The Psychosomatic Plague

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Ryan Singel summarizes a memo produced at the Department of Homeland Security:

Americans' fear of a terrorism could create a mass outbreak of a psychosomatic illness—even in the absence of any real attack—creating a fake epidemic that could overwhelm hospitals attempting to treat real victims.

Adding to the confusion, the symptoms of a mass pyschogenic illness look much like symptoms of an anthrax attack, avian flu outbreak or chemical attack.

The report was originally issued in 2006 and recently revealed on Wikileaks. To download it in pdf form, go here.

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  1. Perfect story to go with the bailouts, Jesse. What a day.

    “They hated it. I’ve seen plagues that had better opening nights than this.”

  2. Hey two posts in a row: the right response to a psychosomatic plague: call the whaaaambulance.

  3. creating a fake epidemic

    Sure, everyone thinks it’s fake until after a dust storm you develop an inexplicable fear of sunlight and garlic.

    “Come out, Neville!”

  4. The good thing is that a mass pyschogenic illness can easily be cured by handing out Xanax.

  5. We need to start warehousing placebos now so that in the event of a mass psychosomatic episode, price gougers don’t over-charge for them.

  6. “Come out, Neville!”

    Did you finish it yet?

  7. Did you finish it yet?

    Almost. He’s met the girl and we’re not sure if she’s infected or not. Such a good read. And the part with the dog? I was expecting scary and got suckerpunched with really freaking sad instead.

  8. Sounds like “Pre-Terrorist Stress Syndrome” (PTS) to me. We need some Congressional action and maybe a bailout. Everything changed after 9-11.

  9. Sounds like “Pre-Terrorist Stress Syndrome” (PTS) to me.

    That’s just a fake disease created by the patriarchy so that they can explain away feminism’s valid criticisms as “moodiness.”

  10. Adding to the confusion, the symptoms of a mass pyschogenic illness look much like symptoms of an anthrax attack, avian flu outbreak or chemical attack.

    Or even duct tape asphyxiation.

  11. or for a more timely (and local) example, carbon monoxide poisoning

    Also known as, What? I’m Not Supposed to Run the Generator in My Living Room? Syndrome.

  12. Wasn’t this the plot of that House episode set on a jet?

  13. Almost. He’s met the girl and we’re not sure if she’s infected or not. Such a good read. And the part with the dog? I was expecting scary and got suckerpunched with really freaking sad instead.

    That’s Matheson for you You’re so close!

    As an aside, it galls me no end that the sign near me that says “Senior Developer” seems to also include “and Blackberry guru for the General Manager” without my knowledge. Annoying.

  14. That’s Matheson for you You’re so close!

    Thanks for the excellent pick. In the edition I got from the library, there are short stories which I intend to devour next.

    the sign near me that says “Senior Developer” seems to also include “and Blackberry guru for the General Manager” without my knowledge. Annoying.

    At least the people I work with don’t (usually) need me to go over the basics of Outlook with them. Don’t you work with a bunch of techies? I’d expect better of them.

  15. Thanks for the excellent pick. In the edition I got from the library, there are short stories which I intend to devour next.

    You’re very welcome. The short stories are great for trips on the subway/train/bus, stuff like that.

    Don’t you work with a bunch of techies? I’d expect better of them.

    I wish. My mistake is knowing way more about hardware and networking than a programmer normally does, so I get roped into stuff that isn’t really my area.

  16. First they came for the hypochondriacs, but I did not protest because I was not a hypochondriac ….

    Just kidding: all hypochondriacs should be registered as enemies of the state.

  17. “Breathe the pressure
    Come play my game Ill test ya
    Psychosomatic addict insane”

    Love that song . . .

  18. Wouldn’t Ryan Singel’s predictions also apply to the transfat scare, the marijuana scare, the second hand smoke scare, the indecency scare, …

  19. Hell, the mass nocebo / psycosomatic effect is already on:

    – Food algeries / lactose intolerance and related (most are BS).
    – Multiple chemical sensitivity
    – fibromylagia
    – any one whining about EMF, BPA, cell phone towers, etc.

    …and the list goes on and on.

    Shut up whiners and get your attention / symphathy in a constructive manner.

  20. No Name …
    or just go to Quackwatch!

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