The Dancing Plague Of 1518

dancing plagueDid you know that dance memes occurred in the Dark Ages? Wikipedia on the supreme horror of the Dancing Plague of 1518:

The Dancing Plague (or Dance Epidemic) of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (then part of the Holy Roman Empire) in July 1518. Numerous people took to dancing for days without rest, and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.

The outbreak began when a woman, Frau Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. This lasted somewhere between four to six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers. Some of these people eventually died from heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion. Historical documents, including “physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council” are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why these people danced to their deaths.

23 Comments on "The Dancing Plague Of 1518"

  1. howiebledsoe | Jul 31, 2013 at 7:10 am |

    St. Vitus dance? Maybe the music was just better back then.

  2. Calypso_1 | Jul 31, 2013 at 7:20 am |

    Didn’t this happen in the 70’s as well?

  3. This merits weaponization.

  4. Rich Knox | Jul 31, 2013 at 9:07 am |

    somebody went back in time and spiked the water with extasy

  5. Liam_McGonagle | Jul 31, 2013 at 9:29 am |

    I’m sure this is just another case of wild exaggeration.

    You know none of them old-timey dances would even qualify for the term these days. They’d have all these dumb*ss names like ‘Shoe the Donkey’ and ‘Peddlar’s Bunyon’ and whatnot, and look like nothing so much as an octogenarian turning the street corner on a leisurely stroll. No ‘rump shakers’ or so forth for that crowd.

  6. Number Two | Jul 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm |

    Jes Grew strikes again

  7. Alkwerte Alk | Jul 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

    vasoconstriction-free strain of ergot ?

  8. 1518 is not medieval.

  9. Mmm… reminds me of the tarantella.

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