Was 'Safety Dance' Inspired by the Dance Plague of 1518?

A previously unknown connection between the 1500s and the 1900s may have been discovered today on The Glenn Beck Program. Rather than focus on the news of the day, Glenn brought up random moments from history like Cat Nuns and the Dance Plague of 1518.

"It killed 15 people a day. Historical documents, including physician notes, cathedral sermons, local regional chronicles, even the notes issued by the Strasbourg City Council are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why the people danced, even though they danced, some of them, to their death," Glenn read.

RELATED: Glenn’s New History Program: It’s Not the Dates or the Names — It’s the Story

Ever the comparative historian, co-host Stu-Burguiere made a curious observation.

"If I'm understanding the story right, historically, this is what created the Safety Dance, which was, We can dance, We can dance, Everybody look at their hands. Why do you have to look at your hands? Because people were falling over," Stu said.

Read below or listen to the full segment for answers to these curious questions:

• Did meowing nuns have anything to do with the dance plague?

• Was it well water or LSD-like fungi that caused the deadly dancing?

• Is it safe to look at your hands while dancing?

• If your friends don't dance, are they still friends of yours?

• Is the Safety Dance video a documentary about the Dance Plague of 1518?

Listen to this segment, beginning at mark 1:26:16, from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

GLENN: But this story is good. How about this one? How about the Dancing Plague? Have you ever heard of the Dancing Plague?

JEFFY: Yes.

GLENN: Now, this is the dancing plague I believe of Prague.

PAT: Is this about disco in the '70s?

GLENN: No, it is not.

JEFFY: No, it is not.

GLENN: Sorry, this is Strasbourg, and this is the Dancing Plague of 1518. You know this?

PAT: Okay.

JEFFY: Horrible. I do. I'm familiar with this Dancing Plague.

GLENN: How many think he's lying?

The outbreak in July 1518 when a woman began to dance in the streets of Strasbourg. That lasted somewhere between four and six days. But by the end of the week --

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: -- 34 other people had joined in.

PAT: Like non-stop she danced?

GLENN: Non-stop dancing. Yes.

Thirty-four others had joined in by the end of the week. And within a month, there were 400 dancers. Most of them were female, dancing non-stop in the streets of Strasbourg.

Here's where it gets weird --

PAT: Oh, it's not yet?

JEFFY: It's not.

STU: Oh, okay.

GLENN: Suddenly, they heard meowing from -- no. People actually died from heart attacks, strokes, and dropped dead from exhaustion.

JEFFY: But the surrounding dancers kept going.

GLENN: Yes. It killed 15 people a day. Historical documents, including physician notes, cathedral sermons, local regional chronicles, even the notes issued by the Strasbourg City Council are clear that the victims danced. It is not known why the people danced, even though they danced some of them to their death.

JEFFY: Right. Yeah, they think they know what caused it now though.

PAT: Prozac? Was it Prozac in the water?

JEFFY: It was during the plague day, and actually they believed it was in the well water surrounding the town.

PAT: Yeah. And they were eating the fish.

JEFFY: Surrounding the town.

GLENN: As the Dancing Plague worsened, concerned nobles sought the advice from physicians who ruled out astrological and supernatural causes. They said this plague was of natural disease caused by hot blood. They decided not to bleed the people who were dancing.

PAT: Foreigner sang about that.

GLENN: Instead, they encouraged more dancing.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: And they built a wooden stage for the dancers. They believed that if they would dance all day and all night, they would eventually wear themselves out and stop dancing.

JEFFY: And in which they did, they died.

GLENN: Yes.

STU: If I'm understanding the story right too, historically, this is what created The Safety Dance, which was --

GLENN: Wow, we're --

PAT: If you have any lyrics to that, I will be impressed, without looking it up.

STU: We can dance, we can dance, everybody look at their hands. Why do you have to look at your hands? Because people were falling over.

PAT: Right.

STU: You wanted to make sure your hands were always in front of you to brace an impact that would lead to death.

PAT: Okay.

STU: We can dance, we can dance.

PAT: It wasn't everybody look at your pants?

STU: See, so it was okay for people to take chances on dancing once the safety dance was there, and that's what they were trying to encourage people: We can dance.

PAT: Okay. Yeah.

STU: Everybody is taking a chance. And that is -- directly relates --

GLENN: It might have been that or ergotamine, which I guess is a product of the ergot fungi, which grows in grain.

PAT: I think it's an actual disease that caused --

GLENN: No, they think that it was some sort of fungus that was in the grain that is a relation of LSD.

PAT: Oh.

