I saw Ashley Montagu on a 1970s ‘Johnny Carson’ rerun and he made mention of something he called ‘voodoo death.’ This is something other than sticking pins in a doll made to resemble that certain despised aunt, but something, eh, ‘factual.’
He said that it had been documented that people in primitive cultures have died simply because they broke a taboo that could condemn them do death. What happens (as he described it) basically boiled down to the brain telling the rest of the body that it was going to die, and the resultant [chemical release] would end up causing organ damage leading to death.
Sounded like a load of horse hockey to me. The wiki on it allows for some skepticism, but I found it odd that someone as respected as Montagu would adhere to a belief like this.
Does any credible anthropologist subscribe to this idea today?
[If this description is too vague, I’ll replay it and type a transcript of exactly what he said.]