“So what was it?” I asked the Doctor, who was looking over a clipboard that contained my chart. “Mustard gas, nerve gas, some kind of nuclear
thing? Should I be worried about cancer later?”
“None of the above.” Doctor Dennault replied calmly. “Homeland Security’s been searching for everything imaginable, even bio-weapons, but all
tests came back negative. Over six hundred people were affected: some reporting dizziness, some had respiratory failure, and some even lost
consciousness as you did. Here’s the strangest thing; every single one of them has recovered in full.”
“That’s BS! Were were gassed! I could smell it!...”
“There were some reports of an odor, but that’s been solved. It seems a couple of protesters tried putting together a set of Malatov Cocktails to
throw at the police.” Dr. Dennault shook her head disapprovingly. “ It’s a miracle no one was killed. But the gasoline fumes weren’t strong
enough to knock anyone out. Something else happened.”
“Okay?” I said, hanging on her sentence.
“Mr. Cutter, you and all of these people came under the influence of what is known as mass hysteria. Under the right set of social circumstances it
can occur, and it’s more common that most people think. The good news is that your condition was psychological in nature, and temporary. You’ll be
Shaking my head I said “No way, lady. That’s crazy talk. Maybe I should get another doctor.”
“Think back to what happened,” she said, unfazed by my skepticism. “You and thousands of other people were together in a crowded space, after
having little sleep the night before. You were being directed by an authority figure - Mr. Rogers, it seems - and you were fearful of police
discipline. Throw in the chanting, speeches, and other psychological influences, and it all adds up. You were in what hypnotists like to call a highly
suggestive state. That being the case, I’d say the conditions were optimal for an outbreak of mass hysteria. Perfect, in fact.”
“Hypnosis? I still don’t believe it,” I said, looking away.
She continued, “A similar event happened in the 1980 in England. Nearly three hundred children participating in a multi-school band performance fell
ill within minutes of each other - many of them had to be hospitalized. Just like the Occupy protesters, each of them recovered in under twenty-four
hours. It’s a fascinating case, one that science has been studying carefully ever since.”
“Bogus!“ I shot back. “It wasn’t hysteria. I was there! I was the first to go down.”
“But you weren’t, were you? Something else happened before that.”
“Mr. Stonehill.” I replied, remembering the man who’d suffered the heart attack. “Is he okay?”
“I don’t know. Victims have been taken to a number of hospitals, whatever place has the capacity. But other witnesses said the same thing; mainly
that they heard he was having an arrhythmia, and couldn’t breathe. He may well have, but most instances of hysteria begin with a triggering event of
that very kind. You see, once the idea is communicated, it spreads, like a virus. The mind is a very powerful thing.”
I leaned forward, looking her squarely in the eye. “So that’s the spin, is it? That’s how they’re going to cover if all up? Let me tell you
what I think...this is a god-damned conspiracy! It’s a conspiracy and you’re part of it.”
Dr. Dennault hung the clipboard back on the gurney, and took a step back. “Believe whatever you want. Just tell me one thing; how do you feel right
There was no denying it; I felt perfectly fine. I left the mobile facility shortly thereafter with a prescription for some mild tranquilizers and
instructions from Dr. Dennault to call 911 if anything unusual happened again. Maybe I should’ve thanked her, but I didn’t. My heart was broken
that day, ripped apart by the failure of it all. We had the chance to do something incredible that day, only to be brought to our knees by what would
become known to history as the Zuccotti Park Anomaly. In the months afterward, the protests lost their momentum, and the movement pretty much died.
Things went back to the way they had always been - the rich got richer, and the rest of scavenged for leftovers like pathetic, stray animals.
Capitalism won, the people lost, and all because of some unforeseeable psychological aberration - a strange, little understood, and random event.
Or was it?
Months later, while doing research for an article I was writing (one I hoped would get published in the Midwestern Social Justice Monthly), I
uncovered something quite disturbing. It seems that no one can locate Mr. Travis Stonehill, or has ever heard of the Global Poverty Coalition. It
never existed, and neither did he. I even tried to contact Dr. Dennault for an interview, but made a shocking discovery. After treating the victims of
the anomaly, she went on to attend the neurology convention in Las Vegas. Upon entering her hotel room for cleaning, a maid found her lying on the
carpet. The official cause of death was a cerebral aneurism.
Now I think back to what she said to me in the mobile hospital facility regarding the mysterious incident involving the schoolchildren in England all
those years ago. “It’s a fascinating case, one that science has been studying carefully ever since.”
By science, I assume that includes government-funded science. Maybe the military too, as well as the big corporations, the CIA, and God-only-knows who
else. If so, I wonder what they learned from it.
More importantly, what are they capable of?
edit on 21-10-2011 by Flatwoods because: (no reason given)