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The 1962 Laughter Epidemic of Tanganyika (Tanzania)

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posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:00 AM
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In 1962 in Tanganyika, modern day Tanzania, a mass hysteria broke out that lasted for two years. A laughter epidemic. The epidemic sprang from someone telling a joke to three girls and quickly spread throughout the school. The three girls bouts of laughter would last anywhere from a few minutes to 16 hours. 95 of the schools 159 students were affected, causing the school to close down.

When the boarding school closed, the students went home and the epidemic spread across the region. In a nearby village that several of the boarding school students lived, 217 of the 10,000 residents came down with the "disease". Several students that lived near this village in turn "infected" nearly 1/3 of the students of another school causing it to be closed as well. One of the students from this school "infected" family members, which in turn spread the uncontrollable laughter to nearby villages, causing two more schools to close. Total of four schools.

After nearly two months of closure, the first school where the "disease" originated reopened, only to be closed again after 57 students were "infected" again.

In 1964 when the laughter subsided, it was estimated that more than one thousand to possibly several thousand people were afflicted, causing at least 14 school closures.

Doctors and scientist ran blood test to check for a virus, and checked for toxic gas, but nothing was found. Just good old contagious laughter. One crazy case of contagious laughter.





posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:12 AM
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This is one of those things that gives me a weird feeling along the sides of my spine and causes my eyes to well up with tears that aren't of misery or mirth. It terrifies me in a way that I can't quite understand. This is the sort of thign I'll be writing Lovecraftian Horror about some day.

en.wikipedia.org...

Dancing Mania was really similar. in the 14th-16th centuries, whole villages would suddenly break out into horrible spasms, standing and linking hands and leaping, which looked most like dancing. Some people thought music would cure it by regulating the motions, so they followed the "dancers" around playing music. Sounds like Azathoth to me...

*shiver*



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 03:24 AM
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Originally posted by Solasis

en.wikipedia.org...

Dancing Mania was really similar. in the 14th-16th centuries, whole villages would suddenly break out into horrible spasms, standing and linking hands and leaping, which looked most like dancing. Some people thought music would cure it by regulating the motions, so they followed the "dancers" around playing music. Sounds like Azathoth to me...

*shiver*


Nice find. Claviceps purpurea is still the best explanation for me. While typical ergotamin intoxication really doesn't lead to hours of dancing but to muscle convulsions, there is still great possibility that Claviceps purpurea is the reason. This fungus contain colorful mixture of various psychoactive substances (but no '___' as stated in Wikipeadia Dancing mania article). Ratio of this substances may vary on great scale based on conditions in which Claviceps purpurea grown up and stored.
Reason of "bad trip" on '___' is not only bad mindset but also impurities contained in the dose. Last stage of '___' preparation is cleaning by liquid chromatography - you can't gain 100% pure substance by this method.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 06:25 AM
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Awesome story, s&f

I wonder if there was any other research done to determine other positive side
effects from the laughter. For instance blood pressure, stress, anxiety, cold or flu. Do these folks live longer? Are their immune systems stronger? Did this laughter contribute to an enhanced physiological wellness?

Seems to me like a neat opportunity to study the physiological effects of laughter on the body.

Best medicine by far is an uncontrollable laughter


[edit on 22-2-2010 by sparrowstail]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 06:44 AM
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Wow, never heard of this. It has all the Elements of a good story:

* Unexplained
* Unlikely
* Undecided (whether Good, Bad or Neither)

Thanks a lot for sharing.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 06:48 AM
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Okay... no else has asked... I'll bite...
What was the joke told to the school girls?
It must have been a rip snorter!
I could do with a laugh...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 08:10 AM
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That's exactly what I wanna know too. I could also use some lols right now. Maybe we can spread the epidecmic world wide through the net



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 08:15 AM
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reply to post by Dragon33
 


It was probably this joke, in a less deadly form:

Youtube: The World's funniest joke

Good thing they didn't release that version....


[edit on 22-2-2010 by 1SawSomeThings]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 09:41 AM
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reply to post by PsykoOps
 


Kind of like this? xkcd.com...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 11:41 AM
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reply to post by Solasis
 


I had never heard of that before, definitely scary. The link I provided below does talk about this as well. I did not see it the first time when I was reading. Thanks for the info. I think I might open a night club called St. Johns Dance. Enter if you dare.

reply to post by sparrowstail
 

From what I can gather there were no serious physiological effects. Some minor effects were reported - pain, fainting, respiratory problems, rashes, attacks of crying, screaming, and (kind of strange) doctors reported more complaints of gas than ever before. Some of the girls turned violent when restraint was attempted.

