The Mad Gasser of Mattoon (also known as the “Anesthetic Prowler,” Friz, the “Phantom Anesthetist,” or simply the “Mad Gasser”) was the name given to the person or persons believed to be responsible for a series of apparent gas attacks that occurred in Mattoon, Illinois, during the mid-1940s.
More than two dozen separate cases of gassings were reported to police over the span of two weeks, in addition to many reported sightings of the suspected assailant. The gasser’s supposed victims reported smelling strange odors in their homes which were soon followed by symptoms such as paralysis of the legs, coughing, nausea, etc.
Police remained skeptical of the accounts throughout the entire incident. Nevertheless, local newspapers ran alarmist articles about the reported attacks and treated the accounts as fact, going so far as to allege the culprit was an escaped German soldier in World War II. The attacks are widely considered to be a case of mass hysteria. However, others maintain that the Mad Gasser actually existed, or that the perceived attacks have another explanation, such as industrial pollution.
So, did The Mad Gasser of Mattoon even exist? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
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