The Dancing Plague of 1518
The Dancing Plague (or Dance Epidemic) of 1518 was a case of dancing mania that occurred in Strasbourg, Alsace (then part of the Holy Roman Empire) in July 1518. Around 400 people took to dancing for days without rest, and, over the period of about one month, some of those affected died of heart attack, stroke, or exhaustion.
The outbreak began in July 1518, when a woman, Mrs. Troffea, began to dance fervently in a street in Strasbourg. This lasted somewhere between four and six days. Within a week, 34 others had joined, and within a month, there were around 400 dancers, predominantly female. Some of these people would die from heart attacks, strokes, or exhaustion. One report indicates that for a period the plague killed around fifteen people per day.
Historical documents, including "physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council" are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why these people danced, some even to their deaths.
As the dancing plague worsened, concerned nobles sought the advice of local physicians, who ruled out astrological and supernatural causes, instead announcing that the plague was a "natural disease" caused by "hot blood". However, instead of prescribing bleeding, authorities encouraged more dancing, in part by opening two guildhalls and a grain market, and even constructing a wooden stage. The authorities did this because they believed that the dancers would recover only if they danced continuously night and day. To increase the effectiveness of the cure, authorities even paid for musicians to keep the afflicted moving.
Historian John Waller stated that a marathon runner could not have lasted the intense workout that these men and women did hundreds of years ago.
And now, a story.
I was followed by a man in a car one night and I'm 100% certain he would have tried to abduct me.
This was in Chicago after I helped chaperone a debate team trip. I was walking back to my car and the guy passed me then circled back and passed again. I honestly thought he thought I was a hooker and remember thinking he'd be disappointed if he stopped. Then he started driving next to me at walking speed but had to move when another car came. I crossed and crouched behind a parked car for a minute and when I stood up he was gone. Kept walking and when I got to the next intersection he was hiding on a cross street. I was almost back to my car and he was still following me when I ran into a group of teenage-ish girls. I blurted out, "I think that man is following me." Meanwhile dude parks behind my car waiting for me to be alone again. Thankfully the girls walked me to my car and texted me his license plate but I don't think I've ever felt so unsafe in my life