Laughter has been known
to spread like a virus. – Let’s talk about that.
– (laughs) ♪ (theme music) ♪ – Gooood Mythical Morning!
– Now, if I were to tell you that Noah was – acting hysterical–
– I’d believe you. Well, he’s not. He’s
pretty calm right now. He seems so unstable.
Just kidding, Noah. It might be that he had dropped
his phone in the toilet and he was – very upset about it.
– Somebody contain this guy! – Let’s get him under control.
– But what if I told you, no no no, that doesn’t mean that Noah dropped his
phone in the toilet, it means that Noah has literally danced himself into a coma. – That would be unusual, right?
– Yeah, I would say, – “Let’s put that on YouTube.”
– Well that’s because we don’t often use the correct understanding, or the clinical
understanding of what hysteria actually is. Are you saying the definition of hysteria
is dancing yourself into a coma, – specifically?
– Just stick with me and you’ll find out where I’m going. Mass hysteria is defined
as: The condition affecting a group of persons, characterized by excitement or
anxiety, irrational behavior or beliefs, or inexplicable symptoms of illness. It’s
when people start acting crazy together. Yeah. Like waiting in line for a new
gadget for days, in tents, and like… If they all started doing the same weird
thing, maybe you would have a case of – mass hysteria.
– Like piling human refuse in public – locations in front of the Best Buy.
– Now you’re getting warm, and I’m not talking about the human refuse. I’m
talking about conceptually, you’re – getting warm.
– Okay. Because… and the funny thing is, science
can’t even explain what causes this, and it continues to happen to this day. We’re
gonna take a look at an old case and we’re gonna take a look
at a more recent case. – Okay.
– Let’s start with the Dancing Plague of 1518. This is the earliest recorded case
of mass hysteria. July 1518 in Strasbourg– that sounds like Germany,
I know, but it’s in France. A woman named Frau Troffea walked out into the middle
of the street and just started dancing. Oh, cool! Hey! Look! She’s got rhythm!
You know, Frau is dancing. Not unusual. – Or slightly unusual.
– But then she just kept dancing. She kept dancing, and
dancing… a week later– – Are we talking, like–
– Nonstop dancing. Jiggling like there’s something in her
pants? Like there’s ants in her pants? I don’t know what was– I don’t know, it
wasn’t like she was dancing to… – Like, did she have a really bad itch?
– the latest Pharrell track, ’cause he didn’t exist at this point. – No.
– And I don’t know if it was music, but I’m just, you know, 1518 dancing. Heyyyy!
Kinda like something Steve Martin would’ve – done in 1978, I’m sorry, but…
– You don’t have footage of this. I don’t. I don’t know what the footage
would show other than Frau dancing. Or Frau (pronounced “Frow”) dancing.
I’m gonna call her Frau. – A week later–
– Are you about to tell me somebody – catches this?
– Link, the first thing I said that you just let wash right over you is I said
“a week later.” She danced for a week. – No rest, no stopping.
– No sleeping? No sleeping. She danced for a week.
By that time, 34 people had joined in. Yeah. So, you’re telling me that
it was like a dance party. – That didn’t stop.
– But clinical. It’s not like, “Hey, she’s throwing a party, let’s go dance with her.”
They were compelled to do it? – I don’t know.
– Like, medically? Science doesn’t even know. I’m just
telling you, brother. I’m telling you that Frau started dancing. A week later, 34
people had danced her. (laughs) Had joined her. And then, within a month,
400 people were dancing in the streets. This is tough to believe. You
just have illustrations of it. Okay, so this seems like it would be
physically impossible, but there’s a written record of this. We’re not saying
that it is unequivocally true, but everything that we know that you can know
about 1518 suggests that this is true, and that it’s actually kinda confirmed
by the fact that people started – dying from dancing.
– Oh, wow. Now, I’ve had some long dance sessions in
my life. Not really. I’m not one– you know, when I see people dancing at
a wedding reception, that’s the only time – I see people dancing.
– Right. I don’t go to the club. Look at me,
guys, ‘cmon. Get a grip. – You join out of guilt, right?
– I’m like, (sighs) Why do we humans do this? Let me go out there and do my
Michael Jackson and make everybody laugh. I’ve pulled a muscle dancing, but I’ve
never killed myself dancing. – I think I’d remember that.
– Dozens of people died from dancing and no one could figure out how
to stop them from dancing. Like they were dancing so much, they
didn’t stop to eat or drink and there was – starvation?
– That is my understanding, Link. – Gah!
– They danced themselves to death. – That’s crazy!
– A lot of people believe that this was a case of severe stress. That area had been
plagued by famine and disease for years. But there is really no explanation for why
people joined in, and this is not a completely unusual thing. This is one that
is a little bit on the lighter side of – people just dying from dancing.
– But my theory is that it’s like– it has to be some sort of brain virus.
That has to be what it is. – The old brain virus?
– It’s attacking the dance centers – of the brain.
– That’s a good theory, but according to modern science, you would be wrong.
And this next case that happened in the sixties, they actually did
blood tests and brain tests. Really? They were studying it as it
happened? They were dancing again? Okay, no. This is one of the most famous
cases of mass hysteria in history. This began January 30th in 1962 in and
around a small village of Kashasha – in Tanganyika, which is now Tanzania,
– (Link) Okay. (Rhett) Near the border of Uganda.
