Mass Hysteria

Salem vs. Nuns

Salem Witch Trials

The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. With the talk of witchcraft beginning to spread, mass hysteria started to rise in the town causing many false accusations for the next few months. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, the Devil's magic, and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become famous with paranoia and injustice.

Meowing & Biting Nuns

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, several instances of nuns suffering from mass hysteria were reported from a convent in France. The incident started with one nun meowing like a cat, with the rest of the convent soon following. The group would meow together for many hours at specific points during the day. The repetitive noise baffled and infuriated the surrounding neighbors. The hysteria stopped once the neighbors called upon soldiers, who threatened to whip the nuns if they did not stop.


These two mass hysteria examples are similar because they both originated from devil behavior. Salem dealing with witchcraft, the Devil's magic, and France having nuns making cat noises which was a despised animal at the time do to their connections with the Devil. Salem was different than the nuns because the girls had a motive for pretending to be witches to keep themselves out of trouble. Where the nuns had no reason to be making cat noise except for "supernatural causes".
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