If you search for it in the Los Angeles Public Library’s vast database of newspapers dating all the way back to the 1700’s, you won’t get a single result. In fact, there really isn’t much about it on online at all, but if you ask anyone who knew someone who was affected by it, they’ll tell you that it’s very real. It’s called Mercritis, a very frightening disease that supposedly hit the southern United States during the 1950s and was rumored to be quickly covered up by the government.
Because of the government’s alleged cover-up, you’ll find that most of the stories regarding Mercritis are taken from friends of friends who had a cousin who knew someone affected by the disease’s outbreak. Mercritis is widely believed to be caused when a man ingests large amounts of lead (which is deadly) from paint or some other source which causes him to secrete a type of bile that, when released through the skin, acts as a pheromone making women around him completed hormonal and unreasonable. The first reported incident of Mercritis occurred in Europe where a man was chased by a dozen women through his seaside village. The man attempted to evade his pursuers by running into the freezing waters. Villagers reported that the female attackers seemingly cared little for their own lives as they chased the man into the water, where everyone including the man drowned.
In the 1950s, an outbreak allegedly hit a small town in Mississippi, the name of which was promptly covered up. In this town, several men contracted the illness through the ingestion of a near lethal doses of lead. Shortly afterwards, a large number of women from the town descended into a homicidal rage. They swept through the streets destroying property, all in a quest to chase down and murder every man they could find.
In the wake of the outbreak, this small Mississippi town was almost devastated. No one would ever know for sure the extent of the property damage or how many people died as a result of the riots because, according to rumors, the Federal Government rushed in soon afterwards in order to hide the evidence. Unable to find a cure or full explanation, the medical community was also quick to cover up any trace of the outbreak.
This supposed event went on to influence the MASTERS OF HORROR episode THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION, directed by Joe Dante. However, if you are looking for solid answers, you need only find someone who knows someone who had a cousin whose friend was there and saw it all go down. Happy investigating.