WEIGHT: 65 kg
Services: Striptease, Striptease, Fetish, Fisting anal, Blow ride
In the four months between May and September, a total of pre-teen and teenage girls were hospitalised with perplexing symptoms including fainting spells, shortness of breath, severe headaches, numb hands, nausea and convulsions. The girls were given oxygen, taught breathing techniques and subjected to an array of tests conducted by physicians and psychologists flown in from all over Colombia.
But the origin of the illness was never found. Cases like this have become an obsession for me over the past decade. It started with a phone conversation with Bev Zalcock, my former film teacher, who inspired me to become a film-maker. Intrigued by this, I searched the internet. The laughing was accompanied by other symptoms including fainting, crying and agitation and the outbreak seemed to come under a diagnosis of mass hysteria.
I found him behind his desk piled high with papers, his wispy hair standing on end and — luckily for me — ready to share his vast knowledge. He told me how mass hysteria had been an interest of his for nearly 25 years. What turned me on to psychiatry was that people could do bizarre things and believe bizarre things and yet not be insane. I asked Simon to make it clearer for me what the clinical definition was.
I avoid mixing it up with social movements and moral panics. With mass hysteria people have to believe they are ill and collectively communicate that illness through psychological means.
Fainting and non-epileptic fits are common symptoms of a mass psychogenic illness. So too are nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, dizziness, chest pain, abdominal pain, hyperventilation and twitches.