24. The Death Dancers
The Strasbourg dance craze started innocently enough. On an otherwise unremarkable summer morning, a Frau Troffea began dancing in the street. Onlookers clapped, laughed, and cheered her high spirits as she danced. And danced. And danced some more. Troffea danced without rest or respite for six days. Within a week, she had been joined by dozens in her marathon dance, mostly women.
Concerned, authorities consulted local physicians, who opined that the plague was caused by “hot blood”. Convinced that the dancers would recover only if they got it out of their system by dancing continuously, musicians were hired, a wooden stage was erected, and additional dancing space was made by opening up guildhalls and clearing out a marketplace to make more room.