The dancing bug…big time

I just wanted to share this because I found it fascinating.  I was checking on my twitter account and noticed a tweet by OMGFacts who I follow.  This is it what it read: “During 1518, in Strasbourg, about 400 people danced so hard that they died from it.”

Hang on…what?  Feeling intrigued and thinking this surely did not happen, I turned to trusty old Google.  Reading a few different articles on the dancing epidemic I came to the conclusion that this was indeed a true story!

Here are the details squashed up into a summary by me:

Back in July 1518 in Strasbourg France a woman ran out into the main street and started to dance (that rhymes).  After a month of non-stop dancing, she had 400 people joining her in the massive dance off.  The authorities had no idea what to make of it and thought that the best way to make it stop would be to get them to dance it all out so they built a stage, hired musicians, set aside halls and let them groove it out.  Strangely the dancers seemed to not be enjoying their dancing and pleaded for help so they could stop. As the dancing continued, people began dying from heart attacks and exhaustion. The authorities ended up taking the ones left dancing to a shrine to get healing.

The Dance Plague in Strasbourg, France

(Is that a naked person in that drawing?)

The reason for this craziness is unknown, although some think it was a cult or they ate something that affected the chemical balance in their bodies. Another more likely reason was that the era this occurred in saw society as being poor, starving and desperate. Something clicked over in their brain and they kind of went mad.  Mass hysteria caused by physiological distress. Yikes.

Anyone have anything to add?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jodes on June 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Yeah, I do. During my first year out of high school, I loved 60kms away from Strasbourg in a little town called Wissembourg and we used to train to Strasbourg, the Big City, to do a spot of shopping every now and then – it is beautiful there! That was where they used to have Christmas markets which is where I was first introduced to the delicious mulled wine which we will be tasting on Wednesday night! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Wow! That is just crazy!

    Reply

  3. […] read recently in a friend’s blog that in France, 1518, 400 people died in a ‘dance plague’. Yes – they danced til […]

    Reply

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