In the fall of 2011, a group of teenage girls from Le Roy high school in New York developed a variety of uncontrollable tics and spasming behaviors. After national exposure, the girls – ALL 15 of them – were diagnosed by doctors as suffering from stress-induced “conversion disorder” (a psychiatric diagnosis) and “psychogenic illness” (mass hysteria).

The media did what they could to paint this as hysterical teenage girls looking for attention. They ignored the other symptoms the girls were having (sore muscles, flu-like symptoms, extreme fatigue) and the fact that they continued to tic, seize and have tremors even while asleep and even under hospital sedation. They ignored the fact that apparently, a lot of people from that area are ill and have problems. Articles and news stories attempted to show “stressful precursors” to the onset of symptoms, even though none of the kids reported feeling any more or less stressed than they ever were, and these articles conveniently leave out the fact that the kids were also diagnosed with PANDIS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections; in short, that the symptoms were caused by/secondary to an infection) and that while being treated with antibiotics, they actually started to get better. They are still sick though, all this time later.

In 1970, a train derailed in the town of Le Roy NY, rupturing and spilling approximately 2,000 pounds of cyanide crystals, and 30,000 to 35,000 gallons of the solvent trichloroethene. This site is now considered an EPA Superfund site (meaning they need long term clean up of hazardous chemicals). It may be of some import to note that while looking for an environmental cause, it was found that all of these kids had been on the field at school. That was the only link that could be found.

Is this spill or some other neurotoxin or chemical the cause of this outbreak? No real way to know, honestly. It is a significant spill and worth mentioning here. According to some, there were also leaking fracking wells on school property. Supposedly, the symptoms appeared about 6 weeks after the leak, which caused the nearby trees and vegetation to die. Frackers are known to use carcinogenic chemicals in their fracking operations, which could certainly cause neurological symptoms. No definitive soil sample testing was done either and when a (non-government) team attempted to collect soil samples, they were escorted off school property by the police. Whether you believe in a cover up or not, it would be pretty amazing if more than 10 kids all had the exact same “conversion disorder” with the exact same symptoms at the same time, wouldn’t it? Mass hysteria is not a new phenomenon and undoubtedly some of the “fringe cases” of this bizarre illness or affectation could be attributed to it. But to claim that some of these kids had the exact same “conversion disorder” with the exact same symptoms at the same time and the rest just copied them stretches the boundaries of what is believable.

Below is a video of one of the girls. The others had similar physical tics but most did not have vocal tics as she displays here.

Note on the Salem Witch Trials:

Perhaps the best-known case of “mass hysteria” and the one everyone refers to when confronted with this type of case. However, science and research suggest that this “hysteria” and the symptoms the girls exhibited had a basis in toxic Ergot Fungi on rye plants (their staple crop). The rainy climate merged with the plants to produce a perfect poisoning storm. Girls and women were the gatherers and bakers, and girls and women were easily blamed for the resulting signs and symptoms. It has been hundreds of years, and yet people still want to blame “hysteria” for true, painful poisoning and sickness? We have example after example in medicine of doctors attributing puzzling symptoms, especially in females, to psychiatric causes and “female hysteria.” Years later, medicine advances and voila! the women are no longer considered crazy. It’s a negative, old-fashioned response and needs to stop.

More video of two other girls, plus the media spin:

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