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How to write a crank letter

Today we received a crank letter that sets the standard for how to write a good one. Like every science-related journal, the Annals of Improbable Research receives a sufficiency of crank letters. Some are good crank letters, others are not so good. This particular crank letter is seven pages long, and handwritten. Honoring the tradition of the genre, its middle portion is irrelevant.  Here is how this letter begins:

Attached idea came to me while thinking about how one might explain that the equation….

And here is how it ends:

Maybe you are interested in this subject too — maybe not.


There was no address, either in the letter or on the envelope that contained it. That absence of contact information, combined with the explicit (and sufficient) signature of "Anonymous," is a mark of thoughtfulness and kindness on the part of the person who wrote the letter. We honor his or her anonymity, and hope other cranks will emulate it.

Improbable Research