Though the Tanganyika case is closed, similar cases of mass psychogenic illness occur among groups of people unable to extract themselves from a stressful situation. September 24, 2020, 5:28 pm, by According to their article, “ An Epidemic of Laughing in the Bukoba District of Tanganyika ,” the laughing sickness went on for six months. Required fields are marked *. We depend on ad revenue to craft and curate stories about the world’s hidden wonders. Mass fainting in Tanzania believed to be caused by mass hysteria is an unusually common phenomenon throughout the region, and although it has never been officially linked to the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic, one still has to wonder. It is still spoken almost 60 years after it happened. There were reported cases of the laughter outbreak lasting up to sixteen days in some individuals. Much less serious than the Dancing Plague was the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962. “You’re saying: You don’t have a valid disease, you don’t have an issue, you’re just being crazy because that gets you out of trouble.” The stigma is still there. However the laughter wasn’t confined to a few girls in a single incident. So is laughter the disease or the solution? Tanzania laughter epidemic (1962) In late January of 1962, at an all-girls school in Kashasha, Tanzania, three girls began to laugh uncontrollably. Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. Tanganyika / ˌ t æ ŋ ɡ ə n ˈ j iː k ə / was a sovereign state, comprising the mainland part of present-day Tanzania, that existed from 1961 until 1964.It first gained independence from the United Kingdom on 9 December 1961 as a state headed by Queen Elizabeth II before becoming a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations a year later. Get the latest stories straight into your inbox before everyone else! Kashasha, near Lake Victoria in Tanzania in 1962: One girl in a boarding school there told another girl a joke. If you are suffering the affects of stress consider setting up a daily laughter plan to increase your laughter levels . The Laughter Epidemic takes the concept of laughter being contagious and cranks it up to a whole new level. Tough to tell. Consider supporting our work by becoming a member for as little as $5 a month. by “It was just a terrible work environment, nobody wanted to work at the DMV, they had particularly bad supervision there, and they just subconsciously found a way out of the situation that they could copy from each other,” says Hempelmann. None of the five teachers at the school were affected (two European teachers and three African teachers). The Laughter Epidemic, Tanzania, 1962 Rumors about this incident claim that a contagious laughter spread from the village of Kashasha, causing victims to laugh non-stop for months. 5: Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic (1962) Girls sit in a classroom in Namibia, 1969. But laughter is not so simple. Provine says it was not a case of an entire village grinding to a halt because of continued laughter outbursts. (Photo: Public Domain/WikiCommons). The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic remains the only one of its kind on record. Much less serious than the Dancing Plague was the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962. Tough to tell. Thank you for helping build the largest language community on the internet. Laughter has been linked to reduced stress hormones and increased endorphins, providing both physical and psychological relief. Hempelmann recalls an instance from his time living in Layafette, Indiana. Today’s research into the Tanganyika Laugh Epidemic seems to indicate that stress was possibly a leading cause of the epidemic. August 6, 2020, 1:53 pm. The laughter epidemic started on January 30, 1962 at an all-girls boarding school near the village of Kashasha in modern day Tanzania, Africa. As far as that last idea, Hempelmann says it’s the classic Freudian theory of humor, where “we build up some magical psychic pressure, and laughter lets us release it, through whatever metaphorical valve we have for that.” He doesn’t think that is a good theory for the role of laughter and how humor works. The school was closed in March 18, 1962 shortly after the outbreak of laughter since the students couldn't concentrate on their studies. Two other girls with her also started laughing. Pain? The present article discusses the role of laughter in the much cited ‘laughter epidemic’ that occurred in Tanganyika in 1962. It’s not always this way. The laughter spread like wildfire throughout the school, affecting nearly 60% of the students. Discomfort? Blood samples taken at the time and sent to Europe for testing confirmed that no anomalies were found in the blood samples collected. Instead of medicine, laughter became an epidemic. A laughter epidemic happened in 1962 in Tanzania. (Photo: Lisle Boomer/flickr). Scott Williams Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. (Photo: Sufferers’ symptoms included recurring attacks of laughing and crying that lasted from a few hours up to 16 days. This is the story about the Tanganyika laughter epidemic that occurred in 1962. On January 30th, three girls at a boarding school in Kashasha, Tanzania began laughing. Dismiss. Here you'll find all collections you've created before. Scott Williams The laughter spread like wildfire throughout the school, affecting nearly 60% of the students. The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass psychogenic illness (MPI) in the vicinity of the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania. These fits were accompanied by restlessness—aimless running, occasional violence—but there was no evidence of organic causes. We have all experienced at some point in our lives a mini version of the Tanganyika Laugh Epidemic where we have commenced uncontrollable laughter. “If you are referring to somebody as suffering from this, you are in a way still calling them hysterical,” he says. Neuroscientist and lecturer Robert R. Provine, in his book “Laughter – A Scientific Investigation” writes that the Tanganyika Laugh Epidemic was a very real event. Discomfort? Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders. Atlas Obscura and our trusted partners use technology such as cookies on our website to personalise ads, support social media features, and analyse our traffic. Scott Williams The Happy Human is the new book from Australia's Laughter Specialist Scott Williams. Scott Williams One can look to the Tanganyika epidemic in 1962 to get answers. About 1,000 people contracted the “illness,” many of them young women and girls. As the investigations continued it was discovered that the laughter epidemic was not confined to just one school in Kashasha. The Tanzania Laughter Epidemic Often, people think laughter is the best medicine, but what if medicine isn't the best medicine and turned out to be a disease? Symptoms of those affected lasted from a few hours to 16 days. Some researchers thought that the incident may have been a case of mass public hysteria brought on by the consumption of tainted or contaminated food products. There is no doubt that the event was remarkable. September 17, 2020, 11:19 am, by Please check if there are posts that match all the below criteria. Laughing excessively can lead to extreme elation, cataplexy, and unpleasant laughter spells. Even though laughter is regarded as a natural form of medicine and has been used as a therapeutic tool for many years, there are negative aspects to it. “It’s not as crazy as one would think.”. Christian Hempelmann of Texas A&M University, who has done research on the incident, describes the laughter epidemic as a case of. Tanzania Laughter Epidemic When did this take place. See. By July two further schools had been shut down as investigations continued into the cause of the happiness hysteria. Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic ADDPMP209 Outbreak of mass hysteria – or mass psychogenic illness (MPI) – rumored to have occurred in 1962 near the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border with Uganda. The school ended up being temporarily closed as investigations begun. Are Yeltsin and Clinton laughing out of mirth? There is also abundant evidence of such events in places of instability like Kosovo, Afghanistan, and South Africa. (Photo: Pixabay). Every weekday we compile our most wondrous stories and deliver them straight to you. Please click below to consent to the use of this technology while browsing our site. The […] Workers at the local DMV were exhibiting respiratory distress to the point that the building was repeatedly shut down and eventually relocated. Tanzania, known more for its wildlife than its history of laughter epidemics. or "A Jew, an Indian, and Herbert Hoover walk into a bar …" or "Take my wife, please … The Tanzania Laughter Epidemic Khalil Freeman the teachers tried everything to get the girls to stop laughing, but despite the disciplinary action the teachers took upon the children, they continued to laugh uncontrollably. School rooms of children would begin laughing without explanation. Offer available only in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico). The event was a ‘laugh epidemic’ that caused uncontrollable outbursts of laughter, primarily among school children throughout the village. For decades, "pathological tourists" ended up in asylums or worse. “So I thought—I’ve got to look at this again and see, did this actually happen and what does it tell us about humor.”, Tanzania, known more for its wildlife than its history of laughter epidemics. The laughter epidemic is rumored to have begun on January 30, 1962, at a mission-run boarding school for girls in Kashasha, on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania near the border of Uganda. It’s not always this way. Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic. To learn more or withdraw consent, please visit our cookie policy. It began as an innocent chuckle between two girls in a boarding school in the village of Kashasha. The most famous example of a laughter epidemic happened in Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in 1962, but this kind of psychological behavior happens on … Began as an innocent chuckle between two girls in a boarding school in the village of Kashasha How it started How long did it last The laughing epidemic lasted from six months to Recent developments in the field of laughter, an area of research known as gelotology, include humor and laughter therapy, laughter meditation, and laughter yoga—in which feigned laughter becomes real, bringing with it supposed mind and body benefits. This looks like the good kind of laughter. The Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass hysteria – or mass psychogenic illness (MPI) – rumored to have occurred in or near the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border of Uganda. Let’s take a … The laughter started with three girls and spread throughout the school, affecting 95 of the 159 pupils, aged 12–18. Back in 1962 in Tanzania (then Tanganyika), a laughing epidemic broke out at a girls' school. Today what took place in Kashasha and Nshamba is described in scientific journals as the “Tanganyika (Tanzania) Laugh Epidemic”. Winner will be selected at random on 02/01/2021. A laughter yoga session, where laughter is actually supposed to be contagious. Offer subject to change without notice. “The Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass to have occurred in or near the village of Kanshasa on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border of Kenya. Like Atlas Obscura and get our latest and greatest stories in your Facebook feed. Scott Williams The eventual outburst of laughter was perhaps a coping mechanism to reduce the stress levels that were building up, primarily in the children but also in women rather than the male elders of the villages. The most famous example of a laughter epidemic happened in Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in 1962, but this kind of psychological behavior happens on a weekly basis around the world, particularly among populations experiencing chronic stress. Maybe, "Have you heard the one about?" 20 simple secrets to increase HAPPINESS in your life NOW! When the environment was tested for contaminants, nothing was found, and ultimately the local media reported the case as a sort of mass psychogenic illness. The Tanganyika laughter epidemic is when an outbreak of laughter occurred in Tanganyika (which is modern day Tanzania), in 1962. The laughter outbursts lasted from minutes to a few hours and reoccurred up to four times (Provine: “Laughter, a scientific investigation”). If not, remove the wrong ones in the widget settings. These people were suffering, expressing their suffering through that,” Hempelmann explains, “Nothing got better because they laughed.”