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Extraordinary Popular Delusions: historical prophecies of apocalypse

extraordinary popular delusions

Title: Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Author: Charles Mackay
Year published: 1841
Genre: Non-fiction, historical.
Threat: Popular perceptions of disaster.
Two words: Apocalyptic realities.







In 1841, a Scottish journalist named Charles Mackay produced a sizeable tome dedicated to chronicling the effects of crowd psychology, and the popular delusions this madness could create. The result was an extensive look at historical events driven by mass fervour, with a vast collection of subject-matter. He covered witch-hunts, the crusades, haunted houses, economic bubbles and plenty more – but for us here probably the most interesting section is that which covers Prophecies. These prophecies, particularly focussed on the 1,000 years prior to the book’s publication, often had to do with the apocalypse, as seen with the recent fears of 2012, Nostradamus and Y2K. Read more