Why do so many people believe in mind reading, past-life regression therapy, abductions by extraterrestrials, and ghosts? What has led to the rise of "scientific creationism" and the belief that the Holocaust never happened? Why, in this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, do we seem to be more impressionable than ever? With a no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, science historian Michael Shermer debunks these extraordinary claims and explores the very human reasons we find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. But Shermer also reveals the more worrisome side of wishful thinking, including the recovered memory movement, satanic rituals, and other modern witch crazes, and ideologies of racial superiority. Compelling and often disturbing, Why People Believe Weird Things is not only an insightful portrait of our immense capacity for self-delusion but, ultimately, a celebration of the scientific spirit.