When Prophecy Fails
The study reported in this volume grew out of some theoretical work, one phase of which bore specifically on the behavior of individuals in social movements that made specific (and unfulfilled) prophecies. We had been forced to depend chiefly on historical records to judge the adequacy of our theoretical ideas until we by chance discovered the social movement that we report in this book. At the time we learned of it, the movement was in mid-career but the prophecy about which it was centered had not yet been disconfirmed. We were understandably eager to undertake a study that could test our theoretical ideas under natural conditions. That we were able to do this study was in great measure due to the support obtained through the Laboratory for Research in Social Relations of the University of Minnesota. This study is a project of the Laboratory and was carried out while we were all members of its staff. We should also like to acknowledge the help we received through a grant-in-aid from the Ford Foundation to one of the authors, a grant that made preliminary exploration of the field situation possible.
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Teachings and Prophecies from Outer Space
Spreading the Word on Earth
The Long Wait for Orders
Four Days of Very Imminent Salvation
An Unfulfilled Prophecy and an Elated Prophet
Reactions to Disconfirmation
Notes to Chapter I
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activities afternoon appeared Armstrong house Arthur Bergen asked attended automatic writing began belief system Bertha Blatsky Bob Eastman boys called callers cataclysm Christmas Cleo Armstrong Clyde Wilton Collegeville committed conviction convinced Creator Daisy Armstrong December 17 December 21 dianetics didn’t discussion dissonance doubt early earth Edna Post evidence expected explained felt flying saucer club following disconfirmation Guardians happened hour ideology instructed interest interview invited Keech and Dr Keech received Kitty O’Donnell Kurt Freund Lake City group lessons living room Lowell Marian Keech Mark Post meeting midnight Millerites morning movement NEWSMAN newspapers night o’clock Oahspe observers occur one’s orders outer space person picked planet prophecy proselyting questions reporters returned Sabbatai Zevi Scientology Seekers seemed sibets skeptical spacemen spiritual Steel City story talk tape telephone tell Thomas Armstrong told visitors waiting William Dudley Pelley