I first became aware of hysteria because I saw some numbers in the early 1980s that completely contradicted the prevailing public view. In the early 1980s it was universally believed in America that kidnappings of children were occurring at levels that exceeded 100,000 children per year. That's when parents stopped letting kids walk to school.
A German study of the United States, using FBI data, found that the actual number of children kidnapped by a stranger was roughly 100 per year.
As I mentioned this to many people, I found I was completely ignored or treated as an idiot. This I came to understand was hysteria.
The second hysteria I became aware of was, a few years later, from a lawyer who was involved in defending teachers in Fresno accused of ritual child abuse. Children were interviewed and testified that adult teachers had been carrying out satanic sexual rituals on them.
Again, everyone I described this false legal horror to, completely ignored me or told me I was wrong. “Children don’t lie.” Teachers were still in prison 20 years later due to this hysteria.
The third instance, that arose from my experience with the ritual child abuse, was a very widespread idea of recovered memory. Again this was an hysterical idea. People may not remember trauma easily, but they do remember it. It is not remembered accurately when driven by an agenda prompted by psychotherapists. This hysteria lasted 15 years.
Today we live with two obvious hysterias one is human caused global warming and the other is the Messiah nature of Barack Obama.
In both of these cases, there is a very large population that rejects the hysteria while an even larger population lives in the hysterical bubble and denies all facts, all data and all evidence that contradicts the hysteria.
I go back to the beginning. I really do not understand hysteria.