Everybody Dance Like It's 1518!

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By Casey Chaplin. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

So way back when, well 1518 to be specific, the jitterbug took over Strasbourg, France... Literally. For reasons still relatively unknown, hundreds of people began to dance uncontrollably, without stopping for up to a month. People actually died from this. Starvation, exhaustion, and heart failure lead the pack - at least, if you believe the rumors. While it might not be clear how many people died, if any at all, what is clear is that the dancing plague took over. It sounds ridiculous, right? Well, believe or not, I'm not messing with you. Notes from the time confirm that this actually happened.

What if I told you that this wasn't the first time, either? Yes, it happened at least ten time prior to this, all within the same region. We also have the laughing plague from Africa, which affected about 1000 people. Uncontrollable laughter swept through villages and mission schools and young women could not stop laughing, some lasting up to 16 days. That seems almost worse than dancing for a month. Either way, it's terrible.

There are many theories as to what happened in order to cause these epidemics, from mass hysteria, to shared psychogenic experiences, to some funky fungus that got thrown into the food supply. But, despite all the theories, we don't have any definitive answers, just some fun guesses! But, for the full story, you'll just have to listen.

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169 episodes