He goes into a lot of description of the behavior of those stricken with it and how it was most likely a psychosis from all the mental anguish mixed with superstition. Other theories include a mass outbreak of hysteria however, none of the theories fully explain the dancing plague of 1518. After consulting doctors and astronomers of the time, it was announced that the mania was a natural disease caused by hot blood. One of the most well-known major outbreaks took place in Aachen, Germany, on the 24 th of June 1374, just several decades after the Black Death swept across Europe. What was the cause of the dance mania? The black death and the dancing mania Item Preview remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. After days and nights of endless dancing, one by one the dancers gave up and bringing the dancing epidemic of 1518 to a mysterious, unexplainable end. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) “They formed circles hand in hand, and appearing to have lost all control over their senses, continued dancing, regardless of the bystanders, for hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion. Originally written in German, this 1888 publication was translated into English by B. G. Babington. Apart from claims that all these events were staged, the use of hallucinogens was also considered a potential explanation, by both the church and contemporary authorities. Ninety percent of city populations died; 2) "The Dancing Mania" tells of a social phenomenon involving groups of people dancing erratically, sometimes thousands at a time. Hecker’s description of this strange gathering invokes rather hellish visions, resembling the miniatures of Hieronymus Bosch: They formed circles hand in hand, and appears to have lost all control over their senses, continued dancing, regardless of the bystanders, for hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion. The Black Death and the Dancing Mania 2nd Edition by J. F. C. Hecker and Publisher AUK Classics. The Dancing Mania appeared in Western Europe and it probably had its roots in the human psyche. Till some have dropped along the way, and some are met by death. 1--st. john's dance; sect. The theological explanation fell into three categories: people affected by the dancing plague were either under the control of the devil, or they were cursed by a saint, most probably St. John or St. Vitus. On July 1518, a woman by the name of Frau Troffea began to viciously dance in the streets of the urban center of Strasbourg, France, in full view of her neighbors. In medieval France, it was customary for dancing festivals to last days, even weeks, often leading to exhaustion and occasionally death. The authorities believed that the cure for the frenzy was more dancing day and night. The death toll was rising, as the “dancers” fell like flies after a while of non-stop jumping and dancing. It indeed happened and it was the earliest-recorded case of a psychic epidemic that shook the world of medieval Europe just as the plague was retreating, leaving a trail of more than 350 million dead worldwide. The Kölbigk incident is a contender for the first of the dancing plagues. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2021 worldatlas.com, The Strasbourg Dancing Plague of 1518: When People Danced To Their Death, The Huli People Of Papua New Guinea And Their Dramatic Headgears, 10 Countries Where Women Far Outnumber Men, The Most Famous Serial Killers In America And Their Twisted Crimes. Modern researchers have longtime been puzzled over what possible causes could have contributed to the phenomenon. Some researchers have attributed the phenomenon to ergotism which suggested that the dancers had ingested ergot, a psychotropic mold that grows on stalks of rye. A tale of those who danced themselves to death. How Many Serial Killers Are Active In The UK Now? Once they reached their destination, they fell to the ground, as a result of exhaustion. Shortly after, 200 people are said to have danced impiously on a bridge over the Moselle River in Maastricht until it collapsed, drowning them all. In 1237, in Erfurt, Germany, a group of children showed signs of the dancing mania, as they traveled the 13 miles to the nearby town of Arnstadt, dancing and jumping throughout their journey. EMBED. Later chronicles speak of a bout of unstoppable, and sometimes fatal, dancing in the German town of Erfurt in 1247. This was no joking matter, as the people afflicted by this peculiar obsession would sometimes die of exhaustion or hunger. Following a series of heavy dancing, some of the citizens began to succumb to exhaustion, stroke, and heart attacks. The poison produced by spiders or scorpions was considered to cause such madness, but this scenario is hardly possible in such mass cases. It all started with a joke. It might have been a negative mental response to the Black Death. One of the first major outbreaks of the phenomenon took place in the Holy Roman Empire in 1374 rapidly spreading to the whole of Europe including the Netherlands, England, and Germany. If the incident had remained isolated the city elders might have deduced it a case of madness or demonic possession, however, immediately after Troffea began her dancing frenzy, one of her neighbors joined followed by others. The dancing mania erupted in the 14th century in the wake of the Black Death, and recurred for centuries in central Europe - particularly Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium - finally abating in the early 17th century. From Aachen, the mania was reported to spread to Utrecht in the Netherlands and Liège in Belgium. The dancing mania killed 15 people from the town! There was no music to dance to as her face showed no expression of enjoyment, she seemed unable to stop herself from the delirium. The term "dancing mania" was derived from "choreomania," a concatenation of choros (dance) and mania (madness). The Black Death, and The Dancing Mania. In the year 1237 upwards of a hundred children were said to have been suddenly seized with this disease at Erfurt, and to have proceeded dancing and jumping along … ‎A 19th Century analysis of two of the 14th Century's most devastating pandemics: The Black Death, which is usually thought