FYI June 24, 2018


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On This Day

1374 – A sudden outbreak of St. John’s Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.

Dancing mania (also known as dancing plague, choreomania, St. John’s Dance and St. Vitus’s Dance) was a social phenomenon that occurred primarily in mainland Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. It involved groups of people dancing erratically, sometimes thousands at a time. The mania affected men, women, and children who danced until they collapsed from exhaustion. One of the first major outbreaks was in Aachen, in the Holy Roman Empire, in 1374, and it quickly spread throughout Europe; one particularly notable outbreak occurred in Strasbourg in 1518, also in the Holy Roman Empire.

Affecting thousands of people across several centuries, dancing mania was not an isolated event, and was well documented in contemporary reports. It was nevertheless poorly understood, and remedies were based on guesswork. Generally, musicians accompanied dancers, to help ward off the mania, but this tactic sometimes backfired by encouraging more to join in. There is no consensus among modern-day scholars as to the cause of dancing mania.[1]

The several theories proposed range from religious cults being behind the processions to people dancing to relieve themselves of stress and put the poverty of the period out of their minds. It is speculated to have been a mass hysteria, in which physical symptoms with no known physical cause are observed to affect a group of people, as a form of social influence.[1]



Born On This Day

1867 – Ruth Randall Edström, American educator and activist (d. 1944)
Ruth Miriam Edström (née Randall; June 24, 1867 – October 5, 1944) was an American peace activist and fighter for women’s rights. She worked with the pre-work for the third peace conference in The Hague (after the first conferences in 1899 and 1907).[1][2] She participated in the international women’s congress in 1915. Ruth was the wife of the head of Asea, J. Sigfrid Edström.[3]





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