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...Just a Minute...

by Jacqueline Sewall Golden

Edition 6

The science boys finally got something right.  A recent headline announced that a mysterious illness affecting some 2,000 students in a Tennessee school was, following an extensive investigation, found to be based solely on hysteria.

It began when a teacher noticed a funny smell in the kitchen of a McMinnville high school and became sick to her stomach.  Soon, by the dozens, students throughout the school fell ill.

Now, anyone whose ever worked in an office has been aware of this phenomenon.  Your co-worker becomes ill, you start thinking you feel a tad sick, and soon enough, sure enough, most if not all of the office is out sick or thinking about it.  Whats the big deal?  But the people who know about these things have a new name for it and thats how they keep their jobs.  They say cases of mass hysteria are now to be called psychogenic illnesses.

This phenomenon has long historical roots.  Hundreds of outbreaks of mass hysteria sorry, psychogenic illnesses have been documented over the past century, often among schoolchildren, soldiers, office and factory workers.  Those folks in previous eras, believed that spirits and demons oppressed us.  I know I believed that back in the 60s while working for a very large company.  I knew my boss was the devil.  Boy, Id love to be able to have called him to let him know Id be out of the office with the psychogenic flu for a few days and it was all his fault.

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