Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mass Delusions & Hysteria

During the 1960's there was panic spreading through out Salem, Massachusetts due to Witchcraft. Many people believe that this special event was actually a case of Mass Hysteria. Mass Hysteria is a problem affecting various people usually caused by an inexplicable illness, unreasonable behavior/ believes. The two most common types of Mass Hysteria are: Anxiety Hysteria and Motor Hysteria. Anxiety Hysteria is usually triggered by a threatening issue and it usually lasts a day. Motor Hysteria is a social situation where school and religion is important. The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller that takes you through the 1960's and how the Salem Witch trials took place. It all started when 5 girls where dancing in the forest, and get caught by the local minister who immediately believes that these girls are involved in witchcraft. After the word gets out to the public many people start reporting that they have seen someone preform witchcraft or that they believe someone is involved. These girls go into trial and although they never confessed to being witches the whole town thinks they are. This is a great example of Motor Hysteria in this region religion was such an important role in everyday to day ilife that when a couple girls do something out of the ordinary it turns into something bigger than it should have. This event has been talked about so much during the years because it shows the traits of a mass hysteria an event in which people over react to an event. These events never had an actually conclusion so none really knows if these girls were witches. Most people believe that these girls acted this way because they wanted attention. Since there is no scientific evidence it will always be classified as Mass Hysteria and delusions.


The play was turned into a movie here is the trailer:

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about times of the witchcraft mass hysteria! After thinking about all these issues, do you believe that a lot of the pseudo scientific beliefs we read about in the book will become mass hysteria after a while? For instance all of the chapters illustrating about child development and the belief that sugar causes kids to be hyper. Do you think that this is just another stepping stone? Maybe in years to come the sugar and hyperness correlation will vanish as the dancing in the woods and witchcraft intentions did? Just a thought! I also thought about how quickly an entire society would be to put the blame on people for acting out of the ordinary. The whole study of witchcraft is a pseudoscience belief itself. Was this a time it was at it's peak?