August 8, 2019 posted by

This paper seeks to understand the outbreaks and the development of grisi siknis , a form of mass spirit possession among the Miskitu of. Miskito villages line the Atlantic coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Nietschmann ( 47) estimated the number of Miskito speakers in Nicaragua at in. Grisi siknis (which literally means “crazy sickness”), is characterized by long periods of anxiety, dizziness, fear, and irrational anger. The most.

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Most commonly the illness is found to strike women but is known to ransack through entire villages.

In the news article Widdicombe they explain that 60 people of the remote jungle tribe in Nicaragua known as the Miskito. In Namahka, the seven affected are all girls aged 14 to The American Journal of Psychiatry.

It is clearly an illness that greatly affects a certain cultural group.

Toronto, OntarioCanada: Many grisu successfully treated by a healer, Carlos Salomon Taylor, who is part of the team now working in Raiti. I agree with the fact that illness does not only involve the interruption of your physical health but also your mental state. He says the attacks are very serious to those experiencing them and their families, and often to entire Miskito communities.

Involuntary mass spirit possession among the Miskitu.

And because of this, Grisi is considered a disease. Ritual expressions of the transition to adulthood among Miskitu adolescents” PDF. Cultural Politics and Health: This paper seeks to understand the outbreaks and the development of grisi siknis, a form of mass spirit possession among the Miskitu of north-eastern Nicaragua.


According to local press reports, they have extraordinary frisi and often four people are required to restrain them.

The Nicaraguan government sent a medical team to Raiti including anthropologists and traditional healers.

Involuntary mass spirit possession among the Miskitu.

In all cases, the patients have the same symptoms: Grisi siknis in Miskito languagefrom the English, means “crazy sickness” is a contagious, culture-bound syndrome that occurs predominantly among the Miskito People of eastern Central America and affects mainly young women. Group discussions, narratives and informal and semi-structured interviews were carried out, as well as participation in healing rituals.

They then tried testing the local drinking water and advised the locals to drink coconut juice since in past outbreaks investigation concluded that people had put hallucinogenic substances in the water, but nothing was found. University of Puerto Rico. According to Prof Dennis, grisi siknis is a “culture-bound syndrome” unique to the Miskito, comparable to anorexia nervosa which is known only in the affluent west.

Nicaragua village in grip of madness

The Miskito people argued that it was due to the action of black sorcerers to oblige the people to pay the expensive cures. I thought that this sickness was very interesting to read about because it sikis me of someone griis having a nervous breakdown.

A disadvantage may be that people might disregard the illness since it is not directly affecting his or her own cultural group. More recently cases occurring amongst people of Spanish descent have also been wiknis.


The medical team has taken samples of water from local wells and recommended that people only drink coconut juice until they have tested the supply.

I feel like this illness should be considered a CBS because I think that the ways of life of the Nicaraguan people may cause them to go into these madness episodes.

In Simons, Ronald C. Unconfirmed reports say the girl who died was Isabel Wislop. Richard Castillo, as quoted by Suknis. She fled across the Coco river into Honduras, reaching the village of Panzap where she died. The paper shows that socio-economic, cultural, personal as well as environmental factors all contribute to outbreaks of grisi siknis.

Then moving onto Miskito healers many of griwi victims were reported to being healed 15 to 30 days later, using the ancient rituals of the native healers. Thus western trained doctors were left to only aid and support the healers because of their effectiveness with the illness.

Other cases have appeared in three other nearby communities. Culturally Competent Family Therapy: