Plague In Which People Dance Until They Died

Dancing Plague Of 1518, History Strangest Epidemic

Dancing Plague
Dancing Plague
Source : dinamicaballe

Right now, the planet is undergoing a coronavirus pandemic, killing thousands. However, it’s faraway from the sole one. The winner for the weirdest outbreak to strike mankind possesses to be the Dancing Plague.

On July 14, 1518, a lady named Frau Troffea from the town of Strasbourg in modern-day France left her house and commenced to bop . She kept going & going for hours until she finally collapsed, sweating and twitching on the ground. .

As if during a trance, she started dancing again the subsequent day and therefore the next day then , seemingly unable to prevent . Others soon started following suit and she or he was eventually joined by some 400 other locals who danced uncontrollably alongside her for about two full months.

No one knows what caused the towns people to bop against their will — or why the dancing persisted for therefore long — but within the end, as many as 100 people died. Historians dubbed this bizarre and deadly event the dancing plague of 1518 and we’re still sorting through its mysteries 500 years later.

What Happened During The Dancing Plague Of 1518

Dancing plague in 1518
Dancing Plague In 1518
Source : wikipedia

Though the historical document of the dancing plague (also referred to as dancing mania) is usually spotty, surviving reports give us a window into this unusual epidemic.

After the dancing plague commenced with Frau Troffea’s fervent-yet- joyless marathon of movement, her body eventually succumbed to severe exhaustion that left her during a deep sleep. But this cycle, much to the mystification of her husband and onlookers, repeated a day regardless of how bloody and bruised her feet became.

Unable to summon any rational explanation, the crowds of individuals who witnessed Troffea’s dancing suspected it had been the handiwork of the devil. She had sinned, they said, and was therefore unable to resist the powers of the devil who had gained control over her body.

But as quickly as some had condemned her, many townspeople began to believe that Troffea’s uncontrollable movements were divine intervention. Locals within the area believed within the lore of St. Vitus, a Sicilian saint martyred in 303 A.D. who was said to curse sinners with uncontrollable dancing mania if angered.

After suffering several days of non-stop dancing and with no explanation for her uncontrollable urge, Troffea was delivered to a shrine high within the Vosges Mountains, possibly as an act of atonement for her purported sins.

But it didn’t put a stop to the mania. The dancing plague swiftly took over the town . it had been said that about 30 people quickly took her place and commenced dancing with “mindless intensity” in both public halls and personal homes, unable to prevent themselves a bit like Troffea.

Eventually, reports say that as many as 400 people began dancing within the streets at the dancing plague’s peak. The chaos continued for a few two months, causing people to tumble and sometimes even perish from heart attacks, strokes, and exhaustion.

One account claims that there have been upwards of 15 deaths a day when the dancing plague reached its height. within the end, about 100 people may have died because of this bizarre epidemic.

However, skeptics of this outrageous tale have understandably questioned how exactly people could dance almost continuously for weeks on end.

Myth Versus Fact

Dancing Plague

In the summer of 1518, the dancing plague within the Holy Roman City of Strasbourg saw some 400 people dance uncontrollably for weeks on end — leaving as many as 100 of them dead.

The dancing plague of 1518 may have caused the deaths of quite 100 people in modern-day France who simply couldn’t stop moving for days or maybe weeks on end.

On July 14, 1518, a lady named Frau Troffea from the town of Strasbourg in modern- day France left her house and commenced to bop . She kept going and going for hours until she finally collapsed, sweating and twitching on the bottom .

As if during a trance, she started dancing again the subsequent day and therefore the next day then , seemingly unable to prevent . Others soon started following suit and she or he was eventually joined by some 400 other locals who danced uncontrollably alongside her for about two full months.

No one knows what caused the townspeople to bop against their will — or why the dancing persisted for therefore long — but within the end, as many as 100 people died. Historians dubbed this bizarre and deadly event the Dancing Plague Of 1518 and we’re still sorting through its mysteries 500 years later.

Dancing Plague Believe it or not
Source : knappily

In order to research the plausibility of the dancing plague of 1518, it’s important to start out by sorting through what we all know to be historical fact and what we all know to be hearsay.

