“There is a disease of the nerves to which girls about the age of puberty are very subject, particularly in the higher circles of society, where their emotions are over-educated and their organization delicate. It is called hysteria, and more commonly hysterics…
This disease is apt to produce a similar affection in other girls of the same age [14 or 15] who see the attacks. For this reason, hysterical girls should not be sent to large schools, but cured at home. Often a strong mental impression restores them. The anecdote is told of a celebrated surgeon (Boerhaave) who was called to a female seminary where there was a number of hysterical girls. He summoned them together, heated a number of iron instruments before their eyes, and told them that the first one who had a fit should be cauterized down the spine. They all recovered immediately.”
The magic of modern medicine, ladies and gentlemen!