SallyPainter | Top Secret Writers
19 January 2015
The Dancing Plague of the Middle Ages was a mysterious disease that besieged most of Europe, Prussia (German Empire) and the Netherlands for several centuries.
There were recorded cases of the disease moving through parts of America as well.
It sprang up almost two decades after the Black Plague (1) that took between 50-70 million in Europe and possibly up to 220 million worldwide (2).
Some records stated that unless the victims danced, they died. The phenomena rampaged through the 13th and 14th centuries, with no real appearance of weakening until the 18th century.
The symptoms of the Dancing Plaque included delirium, an uncontrollable urge to dance, wild leaping, singing and foaming at the mouth.
In many instances, lewd behavior was often witnessed, such as parading naked about the streets and even public orgies. Throngs of people poured into the streets in a wave of mass delirium moving from one region to the next (3).
The contagion moved so swiftly that onlookers would also become infected and leave fields, shops and other work to join in the dancing mania. Women, men and children fell victim.
Some of the earliest recorded cases were made prior to the Black Plague arriving on the scene.
1027 – Christmas Eve
In 1027, 18 peasants “disturbed” a Christmas Eve service in Bernburg, Germany. They appeared in the churchyard and began “dancing and brawling”. The priest cursed them to “dance and scream for a whole year without ceasing”. The account states that the priest’s curse was fulfilled and the people eventually “sank knee deep into the earth, and remained the whole time without nourishment, until they were finally released by the intercession of two pious bishops.” Four of them died. The rest suffered from trembling limbs for the remainder of their lives (4).
1237 – Children Afflicted
In 1237, over 100 children were stricken with the Dancing Plague in Erfurt, Germany. They began dancing and jumping in the road until exhausted and fell to the ground. It was recorded that many of the children died and the survivors were left with permanent tremors.
1278 – Bridge Collapses
The disease resurfaced in June 1278 in the Netherlands town of Utrecht. 200 people began to dance fanatically on the Mosel Bridge. When a priest crossed over the bridge on his way to administer to someone sick, the bridge collapsed and all 200 drowned.
1374 – Aix-la-Chapelle Incident
The Dancing Plague wasn’t reported again until 1374 in Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany (Prussia). The afflicted held hands and danced in circles for hours in “wild delirium” and eventually fell to the ground completely spent. They groaned and cried out in pain and bystanders bound the victims’ waists with cloths and the pain subsided. Some bystanders thumped victims on the abdomen or feet to assist in relieving pain believed to have been gastric.
Many victims suffered from visions and hallucinations, screaming and calling the names of spirits or divine personages. The visions included witnessing heaven opening up and seeing Christ on a throne or the Virgin Mary.
According to the Chambers Edinburgh Journal Volume 9 by William and Robert Chambers, the contagion traveled to those watching. On September 12, 1840, the Journal reported that victims banded together and moved about the countryside. They wore cloths around their middles in preparation of their next fit (4).
Cologne Hit with Dancing Mania
A few months after the Aix-la-Chapelle incident, dancing mania struck 500 people in Cologne, Germany. Around the same time over 1,100 were stricken in Metz, France. The Chambers point out that, “The aftermath of the [Black Plague] plague created a series of religious, social, and economic upheavals, which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe’s population to recover.”
Rest of the story is here:
If any part of this is real, this is beyond bizarre. What do you think -- true or false?