It is said that laughter is the best medicine. Who could argue with that? But when laughter becomes hysterical and uncontrollable, it develops into a problem so colossal that it can paralyze an entire community, much like what happened in the laughter epidemic in Tanganyika in 1962. Tanganyika is now part of modern-day Tanzania.
The mystifying laughter epidemic began with a giggle between two school girls in the village of Kashasha. This seemingly innocent laugh quickly spread throughout the school and affected 95 out the 159 students. The contagious and odd phenomenon then spread to 14 more schools, affecting approximately 1,000 pupils in total. The teachers were not affected, though. But because the laughter made teaching impossible, schools were forced to close down.
The laughter epidemic spread like wildfire.
Dr. Christian F. Hempelmann of Texas A&M University – Commerce conducted research about this strange occurrence. In an interview published by the Chicago Tribune, he stated:
It started in a little boarding school in the village of Kashasha in what is now Tanzania, Africa. There was an initial event of laughter by a small group of students, possibly due to a joke. Eventually, the whole school was affected by the laughter by contagion. People take this at face value. One person laughs, then another person laughs, then it spreads like an avalanche. So when parents picked up their children from school, they started laughing. Then it spread to other villages, and so on. And depending on where you read about it, the laughing epidemic lasted for anywhere from six months to a year-and-a-half. The original report on the event has been misquoted and exaggerated.
But people did not laugh continuously for a year and a half – that is just physiologically impossible. One can only laugh for about 20 seconds before it puts a strain on respiration and starts to hurt.
That being said, Hempelmann stated that the laughter that the people experienced was not constant and that it was only among the myriad of symptoms that the affected individuals experienced. Anxiety-related symptoms including pain, respiratory problems, fainting, rashes and crying were present.
Laughter was among the myriad of anxiety-related symptoms experienced by the affected individuals.
So what actually happened? Hempelmann explains that:
It’s called mass hysteria. This is when a certain behavior is observed in a group of people that is not related to a certain environmental stimulus. There is no specific cause.
Now we call it Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI). It’s psychogenic, meaning it is all in the minds of the people who showed the symptoms. It’s not caused by an element in the environment, like food poisoning or a toxin. There is an underlying shared stress factor in the population. It usually occurs in a group of people who don’t have a lot of power. MPI is a last resort for people of a low status. It’s an easy way for them to express that something is wrong. That may be why it has come to be associated more often with women.
The reoccurrence of the laughter epidemic is not ruled out and may happen again in the future.
Watch this short video clip about the laughter epidemic:
Watch in Full Color The Fierce Battle of the Philippines During World War 2
The battle for Manila was the first and fiercest urban fighting in the entire Pacific War.
War historians argued that the liberation of the Philippines was an unnecessary operation with so many American lives wasted. After having been kicked out of the Philippines two years earlier, General Douglas MacArthur was itching for revenge and convinced President Franklin D. Roosevelt that he might lose reelection in 1944 if he will not liberate the island chain he had so ineptly tried to defend in 1942.
From a strategic standpoint, the decision to liberate the Philippines was deemed unnecessary. The other generals knew that there would be no strategic gain from taking back the Philippine islands because the Americans are already winning.
By 1944, the Japanese air and naval presence on the island had been largely nullified and it was too far from Japan to be of use as a base from which to launch raids on its cities, leaving little reason to invade the place other than to satisfy MacArthur's pride and to fulfill his promise that he will return.
29 Disturbing Pictures Taken Just Before, During and After Terrible Tragedies
Caution: Distressing images ahead.
Not everything about humanity is beautiful and a cause for celebration. Life also has its sinister and sickening moments that send people to the pits of despair.
Sadly, many of these tragic moments have been captured by camera. These images record some of the most awful and appalling things that have happened in the past.
Here are 29 grim photos that tell shocking stories.
This Nazis Belt Buckle is Actually a Hidden Deadly Weapon
A simple accessory can become deadly – especially if it is something made for the Nazis.
The Nazis’ capability to incite fear and horror especially among those they hunted and tortured even after the movement has been wiped out can be quite surprising as it is terrifying. Their presence is still felt by many in simple yet questionable technologies that have been rumored to be linked to the fascist National Socialist German Workers' Party led by Adolf Hitler.
According to CS Globe, some of these technologies are still being used today including nuclear weapons, space planes, and even microwave ovens. While the connection of these to the Nazis remains under the conspiracy theory category, the very idea that they may be used as tools for mind control or genocide can still be quite scary.
But while there are things that remind you of the Nazis in an obvious way, this particular belt buckle looks innocent at first.
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