19 comments on “Tarantulas made me dance. 1902.

    • That is probably just as well, if you are anything like me an encounter with one would involve screaming and running away wildly! Hopefully you have never encountered the ‘monotonous clang’ of the medicinal guitar players from the Guild of Ripping People Off either 🙂

      I love the way this article specifies ‘considerable fees’ relating to the guilds treatment of the unfortunate. Clearly they are not playing for the betterment of their fellow man!

  1. Ha, I read this and stretched up for my PhD thesis, as you do. I know I’d written a bit in there about ergot poisoning in rye which gives those that eat it ergotism and “manifests itself as a convulsive form”. Look at me, I just quoted myself, which seems very arrogant which was latterly termed Saint Anthony’s Fire.

    I did some looking about on the internet and Wikipedia has a page on Dancing Mania, which groups in Tarantism, and although people can’t agree on the cause they say ergotism seems the most likely. Ergot is very similar to LSD and a precursor to it.


    According to the thesis there hasn’t been a major outbreak for almost a century due to greater understanding and farming methods.

    Dr. FM

    • Funny you say that, I did a short post last year about ergot poisoning!

      I didn’t know anything about it before I found that article (and I did my fumbling research a long time ago) so I didn’t connect the two things, tarantula dancing and St Anthony’s fire. Thanks for pointing that out!

      We can moan all we like about over-regulation, but sometimes, when the rules keep us from being poisoned, they are our friends. 🙂

    • I am so glad you liked it 🙂 Just remember to wear gloves while gardening, or Lady J might just clang you on the head with a shovel when you start dancing around maniacally. I know it is unlikely that one will ever turn up in the wilds of Britain, but she does have a habit of taking in furry strays, and there is always Oscar’s plots….

  2. I read the title and started to back away slowly, never taking my eyes from the screen in case… Luckily the post turned out to be benign! Running away from a spider would be the /only/ race I’d ever win! Great post Metan 😀

    • I totally understand… ewww…
      Have you ever seen the tarantulas at the Melbourne Museum? They have a selection of live ones in the bug exhibit and they are terrifying. They are there because they have been smuggled into the country so they are kind of living in quarrantine.

      We love bugs at our house but they were enough to give the kids the creeps….

      • -shiver- No, haven’t seen anything but pictures of tarantulas and even then with one eye closed. I can handle lizards, frogs, insects and even slugs but spiders just…. No. 😦

    • It is certainly a strange story! What if the bite of a spider really did make you dance. Imagine the reality dance shows we might get on TV then! I might actually watch ‘Dancing with the Spiders’ 😉

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