Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Bridgend Suicides: Psychological Contagion or Indication of Something Sinister Afoot ?
How is it that, even given the phenomenon known as 'Copycat Suicide' or the 'Werther Effect', that nearly 80 people in such a small population could kill themselves in a decidedly similar fashion--all within the last five years? At its height, the Suicides were clustered closely together and seemed to radiate outward from a single "patient zero," a high school student. When his friends and classmates began to follow suit, it was a disturbing if not wholly unexplained series of deaths. However, when Bridgenders unconnected to such teen despair--nay, any despair--began to unaccountably take their own lives in the same exact manner, locals became alarmed. Accounts attest to perfectly contented individuals, many of whom were looking forward to future plans, simply hanging themselves from trees, rafters, etc...
With explanations as occluded and insubstantial as the mists that frequently shroud this community, one can't be blamed for wondering if the Devil has come to Bridgend. Can evil manifest without cloven hooves and spread like a virus through a community like this? Is it something as simple as Copycat Suicide when individuals untroubled by emotional turmoil or psychological dysfunction take the same route to a sudden end?
Bridgend can, according to many, be a dismal place to live. It doesn't often inspire hope in its denizens. And indications are that in the early cases (those involving high school kids) that something of a suicide pact may have been at work. But can such a thing run amok to such disastrous proportions in a relatively small community?