It started pretty simply. Three girls in an all-girl boarding school. One girl
tells a joke to the other girls– I don’t know what the joke was– but it caused
the other girls to begin giggling. And they were just struck– they went
into a laugh attack, not unlike the laugh attacks that we used to have. We had ’em
all the time. We had ’em at school, we had – ’em in the church balcony.
– Oh yeah, yeah. There’s nothing like a church balcony
to make you wanna bust out. – We just could not stop laughing!
– (laughs) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You had to
entertain yourself somehow. And sometimes we would just induce laugh
attacks on purpose when we were bored. – Right, just like–
– One guy would– (both laugh) – Like that.
– We did that. – We just… it was stupid.
– At some point, later than the point we were just at, it would
morph to legitimate laughter. Real laughter. It was much easier
when you were, like, eight, you know? – Yeah. And high on fudge rounds.
– Thirty years later it’s not quite – as easy.
– I’d eat, like, five fudge rounds in – one sitting.
– Listen, kids. Don’t grow out of your ability to induce a laugh attack. But
also, hopefully, this won’t happen to you. – Anyway–
– How big did this get? Okay. These three girls start laughing.
They can’t stop laughing. They laugh for sixteen hours straight. There’s at least a point of reference
here, in that laughter is contagious, kinda like yawning is contagious. The
dancing thing is still weirder than this, unless… but this one is in the
sixties, so there’s more data. This one’s more recent and there’s more
data, yeah. So they laugh for sixteen hours, and at that point, the laughter
has spread to 95 of the school’s 159 students. We’ve got the majority of these
girls at this school laughing to the point that, on March 18th… now, see, it says
that it began on January 30th, and then by March 18th… so this is months long
and I don’t know… it was like this thing that kept recurring, kept happening. It
wasn’t like they just laughed constantly. – It would come in waves?
– Well, I just don’t think you can– I guess you could physically laugh for
that long. I don’t know that specific detail, I just know that the school
shut down on March 18th. – Wow. So strange.
– But the epidemic continued. Other girls that lived around this village
ended up infecting 48 of 154 students at another school, and that school had to be
shut down in June, so a few months later. – It kept going until–
– Was it only girls? over fourteen schools in the area had been
shut down and over a thousand people had – been infected.
– And what– do you know what they would do? Would they, like, pin ’em down
and like, “Stop laughing!” – and cover their mouths?
– I mean, what can you do when somebody’s – laughing? If you– here’s the thing.
– (laughs) If somebody’s laughing and
you try to help ’em– – It’s annoying after a while.
– You get up there and you’re like– – (both laugh)
– You don’t touch ’em, you catch it! – Is that how you got it?
– You can’t touch ’em! – I don’t know.
– You don’t know. I figure. All I know is a thousand people
got it! But none of the teachers– teachers, of course– were affected by
this. None of the teachers were affected. They were probably very affected in a
negative way. They were probably very – upset about it.
– That’s interesting. – You said they took blood tests?
– Scientists came in and they ruled out any biological or environmental causes.
No virus, no bacteria, no chemicals in the food supply. Blood samples were taken.
Nothing physically wrong with any of the patients. And RadioLab did a piece about
this and described that– they talked about this, but they also talked about how
there’s been smaller outbreaks in Tanzania. This is a thing that happens in
Tanzania even in modern times, but nothing like this initial one that
shut down all these schools. So there’s no ultimate conclusion?
There’s no explanation? Most people think that this was– this
happened just after Tanzania declared independence from Great Britain, and so… – Euphoria.
– There was a massive social change, which is usually induced by stress, but you can
have good stress at the same time you can have bad stress. And that’s the only thing
people can point to. I think the moral of this story is, I’m never laughing again,
’cause I don’t want the show to get – shut down.
– It’s too much of a risk? See, I’m trying to right now, but…
’cause if I start laughing, then you start laughing, then Morgan starts laughing,
Eddie starts laughing, next thing you – know, this show’s gonna get shut down.
– It’s debilitating. Well, that’s kinda – the sad irony of the thing.
– And then other internet shows are gonna – get shut down.
– It’s like the euphoria associated with dancing or laughing leads to death or
schools being shut down? It’s like, the one thing, the one thing, the one
safe place we can all go to experience joy, to emote joy, dancing or laughing,
is being taken from us by an unknown scourge. It’s alien. If it’s not viral,
then it has to be alien. Aliens exist, we’ve proved it this
morning on Good Mythical Morning. – What’re you laughing at?
– (crew laughs) I mean, what’s your explanation? Come on! Aliens exist. I’m in complete
agreement with you. – And this is what they’re doing.
– And they’re gonna shut down your school. You don’t have to wait for the
snow to come, just start laughing. I don’t know. I mean, you can feel free to
let us know in the comments what you think. I’m sure you know more
than we do in one way or another. – Thanks for liking and commenting.
– You know what time it is. – Hi, I’m Becca.
– And I’m Caroline. – And we’re from South Carolina.
– But today we’re in New York City. (both) And it’s time to spin
the Wheel of Mythicality! Make sure you go and check out the
wrapping up of Crew Madness at facebook.com/rhettandlink. Go over there
to find out who won the whole thing. Click through to Good Mythical More, where
I’m told there is an amazing laughter chain video, so we’re gonna try to induce
an epidemic, going against what you just said, in Good Mythical More.
Join us for that. See if you’ll laugh. Contemplating… music. (voiceover on top of soothing piano)
(Rhett) Music. Just a little bass, which is spelled the same as “bass.” I once got
a pair of headphones that had extra – “bass.” I was sorely disappointed.
– Music. [Captioned by Caitrin:
GMM Captioning Team]