So, you're in Israel, on a tour of the Holy Land. Suddenly, a member abandons the tour group, dons a makeshift white toga, and starts wandering the city, singing and shouting religious slogans.
Who cares, right? It's a crazy person who thinks he's Jesus or something. Jerusalem is probably full of them. It's nothing more than an amusing story to tell back home.
The only problem is, that person had no previous mental illness, and will return to normal as soon as he leaves. And next month, there'll be another one just like him. And another. And another.
Via Journeyman Pictures
It's like the world's slowest flash mob.
They call it Jerusalem Syndrome. A large study was done on the subject for the British Journal of Psychiatry, and what's strange is how incredibly specific the symptoms are. The victim always makes a toga. It's always white. Then they spend their time in the city shouting out religious verses or singing songs, and then finally deliver a religious sermon at a holy place, presumably about the comforts of wearing a toga.
This one even has his own harp.
And yes, their study was careful to separate out the people who were already crazy, or who had come to Jerusalem because they already thought they were the messiah (there are a fair number of both). What are left are dozens of average, everyday tourists who spontaneously turn themselves into Moses.
Some of them probably parted the waves on a few beers first.
It just appears that Jerusalem, a city obviously steeped in religious significance for three different religions, just makes some people snap. And it makes then snap in a bizarrely specific way. A lifetime of cultural and religious background comes crashing in at the sight of these sacred places.
The affected are usually detained (it's hard for the tourists to enjoy breakfast at a cafe when several men in togas are screaming prophecy at them) and sedated. Then they're fine again.
An elderly Japanese woman named Takako Terakawa began to develop rashes all over her body. Her speech began to slur. She would vomit after eating. A visit to her doctor revealed that she had multiple polyps in her throat. After some tests, doctors revealed that Terakawa was suffering from RHS, a disease that affects 60 percent of Japanese women over 60-years old.
RHS stands for Retired Husband Syndrome.
Symptoms also involve extreme violence whenever golf is mentioned.
The thing is, for most of their adult lives, Japanese men spend very little time at home. They put in long hours at the office, and then social custom often has them spending late nights getting wasted in Japan's Sake-fueled version of "team building." Then it's right to bed and off to work again. This goes on for decades.
"Great news, kids! That crazy hobo sleeping in the spare room was your father all along!"
Their wives adjust to it -- so much so that when the men finally retire, it comes as a massive shock to the long-isolated women at home. Everything about their day-to-day routine that they've known since marriage is utterly disrupted. They go from essentially living alone, to being at the beck and call of a demanding husband, in a culture that demands that the women do everything. The result is depression -- which makes sense -- and a host of physical symptoms from skin rashes to a never-ending flu -- which is insane. The Japanese call it Shujin Zaitaku Sutoresu which literally means "One's Husband Being at Home Stress Syndrome."
The cure? Well, there are programs to help retrain Japanese men on how to not be dicks to their wives. And if that doesn't work, well, Japanese retirees have one of the highest divorce rates in the country. So there's that.
It's like a drunken one night stand, only when you wake up, 40 years have passed.
To find out about some more mysterious bodily occurrences, check out 6 Things Your Body Does Every Day That Science Can't Explain. Or learn about some diseases that deserve some respect in 5 Horrible Diseases That Changed The World (For the Better).
And stop by Linkstorm to discover which columnist thought he was pregnant for 11 months.
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