How horror Pokémon episode hospitalised THOUSANDS of children before immediately pulled from screens | The Sun

A HORROR Pokémon episode hospitalised thousands of children in 1997, but the reason for their sickness has just been revealed. 

The beloved Pokémon anime series first aired in 1997 and continues to the present day. 

Its popularity has given way to Pikachu becoming one of the most well known fictional characters in the world. He’s become so popular that he’s since fronted several video games and a blockbuster movie. 

However, an early episode of the show became famous for a completely different reason.

In fact, the episode titled Dennō Senshi Porygon, which translates to Computer Warrior Porygon, was removed for the market after an incident now referred to as “Pokémon Shock,” which sent thousands of children to the hospital in Japan. 

In the episode, Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu and his second Porygon discover something is wrong with the Poké Ball, and they journey inside it to fix it. While inside, Pikachu stops a virus, which has manifested as four missiles, with his Thunderbolt attack. This results in an explosion that flashes red and blue lights. 



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This happened about 20 minutes into the episode and although the lights had been present earlier, too, in this scene they were used alongside two anime techniques, called “paka paka” and “flash,” which made the scene particularly intense

After watching the scene, hundreds of boys and girls throughout Japan began feeling sick, and were suffering from convulsions, nausea and vomiting.

According to Japan’s Fire Defence Agency, around 600 children were hospitalised almost immediately. 

But the number of children in the hospital jumped to over 12,000 in a matter of days.

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For many years, it was believed that the light techniques and flashes on the screen caused epileptic reactions in the children, but there was conflicting evidence and it remained somewhat of a mystery how thousands of children got sick. 

Now, 26 years later, a new study has identified the real cause of the mass illness. A study by doctors Benjamin Radford and Robert Bartholomew has revealed that while many of the first batch of hospitalised children were indeed suffering from epileptic reactions, it did not affect the rest of the kids. 

The study explained: “The victims were nearly exclusively school children in early adolescence; and anxiety from dramatic media reports of the first wave of illness reports was evident.”

Then it concluded that what thousands of the children had actually fallen victim to was mass hysteria. 

It said: “Media reports and publicity fuel the hysteria as news of the affliction spreads, planting the idea or concern in the community while reinforcing and validating the veracity of the illness for the initial victims.”

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