Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dancing mania: they laugh! They dance! They scream!

Ye-e-e-e-s, it's that wacky bunch of Pentecostals, the Kenneth Hagin gang! They dance! They laugh! They scream! They roll around on the floor! It's hard to believe that religious people can behave this way, but it sure looks like they do. To me it has a kind of sexual component to it that I can't quite put my finger on. The Shakers, known for their complete abstinence from all sexual activity (which is why the sect died out quite a long time ago) used to whirl around and dance madly when overtaken by the Spirit, but it was not quite like this. Nothing else is quite like this. This is a bunch of adults acting like idiots, behaving more immaturely than toddlers who generally have far better self-control. The idea is that God is filling them with the Holy Ghost to the point that they start to flail around involuntarily, but I don't believe it. Most of it looks faked. There are people who get up and dance around and then go and sit down again, their part of the performance over.

My favourite moment is around the 9:03 mark, where a guy rolls down the stairs, leaving a gun sitting on the step behind him. Obviously it fell out of his pocket as he was holy-rollin' along like that. Personally, I'd be scared of an evangelical who was armed. And wouldn't it be interesting to do a weapons count in this crowd. How many are exercising their Constitutional right to bear arms? All the time, I mean, even in a religious meeting? But maybe they need to be armed here more than anywhere else.

I am at the point in my life now where I don't understand religion at all. And this from someone who was a lay minister and Bible teacher for 15 years. No kidding. But if this is Christianity, then forget it. These are not Christians. They're crazy in the head to begin with, and fork over all their hard-earned money to fuckwits like Hagin. The bizarre thing is that there are tons of "straight" videos of Hagin giving sermons that are, while not exactly my cup of evangelical tea, almost sane. They're in plain English anyway, with no barking or guffawing. He had quite a reputation as a sort of charismatic Billy Graham type, until his ministry took a turn for the supremely silly.

This laughing/flailing idiocy was originally called the Toronto Blessing and took place in a church near an airport. Maybe all the noise drove them to it, who knows. The Hagin videos were made some time in the '90s, and it would be interesting to know where these people are now. How many of them stayed with it. Or if this sort of orgy still goes on, or was it just a fad? I also wonder what happens in the hotel rooms where the participants stay during these big crusade thingammies. I just think it could turn sexual at the drop of someone's pants.


Tanganyika laughter epidemic
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962 was an outbreak of mass hysteria – or mass psychogenic illness (MPI) – rumored to have occurred in or near the village of Kashasha on the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) near the border of Uganda.

The laughter epidemic began on January 30, 1962, at a mission-run boarding school for girls in Kashasha. The laughter started with three girls and spread haphazardly throughout the school, affecting 95 of the 159 pupils, aged 12–18. Symptoms lasted from a few hours to 16 days in those affected. The teaching staff were not affected but reported that students were unable to concentrate on their lessons. The school was forced to close down on March 18, 1962.

After the school was closed and the students were sent home, the epidemic spread to Nshamba, a village that was home to several of the girls.  In April and May, 217 people had laughing attacks in the village, most of them being school children and young adults. The Kashasha school was reopened on May 21, only to be closed again at the end of June. In June, the laughing epidemic spread to Ramashenye girls’ middle school, near Bukoba, affecting 48 girls.

The school from which the epidemic sprang was sued; the children and parents transmitted it to the surrounding area. Other schools, Kashasha itself, and another village, comprising thousands of people, were all affected to some degree. Six to eighteen months after it started, the phenomenon died off. The following symptoms were reported on an equally massive scale as the reports of the laughter itself: pain, fainting, flatulence, respiratory problems, rashes, attacks of crying, and random screaming. In total 14 schools were shut down and 1000 people were affected.

Dancing Mania

Dancing mania (also known as dancing plague, choreomania, St John's Dance and, historically, St. Vitus' Dance) was a social phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people dancing erratically, sometimes thousands at a time. The mania affected men, women, and children, who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion. One of the first major outbreaks was in Aachen, Germany, in 1374, and it quickly spread throughout Europe; one particularly notable outbreak occurred in Strasbourg in 1518, France.

Affecting thousands of people across several centuries, dancing mania was not an isolated event, and was well documented in contemporary reports. It was nevertheless poorly understood, and remedies were based on guesswork. Generally, musicians accompanied dancers, to help ward off the mania, but this tactic sometimes backfired by encouraging more to join in. There is no consensus among modern-day scholars as to the cause of dancing mania.

The several theories proposed range from religious cults being behind the processions to people dancing to relieve themselves of stress and put the poverty of the period out of their minds. It is, however, thought to be as a mass psychogenic illness in which the occurrence of similar physical symptoms, with no known physical cause, affect a large group of people as a form of social influence.

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