The “Dancing Mania Plague” was a social phenomenon during the medieval times which caused more than thousands of people to dance erratically, until they collapsed from exhaustion or died. It was widespread in many countries throughout Europe, and the true cause still hasn’t been identified.

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/evlqvq/is_there_any_consensus_about_what_was_going_on/fyewrdy/

  2. Maybe this is where the myth of the fair folk came from where if you crash their bonfire party they will make you dance until you die?

  3. I’d bet it was a parasitic or fungal infection. There’s some tiny bastards that can hijack organisms and make ‘em into marionettes (e.g. toxoplasmosis)

  4. The number of people in the comments suggesting ergot when the resource that OP linked clearly lays out that ergot was unlikely to be the cause -_-

  5. Pretty clear proof it’s psychological/psychogenic if someone has a convulsive ‘seizure’ and gets up and carries on within 30 seconds lol. A real seizure would keep you in recovery on the floor for at least 30 minutes of barely being conscious and you’d be out of action for at least a day.

  6. It was Sweet, the demon from season 6, Episode 7 "Once More, with Feeling" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  7. I Love that episode, the display of the demons power just by how confident he was, I remember as a kid he gave me chills when he laughs and sings 'see you in hell' with that beautiful voice right at the end.

  8. I just rewatched this episode and only that one recently. It’s such a memorable one and it just popped into my head so I watched it.

  9. this has been disputed because of the fact it affected a wide range of people and made them dance for days aswell as affected different regions with different climates and crops and so wouldn't have been able to affect all of these people in the exact same way or for that long since the "drug" effect would've worn off

  10. I was looking for this in the comments before saying it myself. I know it hasn’t been determined as the explanation but as someone else also mentioned, it’s the most probably explanation.

  11. So did this happen a bunch of times before more rigorous storage/santitation habits were developed? I feel like if it was contaminated rye it must have happened like every few years for a long time.. unless it's super uncommon for that level of contamination? It definitely seems the most plausible but I'm just curious if this happened relatively frequently or was just a handful of times in half a century, etc. And if it was so uncommon, why?

  12. No, ergot poisoning also causes gangrene, diarrhea, and vomiting. Still, the clickbait pseudo history websites spread that nonsense.

  13. LSA or LSD doesn't turn you into a dancing psycho, it hits everyone different, makes people complative, laugh, changes perception of reality. You also often want to lay down a lot during the trip.

  14. i would’ve called it an infectious or post-infectious chorea of some kind to a pathogen whose serotype eventually disappeared

  15. The leading theory suggests that these people may have been under the influence of LSD, and instead of dancing and fucking they cooked chicken in cough syrup.

  16. tarantella's origin is connected with tarantism, a disease or form of hysteria that appeared in Italy in the 15th to the 17th century and that was obscurely associated with the bite of the tarantula spider; victims seemingly were cured by frenzied dancing.

  17. Veitstanz (German for St. Vitus’ dance) probable cause is said to be Ergotism (eating grain products, particularly rye, contaminated with the fungus Claviceps purpurea was the cause of ergotism). Interestingly, the initiation of the Eleusinian mystery included drinking the Kykeon, which was said to have contained ergot alkaloids (traces found in drinking cups) and said to illicit an effect close to LSD.

  18. Veitstanz was also associated with Chorea Huntington, a triplet repeat disease in which a certain protein is built too long to be naturally removed, which will over the life of the person amass in cells and lead to massive neurological deficits as well as involuntary motoric actions that can seem like the person is dancing.

  19. HOLY SHIT I'M BLASTING OUT OF BOTH ENDS! MY LUNG'S A WHEEZING! MY HEART'S A SEIZING! THE FUCKING WALLS ARE MELTING!

  20. “Several modern historians have argued that the dancing plagues of mediaeval Europe were caused by ergot, a mind-altering mould found on the stalks of damp rye, which can cause twitching, jerking, and hallucinations — a condition known as St Anthony's Fire. However, the historian John Waller has debunked the ergot hypothesis in his brilliant book on the dancing plague, A Time to Dance, a Time to Die (2009). Yes, ergot can cause convulsions and hallucinations, but it also restricts blood flow to the extremities. Someone poisoned by it simply could not dance for several days in a row.

  21. There's a lot of incidents like this throughout history. So many that there's been a general term applied to many of them, mass psychogenic illness. Really fascinating that they happen in the modern age even with the proliferation of science, media, cameras, etc

  22. Was likely ergot fungus. Contaminates grain stocks when store improperly. Ergot produces LSD as metabolic waste. Medieval acid trips are the best!

  23. It produces lysergic acid, but not lysergic acid diethylamide. It causes a lot of somewhat similar effects, but it's not the same.

  24. There are theories that the dancing might’ve been an extremely frustrated reaction to the horrible and unfair conditions the peasants lived in day after day.

  25. Was there any links to chemicals or materials being created or discovered prior to this that could cause a Parkinson’s/neurological type of disease?

  26. Saint Vitus Dance, right? My grandma had that. She survived but ended up with narcolepsy for a little while afterwards.

  27. The phrase “during the medieval times” is a pretty good indicator of whether the speaker knows what they’re talking about or is participating in a game of telephone.

  28. Long been known to be ERGOT poisoning. It comes from a purple fungus that grows on rye which was a staple in Europe and also Massachusetts, hence the Salem witch trials.

  29. St Vitus dance is more commonly called Sydenham's chorea, and is an autoimmune phenomenon associated with Strep throat, part of rheumatic fever in some cases.

  30. Okay I’m pretty sure this mystery was solved. It was the hot topic of a 80s song called wake me up before you go-go by wham where it eludes to a jitterbug.

  31. Some of the instances were traced to ergot fungus on rye, which creates a natural hallucinogen similar to LSD. There is at least one instance of an entire town going mad. And the next day local bread sales doubled.....

  32. I thought the reason they did this was because they had consumed a fungus called ergot? (which is also the starting point of LSD)

  33. Every time this is posted I start wondering if these events are the first recorded cases of mass hysteria. It's not unheard of at all that people start behaving eratically when influenced by each other. Or maybe ergot poisoning? Interesting regardless of the cause.

  34. Ergot poisoning is probably the culprit. It's a fungus that grows on certain plants. Rye is the main plant that is consumed. The Salem witch trials was because of years of consumption. LSD is derived from ergot. Rich people don't suffer from the fungus because they can afford wheat. Rye has historically been eaten by the poor

  35. Associated with tarantism, with the thought being a spider bite was responsible. A friend of mine wrote a song about that (Kodacrome, Dance Malady).

  36. One of the more interesting theories on the cause of the dancing plague is that the sufferers had eaten bread made using ergot tainted rye. Ergot is the fungus that LSD is derived from and much like LSD It has hallucinogenic effects.

  37. Methylmercury Poisoning, like those weird cats who were sort of dancing and making weird sounds ... before dying in Japan.

  38. Do you mean Saint Vitus Dance? Sydenham chorea, also known as St. Vitus dance, is a neuropsychiatric manifestation of rheumatic fever with an incidence varying from 5 to 35%. It may occur alone or concomitantly with other manifestations of rheumatic fever.

  39. There was an ergot fungus that grew on the bread in the granary and it has psychedelic properties. That being said i cannot imagine how hard these people were tripping to dance to death, ive been close but not there lol. Even funnier is they had no Idea of the existence of psychedelic fungus complete surprise trip haha

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