NCBI ROFL: Dance till you can't dance till you can't dance no more

By ncbi rofl | October 6, 2009 3:00 pm

In a spin: the mysterious dancing epidemic of 1518.

“In 1518, one of the strangest epidemics in recorded history struck the city of Strasbourg. Hundreds of people were seized by an irresistible urge to dance, hop and leap into the air. In houses, halls and public spaces, as fear paralyzed the city and the members of the elite despaired, the dancing continued with mindless intensity. Seldom pausing to eat, drink or rest, many of them danced for days or even weeks. And before long, the chronicles agree, dozens were dying from exhaustion. What was it that could have impelled as many as 400 people to dance, in some cases to death?”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NCBI ROFL, rated G
  • Anonymous

    …and what most people do not know that Ecstasy was not invented in the 20th century, but already 500 years earlier in a small French town…

  • Anonymous

    Actually, there is a significant history behind St. Vitus and the dancing. He's the patron saint of Rijeka, Croatia (I lived there a brief time.) St. Vitus' cathedral is pretty impressive! Sydenham Chorea is a.k.a. St. Vitus' dance. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/sydenham/sydenham.htm

  • Deray

    So, they are to blame for musicals!

  • Anonymous

    Macarena

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it was that demon–Sweet–from the musical BtVS episode, "Once More With Feeling".

  • Anonymous

    Ergotism.

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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