Modern historians say there’s enough literature surrounding the phenomenon to corroborate that it did actually happen. Experts first uncovered the dancing plague because of contemporaneous local records. Among them is an account written by the Medieval Physician Paracelsus, who visited Strasbourg eight years after the plague struck and chronicled it in his Opus Paramirum.

What’s more, copious records of the plague appear within the city’s archives. One section of those records describes the scene:

“There’s been a wierd epidemic lately, going amongst the folks , so that many in their madness began dancing. Which they maintained day and night, without interruption, until they fell unconscious. Many have died of it.”

A chronicle composed by the Architect Daniel Specklin that’s still kept within the city archives described the course of events, noting that the town council came to the conclusion that the bizarre urge to bop was the results of “overheated blood” within the brain.

In a misguided plan to cure the townspeople of the plague, the council imposed a counterintuitive solution: They encouraged victims to continue their dancing, perhaps within the hopes that folks would inevitably tire safely.

The council provided guildhalls for the people to bop in, enlisted musicians to supply accompaniment and, consistent with some sources, paid “strong men” to stay the dancers upright for as long as possible by lifting their exhausted bodies as they whirled around.

After it became clear that the dancing plague wouldn’t end anytime soon, the council employed the acute opposite of their initial approach. They decided that infected people had been consumed by holy wrath then penance was enforced on the town along side the banning of music and dancing publicly .

According to city documents, the delirious dancers were eventually taken to a shrine dedicated to St. Vitus located during a grotto on the hills within the nearby town of Saverne. There, the dancers’ bloodied feet were placed into red shoes before they were led around with a wooden figurine of the saint.

Miraculously, the dancing finally came to an end after several weeks. But whether any of those measures helped — and what caused the plague within the first place — remained mysterious.

Why Did The Dancing Plague Happen?

Dancing in street
Source : owlcation

5 Centuries later, historians are still unsure about what caused the dancing plague of 1518. Modern explanations vary, though one claims that the dancers suffered effects of a psychotropic mold referred to as ergot which grows on damp stalks of rye and may produce a chemical almost like LSD.

But albeit ergotism (which some say caused the Salem witch trials) can cause delusions and spasms, other symptoms of the condition include an extreme decrease in blood supply which might have made it challenging for people to bop as hard as they did.

Offering another theory, historian John Waller posited that the dancing plague was simply a symbol of medieval epidemic hysertia . Waller, author of A Time to bop , A Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518 and therefore the foremost expert on the topic , believes epidemic hysertia brought on by horrific conditions in Strasbourg at the time — extreme poverty, disease, and starvation — caused the townspeople to bop from stress-induced psychosis.

He argued that this collective psychosis was possibly exacerbated by the supernatural beliefs common within the region, namely the lore surrounding St. Vitus and his dance-inducing powers. There had previously been a minimum of 10 other outbreaks of inexplicable dancing mania centuries before the events at Strasbourg happened .

According to Sociologist Robert Bartholomew, these plagues and will see dancers parading around naked, making obscene gestures, and even fornicating publicly or acting like barnyard animals. Dancers could also become violent towards observers if they didn’t take part .

All of those example of dancing mania took root in towns near the River Rhine where the legend of St. Vitus was strongest. Waller cited the idea of “environment of belief” proposed by U.S. Anthropologist Erika Bourguignon which argues that supposed “spirit possessions” occur primarily where supernatural ideas are taken seriously.

This, in turn, encourages believers to enter a dissociative psychological state during which their normal consciousness is disabled, causing them to hold out irrational physical acts. The cultural norm of believing during a higher power, Waller continued, made people vulnerable to adopt extreme behaviors spurred by the dissociative state of others.

“If the dancing mania really was a case of mass psychogenic illness, we will also see why it engulfed numerous people: few acts could are more conducive to triggering an all-out psychic epidemic than the councilor’s decision to corral the dancers into the foremost public parts of the town ,” Waller wrote within The Guardian. “Their visibility ensured that other city folk were rendered susceptible as their minds dwelt on their own sins and therefore the possibility that they could be next.”

If Waller’s theory of a mass Psychological illness does indeed explain the dancing plague, it’s a major and terrifying example of how the human mind and body can work together to make chaos.

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