On December 16, 1997, an episode of the then-unstoppable Pokémon animated series was broadcast in Japan. Barely thirty minutes later, nearly 700 children were on their way to hospital.
Straight away, children across Japan were struck down with various ailments. Some kids passed out, or experienced blurred vision. Others felt dizzy, or nauseous. In extreme cases, some even experienced seizures and cases of temporary blindness.
While the exact number of children legitimately affected by the show will likely never be known, in total 685 kids (375 girls, 310 boys) were put in ambulances suffering some kind of medical problem after watching the episode. While most made speedy recoveries – some within minutes after the show’s conclusion – a small number were diagnosed with epilepsy, which had been triggered by the rapidly-blinking display.