Mass Hysteria, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, July 13 1980

Almost 500 children were taking part in an annual marching band show when suddenly at 10.30am they started to collapse “like nine pins”.

Around 300 children suffered fainting attacks, nausea, and sore throats and eyes. An inquiry said “mass hysteria” was the most likely cause, an explanation the victims didn’t accept. A more satisfying theory is that fertiliser used in the grass got into the children’s eyes.

“One man we spoke to said there was a fertiliser used back then that could cause all these symptoms. It’s no longer legal,” says Ben. “So, it’s a question of, who do you believe more?”

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