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Goldstein, J. Toch, H. (1956). An Analysis of a Sample of Eccentric Mail to the United Nations. Am. Imago, 13(2):149-187.

(1956). American Imago, 13(2):149-187

An Analysis of a Sample of Eccentric Mail to the United Nations

Jacob Goldstein and Hans Toch

This paper presents an analysis of a sample of “crackpot” communications—a type of document which constitutes a segment of the mail received by individuals or agencies who have in one way or another attracted public notice. “Crackpot” documents are generally characterized by their recipients as deficient in what one might call “reality orientation”—a characteristic exemplified by delusional content or by cryptic and bizarre features.

The present analysis attempts to delineate in somewhat greater detail the salient features of such mail, insofar as these are reflected in sample under study.

The materials analyzed in the present study consist of 72 eccentric communications to the United Nations. Most of them were received within the two-month period beginning February 15th and ending April 15th, 1951. Inasmuch as various factors beyond the investigators' knowledge and control may have been operative in the selection of these documents, it is not possible to determine with any degree of precision the extent to which the sample is representative of eccentric mail received by the United Nations within the indicated period.


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