Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Meteorite' Crash Breeds Mass Hysteria

Scientists have figured out what the mysterious "illness" was that plagued residents of a small, remote Peruvian town on August 15. Mass hysteria. Just like when masses of people see supernatural virgins in grottos, and the sun dancing in the sky, and now this strange illness are all a phenomenon of how easily humans can be psychologically influenced in mass numbers. In a large group, many people can believe anything to be true and just because a very large number of people believe or "experience" something doesn't necessarily mean it is true or real.

'Meteorite' Crash Breeds Mass Hysteria

On what started as a normal Saturday night one week ago, residents of a small, remote Peruvian town saw a bright light streak across the sky, heard a resounding bang and suddenly found themselves at the center of a media frenzy.

Initial suspicions of an airplane crash quickly spiraled into widespread reports that a meteorite had plummeted to Earth and left a smoking, boiling crater whose supposedly noxious fumes were reported to have sickened curious locals who went to peer at the hole.

Despite doubts expressed by geologists that the crater was actually caused by a meteorite and firm explanations that a meteorite would not even emit fumes and that the "sickness" was likely a case of mass hysteria, numerous onlookers far and wide were fascinated by the idea that this event could be some real-life "Andromeda Strain" (the 1969 novel by Michael Crichton), where a mysterious rock falling to Earth from outerspace made anyone who went near it ill.

So what is it about things falling from the sky that fills us with such fear that we can make ourselves sick with panic?

Mass hysteria: READ MORE . . .

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