‘Shocking’ Electric Train Therapy in Indonesia

Urban legends, rural legends, folk medicines, you’ve probably heard about tons of such things over the years. True or, more likely, untrue events and cures which may, but probably don’t, have legitimate and verifiable scientific bases for capturing the imagination and curing medical symptoms. No, this isn’t a rant about people’s odd beliefs or half the shows on the Syfy Channel. It’s merely an introduction to the latest dubious medical craze in Indonesia. It seems folks in that country are intentionally trying to electrocute themselves on railroad tracks in the belief that it will cure various diseases, both mental and physical. It is a new trend which Indonesian government officials are trying desperately to stop before it causes a wave of accidental deaths. This railroad shock therapy started, as such things always do, with a rumor that a man who actually tried using train rails to commit suicide ended up having his paralysis and chronic depression shocked away by the electric current in the tracks. Although this miraculous tale cannot be verified, it has spread all over Indonesia and given people the courage to try electrocution by rail in order to cure everything from sleeping disord ers to diabetes. In our book, this is just crazy stuff, and a greater risk to human life than the legendary poodle in the microwave. (Wall Street Journal Asia – Indonesian Rail Shock Treatment)