The Inexplicable Dancing Plague Of 1518

The Inexplicable Dancing Plague Of 1518

A woman began dancing in the streets in the summer of year 1518 in the town of Strasbourg, Alsace (at the time part of the Holy Roman Empire). Nothing sounds too particularly strange about that, but what happened next sure was bizarre. She danced for an entire month straight, by which time 400 other people had joined her. The dancing became more wild as the month progressed. In fact, the dancing became so vigorous and long-lasting that people fell ill or died from exhaustion, heart attack, and more. Physicians examined the dancers, trying to determine the cause. A few theories popped up, but it was largely deemed a mystery. The town eventually provided halls to give the dancers safe places to "dance it out."

01:20

Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    A single dancing woman in the street began what it now known as the Dancing Plague of 1518. (0:16)

  • 2

    Within a month of the Dancing Plague of 1518, about 400 people were inexplicably dancing in the street. (0:32)

  • 3

    During the Dancing Plague of 1518, authorities concluded that the only way to cure the dancers was to have them dance it out of their systems. (0:48)

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