The Plot

From July to September 1518, the Holy Roman Empire's dancing disease (or dance epidemic) struck Strasbourg, Alsace (modern-day France). Between 50 and 400 people went to the dance floor for days.

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What was the dancing plague of 1518 ?

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Events

A 15th century outbreak of dancing in Strasbourg, France, is believed to be the first known case of a dance epidemic. The victims danced for more than a month, according to historical documents such as "physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes published by the Strasbourg city council" Similar events are supposed to have occurred throughout the mediaeval period, especially in Kölbigk, Saxony, in the 11th century.

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Controversy

The question of whether or not people danced to their deaths has sparked debate. Some sources suggest that the plague killed about fifteen people per day for a period of time. The city of Strasbourg's sources at the time of the events did not record the number of deaths or even if there were fatalities.Lady Troffea is the first dancer in four of the six chronicle stories.

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Modern Theories

1.Food poisoning: Ergotamine is the principal hallucinogenic component of ergot fungus, which grows commonly on grains used for manufacturing bread (such as rye) Ergotamine shares molecular similarities with the drug lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) and was initially made from it. The same fungus has also been linked to other significant historical events, such as the Salem witch trials.

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