Analyzing The Town That Caught Tourettes

Posted by on Nov 22, 2012 in Curing Tourettes | 16 comments

Analyzing The Town That Caught Tourettes

The documentary “The Town That Caught Tourettes” did its job of alerting people to this condition, and it also reached out to people like me, who’ve had first-hand experience with it. So, as far as that was concerned, I liked it.

But I’m not sure how much I liked some of the other stuff in it. The title for one thing. I realize they didn’t literally mean that Tourettes can be “caught” and only used that title to point out the unusual clusters in which it was recently discovered. But it was somewhat misleading.

I also didn’t like the fact that right from the start you get the feeling that we’re looking for someone to blame and boy are they gonna pay. The distraught parents just aching to accuse someone – anyone.  And then the researchers and experts whose opinions, while hazy and overly generalized, were nevertheless passed as “knowledgeable” and with utter conviction.

They also keep referring to it as “Tourettes-like” symptoms. So they know it’s not Tourettes then but something “like” it! Pity the fools.

I can’t find a copy of that film online so I don’t remember any of the names or the exact quotes but I do remember this one particular lady doctor who confidently proclaimed “transference” (i.e. converting some traumatic experience into tics – in other words, a purely psychological mechanism). She was unshaken in her conviction as so many would-be experts are. Or that reporter who saw a chance to dig – and she dug away into the families’ private affairs “exposing” supposedly dark pasts that were no doubt responsible for all that transference.

One of the troubles with career scientists (as well as career politicians) is not that they don’t know. It’s that they know something that ain’t so. I think Josh Billings said that.

So, shall we blame the wicked families and send someone over from social services? Or shall we blame the corporations who polluted the area? Blame someone? Anyone?

I think I most liked that doctor who thought that this could be caused by some kind of a viral throat infection which then morphed into this strange condition. I didn’t quite agree with him, but at least his argument had an air of deeper consideration and it did correlate with some of my experiences and tentative suspicions as well.

By far the most powerful impression were the kids themselves. Young, pretty girls – caught in this inexplicable nightmare. Like birds caught in a cage.

And there’s the question: why did their cases all “cluster” in one town?

Were they copycatting each other? I certainly don’t believe that. The “inexplicable cluster” only makes sense if it’s taken out of broader context. After all, the documentary didn’t reveal if they looked for other similar “inexplicable clusters” in other towns, nor did they consider the possibility that only in this town did the parents all get together and went to the media with their story. There might be many others just like them, but they’re just not talking – yet. Or maybe it is a cluster, but why does it “have to” have a special significance? Shit happens, doesn’t it? That’s the trouble with documentaries like this – they don’t have enough time and resources to actually do some real research.

Another strong impression was the role of the parents. One of the mothers let her daughter miss school on account of this – a critical mistake in my opinion. I understand her – but it’s a mistake nevertheless. The film gave me the impression that she’s isolated and suffering by herself, probably driving her mom – and herself – crazy in the process. Another mother clearly looking for someone to blame. Confusion all around. Tension.

But no REAL theories put forward.

So – I’ll do my best to give you some of my insights within these pages. Although they’re limited to only the one case study – my own – they’re bound to be more objective than the stuff these people put together.

I’ve avoided talking about my Tourettes experience for far too long.


After I launched this site it occurred to me to check out what kinds of comments there might be on the web about this documentary. There are loads, including full-feature write-ups in leading newspapers. The most amazing thing about them is the number of blind, STUPID comments by pseudo-intellectual illiterates who think these girls are just “cuckoo” and it’s all for show. When I find a little extra time, I’ll dig deeper into this and write a rebuttal (especially some UK tabloids took this angle to town, and they need their dumbass writers slapped). Stay tuned.

16 Responses to “Analyzing The Town That Caught Tourettes”

  1. I have lived with chronic pain for 30 years. I have been to numerous doctors and my conclusion is doctors do not know what they are talking about! To blame this on mass hysteria is insane. They will grab at straws when they do not know the answer. Let’s see what they say next.

