Mass Hysteria Repeats

On this day in 1692, Governor William Phips wrote a letter ending the Salem Witch Trials. It still took many years before the courts deemed them unlawful and the accused families received their restitution.

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What prompted the Salem Witch Trials were a few girls claiming to be possessed and then naming others that practiced witchcraft. After a local doctor, treated and diagnosed the girls with bewitchment, not long after mass hysteria swarmed around town and the trials began. The magistrates questioned three witches with their accusers writhing and contorting in the room, but only one of them confessed, identifying other witches. Eleven of those convicted were hung, while seven died in prison, and the 19th person was stoned to death.

Our world has a series of different mass hysteria cases, some scientifically proven, while others could not be explained. In either case, the fear did nothing for the people who created it and followed along.

In today’s times, we have many things that have created mass hysteria, police shootings and the Coronavirus, to name a few. People hear about something, it triggers fear, and we have a mass of hysterical people. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the police shootings and Coronavirus are real and deserve attention. Unfortunately, the amount of fear and hysteria that goes along with it only perpetuates the problem, clouding our judgment.

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In one of its simplest definitions, mass hysteria is “a condition affection a group of persons, characterized by excitement or anxiety, irrational behavior or beliefs, or inexplicable symptoms of illness.” The police shootings have created mass hysteria and reeled in looters and rioters. Destroying and stealing other people’s property is irrational behavior. It no longer is about police shootings and serves no purpose. It’s about people getting away with destroying another person’s property for the sake of anger. We all have suffered unfairness with losing a loved one to losing a job, but it doesn’t give anyone a right to take away from another person. Some parts of society and government feel it’s okay because they’re angry. This kind of mass hysteria is unacceptable.

Since the inception of the coronavirus, we have received nothing but conflicting information from government, scientists, and the medical field. Some take every word they say to heart, while others believe in choice. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently come out stating governments should not do lockdowns. “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

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The mass hysteria brought on by the Coronavirus has heightened people’s anxiety and has created other psychological issues because of stay-at-home orders. This has pushed the political divide even further. To force upon the American people, protocols that are ever-changing and taking away people’s liberties, and shutting down businesses without full knowledge of what exactly we’re dealing with is a gross abuse of power. The divide in politics is seen by who is for the masks and the shutdowns, and who feels it’s the individual’s right. The fear of catching it is more prevalent in one political party’s members than others.

Fear is a powerful thing and can make us do things we normally wouldn’t do. It invokes mass hysteria, anger, and hatred, which ultimately leaves everyone on the losing end. It promotes other agendas and control. Unfortunately, we still haven’t learned from history, and at the rate we’re going, most likely never will.

Mass Hysteria, Fear, and Control,
Denise

2 thoughts on “Mass Hysteria Repeats

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      Yes, agreed, but the term ‘hysteria’ was used by Freud to discount women’s anxiety and loss of control, in reference to the uterus (as the cause of the emotional disorder). I prefer ‘panic’ or ‘frenzy’

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