historical records documenting the dancing deaths

Photo Of The Day

Photo Unknown source. The Dancing Plague. The outbreak began in July 1518, when a woman, Mrs Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg, France. This lasted somewhere between four to six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers, predominantly female.

Photo Unknown source.
The Dancing Plague. The outbreak began in July 1518, when a woman, Mrs Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg, France. This lasted somewhere between four to six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers, predominantly female.

The Dancing Plague

When Frau Troffea took to furiously dancing in the middle of a road in Strasbourg, France, in the summer of 1518, no one would join her. In a time of widespread hand wringing, confusion and fear over women succumbing to the cultish clutches of demonic possession, just try to imagine the risks this young lady ran by suddenly taking to a round-the-clock, public show of relentless and spirited writhing.

But no matter ? Troffea just kept dancing. Nothing could stop her. She had the fever, damn it. And sure enough, in the span of a week more than 30 Strasbourgan peasants were spazzing alongside her in what would become one of the funkiest bits of mass?sociogenic illness?on record.

Maybe it was famine, coupled with the region?s wildly fluctuating weather and Biblical hail storms that had folks falling to the Dancing Plague. Maybe it was from eating bread laced with ergot, a seizure- and hallucination-inducing psychotropic mold, that had Troffea and a growing band of street dancers locked in a delirious bootstomp. Maybe cutting loose in the streets was just a way to get one?s mind off poverty.

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