    • The “orthodoxy” in science will never say anything they themselves do not sanctify first. But even the mainstream view is coming around – SLOWLY – to the view that “mind over body” can be very effective indeed. Pain, too, can be mastered with your mind. One “trick” I use on pain (I have a cracked disc in my back) – apart from any sensible exercises and a chiropractor – is “embracing” the pain. In other words: relaxing into it. Much as this helped me with my Tourettes, it greatly helps with “managing” the pain. I can go for days without obvious discomfort as a result. Here’s hoping that your pain will finally subside!

    • First off, I want to say that I am terribly sorry that you’ve had to suffer chronic pain for such an enormous period of time. However, to dismiss doctors as not knowing what they are talking about is absurd. Look at the world we live in, the medical field is enormous and every day more and more is being discovered. The human body is an incredible machine, and one that we really know very little about. Doctors are doing everything they can with the truly limited information we have on the inner workings of the human body, especially limited by our knowledge of how the brain works. As years go by, and technology improves, we will no doubt gain a greater understanding of all the inner workings of the human body. On to my next point.. You say that these doctors are “grasping at straws”, and that blaming this on mass hysteria is “insane”. Have you done any research on this matter? Read this Slate article
      to get some more information. It states example after example of mass hysteria, also known as conversion disorder, and exactly how this cluster of Tourettes-like symptoms can be attributed to exactly this. Also, href=”″>this abc articleclearly states that 14 of the 19 girls in the cluster were treated for mass hysteria at Dent Neurologic Institue and were cured of their Tourettes-like symptoms. I don’t know what this says to anyone else, but to me it clearly says that the doctors were correct in their diagnosis of mass hysteria. The symptoms went away when it was treated as at a neurological facility. These doctors were not grasping as straws in any way, it seems to me that they hit the nail right on the head.

      • Nowhere within these pages do I dismiss or belittle doctors. I come from a family of doctors (though I’m not one myself). If an occasional ironic tone does slip through, however, when I refer to the medical establishment or standard practices, it is only because of the medical orthodoxy’s arrogance, most especially in areas which it hasn’t yet conquered. And there are many of those. I also ALWAYS prefer non-pharmacological solutions, if at all possible. And, to be sure, it isn’t always possible. Modern medicine relies far too much on a mechanistic approach to the human body and they’re simply wrong in that regard. Are they on the ball when it comes to how that mechanism works? Sure. Most of the time. But there’s much more to us than mere machinery.

  2. Richard says:

    hi my name is Richard. I just have a few questions. I just got done watching a documentary about a town that caught tourettes. my daughter is 15 right now. she was misdiagnosed at the ages 6 she had strep throat but the doctor said it wasn’t strep throat he diagnosed her with pandas. they ran tests and said it wasn’t pandas and said it was strep throat. three or four days later she started the ticks. this was at the age of 6 she is now 15 the doctor said she would grow out of it. they were so wrong. within the last 4 months she had multiple seizures

    • Hi Richard, am really sorry to hear about your daughter. What you describe sounds very much like what I’ve gone through and have described in these pages. I’ll give you a fuller answer from my point of view under your next comment.

  3. Richard says:

    the seizures been so bad where she would black out and she would convulse. when she comes out of the seizure she has a blank stare and she’s on able to speak. she is alert she can hear you and she can see you but she has two blink one for yes 2 for No because she’s on able to speak. she tries to get her words out but nothing comes out. and this last up to four to five hours. I’m just wondering if you heard of anything like this. trying to find some answers because all of the test that they ran came back normal. and they ran all kinds of test. her tickes are so bad she slams her neck back so hard she bangs her knees together where her knees and inside her knees are all bruised, she slammes her forearms on the corner of the table and slammes her arms to her side where her forearms and her hips are just completely bruised. any answers would be greatly appreciated. just looking for answers. hope to hear from anyone who been through this or knows anything about it. thanks for your time.

