Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a singular casebook of human folly throughout the ages. This nineteenth-century landmark study of crowd psychology and mass mania includes accounts of classic swindles, schemes, and scams on a grand scale. The Mississippi Scheme that swept France in 1720, the South Sea Bubble that ruined thousands in England during the same decade, and the Tulipomania that practically consumed the Dutch imagination in the seventeenth century (fortunes were made and lost on fluctuations in the supply of tulip bulbs) are just a few of the examples of group hysteria in action included. Other chapters deal with fads and delusions that have sprung from ideas, beliefs, and causes that still have supporters today: the prophecies of Nostradamus, the coming of comets and Judgment Day, the Rosicrucians, and astrology. The book also surveys some highly controversial people and movements of the past such as necromancy, Father Hell and Magnetism, Anthony Mesmer and Mesmerism, the Crusades, sorcery and the burning of witches, the traffic in relics, the popularity of murder by slow poisoning, and the hero-worship of common thieves. After browsing through Extraordinary Popular Delusions, the reader may become convinced that human greed, folly, and madness -- if not human history -- are destined to repeat themselves.