History's famous delusions

Listen to the radio, watch the news, or log on to social media, and it won’t be long until you encounter some crazy new delusion (you can probably think of one or two off the top of your head). Yet despite how wild a theory may be or how easy it is to disprove, it seems there is always an audience ready to buy it. How, we ask ourselves, can people believe such foolish — and often dangerous — nonsense?

In A History of Delusions: The Glass King, a Substitute Husband and a Walking Corpse, Victoria Shepherd takes us back hundreds of years to investigate extraordinary and well-documented cases of delusion. In doing so, she invites us to understand the logic behind the madness.

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