5 Terrifying Killers (That Turned Out to be Mass Panics)

#2. The Real Life Rage Virus

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Puchong Perdana National School, in Malaysia, is one of the few places on Earth that has had the chance to test its might against a goddamn rage virus attack, 28 Days Later style.

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Yeah, if we had bugs like this, we'd get a little angry, too.

It all started on a perfectly ordinary Monday morning, when the 1,100 students of the school were gathered outside for their obligatory Monday assembly ... that is, until a full on, rapidly spreading zombie rage began tearing through their rank and file. It all started from one girl, who suddenly collapsed and went into a full rage frenzy, complete with screaming, thrashing about and violence. Then another one nearby followed the example. Then another. And another. The rage continued to spread from there, until 30 girls were infected.

The rest of the 1,100 students understandably panicked and, because they have obviously never seen a horror movie in their lives, ran inside and hid within the school's classrooms, as the girls roamed about thrashing and screaming. The whole school had to be temporarily closed. And although the affected -- all girls -- were detained, it took them four hours to shake out of the condition.

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Meanwhile, a guy in a hospital gown was yelling and running around in a panic, but people just ignored him.

Of course, by now you know that there was no virus or chemical or mind-control ray behind the freakouts. It really does appear to just be a case of pent-up energy reaching critical mass.

What Really Happened?

Each and every one of the affected girls was suffering from heavy stress from both home and school, and stuck in an uncomfortable, crowded place. When one of them just snapped in the confined situation, one after another their brains just decided to use the opportunity to take a couple of hours off and let their bodies vent for a while. They just needed an excuse.

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And that excuse was human flesh.

Likewise, a similar outbreak occurred in a Tanzania school in 1969, although on this occasion, it was the opposite of a rage epidemic -- an outbreak of hysterical laughter. The Tanganyika laughter epidemic was a particularly bizarre episode of mass hysteria in which students at a boarding school broke out into uncontrollable laughter and reportedly spread it to hundreds of people across the countryside. The theory goes that the ongoing fear of the laughing disease triggered its onset again and again (and every person reading this can think of at least one occasion where they succumbed to uncontrollable laughter that could not be stopped, no matter what).

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"I have my hand stuck in the shredder, hahaha!"

An alternative theory is that the Joker was testing some kind of doomsday weapon.

#1. Mystical Monkey Men

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In 2001, some people in the Indian city of Delhi fell victim to animal bites, and others came to the obvious conclusion that the bites had been inflicted by horrible monkey men, who are apparently the meaner South Asian cousins of Bigfoot.

And before you ask, yes, the bites were real.

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And one of the perpetrators was apparently the Great Gazoo.

The panic circulated to such an extent that terror and mob rule took over large sections of the populace. Police were powerless in the face of the giant city's full-fledged panic mode. Within days, at least two people were dead and 35 injured, all while trying to escape what they thought was the monstrous monkey man, running in blind panic until they fell down the stairs or whatever.

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By the end, there was one person left in Delhi, so she split herself up to look for clues.

Masked gangs started running around, robbing and scaring people, because some folks are just dicks like that. In response, mobs began roaming the streets, all set to administer quick and unthinking justice to anyone deemed even remotely monkeymannish. One mob even mugged a particularly short and ugly Hindu holy man for looking suspiciously like what they imagined the monkey beast as.

Eventually, the panic dwindled down and the city set to its usual slightly less hectic pace. In case you were wondering, no monkey men were ever found.

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Except for Bhavik, who everyone agreed got hit with the reincarnation stick a little too hard.

What Really Happened?

Understandably, no two descriptions of the monkey man were alike, nor did its modus operandi ever become clear. Even the police got into the misinformation wagon -- one officer said they were definitely looking for an animal, while another was convinced they were after a masked gang.

Really, the only evidence pointing at any kind of real attacks were the original bite wounds on several people, which is pretty mysterious in itself ... unless, of course, you take into account that there are loads of perfectly ordinary monkeys roaming around the city. Monkeys that, in fact, enjoy pouncing on people every now and then, and have always done so. Because monkeys are assholes.

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Fuck you, monkey, we were looking forward to that.

If you're shaking your head and muttering about those silly superstitious Delhi people, remember that people hold protests today to stop imaginary chemical contrails and refuse to vaccinate their kids based on phony autism fears. At any time and at any place, you can get people to be scared of some incredibly crazy bullshit if you're loud and afraid enough.

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Which is exactly what he wants you to think.

Pauli Poisuo writes about a very different kind of mass hysteria at Year of the Fat Bastard. You can read more of his Cracked articles here.

For more panics caused by fiction, check out 7 Bullshit Rumors That Caused Real World Catastrophes. Or learn about the 5 Myths That People Don't Realize Are Admitted Hoaxes.

And stop by LinkSTORM to learn what we did with our army of Monkey Men.

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