The Dancing Plague of 1518

I guarantee that alongside today’s early morning Donald Trump Tweet, this is going to be one of the most unbelievable things you’ll read all day!

No word of a lie, the following is a true story.

Even Sean Spicer has confirmed the validity of the facts – PERIOD.

It all began innocently enough in July of 1518 in the town of Strasbourg. As the townsfolk went about their usual business of contracting incurable illnesses, a woman began to dance in the street. This might not sound too strange, but keep in mind that the age of people dancing unabashedly to their MP3 players in public, was still some 450 years away. This woman was not dancing to any music and was doing it during a time of widespread starvation and disease in the area.

So how long do you think she danced for? An hour? All morning? The whole day? She danced for around five days! The longest physical exertion I’ve done that comes close to five days was the time I watched the entire 10 seasons of Friends back to back. I can’t even imagine how sore her feet were, because my eyes were killing me by the time I had reached the episode when Phoebe sang smelly cat.

But this is where the story becomes truly odd.


Within a week, 34 more people began to do the same and within a month the figure grew to 400! Authorities became worried and consulted physicians who declared that the dancing plague was not caused by astrological or supernatural causes, but rather it was “hot blood” and a natural disease. You know one day it’s a cough and runny nose, the next day it’s an uncontrollable desire to dance continuously for 120 hours.

“Did you get food poisoning from eating those yellow mushrooms? Then it’s best you eat more of them”

To cure people, the authorities encouraged more dancing. (“Did you get food poisoning from eating those yellow mushrooms? Then it’s best you eat more of them.”) They went to the extent of constructing a stage and hiring musicians. The belief was that people just needed to dance the dancing out of their system.

And dance the dancing out of their system they did. To such an extent that some of them died of heart attacks, strokes and pure physical exhaustion.  At one stage the dancing plague was killing 15 people per day. I can only assume how fit the ones who survived must have become, Jane Fonda eat your heart out! In fact, a modern historian claims that a marathon runner wouldn’t have survived the ordeal these people went through.

There are some modern day theories about what caused this humorous… I mean… horrible, horrible plague. One idea is that it was caused by a mass case of stress-induced psychosis. Another theory is that it was brought about by food poisoning from a particular fungus that has properties related to LSD.

Thankfully there hasn’t been another widespread dancing plague that has inflicted people with an insatiable desire to dance, in quite some time. Wait a minute…

I forgot about the devastating dancing plague of 2012!

Dancing Plague of 1518
Dancing Plague of 1518

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