Salem Witch Trials
A series of accusations of witchcraft that would take a bloody turn. In Salem Massachusetts, paranoid vigilant Christian citizens are greatly alarmed at children testifying to seeing witches attack them. The children begin to accuse other citizens of making a pact with the Devil and attacking them. The adults of this village were too deep in their superstition to be rational about the situation and thus led to the wrongful execution of twenty people.
Artists Depiction of the Chaos
The Dancing Plague of 1518 was a strange case. It happened in Strasbourg, France. A woman by the name of Frau Troffea spontaneously began dancing near the church of St. Vitus. This mysteriously caused hundreds of other impoverished peasants to begin dancing as well. They danced for days and even weeks and a lot of them dropped dead from heart attacks from the dancing. Many accounts of the incident suggest it was the wrath of St. Vitus being afflicted on them. But now we know it to be a case of mass hysteria.
There Are Many Similarities Between These Cases of Mass Hysteria
In both of these times in history, everyone was dissolved in constant superstition and everyone believed that supernatural forces were affecting them every day. Because of this, strange things occurred much more frequently. If we look at the accounts of both of these events when they happened, the people believed them both to be the work of some sort of god or godly people. That is the major similarity between these 2 cases of mass hysteria.