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June 24, 2007



I recall reading, many years ago, a theory that some outbreaks of dance mania were the result of ergotism, a disease caused by eating fungus-infected grains. It was from ergot that Dr. Albert Hofmann synthesized LSD.


You're right, Eric, that's the most common "scientific" explanation offered. The Skeptical Inquirer piece does a pretty persuasive job of debunking everything and advancing a different explanation, based on close reading of contemporary sources. The dancers were, in fact, enacting elaborate religious / cultural rituals: They were pilgrims walking within or across Europe's states, performing ecstatic rites; the pilgrimages were typically to the shrines of specific saints, usually St. John, but also sometimes St. Vitus.
The skeptics are thumbs down on the LSD hypothesis, too.

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LSD is one of the best ways to get an hallucination, of course mushrooms as well, but the easiest way I believe is by LSD, a friend of my try it and he told me that it is an incredible ride, but in order for a good trip the mood plays a key role.

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