GLENN: And so they were eating the grain, and they --

PAT: Well, that would make some sense, right? That they're all hallucinating. But everybody in the village?

GLENN: Well, 400 people are doing it.

PAT: Did they all eventually die, or did some of them --

GLENN: No, some of them just stopped. Some of them just stopped. Some of them just stopped.

JEFFY: And two are still living today.

GLENN: Right.

PAT: Are they?

JEFFY: It was 1518. Yes, they all eventually died.

(laughter)

STU: Is it possible that The Safety Dance is actually about this?

GLENN: What?

JEFFY: I don't --

STU: I mean, the video was set in old-time like 1500s days.

JEFFY: Yes, it is. It is possible.

STU: And the lyrics actually seem to really fit with the story.

JEFFY: It is possible.

PAT: We can dance. We can dance.

STU: Is it possible?

GLENN: Give me the lyrics.

STU: Okay. Hold on. Let me give you this.

GLENN: That would be the greatest discovery of the day. That's an episode of The Vault right now.

By the way, The Vault premieres -- we're getting such tremendous feedback on His Story. Last night was episode two. If you haven't watched them, go binge on them at GlennBeck.com. There's two episodes out. Tesla and Edison, that are just fantastic. Huge great reviews for the people that are watching it, even people that are just so mad at me, they can't take it.

And tonight, The Vault premieres at 5 o'clock. You don't want to miss that. Another history show. Go ahead. Give me the --

STU: Okay. So we can dance if we want to. We can leave your friends behind. Again, there's people dying all over the place.

JEFFY: Yeah. Yeah.

STU: Because if your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine.

So people are saying specifically to the people --

GLENN: I don't.

STU: -- people are dying, don't dance. And they're saying, you know what, you're not a friend of mine.

PAT: Right.

GLENN: I don't --

STU: I say, we could go where we want to, a place that they will never find. Again, they're having to hide this activity because of all the death.

GLENN: They're in the middle of the street.

STU: Well, I mean, but it's in a place they will never --

GLENN: They're in the middle of the street. How can they not find --

STU: Right. But it's a street other people aren't around.

JEFFY: Look, the Guys Without Hats may have taken some liberties.

GLENN: Right. Okay. Go ahead. Where does it start fitting --

STU: So far, it's pretty much identical. It's like a freaking documentary.

(laughter)

PAT: We need the greatest mind of all time.

GLENN: I will tell you, you had me excited there for a second because you were so sincere. You were like, "I think this is it."

STU: Wait. Where did this happen again?

GLENN: Strasbourg. That's -- what is that -- Austria?

PAT: Austria.

STU: I mean, this happened in Europe too.

(laughter)

STU: This is pretty clear, guys.

PAT: Is it clear?

STU: I think it's pretty clear.

GLENN: Give me some other --

STU: We can dance if --

GLENN: We got that.

STU: A lot of it is that. Let's see.

GLENN: Have anything about fungi?

STU: It does go into -- that's in --

GLENN: It goes into -- and we just had a big glass of wheat --

STU: How about this? We can dance if we want to, we've got all your life and mine. As long as we abuse it, never going to lose it.

Again, they're talking trash to these doctors that are coming out and saying that the dancing is killing people. Everything will work out right. He's advocating for this policy, which is against the common --

GLENN: When did you stop believing you had found the link? Because now -- because there was a second where you really did think, this might be it.

PAT: It's when he read past the first line. That's when he stopped.

STU: Well, the video is from that era, right?

GLENN: Right. I don't know that.

STU: You don't know the video?

GLENN: I don't know the video.

STU: The video never made sense. Look at the -- we're showing the video here on the other side of the room.

GLENN: So is that like 1600s? Fifteen hundreds?

STU: Fifteen hundreds. 1600s. I would say almost definitely. It's in the same region of the world.

GLENN: What else could it be?

STU: Well, I just -- I thought maybe you brought up a story that other people knew. But I should have known, no.

GLENN: This from the guy who just brought up the cat meow nuns.

STU: This is clearly the same story. People are clearly -- they're dancing in a safe manner in the 1500s in Europe. I mean, this is obviously the same story, guys.

(sighing).

STU: You know, deny all you want. Deny this. Deny the gay frogs. Deny the fish people. Deny the shrimp walking up to birds --

GLENN: I am the one who told you about the cat nuns.

STU: You did -- you did bring up the cat nuns, but that was to divert from the shrimpicide.

GLENN: And now, this.

STU: There's a sentence that you didn't think you would hear on radio today.

(laughter)

Featured Image: Screenshot of the music video for the Men Without Hats hit song Safety Dance.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.