We have all heard of drunk dancing and dancing like there is no tomorrow. But have you ever heard of people who danced themselves to death? Let me take you back to the 14th century. This middle age century experienced mass death due to dancing mania. This phenomenon is still on the table for the modern psychiatrists and readers who are yet to find a reason behind it.
How did it all start?
As the night dawned upon Strasbourg, France, a middle age woman, Frou Troffea, swiftly began swaying herself on a lonely street. She seemingly gained pace with her dancing and was soon accompanied by her neighbours. However, it wasn’t just any normal dancing for a happy while. There was no music and it seemed like people were dancing in a trance-like manner. Soon, a parade of people joined the mass and they danced from dusk to dawn, for weeks altogether. Suddenly, after a month, it all vanished into thin air and people who survived resumed their lives as if nothing had happened.
What do theories about Dance Mania suggest?
Everybody looked onto the mass mania from different spectacles of thought. The medical lens of theory explained that these people were infected with ergot poisoning. This poison induced hallucinations, delusions, and spasms among those who ingested it. However, not much support has been given to this theory. From the psychological lens, it looks like mass hysteria was propelled due to the stressful conditions of life. History looks at it from a religious angle. Certain stories reveal that a curse doomed upon the civilization, by the priest of the church, caused such an epidemic.
Was it a one-time outbreak?
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. The authorities tried to control it with the help of rhythmic beats of music, however, it only added fuel to the fire. People would haul like animals, have sex on the streets, strip naked and dance in an obscene manner. However, the records suggest that it was not voluntarily executed.
The present stance: A bygone memory.
Today this remains nothing more than a bygone memory. However, whenever this topic is discussed over drinks and meets, everyone’s pupils bulge out with interest.