Apocalyptic prophesies in history: the madness of the crowd

apocalyptic prophesies

Every wonder what it was like when people started raving about the end of the world before the age of the internet? Well you’re in luck. On behalf of my post-apocalyptic books website, I’ve been doing some research into apocalypse fears through history, and happened upon a rather interesting book called Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions: The Madness of the Crowd. This tome was written by in 1841, by a Scottish journalist named Charles Mackay, and chronicles a massive number of events driven by the popular delusions of the crowd. Haunted houses, witch-hunts and economic bubbles especially feature – but the prophesies are especially interesting. Here’s a summary of a few from the chapter:

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Why we love the apocalypse in fiction

Stalker, classic post-apocalypse image from the game.The apocalypse in fiction and film is a very popular subject, obvious by how frequently it comes up and how strong communities of fans for it are. In an apocalyptic scenario, every situation is a fight for survival, and every character becomes special. Emotions are high and, with everything starting anew, the opportunity for rebuilding leaves endless possibilities for creativity. As a genre, it is usually placed under science-fiction, but in fact tales leading into an apocalypse and set in post-apocalyptic scenarios can cater to a variety of themes. Most commonly, apocalyptic stories are mixed with horror or action/adventure, but they are also frequently used for social commentary and deep character study. As a writer of apocalyptic fiction myself, I’d like to explore some of my ideas for what makes this genre so appealing. Continue reading