Top 10 Strangest Events of the Medieval Period

The medieval period was a time of great mystery and intrigue, filled with events that often defy our modern understanding.

Pope Joan medieval myths tales

From bizarre occurrences to peculiar customs, the medieval era was marked by events that captivate our imagination and leave us questioning the reality of those times.

Childrens Crusades

These strange events provide us with a unique glimpse into the beliefs, traditions, and superstitions of the medieval world, offering a fascinating perspective on the lives of people in that era.

Join us as we delve into the top 10 strangest events of the medieval period, where reality meets the extraordinary.

1. The Dancing Plague of 1518

In Strasbourg, a strange phenomenon occurred where hundreds of people danced uncontrollably for days, some even dying from exhaustion. The cause remains a mystery.

2. The Children’s Crusade (1212)

Thousands of children from various European regions embarked on a supposed holy crusade to reclaim Jerusalem. The event ended tragically, with many children being sold into slavery or perishing along the way.

3. The Trial of Animals

In medieval Europe, animals were sometimes put on trial for crimes such as damaging crops or causing harm to humans. These trials, complete with legal proceedings, highlight the superstitious and irrational beliefs of the time.

4. The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary

A strange medieval belief was the existence of a mythical creature called the Vegetable Lamb, which was believed to be a lamb growing from a plant. This belief was based on misconceptions about the growth of cotton.

5. The Tarantella

The Tarantella was a dance associated with the belief that victims of tarantula spider bites could be cured by frenzied dancing. It was believed that the dance would sweat out the poison.

6. The Massacre at B├ęziers (1209)

During the Albigensian Crusade, the Catholic Crusaders, when asked how to distinguish heretics from Catholics, were reportedly told by their leader, “Kill them all, God will know His own.” The resulting massacre claimed the lives of thousands.

7. The Defenestration of Prague (1419)

Protestants in Prague rebelled against their Catholic rulers, leading to a violent conflict. One notable event was the defenestration (throwing out of a window) of several Catholic officials, sparking the Hussite Wars.

8. The Wild Man of Orford

In the 12th century, a wild man was supposedly captured near the town of Orford in England. He was said to have animalistic features and was exhibited as a curiosity for many years, fueling medieval fascination with the unknown.

9. The Barberini Faun

This ancient Greek sculpture depicting a drunken satyr was rediscovered in Rome during the medieval period. It caused controversy due to its explicit nudity and was considered scandalous by some.

10. The Legend of Pope Joan

According to a myth that emerged during the medieval period, there was a female pope named Joan who reigned in the 9th century. The story was later discredited, but it captured the imagination of medieval society.


These strange events of the medieval period showcase the beliefs, customs, and superstitions prevalent during that time. They highlight the peculiarities and fascinating aspects of medieval life and continue to intrigue and puzzle historians and enthusiasts alike.