Factoid

A laughter epidemic broke out in Tanganyika in 1962. It all started in a boarding school for girls in Kashasha, where laughter spread from 3 girls to 95 others. The symptoms lasted for around 16 days in some girls. The school was forced to shut down. Known as the case of mass psychogenic illness (MPI), it then spread to a nearby village Nshamba and later on to other schools. In April and May around 200 people became victims of this mass hysteria with the laughter accompanied by crying, rashes and fainting. Charles F. Hempelmann of Purdue University called it a case of stress because of high expectations of elders after Tanganyika gained independence.

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