    • I remember a brief phase, as a child, when I also did the same – banging things extra hard, just to get bruised, subconsciously hoping that this would somehow “distract the seizures”. As you may have seen within these pages, I was on to something. I did, in the end, find that “distraction” was in fact the name of the game, but later I developed that to become “re-direction”.

      I had a similar, though never as severe, problem with speech. There were brief moments where it would be difficult to speak. In my case, they didn’t last long, but I do remember having a few of those. I would link this to the same psychological environment in which she finds herself. A sense of utter exasperation combined with a sense of helplessness. Poor thing…!

      I can only offer my personal perspective and what I “advise” is only something which worked FOR ME – and may not work for others. So much for my disclaimer. This said, I’ve become increasingly convinced that this is in fact a bio-electrical and psychological disorder of sorts – and for that reason the “only” thing that worked FOR ME was the kind of mental exercise I mentioned in these pages. It may sound too difficult or too out there at first, but I would advise your daughter to give it a serious try. And – and this is key – make it into a sort of a “game”.

      The KEY is to give herself the PERMISSION to have that condition. It’s there. Embrace it. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world if she decides that it isn’t. That first step is CRITICAL, because whatever she does afterwards will be OK. Meaning: if she decides to try some of these mental exercises I mention on this site, she MUST NOT put additional pressure on herself to master this quickly. It’s a process. It can take ANY number of days or weeks – or even months.

      The idea is to roll with it. CONSCIOUSLY DIRECT your tics to areas of your body. You can have those tics, that’s fine, but at least let them happen where YOU want them. Start with the simplest technique: when you feel the tic in, say, your arm, see if you can affect the WAY in which it tics. Can you change its direction? If the arm bobs up and down, can you make it go sideways? Next – can you SUSTAIN that action? Can you semi-permanently get the tic to happen the way YOU decided?

      If you can – if SHE can, rather – you can be SURE that you can ALSO do the rest and that it is indeed something you CAN control exactly in the manner I have described in these pages.

      The trick is doing this consistently, “all” the time, but ALSO without putting pressure on yourself. That pressure is the BIGGEST reason why the condition persists. You WANT to become “normal” and everyone around you “demands” it – even when they don’t say it. And even if they “accept” it, YOU THINK they still demand it!

      So the #1 – NUMBER ONE – thing is to ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. RELAX. It’s okay. You’re NOT abnormal. You’ve got a fantastic opportunity, like few other people have, to master your mind and body.

      If you “absolve” yourself of feeling guilty about this, you can then start commanding your tics. If you’re able to simply modify them with your will and sustain that – LITTLE steps at a time – you WILL conquer this, I can assure you. Once you KNOW that you can, say, change the way a part of your body acts while ticking – and can do this at will – the next step is to send those tics to another part of your body. It’s easier than you think, once you’ve mastered that first step. Next, when you can freely redirect your tics to various parts of your body, redirect them more radically, for example from a tic to a grunt or from the foot to the hand – and so on. Once that is mastered, DELAY them. Promise yourself you will tic to your heart’s content (lol) IN A MOMENT.

      The more you do this exercise, the better you’ll become at it. You will STABILIZE your bio-electric “matrix” very fast. Just remember: NO STRESS and NO PRESSURE.

      I’m convinced that if you get that FIRST exercise right (simply MODIFYING the way you tic), you WILL 100% BE ABLE TO MASTER THIS THING.

      Best of luck and let me know how you get on.

  4. What about the injection that some drug company was pushing. They wanted all young girls to get. It was supposed to prevent the HPV .Just saying …

    • The problem with drugs, injections and any chemical interventions is that even when they work – they work “now”, i.e. while the chemical is present and in effect. This MAY provide temporary relief, but it also disempowers you and creates a dependency. In some cases it may be a good idea to try something like this, IF you have seen its effects and believe them to be positive and potentially helpful to you. But even in that case you should try what I advise in these pages: personal control – and try to get off any drugs as soon as you feel you’ve got a measure of control over this thing on your own.

