Sunday, August 6, 2017

Monsters of Hysteria

Remember how awful 2016 was? Remember all the celebrity deaths and the world seemingly being set on fire?  Remember how the U.S. was seemingly losing it's mind over clowns?  Mass Hysteria is when a large group of people start to fear and panic at the same thing, I.E. clown sightings. This has been an issue throughout history. The Salem witch trials, were everyone was accusing each other of being witches and executing each other. The War of The Worlds were everyone thought we were being invaded by aliens due to a radio show doing a fictional story about an alien invasion. The red scare were senator McCarthy started off by accusing people of being traitors for the dirty commies. Lastly, clowns seemingly taking over America for the sole purpose of scaring everyone. Mass Hysteria seems to cause huge problems out of nothing, such as people starting to dress as clowns and ending up getting attack. However, sometimes mass hysteria has an actual deadly cause and could be the origins of some animals from cryptozoology.
Take for example the Ghost and the Darkness, Tsavo Man-Eaters who terrorized railroad workers in 1898. The British were building a railway bridge across the Tsavo river when their workers were repeatedly attacked and eater by two main less male lions. They were eventually killed by Lt. Col. Patterson, but not before many lives were taken. Scientist of today have found that the lions likely ate around 35 men while Patterson claims they killed around 135 men. This relates to mass hysteria as the construction workers were in constant panic that the lions could get them at anytime. With their ability to escape capture and savageness of their attacks, the workers saw these lions as demons.
Mass hysteria and panic over these "normal animals" and events may explain the origins of some creatures of cryptozoology. The Chupacabra could just be a regular mad dog that has reached mythical status due to the panic people are having over their live stock being killed. The Wendigos of Native folklore could have started off as people being scared of a madman going on a cannibalistic killing spree. Cryptozoology is about thinking fast and heuristics and these attributes are heighten in a state of panic. People don't think straight when they are scared, they fear the worst and let their imagination take over. Lions become demons, a feral dog becomes a blood sucking monster, a madman becomes a possessed cannibalistic spirit. Through hysteria and fear we create our own monsters out of the ordinary.  


  1. Very interesting read Shane. I agree that the fear of something can make people exaggerate or overreact to that event. As another example I would say that some people blame some of these "ghost" sightings on fear of not comprehending something just falling. The Red Scare is a great example of Mass Hysteria and definitely shows how fear can play tricks on the mind. I think its interesting to see how things like this affects entire countries rather than just a few people here and there.

  2. I agree with this. I think people hype themselves up into paranoia. I always panic myself when I feel a random cold gust of air, and then something falls, or m cat is staring at nothing and I think it is a ghost.