Andy asked if anyone (e.g. psychologist)had considered O-Sensei's behavior and legends in light of the times. I don't know. However, I can speak to the general phenomenon being addressed.
Across generations and cultures, we humans have a penchant for creating heroes. Some earn their reputations, some create it for themselves and still "...others have it thrust upon them". Did we create O-Sensei? Yes and no. O-Sensei was undisputedly (at least to me) one of the greatest budoka of all time. Most believe he earned that reputation. However, if we can't believe that he was greater than us in some way, perhaps in many ways, how can we justify all the time and money we pour into this chase after a command of the true meaning of aiki? We don't just want to believe, we HAVE to, or everything we are doing is a waste of time.
I can see you out there squinting your eyes, protesting. "I don't HAVE to believe O-Sensei was a GOD to want to do good aikido". True. But if the leader does not inspire, there will be no followers. There is something about what Ueshiba O-Sensei created that is compelling and puzzling. That is why you follow. Because you believe that it represents a force, power or ability greater than you. And one that speaks to you. So you "believe in" O-Sensei. Some have "believed in" him so much that they saw him vanish, dodge bullets, and leap tall buildings in a single bound. When you don't understand what you are watching, you might create a rather fantastic explanation for it.
Long winded answer to a short question.