John Waller - A Time To Dance A Time To Die

A Time to Dance, a Time to Die The Extraordinary Story of the Dancing Plague of 1518 - John Waller
John Waller wrote a book about the dancing plague of 1518. If you are like me and the majority of people, you have not heard of the dancing plague of 1518 but as soon as you read on the back cover that in 1518 in Strasbourg dozens of people danced themselves to death you immediately want to know 'what the hell!'.

That's what Waller's book selling point is - he will tell you what the hell. First he will tell you all the other theories that were used to explain the phenomenon. Initially, of course, demonic possession. Then the curse of St Vitus. Then overheating of the head. Then some parasite...

But John Waller claims that the REAL reason a hundred of people started to dance and couldn't stop [watch out, here be the spoilers] is because they all went loco. Well, if you ask me, demonic possession sounds about right.

Waller eventually makes a good case for his 'gone loco' theory. His main argument is that when people who are under a lot of stress and pressure break down they do so still within their cultural and sociological frame. As in - they break down they way they are supposed to break down.

Back in 1518 demonic possession was all the rave. Currently it is more en vogue to quit your job, cry, eat a lot of unhealthy food and watch daytime tv. O tempora o mores!

Let's take this moment to think about and mourn the victims of the dancing plague of 1815 to whom I would like to dedicate this: