Synopses & Reviews
Martians, a reincarnated Irish woman, a dead movie star, an insane anesthetist, and an obsessed U.S. Attorney General ― these disparate characters have something in common. Each was at the center of an incident of mass hysteria, in which frightened, grieving, and otherwise disturbed people abandoned their common sense. This fascinating book by a prominent psychologist explores several intriguing case histories of mass hysteria, from "The Great Disappointment" of 1926, in which thousands of believers dressed in white to await Jesus' return, to UFO sightings and other extraordinary phenomena.
Author J. P. Chaplin examines historical incidents of mob mentality, including "The Last Days of Rudolph Valentino," which culminated in a New York City riot of 80,000 mourning fans; "The Secrets of the Nunnery," involving the sack of a Boston convent by an angry crowd in search of children's skulls; "The Martians Invade New Jersey," in which a radio drama was mistaken for a news broadcast; and other remarkable instances of mass delusion.
A prominent psychologist explores 11 case studies of mass hysteria and mob mentality. Incidents include motorists fleeing a Martian invasion, a New York City riot at a movie star's funeral, and more.
In 1844, thousands of believers dressed in white to await Jesus's return in an event later known as "The Great Disappointment." In 1926, the hysteria surrounding Rudolph Valentino's funeral erupted into one of the worst riots in American history. In this fascinating work, a prominent psychologist explores these and other intriguing incidents of mob mentality.
About the Author
James P. Chaplin was a philosophy professor at the University of Vermont who served as a psychologist in the Aviation Cadet Program during World War II. He wrote numerous psychology-related articles as well as the still-studied Dictionary of Psychology.