Hysteria was a common contribution to the Salem Witch Trials. The first instances of hysteria seemed to originated in the event of Tituba and the girls dancing naked in the woods and yelling nonsense. With that little event it sparked something bigger, something like a mass Psychogenic Illness, MPI, defined as the contagious spread of behavior within a group of individuals where one person serves as the catalyst or “starter” and the others imitate the behavior. Before long more and more girls were contributing in the weird behavior that consumed Salem. The physical manifestations of illness in the girls have been explained as being conversion symptoms due to intrapsychic conflict. Their physical expression of psychological conflict is a compromise between the unacceptable impulses and the mind’s attempt to ignore them. Physical manifestations usually include fainting, malaise, convulsions with hyperventilation, and excitement. Transmission is by sight or sound brought about by a triggering factor which affects members of the group, who share some degree of unconscious fantasies. ...
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