Eau de Stampede: Perfume Panic Fells 34 at Texas Bank

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2009 4:09 AM CDT
Investigators haven't named the brand of perfume responsible for starting the stampede out of the building.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A spray of strong perfume by an employee sparked chaos at a Bank of America call center in Texas yesterday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. After two employees complained of feeling dizzy from a colleague's strong perfume, an announcement was made saying anyone feeling ill should exit the building. Hundreds of people left the building, emergency services arrived, and 34 workers were taken to a local hospital. Another 110 were treated at the scene.

The building was checked for contaminants and none was found. Investigators—who haven't identified the perfume—believe the power of suggestion is to blame for the uproar. "Fear is one of the most contagious emotions there is," a local psychologist explained. "When you say to people, 'Hey, there is a contaminant in the building and it is making people sick,’ then it is easy for them to feel accordingly."