Episode 386:

FOMO is Ancient

The "Paper Bag Killer"


The Dancing Plague of 1518


Episode 386: FOMO is Ancient

This week, Karen and Georgia cover the "Paper Bag Killer" and the Dancing Plague of 1518.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

The "Paper Bag Killer"

The "Paper Bag Killer" Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Eva Bocek/Alamy

Other Images:

1. Detectives Frank Falzon and Jack Cleary (AP)


"The 24 year old son of a noted San Francisco psychiatrist has been arrested as the suspected "Paper Bag Killer" in two recent apparently motiveless murders here.

William P Hanson was arrested late Saturday in the Forest Hill home of his parents on warrants charging him with the Dec. 20 murder of Ara Kuznezow, 54, and the Oct. 16 slaying of Lorenzo Carniglia, 70.

The charges brought new tragedy to the parents, Dr. and Mrs. Karl Hanson. A son Melvin , a promising young artist, died [when] he was stuck by a car in 1962. A Daughter, Karmalee, 26, committed suicide in Los Angeles in 1967.

Their son William is accused of slaying apparent strangers.  The killer had concealed the murder weapons in paper bags and fled in a white van.

The suspect worked as a driver for a local delivery service.  He was tracked down by police who had checked out virtually all vans in the area and questioned some 50 persons who drove them, according to the report by homicide inspectors Jack Cleary and Frank Flazon.

The inspectors' report also noted they had received "information from a confidential source" that Hanson had admitted the two killings.

Numerous weapons and clothing found in the home on a search warrant tied young Hanson in with the murder, the report said..."

Source: “Psychiatrist’s son held as the ‘paper bag killer’” by Frank O’Mea (San Francisco Examiner) 1974

The Dancing Plague of 1518

The Dancing Plague of 1518 Notes:

Other Images: 

1. Painting depiction of musicians accompanying people who are suffering from the dancing plague (Alamy)


"On a hastily built stage before the busy horse market of Strasbourg, scores of people dance to pipes, drums, and horns. The July sun beats down upon them as they hop from leg to leg, spin in circles and whoop loudly. From a distance they might be carnival revellers. But closer inspection reveals a more disquieting scene. Their arms are flailing and their bodies are convulsing spasmodically. Ragged clothes and pinched faces are saturated in sweat. Their eyes are glassy, distant. Blood seeps from swollen feet into leather boots and wooden clogs. These are not revellers but “choreomaniacs”, entirely possessed by the mania of the dance..."

Source: “The Dancing Plague of 1518” by Ned Pennant-Rea (Public Domain Review)

Karen's Episode Sources

  1. “The Super Sleuths” by Bruce Henderson and Sam Summerlin (Gassett News Service) 1977
  2. “San Francisco Homicide Inspector 5-Henry-7: My Inside Story of the Night Stalker, City Hall Murders, Zebra Killings, Chinatown Gang Wars, and a City Under Siege” by Frank Falzon
  3. “Psychiatrist’s son held as the ‘paper bag killer’” by Frank O’Mea (San Francisco Examiner) 1974
  4. “Paper bag suspect was ‘righting wrong’ – attorney” (San Francisco Examiner) 1974
  5. “Read About Frank Falzon’s Most Notorious Cases” (FrankFalzon.com)
  6. “Psychiatrist’s Son Arrested for ‘Paper Bag’ Murders” (Oakland Tribune) 1974
  7. “50 Things People Who Grew up in 1970s San Francisco Will Remember” by Amy Graff (SF Gate) 2019 
  8. “The Golden Dragon massacre: A bloody rampage in the heart of 1970s San Francisco” by Andrew Chamings (SFGate) 2021
  9. “Defendant Said Victim of Fantasy” (Daily Independent Journal) 1974
  10. “’Nob Hill rapist’ arrested” by Malcolm Glover (SFGate) 1995
  11. “Police arrest man, 70, in Petaluma shooting” by Will Schmitt (The Press Democrat)
  12. “Karl Hanson obituary” (Legacy.com)
  13. “Why the 1970s in San Francisco were way better than you might think” by Greg Keraghosian (SFGate) 2018
  14. “Harvey Milk” (Biography) 2021
  15. “Jim Jones” (Wikipedia)
  16. “Zebra Murders” (Wikipedia)
  17. “Atascadero State Hospital” (Wikipedia)

Georgia's Episode Sources

  1. “The Dancing Plague of 1518” by Ned Pennant-Rea (Public Domain Review)
  2. “A Forgotten Plague: Making Sense of Dancing Mania” by John Waller (The Lancet) 
  3. “Keep on moving: the bizarre dance epidemic of summer 1518” by John Waller (The Guardian)
  4. “Why does Mass Hysteria Affect Mostly Women” by Regan Penaluna (Nautilus)
  5. “Dancing Mania” (Wikipedia)
  6. “The Dancing Plague of 1518” by Pat Bauer (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  7. “The Epidemic of 1962 - Of Laughter” by Caroline Kamau (Psychology Today)
  8. “What Happened to the Girls in Le Roy” by Susan Dominus (New York Times Magazine)
  9. “The Curious Case of Teen Tics in Le Roy, New York” (All Things Considered, NPR)
  10. “School baffled by 12 girls’ mystery symptoms” Today Show interview
  11. “TikTok Tics are a Symptom of a Much Bigger Problem” by Eleanor Cummins (The Verge)
  12. “Is TikTok Causing Tics in Teen Girls?” (Cleveland Clinic)
  13. “The People Who Danced Themselves to Death” by Rosalind Jana (BBC)
  14. “The Devil in the Dance” by Lyn Gardner (The Guardian)
  15. “The Dancing Plague of the Middle Ages” by Martina Petkova (Medium)
  16. “Divine Punishment or Disease? Medieval and Early Modern Approaches to the 1518 Strasbourg Dancing Plague” by Lynneth J. Miller (Edinburgh University Press)
  17. “The Mirror Neuron System May Play a Role in the Pathogenesis of Mass Hysteria” by Yao-Tung Lee and Shih-Jen Tsai (Elsevier)
  18. “She more than he: gender bias supports the empathic nature of yawn contagion in Homo sapiens” by Ivan Norscia, Elisa Demuru and Elisabetta Palagi (Royal Society Open Science)
  19. “The Red Shoes” (Wikipedia)
  20. “Protestant Reformation” (Wikipedia)
  21. “Holy Roman Empire” (Wikipedia)
  22. “Tarte Flambée, or flammekeuche” (Wikipedia)
  23. “Travel Guide to Alsace Wine region” (Wine Tourism)