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15 Strange Cases of Mass Hysteria That’ll Leave You Baffled

11. The Monkey man, Delhi

In 2001, a monkey-like creature was reported roaming around New Delhi, assaulting people at night. Some described the creature as about four feet (120 cm) tall covered in thick black hair, while others claimed it to be eight feet tall and muscular. Fifteen people were reported injured and two died because of panic, but the “monkey man” was never caught.

Monkey man of Delhi
Image source : Wikipedia

On May 13, 2001, a strange monkey-like creature was first reported in the village of Ghaziabad. The monkey man entered a house, attacked and pushed a woman. The assailant later injured a child in the neighboring house causing bruises in abdomen and arms. Before the local villagers could seize the creature, it disappeared in the dark indistinctly. A couple of days later following the first assault, similar incidents were reported in the Indian capital New Delhi where a number of people were injured. Two people even died when they leaped from the tops of buildings or fell down stairwells in a panic caused by what they thought was the attacker.

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Theories on the nature of the Monkey man ranged from an Avatar of the Hindu god Hanuman to an Indian version of Bigfoot. Some described the creature as about four feet (120 cm) tall, covered in thick black hair, with a metal helmet, metal claws, glowing red eyes and three buttons on its chest while others described the Monkey-man as having a more vulpine snout, and being up to eight feet tall, and muscular. Still, others have described it as a bandaged figure or as a helmeted thing. In an attempt to catch the creature, police issued artist’s impression drawings of the monkey man. After numerous failed attempts to catch the creature, the reason behind the cause is still unknown.(1,2)

12. Sweet Seawater Incident, Mumbai

In 2006, the salty seawater of Mahim creek, Mumbai has suddenly turned sweet. The authorities warned people not to drink the water because they believed it was caused due to toxins. Despite the warning, thousands of people flocked to the place and drank water believing that it was Haji Maqdoom Baba’s blessings. The geologist at IIT-B confirmed that it was a natural phenomenon caused by continuous rainfalls that occurred during the preceding days.

Sweet Seawater
Image source: 1,2

In August 2006, residents of Mumbai claimed that the water at Mahim creek had mysteriously turned sweet suddenly. Within hours, residents of Gujarat claimed that seawater at Teethal beach had turned sweet as well. Many attributed the phenomenon to divine intervention, particularly because the miracle was taking place at the shrine of Haji Maqdoom Baba. This caused mass hysteria among people resulting in a large number of people coming and drinking the seawater.

The local authorities were worried of an outbreak of water-borne disease stating that it may have been caused due to toxins. The authorities warned the people not to drink the water. Nevertheless, thousands of people started drinking the water. Furthermore, many people had even collected it in bottles. Seventeen hours later, the residents acknowledged that the water had become salty again. Geologists at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay made the explanation that water turning sweet is a natural phenomenon. Continuous rainfall over the preceding few days had caused a large pool of fresh water to accrue in an underground rock formation near to the coast. This then discharged into the sea as a large “plume” as fractures in the rocks widened. Because of the differences in density, the discharged fresh water floated on top of the salt water of the sea and spread along the coast.(source)

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13. Strawberries With Sugar Virus, Portugal

In 2006, teenage fans of a popular Portuguese soap, “Morangos com Açúcar” began experiencing the physical symptoms of a fictional disease that was introduced to the characters on the show. More than 300 children who watched the show feared that their own minor rashes were serious, complaining of breathing difficulties and dizziness. The Portuguese National Institute for Medical Emergency declared it as a mass hysteria.

Strawberries With Sugar Virus
Image source: 1,2

In May 2006, a Portuguese teen soap opera entitled “Morangos com Açúcar” caused a mass hysteria among teens in the country. The television show, which first premiered in March 2004, follows the stories of a group of “normal” teenage kids and the dramatized ups and downs that they encounter in their daily lives.

The outbreak occurred a few days after they aired an episode about a life-threatening virus descending on a school. Medical officials believe many children, after watching the show, feared their own minor rashes and wheezes were something serious. More than 300 children had complained of symptoms including rashes, breathing difficulties, and dizziness at 14 schools in different parts of the country. Some schools have been forced to close. The Portuguese National Institute for Medical Emergency ruled out any other reasons, calling it a case of mass hysteria.(source)

14. Kim Jong Il’s Death, North Korea

In 2011, Kim Jong Il’s Death put the 24-million population on the verge of insanity, hyped up by unceasing TV broadcast of mass mourning throughout the country. This extravagant display of emotion was proved fake. It was reported that North Korea’s hardline regime was punishing people who didn’t cry or to those who missed the organized mourning events.

Within hours after the death of their dictator, there were scenes of mourning by the thousands lamenting the loss of “Dear Leader.” School children stood still in rows, sobbing. Men and women threw themselves to the ground, pounding it with their fists. Even army officers wept openly. This widespread and extravagant outpouring of grief seemed apocryphal. Sure, North Koreans are taught from an early age that the outside world is a threat. Therefore, only their leaders can guarantee the country’s security.

For North Koreans, the supreme leader is almost godlike, someone who must be loved and revered without question. The death of Kim Jong Il, then, would have caused great fear and anxiety among North Koreans about their personal safety and their country’s future. But this mass mourning had something to do with the North Korea’s regime. According to reports, North Korea’s hardline regime was punishing those who did not cry at the death of dictator Kim Jong-il. To those who missed the organized mourning events or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine, sentences of at least six months in labor camps were given. Also, anyone who criticized the new leader Kim Jong-un was being punished. It was claimed that to those who tried to leave the country or even made a mobile phone call out were also punished.(1,2)

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15. Charlie Charlie Challenge, all over the world

In 2015, fear struck teenagers when a video, which claimed a devil named Charlie would answer questions by pointing pencils to pre-written answers on paper, was posted on YouTube. Some people believed that children were possessed by Satan. Scientist totally ruled out supernatural powers saying that it had to do with ‘response expectancy’, where the pencils would move due to breathing.

Charlie Charlie Challenge
Image source : wikipedia.com

In May 2015, four Columbian high school students were brought to the emergency room screaming and babbling. They had been trying to summon a ‘Mexican demon’ with two pencils balanced on a piece of paper. This is like a modern version of the ouija board. The game involves balancing one pencil on top of another and daring a demon called Charlie to answer questions by making it point to pre-written answers on the paper below. The upper pencil is then expected to rotate to indicate the answer to such questions. The first question everyone asks by speaking into the pencils is “can we play?” or “are you here?”. Hundreds of teens had uploaded videos from the UK to the United States, Sweden, and Singapore.  In those videos, they ask, ‘Charlie, Charlie, are you there?’ and then flee in terror when the pencil appears to move by itself.

The scare went viral after one video surfaced in the Juan Pablo Duarte Primary School in the town of Hato Mayor in the Dominican Republic, was taken a little too seriously by parents, priests, and teachers. The parents said that their children were possessed by Satan after playing the game. Scientists repudiated any supernatural claims saying that it was because of gravity and behavior know as ‘response expectancy’. They claim that because the students are engrossed in the moment, they don’t actually realize that the pencil would move due to breathing. Speaking to Live Science, Christopher French, a researcher at the University of London said:

“Even the slightest or someone’s breath will cause the top pencil to move… and the precariously placed pencils will move around regardless of whether you summon a demon after balancing them.”(source)

Also see: 22 Mysterious facts and incidents that still remain unexplained to this date!

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