. On January 30th, three girls at a boarding school in Kashasha, Tanzania began laughing. “On the one hand it sounded too good to be true, and on the other hand, people were citing it in support of all kinds of things, across the spectrum, and contradictory things,” says Hempelmann. Scott Williams The story goes that the laughter started with three girls in a town called Kashasha, and from there the intoxicating guffaws spread to 95 students shutting down school and causing panic. A laughter epidemic sounds like a welcome neighborhood contagion. Get the latest stories straight into your inbox! When the first episode if what would be called the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic occurred on January 30, 1962 at boarding school in Kashasha, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), no one suspected that what they were seeing would eventually affect over one thousand people. It had spread to the nearby villages of Nshamba and Bukoba. Scott Williams While it did indeed happen, it doesn’t tell us too much about humor, and it annoys Hempelmann when humor researchers use the Tanganyika incident as evidence of laughter being contagious. Malice? Hempelmann says that while mass psychogenic illness is fairly common, it’s often not reported under that name. Sufferers’ symptoms included recurring attacks of laughing and crying that lasted from a few hours up to 16 days. In this article we will try to explore the facts of what actually took place in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). “If you are referring to somebody as suffering from this, you are in a way still calling them hysterical,” he says. Excessive laughter can lead to cataplexy, unpleasant laughter spells, and extreme elation. October 22, 2020, 4:36 pm, by Yet cases like the group of high school girls in New York who developed facial tics continue to perplex the media. (Photo: CC Tanzania). Browse and manage your votes from your Member Profile Page, by It seems that laughter isn’t just a joyful noise; it can be a signal of distress, spurred by anger or sadness or intertwined with mania. As they begin to recognize recurring, 100 Years Ago, American Women Competed in Intense Venus de Milo Lookalike Contests, The Deadly Irish Epidemic That Helped Bring Dracula to Life, How the Influenza Pandemic Popularized Lemons, How the Black Death Gave Rise to British Pub Culture, How Coronavirus Put an Ancient Flour Mill Back to Work, When Doctors Thought ‘Wanderlust’ Was a Psychological Condition, high school girls in New York who developed facial tics. In this type of situation, the person has no power over the stress and can come up with no other response. By the time the epidemic had subsided some two and a half years later later fourteen schools had been closed for extended periods of time. Children passing saw the girls laughing and although unaware of what had provoked such a joyous outburst among the girls, also started laughing. Slowly, it spread beyond their school and region and into other at-risk populations. When it reached America, Sunkist marketers recommended hot lemonade. Could it be both? The Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass hysteria, or mass psychogenic illness (MPI), rumored to have occurred in or near the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border of Kenya. Grab your copy of the happy human today (ebook also available for immediate download), A Minute On Happiness – November 26, 2020, A Minute On Happiness – 22nd October, 2020, A Minute On Happiness – September 24,2020, A Minute On Happiness – September 17, 2020, https://www.thehappyhuman.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Happy-human.mp4. Exploring the proven link between humour and better health this book is a 'must read' for anyone who wants to generate more laughter in their life! Christian F. Hempelmann's research is a barrel of laughs. Those around us become affected by our outburst of joy and also start laughing. (Photo: Hempelmann says that while mass psychogenic illness is fairly common, it’s often not reported under that name. An example of a recent and similar incident is an instance of unexplained nausea and dizziness among students at a school in Lancashire, England this past November. (Photo: Are Yeltsin and Clinton laughing out of mirth? Eventually if you are really lucky a group of people including yourself will be rolling around the floor with tears of joy streaming down their faces! This page was last changed on 3 October 2018, at 05:13. It is guaranteed that if you laugh more you will feel better, so look for something to laugh about today! The first three victims were teenage girls though the laughing quickly spread to the rest of the school with 95 of the nearly 200 … By the end of the outbreak over 1000 people afflicted by the mysterious phenomenon. All rights reserved. “You’re saying: You don’t have a valid disease, you don’t have an issue, you’re just being crazy because that gets you out of trouble.” The stigma is still there. Today it is a proven fact that laughter reduces stress. by Christian Hempelmann of Texas A&M University, who has done research on the incident, describes the laughter epidemic as a case of mass psychogenic or sociogenic illness, a malady that has the capacity to strike in a variety of high-stress settings. This new, more strict approach to children and schooling caused many of the children to become stressed over what was expected of them. Follow us on social media to add even more wonder to your day. Hysterical hysteria! The most famous example of a laughter epidemic happened in 1962 in Tanzania (Tanganyika at that time). In June of 1962 it was reported that the laughter contagion had spread to another school and around 50 people were experiencing uncontrollable fits of laughter. Your email address will not be published. Other sources say it went on for a year, or two, or even more. September 12, 2020, 8:16 am, Your email address will not be published. Don't miss visiting The Happy Human Store! According to researchers such as Christian Hempelmann, the reason for such events is that there is an underlying shared stress factor within any population. Today’s research into the Tanganyika Laugh Epidemic seems to indicate that stress was possibly a leading cause of the epidemic. © 2019 Copyright -Scott Williams International Pty Ltd. 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