'Hysteria' (conversion disorder) remains in modern humanity and across cultures, as it has for millennia. Advances today in tools and criteria have afforded more accurate diagnosis, and advances in treatments have empowered patients and providers, resulting in a renewed interest in somatoform disorders. Future progress in understanding mechanisms may be influenced by developments in functional neuroimaging and neurophysiology. No animal model exists for somatoform symptoms or conversion disorder. Despite the absence of a known molecular mechanism, psychotherapy is helping patients with conversion disorder to take control of their symptoms and have improved quality of life, shedding light on what was once an enigma.