The Book of Idiosyncratic Ideas has many volumes and many authors. The world is blessed when anyone sets pen to paper, but most idiosyncratic ideas are undocumented and can appear in normal company without the benefit of too much sunshine.
Alfred Lawson claimed there’s no such thing as energy or time. Instead, movement is motivated by suction, balanced by pressure, and permitted by the penetrability of substances with different densities. These truths explain heterosexual behavior and lead us to the conclusion that light, heat, and sound are not waves but are substances subject to pressure and suction. Lawson claimed to have discovered the key to perpetual motion, “Lawsonpoise,” the “equidisposition of composition and decomposition.” To complete his philosophy and “The Base of Absolute Knowledge,” Lawson taught that Isaac Newton was wrong. Left to its own, a mass will not move in a straight line, but will follow a path Lawson described as “universal Zig-Zag-And-Swirl.”
Human beings naturally see patterns whether inherent or accidental. Rupert Sheldrake claimed that parts of natural systems can communicate with each other because they inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind. Biological growth and behavior is guided by patterns established by its predecessors. Therefore, patterns that we recognize are inherent in things, and are shared with us as in natural systems, telepathically.
Gene Ray drew a cube around the earth and claimed that there are four days, not one. Each of the four vertical edges of the cube sweep out a day in the same twenty-four hours. The two opposite pairs symbolize creation—mom versus dad, son versus daughter. Oneness is death, hell, and boring, whereas cubic thought is divine intelligence.
Anatoly Akimov and Gennady Shipov claimed that the quantum spin of particles can be transmitted through space faster than light by means of neutrinos, thus explaining telepathy, telekinesis, faster-than-light travel, ESP, levitation, clairvoyance, perpetual motion, UFO propulsion, superconductivity, and miracle homeopathic curative boxes that you could pay good money for.
L. Ron Hubbard claimed to know how to eradicate the “reactive mind”; thereby eliminating sociopathy, neurosis, and psychosis. He claimed that dianetics would improve intelligence and health, curing arthritis, allergies, asthma, coronary afflictions, poor vision, ulcers, migraines, homosexuality, and death, by purging painful memories called “engrams” from the mind. Following his therapy, known as “auditing,” a person is supposed to reach the state of “clear,” however, no person has been proven to be “clear” by any objective testing. Hubbard pitched dianetics as a “scientific” therapy and lost control of it after a bankruptcy; whereupon he started a religion based on dianetics that he called scientology. A scientologist is taught to believe that we are afflicted by immortal aliens called thetans, which have unlimited capabilities, adhere to humans, control our bodies, and whose existence spans multiple lifetimes, that 75 million years ago, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy whose name was Xenu (or Xemu), brought billions of aliens to earth, placed them around volcanos, and killed them with hydrogen bombs, whereupon their souls were trapped on earth, that problems with previous lives on other planets have to be cleared, that fixing an aberration by clearing engrams is like erasing a computer memory, that after death a person’s soul goes to a station on Venus, where it is redirected, perhaps to be reincarnated as another human, and that their symbol with circles and diamonds is carved into the ground in New Mexico as a beacon for returning souls. Neither dianetics nor scientology are sciences because they lack empirical testing of claims. We might never know inner secrets of scientology because they are accessible to only their paying elite.
An ungenerous interpretation of the life of Joseph Smith, con artist, is that he successfully presented a wild fantasy that he had written as translated from golden plates (now unproducible) with help from the angel Moroni (or maybe Nephi) in order to justify his own polygamy. Smith allowed people to lift the box in which he said the golden plates were hidden, but allowed only eight people to see them. He “translated” their texts from “reformed Egyptian” by gazing at his “peep” stone in the bottom of his hat. Among the crazy things that Smith taught is that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri and the second coming of Jesus will be there, that Satan owns the water of rivers, lakes, and seas so Mormons are discouraged from enjoying these, that the race of Cain became black-skinned but when a black becomes Mormon he turns white, that Jesus and the Archangel Michael created the universe and Michael was actually the first man, known as Adam, that there are three heavens—celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, and how well you follow Mormon teachings determines how close to the highest heaven you’ll get, that God doesn’t live in heaven, per se, but on a planet near the star Kolob, that Mary wasn’t a virgin but had intercourse with God who appeared in human form, that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are separate creatures having bodies of flesh and bone, that the earth is 7000 years old, so dinosaur bones are recycled from earlier planets, and that native Americans are from Jaredites and Israelite tribes who arrived less than 5000 years ago in boats. Another set of golden plates were produced and “translated” by James Strang who led a somewhat successful schism from Smith’s group, and a third set, the Kinderhook plates, were produced by non-believers to discredit Smith, though Smith didn’t fall for the hoax.
Franz Mesmer believed all living things including carrots and beets possessed an invisible natural force that he called “magnetic fluid.” Mesmer believed there was only one disease, one disease with many symptoms, and there was only one cure, which rebalanced the flow of bodily humors, and that was animal magnetism. Mesmer convinced many that he could transfer this fluid from himself to his patient after putting the patient into a trance during which the patient would cure himself or herself. A follower of Mesmer reported that the power of suggestion brought about the trance state, and that cures could be achieved without the magnetic fluid, merely by the power of suggestion.
Hanns Hörbiger received an explanation for the physics of the cosmos in a vision— namely, that ice (that is, frozen water) determined the development of everything including planets and the Milky Way. Our solar system was formed from the explosion of a large star when a dead waterlogged star fell into it, resulting in giant blocks of ice that influenced the development of the moons and planets.
Whoever thought saints would be appropriate in a monotheistic religion? How is sainthood different from Roman emperors becoming gods after death? Revering a shriveled finger reputed to be a saint’s seems totally barbaric to me, but in context of a church that accepts stigmata reflecting the wounds of Christ, apparitions of the Virgin Mary, blood from wooden statues, assertions of incorruptible corpses, inadvertent levitations, and miraculous healing from blessed water maybe miracles wrought by the dead are not so difficult to swallow. Once you believe in miracles, why not give dead people credit for them?