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Iich'aa (Navajo for "moth craziness") is an epileptiform, psychosomatic illness found among the Navajo people, characterised by nervousness, loss of self-control, convulsions, self-destructive behaviour, and fits of violence and rage,[1][2] and often accompanied by the believe that parts of the body are shrinking.[3] The condition, which is sometimes compared to amok, is associated by the Navajo with violating the taboo against incest[4] and is supposedly caused by the growth of a moth in the cranial cavity.[5] The affected is cured in a ceremony called the "Mothway", in which he vomits to get rid of the creature.[6]


  • Levy, Jerrold: Hand Trembling, Frenzy Witchcraft, and Moth Madness: A Study of Navajo Seizure Disorders; University of Arizona Press, 1995. ISBN 9780816515721


  1. Simons, Ronald C. & Hughes, Charles D.: Culture-bound syndromes, in Gaw, Albert (ed.): Culture, Ethnicity, and Mental Illness; American Psychiatric Pub, 1993. ISBN 9780880483599
  2. Sandner, Donald: Navaho Symbols of Healing: A Jungian Exploration of Ritual, Image, and Medicine; Healing Arts Press, 1991. ISBN 9780892814343
  3. Juan, Stephen: The Odd Brain: Mysteries of Our Weird and Wonderful Brains Explained; Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011. (p. 218) ISBN 9781449411404
  4. McKellar, Peter: Experience and behaviour; Penguin, 1968. (pp. 327/28)
  5. Kaplan, Harold I. (et al.): Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, III, Vol. 1; Williams & Wilkins, 1980. (p. 494) ISBN 9780683033571
  6. Rymland, Lizbeth: Strange Evolutionary Flowers; Spuyten Duyvil, 2007. (p. 88) ISBN 9781933132211

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