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Running amok (wikipedia.org)
11 points by marktangotango on Aug 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments

An early Western description of the practice appears in the journals of Captain James Cook, a British explorer, who encountered amok firsthand in 1770 during a voyage around the world. Cook writes of individuals behaving in a reckless, violent manner, without cause and "indiscriminately killing and maiming villagers and animals in a frenzied attack."

Interesting parallel between "running amok" and female hysteria -- both were believed to be caused by evil spirits:

"They believed that amok was caused by the hantu belian, which was an evil tiger spirit that entered one’s body and caused the heinous act" [ibid]

Of course, the very word "hysteria" has its origin in the Greek for "uterus", and in ancient times the belief was that the womb was responsible for a number of female behaviors. It progressed to include demonic forces:

"Through the Middle Ages another cause of dramatic symptoms could be found: demonic possession. It was thought that demoniacal forces were attracted to those who were prone to melancholy, particularly single women and the elderly" [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

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