The Worst Disease You Will Never Get: Grisi Siknis

Imagine yourself having dinner with your family when suddenly you fall into a trance-like state, your eyes roll back into your head, your body becomes rigid and you are completely oblivious to the outside world. Your family tries to shake you out of it but all they hear is swearing, grunts and painful groans coming from your taunt, stretched face. Your body suddenly goes into convulsions before you jump up attacking your family members with all your strength, double what it was before you fell ill. They manage to subdue you and tie you down when all of the sudden you start to moan and have an orgasm. You tear at your skin, pull out your hair, eat whatever roaches, spiders or insects are within reach and speak in tongues. Your family knows what is going on because they have seen it before. Grisi Siknis.

Your consciousness is completely unaware of what is going on, because when you do come out of it several days or even weeks later, your last memory is of you having dinner with your family. But you do remember how you contracted it… it was two days prior when someone else with Grisi Siknis pointed her finger and said that YOU will be next.

Sound like a scene from The Exorcist? If only it were. When Grisi Siknis strikes, it usually affects large groups of people at once, sometimes an entire school or village suffers. But if you are a tourist visiting you have nothing to worry about. It only affects Miskitu people, usually teenage girls.

Grisi Siknis is what is known as a culturally bound syndrome. It is very contagious and attacks become more common during times of stress, such as after hurricane Felix in 2007, but can strike anytime. Western medicine is of no use and the disease is only remedied by traditional Miskitu medicine men who usually charge large sums for their potions and rites.

The Caribbean coast is full of mysteries. For more info about Grisi Siknis, check out the articles below:

The Walrus: Nicaragua’s Crazy Sickness

BBC News: She Ran Around Like a Maniac

And a weird video article from the Nica Times:

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “The Worst Disease You Will Never Get: Grisi Siknis”

  1. Lourdes5 December, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Wow….thank god I’ m too old for grisi siknis. Que paso Gov?

  2. Eric Timar26 February, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    I was told by the English anthropologist Mark Jamieson that “grisi” or “krisi” may come from the word “crazy,” so it’s possibly “crazy sickness” etymologically . . . not sure if one of the links mentions that. Also, I’ve noticed the condition is mentioned in the DSM IV.

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