I have a t-shirt with those words on it; it’s from the Museum of Jurassic Technology exhibit of letters to Mount Wilson Observatory, a fascinating collection of crackpot letters written to astronomers between 1915 and 1935, containing the astounding theories created by people around the world, who all thought they could revolutionize science with their insights. It’s an exhibit well worth browsing—here’s one sample letter.
To whom it may concern:
This is to certify, That I have found the Key To all Existance. And all I ask of any one Is for them to read What I am about to say. Because it is not my purpose to tell What you already know. And consequently the proof Shall follow and establish My work to make it law.
For the key to all existance Is the key to the Law By which all things Come into existance and therefore my word Is the key to that law to be verified by proof Listen therefore to what I say As follows:
The Moon Is practically all Water frozen or Ice It was formed By water evaporating From the earth Which arose and gathered Between the Earth and Sun It is hollow Like a pumpkin The inside is composed of that part of the air known as Nitrogen And very very cold Consequently its water is frozen.
If the crust of the moon Was removed, it would be a Sun bright enough To destroy the earth. There is no life upon the moon, but Without the moon There would be no life upon the earth.
And it goes on, at length.
Now Pascal Boyer has put together a brief ontology of crackpottery. He seems to have rediscovered the Salem Hypothesis — ‘scientists’ who claim to have disproven evolution are often actually engineers — in a rather more general form, and has a few other generalizations, like that all crackpots are male, that are only roughly true (I can think of many exceptions: famous ones would be Madame Blavatsky and Ayn Rand). Come to think of it, though, most but not all of my raving mad anti-fan mail does come from males…
It’s an interesting read, if you find yourself fascinated by the psychopathology of pseudoscience.