Áine Ní Laoghaire: Hysteria in Le Roy

The Coven

October 2011: High-school cheerleader Katie Krautwurst wakes up, her face spasming uncontrollably, her teeth grinding. A week or two later her best friend, fellow cheerleader Thera Sanchez, begins to exhibit similar but intensified tics; face twitches, stammers, and physical jerks.

The girls and their continuing symptoms were discussed and dissected on Facebook and Twitter by their peers. Soon, other girls reported their own physical and vocal tics. Something strange seemed to spread among the teenage students of Le Roy, New York.  By mid January, the number of twitching teens was 12 and was continuing to grow.

It wasn’t long before the media caught wind of the story – teenage cheerleaders caught up in terrifying mystery illness – and descended on the sleepy town. Camera crews roamed Le Roy’s main street, searching for comment from any of the seven and a half thousand occupants. YouTube videos made by the various sufferers…

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