24 June 1374: A sudden outbreak of Dancing Mania strikes the town of Aachen, Germany.
So this has less to do with German history and more to do with “what the flying fuck” history. Pay attention.
Aachen is a town on the western boarder between Germany and France, and that is absolutely not important to what actually went on there in 1374.
On the early morning of 24 June, the citizens of Aachen were suddenly struck with a terrible plague - DANCE.
They all realized it was Hammer time.
These people had the sudden urge to feel dance day and night and there was no stopping them. Literally. There was no stopping them. People took to the streets and danced until they dropped from exhaustion.
They experienced hallucinations and tremors, and it didn’t end there - the “St. John’s Dance” worked its way all throughout Europe for centuries. The last known outbreak was in the 17th century, when it stopped abruptly.
Whilst there is no consensus among scholars and psychologists over why this happens, it does have a pattern. Generally, it will occur during times of hardship, and up to tens of thousands of people will appear to dance for hours, days, or even weeks at a time.
Many of the participants were foreigners and moved from city to city, dancing as they went and causing the fever to spread to those who came in their way. For the most part the people seemed joyful and ecstatic while they dance (until they collapsed that is). Dancers did not like pointed shoes and enjoyed their feet being hit, probably because that was the only feeling they had in their feet at that time.
So wtf was going on? Again, nobody knows. Many of the people were quarantined and exorcised, and that seemed to actually work sometimes. Music was sometimes brought in to stop them from dancing (wtf?) and sometimes it worked and sometimes it encouraged OTHERS to join in and dance, thus making it worse.
These people were the first ever back-up dancers.
A variety of hypotheses are about, including ergot poisoning, it was all staged, or that people just missed the memo of the “nutcase convention” going on at that time.
St. John’s Dance stopped abruptly in the 17th century and no report has been seen of it ever since. It lives on, however, under a different name - twerking.
If I have to die, that’s how I wanna go out