Episode #77- Was There a Real Pied Piper?
21/11/2018 by Sebastian Major
The fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm can often surprise modern readers with their violence and cruelty. There is something particularly haunting about the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the spurned rat-catcher who used his magical flute to kidnap over one hundred children. The most disturbing part of the story is that it might be true. While there was probably no magical flute, there may have been a real historical event that inspired the fairy tale. Tune-in and find out how ska bands, jester skeletons, and Stephen King all play a role in the story.
Quick summary: Sebastian Major walks us through a whole bunch of theories, and then knocks them down, before closing the episode with a theory that does explain why the Hameln town chronicle says that their children disappeared. Theories include:
- The Children’s Crusade (but it’s at the wrong time)
- The Black Death (again, not the right time period)
- Ergot poisoning leading to choreomania
And finally, he claims that the children weren’t really children but young adoloscent or post-adolescent trades apprentices; who migrated to Czechia and Transylvania to settle with the new communities being formed there after the Mongol invasions had led to massive depopulation. And that the Pied Piper was a recruiter who used music and bright clothing to advertise himself. Whatay.
Listen date: started in November, finished in late December.