The soda dispensing machines incident

Do you know about this story? As copied from one of the books I read. That supposedly happened a while ago…

“…At a football game in Monterey Park, a Los Angeles suburb, several people experienced the symptoms of food poisoning. The examining physician deduced that the cause was a certain soft drink from the dispensing machines because all of his patients had purchased some prior to becoming ill. An announcement was made over the loudspeaker requesting that no one patronize the dispensing machine, saying some people had become ill and describing the symptoms. Pandemonium immediately broke out in the stands as people retched and fainted in droves. Even a few people who had not even gone near the machine became ill! Ambulances from local hospitals did a booming business that day, as they drove back and forth to the stadium, transporting multitudes of stricken fans. When it was discovered that the dispensing machine was not the culprit, people immediately and “miraculously” recovered…”

A good UPI article about the incident here.

Note that the incident happened in late October 1982. In early October 1982, seven people died after ingesting Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide. So people at the time were understandably a little paranoid about their food safety.

It’s known as Mass psychogenic illness or mass hysteria, a psychological condition where people think they’re sick because they see (or believe) other people are sick. It often happens when there’s stress or media stories about sickness. The phenomenon is poorly understood.

Ok, thanks for the explanation. I hadn’t realized that the incident had occurred that long ago.

This book had a prank that Bob Zmuda (Andy Kaufman’s partner in crime) and some others played. They didn’t get on all at the same stop or acknowledge that they knew each other. But basically they were in kahoots on a bus, acting like fumes were making them cough. Pretty soon those who weren’t in on it started coughing as well.

My doctor once tried me on a new med, and warned the diarrhea might be a side effect. Had AWFUL runs that night… (But I hadn’t actually taken the med yet!) Power of suggestion! (Or mere coincidence.)

Kinda makes you wonder to what extent do some of those things still happen?

Reminds me of a certain scene in “Stand By Me”.