to be a form of bubonic plague, and the Dancing Mania, an unexplained epidemic that caused thousands of people to literally dance themselves to death. J. F. C. Hecker & B. G. Babington. Even though sources are scarce and unreliable, everyone agrees that the phenomena was no fiction. Dance of death has been interpreted as evidence of the awakening spirit of democracy in the Middle Ages, all are equal in the face of death Dance Mania - flourished throughout Europe from the 11th to the 14th centuries; One the largest outbreaks of the mysterious dancing “sickness” happened in Aachen, Germany, in 1374. Types Of Crimes By Number Of Offenses In The US, The 10 Biggest Shopping Malls In The World. Citizens by the hundred became compelled to dance, seemingly for no reason — jigging trance-like for days, until unconsciousness or, in some cases, death. Controversy exists over whether people ultimately danced to their deaths. EMBED (for wordpress.com hosted blogs and archive.org item tags) Want more? A native of Erfurt, Justus Friedrich Karl Hecker, wrote a book published in 1888, titled The Black Death and the Dancing Mania, in which he collected numerous accounts of Dancing Mania, relating it to the horrific consequences of the Bubonic plague that reached its peak in Europe in the mid-14th century. The dancing did not stop and by the time a month had elapsed about 400 Strasbourg citizens had joined in the dancing hysteria. The authorities tried to control it with the help of rhythmic beats of … Many died of strokes and heart attacks, after pushing their bodies to extreme limits of endurance. And some are met by death. The earliest outbreak of dancing plagues known in history took place during the 7th century reappearing several times before ceasing around the 17th century. It was recorded throughout the history of the Middle Ages, with earliest accounts dating from the 7th century. Save up to 80% by choosing the eTextbook option for ISBN: 9781781664087, 1781664080. I also write stuff. The names St. Vitus’ Dance, or St. John’s Dance, were soon accepted, and the people begged the ancient saints for forgiveness. Manic dancing was first mentioned in the 14th C., and sporadic outbreaks are described in the 15th, 16th, and 17th C. The first major outbreak of dancing mania was in Aix-la-Chapelle in July of 1374. Symptoms of ergot poisoning include hallucinations, convulsions, delirium, psychosis, a painful burning sensation in the limbs and extremities, headache, and it can cause damage to the central nervous system. How Many Serial Killers Are On The Loose Today? This indicates death by a type of epileptic seizure or cognitive disability. In total, at least 400 people in Strasbourg were involved in the dancing plague. Read another story from us: Pope Clement VI: The generous and progressive Pope who granted remission of sins to all people who died of the plague. Five hundred years ago in July, a strange mania seized the city of Strasbourg. Advanced embedding … During the … As if in some sort of trance, sometimes the dancing mania would possess a person for days, weeks, and in some cases months. During the 16th century Europeans believed that St Vitus, a Catholic saint was responsible for cursing people with the dancing plague. Dancing plague of 1518, event in which hundreds of citizens of Strasbourg (then a free city within the Holy Roman Empire, now in France) danced uncontrollably and apparently unwillingly for days on end; the mania lasted for about two months before ending as mysteriously as it began. Men and women took to the streets and… After the outbreak in Aachen, the next documented case in which a large group of people was involved occurred in Strasbourg, France, in 1518. The frenzy affected people of all demographics, including adults and children who would dance until they collapsed from exhaustion. The Dancing Mania was a strange social phenomenon that escapes clear explanation to this day. 15 people were dying each day from sheer exhaustion, heart attacks and strokes. The most well known cases happened in Germany in 1374 and France in 1518. The dancing plague, also known as the dancing mania, St John's Dance or chreomania was a societal phenomenon that primarily occurred on the mainland of Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. People who engaged in this activity didn’t seem to be aware of themselves. But after 95 students at … It is certainly true that the pandemic, which wiped out one-third of the world’s population, left a devastating effect on the human psyche. Ergotism is known to trigger delusions and spasms, but results to hardships in coordinated movements therefore disqualifying it as a substantial cause for the phenomenon. The “sick” would then be herded into these structures, together with musicians, as if the entire spectacle resembled a modern musical concert. Some psychologists say that what happened in France was an example of mass hysteria . He believed that the hardships brought by the disease indirectly manifested themselves in the form of a collective madness. Affecting thousands of people across several centuries, dancing mania was not an isolated event. It’s likely that it was this or a similar story from which the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin sprung―a folk tale about a piper with supernatural powers who leads a group of children to their death, as an act of revenge against the townsmen who refused to pay him for his services of eradicating rats in times of plague. Ned Pennant-Rea on one of history's most bizarre events. Allegedly, a woman started the dance and within a month, more than 400 people were “possessed.” Historian John Waller, who is the author of the book A Time to Dance, A Time to Die: The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518, studied the archives and concluded that the event indeed happened, as he confirmed it from various different sources: These people were not just trembling, shaking or convulsing; although they were entranced, their arms and legs were moving as if they were purposefully dancing. The dancing hysteria involved masses dancing hysterically, sometimes the numbers reaching thousands at a time. In Italy, a similar social phenomena called the tarantella was attributed to spider bites. The rich trading city was turned into a bizarre gathering of the insane. 