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Anne Meneley

In Zabid, Republic of Yemen, women often succumb to an illness called 'fright' (faja'a) when they or their loved ones are, or are believed to be, in danger. The shock of a sudden threat to oneself or one's family, through illness or accident, is said to cause the soul to shake, leaving one vulnerable to 'fright'. This essay traces women's stories about their fright experiences and their recovery (or failure to recover). Zabidi women hold to a worldview inflected by the tenet that 'all is from God', yet ironically fright illnesses, their treatment, and narratives about them dwell uncomfortably on the difficulty of accepting the will of God when it means the loss of a loved one.