      Ultimately, the nature of this condition is either “psychological” or “bio-electrical” in my view, and not strictly “bio-chemical”. In my experience all the chemical treatments I received at the time failed and, if anything, only made things worse. But with the “will-power/control” approach I present in these pages I managed to beat it without any outside help. Had I known what I was doing at the time, rather than just trial-and-error, I probably would have beaten it in a fraction of the time. Best of luck!!

  5. Marilee Torres says:

    I certainly do believe this problem with the girls in New York is real. I have a question. Have any of the girls had CT scans done, specifically looking for points in the lower left lobes of the brain, that would indicate migraines?

    My reason for asking is because back in 2005 i was 48 and I had a similar condition come over me, however I also had problems with double vision. The type of migraine I’m talking about is not one that you feel pain with. In fact it’s the opposite. It’s called an AURA MIGRAINE, it mimics signs of stroke and even tics such as with Tourette’s, stuttering, shaking, etc. in my case we thought it was a stroke and yet there were some stroke symptoms that were not there. No one could explain it. I was told that if I had gone to the doctor right away they would have been able to tell if it were a stroke. So for over two years I searched and investigated. Eventually I fell upon info n the web when I searched for illnesses that mimic a stroke. That led me to migraines without the pain of a migraine. That led me to an AURA MIGRAINE. Not like a regular migraine that may have an aura before it starts, this migraine is completely painless. Only an initial CT scan showed the migraine in the lower left lobe of my brain. Then I had to wait over a year to do another CT scan. I told my doctor about this condition and asked for the second CT scan under the idea that if it were a stroke the spot would still be there, but if it were a silent migraine then it would be gone. She said she agreed and sure enough it was gone.
    While this might not be what happened to these girls, it could definitely be something from the environment that caused these problems and it could be tied to this type of migraine. I know that while I was living in New Mexico, in such a high altitude, migraines were common among many people and aside from migraines the prevalence of chronic pain, memory loss problems, being irritable, etc., seem so similar.

    My problems finally diminished except I was left with essential tremors and now take something to control them.

    I’m no doctor, but I am fully in control of my healthcare and with my current doctor we make decisions together.

    If you or any one has something similar to what happened to me, feel free to contact me at

  6. Marilee Torres says:

    As for the doctors. There are many wonderful doctors out there. But no doctor can know about every condition. Like I explained with my attack and my now ongoing battle with chronic pain that has me disabled, my AURA MIGRAINE was silent other than the double vision, the stuttering and walking with a shuffle which all happened all at once on 5/5/2005 (I kid you not, that was the date). I had already been disabled with chronic pain and chronic fatigue. Then this attack happened. I believe in doctors and the wealth of knowledge they have. But each of us KNOWS our own body and we all should be the main decision maker in our own treatment. Never accept what a doctor says with blind faith. If you know something is wrong keep searching like I did. My doctors had never even heard of AURA MIGRAINES where you have all the aura symptoms and they mimic a stroke but you have no migraine pain at all. Yet it DOES exist. Work together WITH your doctors, but never accept what anyone says about your health with blind faith. We are all fallible. And we all have the freedom to search out and investigate things when we know we are suffering from something that isn’t being diagnosed right.

  7. I believe the previous comment refers to the awful side effects some have suffered from the HPV ( Human papilloma virus) vaccine ( such as Guardasil). It was the first thing I thought of as well knowing someone who had a reaction to this vaccine. They are all in the age group to receive this vaccine.

  8. Tourette’s is known to be linked to a high copper level and it can be fixed see

    • There is some correlation – but I haven’t seen anything conclusive about this yet. Worth investigating, I’m sure. Meanwhile… practicing “tic transference” as described in here… just could prove to be something worth giving a try.

  9. So that’s the case? Quite a retolavien that is.

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