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In 1518, multiple people died from dancing too much. Is it possible that they died from a rare dancing disease?

The Roanoke colonists were made up of 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children. One of those men was John White, the chosen governor of the colony. In the 2000 book Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony, author and anthropologist Lee Miller does not believe that any of the explanations given for the colony’s disappearance makes sense. She asks:

Why did John White take his colonists to Roanoke, and not Chesapeake Bay as planned? Why did he return to England? If not to fetch supplies, then why did he leave his colony? If not the war, then why didn’t he come back? …. White’s own behavior is suspect. It is clear that something had gone very wrong on Roanoke in 1587. Something that left the colonists wholly unprepared. In fact, for reasons we do not yet understand, they were in trouble. And yet White’s action in the face of this apparent danger was to abandon the colony. Why would the Governor, the person most directly responsible for the welfare of the group, be the first to leave?

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Making Connections


What is the oddest event you’ve ever heard about? How was it similar to the events in this book?


Have you read any other books about interesting events in history? What did those books have in common with this one?


Do you think that great amounts of stress can cause people to do things they would not normally do? Explain your answer.

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