Disco Fever in Strasbourg

By Geisha Bar

It was July 1518 in Strasbourg. Poverty, famine, syphilis and smallpox were the menu of the time, causing widespread grief to the people. What was a girl to do?

Well, Frau Troffea decided to just dance her worries away. In the streets. For like, an entire motherfucking week without stopping. Over the next month she was joined by about 400 more boogie cats, all dancing like camp divas at a Kylie Minogue concert. After three days, Troffea should have died from dehydration – but this disco queen wouldn’t stop. Just so we’re clear, this kind of prolongued exercise isn’t really possible – even marathon runners wouldn’t be able to manage it (not to mention when there’s a famine goin’ on, you’d have to be pretty low in caloric energy to begin with).

Local physicians had claimed that the impromptu rave was a result of “hot blood”, and that the only way to cure it would be for the people to just continue dancing (because more dancing seemed like a totally sensible thing to prescribe at the time). They set up a dancehall area over a grain market and two guildhalls, complete with a brand new wooden stage. Musicians were hired to help keep the party people going, and the shindig lasted an entire goddamn month, with dozens of people dying from stroke, exhaustion and heart attacks.

Nobody knows why this trance party happened, but common theories are:
– The dancing people were suffering mass hysteria and stress-induced psychosis from the awful conditions of the time.
– They had been mildly poisoned with ergot, a seizure- and hallucination-inducing psychotropic mould, with similar effects to LSD.
– The people were being punished by Saint Vitus, who was said to send down plagues of compulsive dancing upon anybody who incurred his wrath.

Just to be clear, this is all a true story – physician notes, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council have all shown that this strange phenomena actually occurred. It’s just that nobody knows why! Crazy fuckers.