Sir Isaac Newton, inventor of calculus, discoverer of the laws of gravitation, and world-class alchemy crank.

Our frequent correspondent Mary asks a very interesting question:

I’ve been enjoying learning about different types of cranks! Is there a word for this study?

It is a very interesting question because there does not seem to be a good answer. If you ask the Internet at large for a word for “the study of cranks,” nothing obvious comes up.

When there is no obvious term, we make one up ourselves. What would we call a “crank” in Greek? Perhaps “false prophet” would be the best equivalent in meaning. A false prophet is a ψευδόμαντις, so we might call the study of cranks pseudomantology—a word that seems to be available, since a Google search finds not a single instance of it on the Internet. It is distinctive and memorable, and it will—thanks to our correspondent—be Dr. Boli’s term for this discipline from now on.