The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

An engraving by Hendrik Hondius portrays a similar outbreak in the 1560s.

In July of 1518, dancing mania – a phenomenon that occurred across Europe for several centuries – hit Strasbourg, Alsace (France). Approximately four-hundred people danced themselves to exhaustion, and even to their deaths.

The plague began when a woman named Mrs Troffea began to dance in the street.

At the time, it was decided that the people could be cured with more dancing, and so musicians were hired to encourage them – which resulted in more deaths.

One modern-day theory suggest that consumption of fungi containing psychoactive chemicals (similar to LSD) was to blame. Mass hysteria has also been suggested.

On this day: the first assassination by a firearm

James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray. 1561.

A detail of a 1561 painting of the Regent.

The first recorded assassination by firearm happened in Scotland on the 23rd of January, 1570. James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray and Regent of Scotland was killed at Linlithgow Palace.

Miles Birket Foster painting Linlithgow Palace Victorian era

Miles Birket Foster’s 19th century painting of Linlithgow Palace

The assassin was James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, a supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots.

James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh and Woodhouselee (died 1581) was a Scottish supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots, who assassinated James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland, in January 1570.

A nineteenth century depiction of the killing.

Some accounts of the execution were recorded centuries after it happened, making some facts a little bit unclear.

One version states that Lady Mondegreen was killed by a second shot, but this is a myth.

On this day: Mary, Queen of Scots married.

Mary, Queen of Scots married her second husband, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley at Holyrood Abbey on the 29th of July 1565. The marriage was not a happy one, and Darnley was murdered in February 1567. He was twenty-one when he died.

Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, parents of King James VI of Scotland, later King James I of England.