I had a vague feeling I had heard this before, but thought it was worth a Google.
Wikipedia is, surprisingly, low on detail about this; but it does note that this is part of Count Emicho's story:
Well, that's not amusing at all. But further down:The original idea for the First Crusade that had been preached by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 had already turned into a much different popular movement, led by Peter the Hermit. Peter's preaching of the Crusade spread much more quickly than the official versions of Urban's call. Peter's version, which probably involved the Second Coming of Jesus, influenced Emicho, who spread his own story that Christ had appeared to him. Christ promised to crown him emperor, and would help him convert the Jews of Europe, if Emicho would join the Crusade.He did so, and in the first half of 1096 he gathered an army, which arrived at Speyer in May. Emicho, or his followers in separate groups, also went to Worms, Mainz, Cologne, Trier, and Metz, where they forcibly converted the Jewish communities, and massacred those who resisted. Eight hundred Jews were murdered at Worms and one thousand at Mainz. Peter the Hermit's mob massacred communities in other cities as well.
Emicho's army attracted many unusual followers, including a group who worshipped a goose they believed to be filled with the Holy Spirit.That's not enough detail. A history student's blog gives us more information:
We hear of this goose in Albert of Aachen's (or Albert of Aix's) chronicle which also described the events of the Peoples Crusade, led by Peter the Hermit.
'There was also another abominable wickedness in this gathering of people on foot, who were stupid and insanely irresponsible, which, it cannot be doubted, is hateful to God and unbelievable to all the faithful. They claimed that a certain goose was inspired by the holy ghost, and a she-goat filled with no less than the same, and they had made these their leaders for this holy journey to Jerusalem; they even worshipped them excessively, and as the beasts directed their courses for them in their animal way many of the troops believed they were confirming it to be true according to the entire purpose of the spirit.'The blog writer seems to not be 100% certain as to whether the story is to believed or not, but he does note that variations on the story appear in two other sources. One of them acknowledges from the start that this sounds hard to believe:
'What I am about to say is ridiculous, but has been testified to by authors who are not ridiculous.As the blog author notes:
Whether these accounts are based on real events or not, that they were even recorded gives us an insight into the mindset of these people who were caught up in the whirlwind of the First Crusade. That people believed a goose had been blessed by the Holy Spirit and would lead them to Jerusalem, shows the mass hysteria conjured up by the preaching of the First Crusade.Indeed.