5.0 • 2 Ratings; Publisher Description. By the close of the week more than 30 people had joined the frenzy and were dancing day and night on the streets of the city of Strasbourg. The death toll is unclear, but many was said to have died from exhaustion, stroke, and heart attacks. The dancing mania, which caused hoards of people to dance until they died, starts right after the black death is over and continues up until the late 1700s. Engraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the plague. “Dancing Mania” or St. Vitus’ Dance swept Europe from the 14th to 17th century. The print version of this textbook is ISBN: 9781781664087, 1781664080. Despite it, nothing stopped the dancing! 2--st. vitus's dance; sect. The dancing hysteria involved masses dancing hysterically, sometimes the numbers reaching thousands at a time. The earliest-known outbreak of dancing mania occurred in the 7th century, and it reappeared many times across Europe until about the 17th century, when it stopped abruptly. Physician and medical writer J. F. C. Hecker discusses various plagues and explores their effect on human history in this text. Several thousand frenzied people danced in fits that lasted for weeks. The contemporaries were sure that it was not the wish of the affected citizens to dance. the black death; introduction; chapter i--general observations; chapter ii--the disease; chapter iii--causes--spread; chapter iv--mortality; chapter v--moral effects; chapter vi--physicians; the dancing mania; chapter i--the dancing mania in germany and the netherlands; sect. They then complained of extreme oppression and groaned as if in the agonies of death, until they were swathed in cloths bound tightly around their waists, upon which they again recovered, and remained free from complaint until the next attack. The Church was suspicious of these events right from the start. Read 11 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The dancing plague, also known as the dancing mania, St John's Dance or chreomania was a societal phenomenon that primarily occurred on the mainland of Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. One of the most prominent theories claims that the main reason behind this mass mania was poisoning by Claviceps purpurea, a fungus known to infect rye and other cereals, a condition called ergotism. Although the dancing mania occurred once in a blue moon, several other parts including Germany and Switzerland were also trapped with the hue and cry of the mass mania. During convulsions, the victims moved uncontrollably as in a dance, had hallucinations regarding religion, shouted and eventually fell with exhaustion or even dropped dead. Around that time, a report from Metz in France claimed that 11,000 people had succumbed to the Dancing Mania. In order to soothe their sufferings, music was played, and in order to keep them off the streets, huge guild halls were adapted to fit a large number of people. Read another story from us: Crinolinemania: This deadly Victorian fashion garment killed around 3,000 women. A native of Erfurt, Justus Friedrich Karl Hecker, wrote a book published in 1888, titled The Black Death and the Dancing Mania, in which he collected numerous accounts of Dancing Mania, relating it to the horrific consequences of the Bubonic plague that reached its peak in Europe in the mid-14th century. The Dancing Mania of the year 1374 was, in fact, no new disease, but a phenomenon well known in the Middle Ages, of which many wondrous stories were traditionally current among the people. They decided to construct a wooden stage for the dancers and even hired musicians and instrumentalists to play music, and professional dancers were paid to keep the dancing going around the clock. A dance mania overtook Germany in the 1300s, immediately after the Black Death. During the course of history, experts have tried to produce a medical explanation on this subject but all have failed to properly explain the causes of this hysteria. In the book, Hecker, a doctor of medicine, describes the dancing frenzy as a reaction to the years of Black Death, as the plague epidemic was dubbed. The dancing mania by Eugen Holländer (1867-1932). A chronicle that perhaps dates from the time of the event claims that most of the children died soon afterward, and the ones who survived fell into a state of permanent mental illness accompanied by tremors. One of the earliest-known incidents occurred sometime in the 1020s in Bernburg, where 18 peasants began singing and dancing around a church, disturbing a Christmas Eve service. The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962. Others propose that the symptoms were similar to encephalitis, epilepsy, and typhus, but none of these explanations could answer for all the symptoms exhibited in the reports. The Black Death / The Dancing Mania book. St. John’s Dance, known historically as St. Vitus Dance, was a social phenomenon involving a type of dance mania that gripped mainland Europe between the 14 th and 17 th centuries. Join 1000s of subscribers and receive the best Vintage News in your mailbox for FREE, J. R. R. 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Before the world was struck with Beatlemania–much, much before, for that matter―a different kind of craze swept through Europe, one that would reveal ties to demonic forces, religious cults, and hallucinogenic drugs. 3--causes Some researchers also suggest that some of the dancers belonged to a heretical cult. The third explanation was that this was nothing but a band of heretics, who through the guise of madness found a loophole to practice their unholy rituals without being disturbed. Dance mania, he wrote, drove sufferers into “a mad flight from their homes and communities”, before “they fell foaming to the ground; then they got up again and danced themselves to death, if they were not by others’ hands, tightly bound”. In 1518, Strasbourg was experiencing disease and famine, which, when combined with the St Vitus myth is believed to have set off a stress induced- hysteria which affected most of the city. 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