My wolf spider problem reminded me of Tarantism, which is one of any possible MPI or “Mass Psychogenic” Illnesses.
A subject I investigated and wrote about for an Italian paper while I was living in Vernazza. And again for a medieval hobbyist magazine while in Romania.
(“Tarantism” by Joachim Koester)
MPI is much like Collective Delusion (Mass Hysteria) but differentiates from it in that physical symptoms are often evident despite the lack of any evident biological induction.
Basically, because there are physical symptoms to something that you would otherwise categorize as delusion… You can’t say an MPI is “All in their heads” without drawing some serious conclusions about the ability of the mind to affect the body.
Lazy or skeptical doctors hate it, because it forces them to investigate beyond the usual checkup, take their patient’s word, or potentially ignore an epidemic or biohazard if it’s misdiagnosed.
Sometimes it’s fairly easy to ascertain the cause… For instance, this is from the wiki…
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, instances of motor hysteria were common in nunneries. The young ladies that made up these convents were typically forced there by family. Once accepted, they took vows of chastity and poverty. Their lives were highly regimented and often marked by strict disciplinary action. The nuns would exhibit a variety of behaviors, usually attributed to demonic possession. They would often use crude language and exhibit suggestive behaviors. One convent’s nuns would regularly mew like cats. Priests were often called in to exorcise demons
It’s pretty plain to see that these symptoms were the result of natural human desires and emotions being stifled. (Makes one wonder what, exactly, those priests did to exorcise those “demons”)
MPIs are frequent wherever human emotional freedoms are impeded.
But it isn’t always so easy to dismiss, sometimes people manifest symptoms that cannot be chalked up to possible voluntary displays, such as boils, fever or lesions.
Anyway, It’s interesting stuff I thought some of you might find intriguing… Here are some wiki… (Is it wikis? Wiki sounds better.)
The French Dancing Plague of 1518
Tanganyika laughing epidemic