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May 4, 2014

The Medieval Dancing Plague, When Getting Down Literally Killed You

The dancing plague all started when a woman identified only as Frau Troffea stepped out of her house
in early July 1518 and began dancing. After nearly a week of the woman’s nonstop flailing, a group of about 30 people had joined her. Reports say that as many as 400 people eventually began dancing in the street, but it was hardly the celebration imagined by Martha & the Vandellas in their 1964 hit song of that title. The melee continued for more than two months, causing people to drop over from heart attacks, strokes and exhaustion.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 4, 2014 1:42 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I must rise on this occasion and call attention to a phenomenon first manifested in Middle Age towns in France and some suggest in Salem Massachusetts. Other notation can be found at this link (which I hope Gerard's spambots allow):

Ever hear of ergot? Um maybe yeah. I will quote excerpts from the article which link I provided. I am not that smart so I borrow the words of others: "Ergot of rye is produced by a lower fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that grows parasitically on rye and, to a lesser extent, on other species of grain and on wild grasses. Kernels infested with this fungus develop into light-brown to violet-brown curved pegs (sclerotia) that push forth from the husk in place of normal grains."

Early examples of the hallucinogen which synthesized as LSD. Peasants in France, maybe the Salem witch hunters, probably the poor folks dancing themselves to death as mentioned in the article all beheld Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

BTW, Timothy Leary and his companions tried to take credit for that which was first synthesized in 1938. He deserves a stereo-diamond-dripping-laced-with-belladonna punch in the face. All of them. Faces that is. Or was it punches? or maybe ... quick, hand me down my thorazine, I gots the drifting blues ...

Posted by: chasmatic at May 4, 2014 4:54 PM

And if they had been dancing to

Hard Dance
Hi-NRG / Eurodance
Jackin House

I would have been the peasant hauling a cartload of posthole diggers, stakes, and firewood to the town square without being asked. I consider myself to be civic minded that way.

Posted by: Mike James at May 4, 2014 5:04 PM

Dancing days are here again as the summer evenings grow
I got my flower, I got my power, I got a woman who knows.

I said it's alright. You know it's alright - I guess it's all in my heart

You'll be my only, my one and only. Is that the way it should start?

Led Zeppelin

Posted by: Fat Man at May 4, 2014 5:29 PM

Who's peekin' out from under a stairway
Calling a name that's lighter than air
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow
Everyone knows it's Windy

Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smilin' at everybody she sees
Who's reachin' out to capture a moment
Everyone knows it's Windy

And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds (above the clouds)
Above the clouds (above the clouds)

The Association

Posted by: chasmatic at May 4, 2014 6:06 PM

There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

A planet of play things
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
'The stars aren't aligned
Or the gods are malign...'
Blame is better to give than receive

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose freewill


Posted by: ghostsniper at May 4, 2014 6:52 PM

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