Manias

Victorian Orchidelirium

Orchids date back millions of years. But in the 1800s, the plants became a status symbol and the cornerstone of a high-dollar industry. Collecting the plants involved adventure and excitement -- and a high death rate. 

Lisztomania

Franz Liszt was a pianist, a composer and a conductor, and basically the first rock star who drove fans into fits of swooning and screaming. Some fans even stole the detritus of his life (unfinished coffee, broken piano strings) to carry with them. Read the show notes here.

Sophie Blanchard and Balloonomania

From timid girl to trailblazer, Sophie Blanchard became famous in the early 1800s as the first woman to become a career balloonist.

A funny thing happened to the Dutch during the 17th century: They went nuts for tulips, paying exorbitant amounts for a single bulb. But what exactly triggered this commodity bubble? And what do revisionist historians have to say? Tune in and find out.

In the summer of 1518, a woman in Strasbourg, France started dancing -- and didn't stop. By the end of the week, the compulsion to dance had spread to hundreds of people. Learn more about the dancing sickness in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.