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Dancing Plague

by Scarlett Callohan about a month ago in Mystery
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Weird Events in History

History has it’s weird moments. There are many things that can take place that we just have no real knowledge of. History is full of random moments and mysteries that we can never solve.

This was the Dancing Plague. Also known as dancing mania, St. John’s Dance and choreomaina. Yes it was real. And no we don’t know that much about it. This was most seen between the 7th to 17th century in Europe where it never really happened again. 7th century was the first outbreak. I feel like I need to state that when I say outbreak I’m using quotations.

Let’s talk about one particular incident. This one took place in Strasbourg which at the time was the Holy Roman Empire. What happened was one woman just started dancing. In the middle of town. For almost a week. Then all of a sudden others started to join in.

No one knows what this really was or what caused it. Back then those that suffered from it were treated similar to how other plagues were treated. Isolation or sometimes exorcism. Which I guess sometimes worked. Again no one knows what this was so at that point anything is better than nothing.

Let’s just go over what problems this would cause. Or at least what I imagine to be problems. Blisters, sores, open wounds. I get blisters if I’m on my feet for extended periods of time, usually if I’m in shoes I don’t wear often enough or an activity I don’t normally participate in. Like ice skating, which by the way very dangerous for me to do. We’ll just leave it at that. But seriously can you imagine what their feet looked like after a week of this?

Second issue would be the lack of food or water. These events seemed uncontrollable so would they stop to eat? Would they stop to do normal daily things?

I know this isn’t the same thing at all. But this kind of reminds me of Flash Mobs. Just imagine being in Medieval Europe and all these peasants breaking out into dancing all around you, although probably more erratic and less coordinated than actual flash mobs. I’ve always wanted to see a flash mob. Ive never wanted to participate in one. Actually I should restate that, I’d love to be in one, but knowing my lack of coordination and clumsy nature means it might be dangerous for me and those unluckily nearby me.

So, what do you think this was? Or what was causing this….mess? An actual disease of some sort? If so, there has been nothing recorded like it that is similar. A bad case of hypochondria that messed with whole villages? There have been recorded instances where groups of people come down with similar issues and it later turns out to be a case of mass hysteria. It was all in their head which stressed and tricked their body into exhibiting symptoms. Or something more sinisterly supernatural? Many (at the time) wondered if it was that the villagers were possessed by the devil. A whole different idea of the devil made me do it. Maybe, like the issue in Salem with the witch trials a few people were messing around and couldn’t stop the ruse when they got too deep.

The weirdest thing about this is it completely disappeared after the 17th century. There were still plenty of cases where groups of people could display the same symptoms of an unexplained illness (including a case with a women who died in a hospital and seemed to effect anyone who came in contact with her). This isn’t the only


About the author

Scarlett Callohan

Hi, I'm Scarlett!

When I'm not busy writing I'm drinking a large amount of coffee while reading or working on new recipes.

Thank you for all your support!

If you'd like kindle copies of some of my fiction pieces visit Amazon and search for me!

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