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.

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Notre Dame…

I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.

I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.

I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.

There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.

On this Day: British Royalty on the Front

German_Spring_Offensive_Q294 King George V escorted by Lieutenant Colonel Reginald B

30th March 1918: Britain’s King George V, escorted by Lieutenant Colonel Reginald B. Rickman, inspects troops who survived the Battle of Bullecourt the previous year. The photograph was taken in Hermin, France in the final year of the First World War.

Part of the bigger Second Battle of Arras between the German and British Empires, the conflict claimed hundreds of thousands of casualties.

From the collection of the Imperial War Museum.

March 1917

Ruins in the village of Puisieux, Pas-de-Calais, France. March 1917. First World War. The British entered the region on the 28th of February. World War One. By War Photographer Ernest Br

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British troops entered the commune of Puisieux, Pas-de-Calais, France on the 28th of February, 1917, and proceeded to document the destruction they found.

Operations_on_the_Ancre,_January-march_1917_Q1807Ruins in the village of Puisieux, which the British entered on 28th February 1917. First World War. World War One. By War Photographer Er

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The photographs were taken by Ernest Brooks, who was the British military’s first official war photographer, and who made a name for himself documenting the First World War.

Christmas on the Western Front

Christmas_on_the_Western_Front,_1914-1918_Q1628British troops (the soldier on the left thought to be of the Worcestershire Regiment) purchasing mistletoe from women on a market, Bailleul

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December 1916: British troops in Bailleul, France purchase mistletoe for Christmas at a local market. This came shortly after the conclusion of the months-long Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles in recorded history. First World War.

On this day: Troops on the March

The_Race_To_the_Sea,_September-october_1914_First World War 5th October 1914 French Cavalry passing the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), with the rest of the 19th Brigade, t

The march to the sea. First World War.

5th October 1914: French Cavalry on the march pass troops of the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). The British soldiers slept hidden during the day and marched at night.

Germany had declared war on France two months earlier. The photograph is credited to British Army officer Robert Cotton Money (1888-1985).