5 Terrifying Diseases From History (People Just Made Up)

We have all read alarmist news stories about fads taking over the country which afterwards turned out to be complete crap. There were never any daycare centers that are Satanic, no teenager in the world and the knockout game have ever played, and nobody really enjoys pumpkin spice. But if you believe those are elements of a contemporary contemporary age, keep in mind that we were given panics which were even stupider by history. For example …


The “Crack Baby” Epidemic Was Nothing However Bunk Science

Back in ’90s and the ’80s, America was terrified at the possibility of raising a generation of mentally handicapped, drug-addicted kids. “Crack babies” were created when girls used crack cocaine while pregnant, either ignorant of or indifferent to the consequences the drug would have in their unborn kids. The New York Times predicted that as many as four million crack infants would eventually be born, threatening the otherwise-flawless American schooling system.

The fact that you probably haven’t been mugged with a single crack-crazed lunatic this season, manchild ought to tell you that this didn’t come to pass. But did the media get it so wrong? Well, it was accurate that crack surged in popularity at the moment, but it is equally true that America hasn’t met a trend that it could not blow out of proportion. Sketchy reporters didn’t merely portray crack-smoking moms as individuals who had made some terrible decisions — they painted these girls as broken and loveless, barely able to function in society and developing a “bio-underclass” of doomed babies who were “oblivious to drool.” If even half of the reports on crack were accurate, society turned into a generation away from turning into a Phillip K. Dick book.

“But was the panic based on science?” You might be asking. The solution is … uh, sort of. Specifically, the scare was founded on a study of 23 infants who had been subjected to crack. We didn’t forget a few zeroes there — the study had fewer participants than the usual basketball team. Oh, and it only studied them as infants, which meant there was no advice on what kind of adults they’d grow up to be. If there were any at all, sure enough, subsequent studies on adults who were subjected to crack in the womb revealed only minor neurological problems.

The New York Times “If your crack infant is so smart, and why can I overcome it in chess most of the time?”

But the damage was done. Girls who do still, and drugs during pregnancy were are, punished a lot more harshly than girls who smoke or drink, and get hit with criminal charges or have their kids shot of, you know, being assisted. Meanwhile, the government officials and politicians peddled the myth that crack babies were a costly drain on society.

And yes, the fact that crack was supposedly the scary new drug of choice for poor African Americans completely fueled the “crisis.” The Atlantic dug up an old newspaper article called “Disaster In Making: Taste Babies Start To Grow Up,” which asserted a tide of Mad-Maxian unlawful childhood was on the horizon. The fear was a significant part of how we obtained the both overblown fear of “super predators,” roving gangs of primarily black teens who would commit crimes, but for example, actually well. Fortunately, the media appears to have learned its lesson and is treating the crisis, which appears to be hitting Americans the hardest, with considerably more significance.


“K Syndrome” Was Deadly To Nazis … And No One Else

Unlike the other ailments here, K Syndrome’s creation was a good thing, even though it seems like something you would get from eating a bothering amount of Particular K. When Nazi soldiers began rounding up Jews that were Italian, the sole known outbreak occurred in 1943. Italian doctor Vittorio Sacerdoti, knowing what that meant and wanting absolutely nothing to do with it, started admitting anyone who could reach his hospital as patients. Once inside, they were immediately diagnosed a condition notable for its ability to repel Nazis, with K Syndrome.

When soldiers entered the hospital, Sacerdoti warned them that his patients had an disease. To sell this particular claim, the “infected” maintained coughing while the Nazis were all around, and the sound discouraged the soldiers from getting into the patients’ rooms and discovering the charade. Therefore the soldiers hightailed it out of there immediately, because even Nazis had limitations on how far they’d go to perform their tasks.

“They would do anything for Lebensraum, but they will not do this.”

It is uncertain how many lifestyles K Syndome (named after Nazi field marshal Albert Kesselring, and also utilized to conceal political dissidents and an underground radio channel) saved, but estimates range from dozens to hundreds. His coworkers and Sacerdoti were honored following the war, for asserting that they were part of an race and surviving Nazis who learned about the trick probably felt quite silly.


Scientific Racism Invented A Mental Disorder To Describe Slaves Kept Trying To Escape

Back after slavery was lawful, slaves obviously maintained trying to get to freedom, because (and this is apparently still a shock to some Americans) being a servant sucked pretty tough. Slaveowners had a justification for why escape efforts kept happening that was not “Declaring different people to be land and forcing them to live and work in inhumane conditions makes us some of history’s biggest monsters,” so that they turned to science for an answer. Its hillbilly cousin was happy to step in, although science was not available.

Input physician Samuel A. Cartwright. In 1851, he printed “Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race,” and you know with a name like that you are able for a rough ride. He outlined two mental disorders he had “discovered,” because only some eccentric affliction could possibly explain why anybody would want to escape slavery.

Through Wiki Commons “No mentally stable non-slaves are uppity about being slaves.”

Cartwright argued that because there is a quote in the Bible that stated slaves must obey their masters, and since God created black people to be poor servants, any African American attempting to escape their natural position was obviously sick (slaves could have presumably interpreted the scripture differently, but Cartwright apparently didn’t get around to requesting them). This illness, dubbed Drapetomania, was caused either when white guys treated blacks as equals, or when slaves were treated poorly. Cartwright remedy was supposed to treat slaves as kids be type, and — keep them well-fed, do not overwork them, but deny them the freedoms of adults and whip them if they disobeyed. This could supposedly cure the scourge of Drapetomania (unless the slaves lived on the boundary of an abolitionist condition, in which case it was incurable).

