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The dancing plague
Every day we hear of people dying due to strange reasons. But
can you imagine that reason being dancing?
In July 1518, the people of Strasbourg, a place in France,
Every day we hear of people dying due to strange reasons. But can you imagine that reason being dancing?
In July 1518, the people of Strasbourg, a place in France, danced to their deaths. This phenomenon started when a woman named Frau Troffea suddenly started dancing in the middle of the street. She continued her solo performance for a whole week and by then some three dozen other people had started dancing as well. By August, some 400 people were declared dead due to their excessive dancing.
As to why this dance started, there was no explanation. The local physicians declared that this was a result of hot blood and the only way to cure the dancing people was to dance some more. The authorities commissioned a stage to be built and hired professional dancers. They hired a band so that the people had music to dance to.
The excessive took a toll on the people and many collapsed due to exhaustion. Some of the dancers died of strokes and heart attacks.
This strange phenomenon ended in September when the dancers were finally taken away to a mountaintop shrine so that they could pray to stop.
Similar events have occurred in places like Switzerland, Germany, and Holland but they werent on a large scale like the one in France.
There are many theories as to why a bunch of people suddenly started dancing to their death but the most famous theory is given by John Waller, a historian. According to him, there was a saint named St. Vitus, who people believed had the power to curse people with a dancing plague. In 1518, when the dangers of disease and famine were on an all time high, this mixed with the belief of the curse cause a mass Hysteria breakout.
Other theories include the dancers being members of a cult or eating some poisonous plants by accident.