THE FIRST EDITION of this book prompted many curious letters from irate readers. The most violent letters came from Reichians, furious because the book considered orgonomy alongside such (to them) outlandish cults as dianetics. Dianeticians, of course, felt the same about orgonomy. I heard from homeopaths who were insulted to find themselves in company with such frauds as osteopathy and chiropractic, and one chiropractor in Kentucky "pitied" me because I had turned my spine on God's greatest gift to suffering humanity. Several admirers of Dr. Bates favored me with letters so badly typed that I suspect the writers were in urgent need of strong spectacles. Oddly enough, most of these correspondents objected to one chapter only, thinking all the others excellent.
Some readers, however, liked the entire book and were kind enough to call my attention to occasional errors and to suggest new material that might be worth mentioning if the book were ever revised. Thanks to Hayward Cirker, president of Dover Publications, such a revision has now become possible. I have left the text unaltered save for corrections of unimportant errors, and added as much as I could in the way of documentation and fresh material in a lengthy appendix. One new chapter has been written to cover the recent Bridey Murphy mania and to discuss further the difficult question of when a reputable publisher is justified in bringing out a work of "unorthodox" science.
The Author 1956
NOT MANY BOOKS have been written about modern pseudo-scientists and their views. I found only two general surveys that provided leads or useful material—Daniel W. Hering's Foibles and Fallacies of Science, 1924, and The Story of Human Error, 1936, edited by Joseph Jastrow.
David Starr Jordan, the first president of Stanford and a renowned authority on fish, wrote in 1927 a book called The Higher Foolishness. In it, he coined the word "sciosophy" (meaning "shadow wisdom") to stand for what he termed the "systematized ignorance" of the pseudo-scientist. The book is infuriating because although Jordan mentions the titles of dozens of crank works, from which he quotes extensively, he seldom tells you the names of the authors.
Most of my research was done in the New York Public Library, which has a magnificent collection of crank literature. Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of it is identified as such (under headings like "Science—curiosa," "Impostors," "Quacks," "Eccentric Persons," etc.). Consequently it had to be exhumed by devious, obscure, and often intuitive methods.
Friends too numerous to mention have in various ways aided this research, but I wish specifically to thank Everett Bleiler, Prof. Edwin G. Boring, and Mr. and Mrs. David B. Eisendrath, Jr. for suggestions and favors relating to the book as a whole; and the following individuals for assistance on certain chapters: Dr. Alan Barnert, John Boyko, Arthur Cox, Charles Dye, Bruce Elliott, James H. Gardner, Thomas Gilmartin, Zalmon Goldsmith, Gershon Legman, Dr. L. Vosburgh Lyons, Robert Marks, Prof. H. J. Muller, and Allen W. Read-
I also wish to express thanks to Paul Bixler, editor of the Antioch Review, for permission to use in the first chapter portions of my article "The Hermit Scientist" (Antioch Review, Winter, 1950-51), and to my literary agent, John T. Elliott, for his insistence that this article could be expanded into a book.
And special thanks to Charlotte Greenwald for help in proofing and revising.