Cartwright also invented Dysaesthesia Aethiopica, essentially a fancy title for “not needing to work 19 hours a day for no money.” Slaves, it appears, sometimes didn’t want to do the work they had been imprisoned and forced with violence to perform (if you can imagine). Sometimes they purposely caused disturbances or damage to prevent work! On Cartwright, this was proof not that slaves were miserable, but of a mental illness which was the “natural offspring of negro liberty.” From not being enslaved enough, or even at all, african Americans who found themselves having a lot of spare time, were more prone to living a destructive lifestyle. Fortunately, such a terrible affliction could be cured by ensuring that they put in long days of fair work.

It’s easy to look back and laugh off Cartwright as a crackpot attempting to justify behavior that is awful. That is, in fact, when his thoughts made it north exactly what nations did. But at the exact same time, his theories were popular among Southerners who wanted a “scientific” justification for slaves maybe not needing to be slaves. Then fleeing it is abnormal, if you reside in a culture where slavery is normal, and people will bend over backwards to describe that abnormality before beginning to examine their own behaviour. That’s a phenomenon which helps explain, oh, roughly 99 percent of this behaviour that you dislike in the entire world.


Werther, The 18th-Century Novel That Produced Teens Commit Suicide

13 Reasons Why received some criticism for glamorizing suicide and potentially enabling the Werther Effect, wherein a favorite portrayal of suicide inspires real life copycats. Regardless of what the people arguing on your Facebook page are promising, the effects of the media’s treatment of suicide is an incredibly complex subject without any clear answers. But what is apparent is that the Werther Effect’s namesake was a bullshit urban legend.

The title is derived not from those butterscotch candies whose existence in each nursing home reminds you of your inevitable decline, but from The Sorrows Of Young Werther, a 1774 book by the maximum German-named man in history, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It is really a young artist who is distraught by the fact that they will never be together that he chooses his own life, and falls in love with an engaged girl. Essentially, it makes Romeo And Juliet seem like a feel good rom-com.

HP Haack To this day, Germans remain unable to laugh.

Werther became a smash hit across Europe and North America, because mopey protagonists will probably be popular before the end of time. Men dressed up like him, because nothing enhances dinner like revealing a suicide with every snack of schnitzel, and merchandise like plates with engravings of scenes from the book were pumped out. There was only one problem: Werther was inspirational troubled youths to take their own lives, presumably in the hopes that they also could be immortalized on a plate.

One obituary said that a suicide victim owned a copy of the publication, and called on viewers to “defeat the evil tendency of that pernicious work.” A young man supposedly jumped off a building with the publication, and a mother claimed that her son had underlined various passages before taking his own life, among many other tales of suicides staged by victims who wanted to make it clear that Werther motivated them. Citing this rash of suicides, authorities in Italy, Denmark, and the town of Leipzig banned both the publication and costumes based on the publication (that’s right, they outlawed cosplay). One spiritual leader known as “heinous,” while the other supposedly purchased all the copies he could find to prevent the general public from having access to the terrible message. People could not wait to see it destroyed for the public good’s sake or couldn’t wait to read it.

It was an epidemic … without any evidence to support it. All of those “suicides” were tales of nameless victims who could not be traced back to some legitimate origin. It was, as far as anyone can tell, a scandal by moralizing hand-wringers invented. Again, the connection between fictional suicide and actual suicide is complex, but at least no one was actually throwing themselves to their doom because an 18th-century LiveJournal made it seem cool.


“Fan Death” Terrifies South Koreans, Confuses Everyone Else

If you reside in a climate which feels just like Satan ball sack you have probably left a fan on overnight and never given another thought to it. But if you do this in South Korea, people are going to ask you why your dumb ass has a death wish.

A significant part of the Korean population considers that operating a fan in a area will kill you dead, even though nobody can agree why. Some argue that it induces hypothermia, others state that all of the oxygen is pumped away or left rancid, though a notion posits that the enthusiast somehow converts oxygen to carbon dioxide, such as an evil reverse-tree which proves nature shouldn’t be mocked by man. And this is not some urban legend that is silly which children believe. A state-funded customer agency listed “asphyxiation from electrical fans and air-conditioners” as a frequent summer accident taxpayers ought to be careful to avoid.

Meanwhile, North Koreans do not possess these superstitions, or electricity.

You may be tempted to dismiss this as yet another “ignorant foreigners being wacky” story that your relatives on Facebook adore so much, but what do you believe South Koreans would have to say about Westerners who refuse to vaccinate their kids, or believe that fluoridated water is part of a government plot to earn the public lethargic and malleable? If everybody agrees that it is, something can become true. Stories of lovers killing people often make South Korean information, because sometimes people die in their sleep, and you can not prove that the enthusiast didn’t contribute. One supposed mysterious departure from the 1970s, of a man who was found dead in a closed room with two lovers running, is believed to have popularized the myth … unless you want to go farther down the rabbit hole, and subscribe to the belief that the nation’s military dictatorship invented the myth to curb electricity consumption during a ’70s energy crisis. Of course, that’s exactly what Big Fan wants us to believe.

The latest shocking epidemic is buying Mark’s publication and following him on Twitter.

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