The study says that adolescent girls were affected more than boys, and would pass it to female family members before the males would get it.


Once the disease left the school, however, a pattern became clear: adolescent females at mission-run schools were first to be infected. They would then take the disease home to infect their mothers and other female relatives. Young boys appeared to be somewhat susceptible to the disease, however adult men appeared to be completely immune to the epidemic. There is also not a single instance of a “person of stature” in the community - policemen, doctors or schoolteachers, either male or female - becoming infected. Europeans and other Westerners seemed to have immunity, too. In fact, the disease seemed to follow a strict path along tribal and familial lines. If a female relative, a male relative, and a complete stranger of either gender were locked in a room with an “infected” person, the disease would probably infect the female relative, possibly infect the male, and would almost never infect the stranger."

source

reply to post by Dragon33
 


Unfortunately the joke was not recorded as far as I can tell. Too bad, huh.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 12:16 PM
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reply to post by 1SawSomeThings
 

That was great. Again an enigma. WHAT WAS THE JOKE? It is probably better that we did not see or hear it, or maybe we would suffer the same fate.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 01:25 PM
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reply to post by timewalker
 


Laughter is one of those things that is contagious, like a yawn, whether anyone gets the joke, or not.

Just seeing people can can start snickering, tittering, and uncontrollable laughter.

Sometimes, it is the mere act of laughing, sometimes the person not laughing is reminded of something funny just by seeing the laughter of others, sometimes, it is merely the reactions of others when time is so serious, a good laugh is needed.

Skype Laughter Chain


I found the above video by just putting in the search word laughter.

Let's keep the laughter going and begin a chain reaction.

What bit of laughter can you add to this thread and make people roar with belly laughs?

Michael Winslow Meet Steve Irwin

Colonoscopies Aren't Just For Fun Anymore

Cows With Guns : Revolution Moovements

Those are just a few of my humorous threads and I'm willing to share more.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 03:32 PM
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Originally posted by timewalker

The study says that adolescent girls were affected more than boys, and would pass it to female family members before the males would get it.


Once the disease left the school, however, a pattern became clear: adolescent females at mission-run schools were first to be infected. They would then take the disease home to infect their mothers and other female relatives. Young boys appeared to be somewhat susceptible to the disease, however adult men appeared to be completely immune to the epidemic. There is also not a single instance of a “person of stature” in the community - policemen, doctors or schoolteachers, either male or female - becoming infected. Europeans and other Westerners seemed to have immunity, too. In fact, the disease seemed to follow a strict path along tribal and familial lines. If a female relative, a male relative, and a complete stranger of either gender were locked in a room with an “infected” person, the disease would probably infect the female relative, possibly infect the male, and would almost never infect the stranger."

source



Sounds to me like it might have been a result of psychological stress of the lower classes, like some of the suggested explanations for the dancing mania...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 05:56 PM
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reply to post by SpartanKingLeonidas
 
OK lets give it a try. I like where this could go. Please lets try to keep it going. Readers, please link anything you think is funny. I think we could all use some belly aches. Mods, I know this is going off subject but it is for a good cause, eh? It is contagious, so not really off subject. Lets call it an experiment.


For some reason cats crack me up.


Kung Fu Cats




From Best of Craigslist:
Ferocious Attack Kitten



Here's on of the guy in the vid you posted SKL.



More later.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 09:30 PM
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Here are a couple of more. LMAO. Hopefully you will too.

WARNING GRAPHIC - NO KIDDIES

Dave Chappelle: Sesame Street -



Dave Chappelle: Rick James pt. 1



Dave Chappelle: Rick James pt.2





Another Craigslist Post: not graphic

Best of Craigslist

The credit goes to 1SawSomeThings for bringing this to the thread. Just wanted to embed.




[edit on 22-2-2010 by timewalker]



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 10:08 PM
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reply to post by Solasis
 
Perhaps. I just find it kind of odd that it was within "strict tribal and familial lines". Mostly girls. Seems like the whole tribe might have been stressed. Maybe it's much rougher on the girls? That makes sense.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by timewalker
 



OK lets give it a try. I like where this could go. Please lets try to keep it going.

You are attempting to engage in a conspiracy.
You know...it's against the T&C's of ATS to recruit members.


Really interesting story. I have to admit that the first thing that occurred to me was accidental "poisoning" but that just doesn't make any sense.

A guy walks into a bar...



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Ahh, but a healthy conspiracy. Good for the soul. I would not want to cause harm from extended laughing.
Besides I think we all would have to be in the same room for it to work.



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