below) is a lot like a natural disaster—devastating and leaving behind a heck of a mess to clean up.

During the Middle Ages, a baffling case of mass hysteria gripped an undisclosed convent in France. The incident started with one nun meowing like a cat , with the rest of the convent soon following. The group would meow together for many hours at specific points during the day. The incessant caterwauling baffled and infuriated residents of the surrounding neighborhood. The nuns finally ceased their meowing after soldiers, who were sent to the convent, threatened to whip them with rods.

A similar case also gripped a convent in Germany, when a nun began biting her companions. Subsequently, it triggered a biting epidemic that spread to other convents and nunneries and reached as far as Rome . The nuns’ bizarre behavior could be attributed to the period’s intense belief in the supernatural. The nuns—with their cloistered lives and rigid religious expectations—were the ones most vulnerable to episodes of hysteria.

Connect your Spotify account to your Last.fm account and scrobble everything you listen to, from any Spotify app on any device or platform.



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