People give me books. All sorts of books. They know I collect them. So when they see a book of some kind, at a garage sale or something that they
think is unusual they bring it to me. I love my friends.
So a couple of months ago someone brought me the four volume compendium of the works of Charles Fort. It has a nice introduction by Jim Steinmeyer. I
put it in the bathroom on the shelf under the little table where I figured it belonged. And over the last couple of months I have been perusing it.
And so I have here now before me 1067 pages of the writings of Charles Fort and I would like to share a little with ATS. I used to think that, ‘Who
needs, Charles Fort when we have the internet and ATS?” and my only experience with his writings had come from reading other writers who referred to
things ‘Fortean’ and to Fort, and I just thought his books were non-essential reference material.
Boy was I wrong. I now see Forts writings as really the source from which all other writings of this sort spring. And that, I suppose is why they call
I cannot believe some of the stuff this guy used to write. He is up there on the list of my literary heroes right now. But let’s let Chuck speak for
himself. I have no direction I am going in with the quotes other than to hopefully stun you a bit with his acumen. This stuff was written at the turn
of the last century so get your lambchops on…
From, The Book of the Damned
by Charles Fort, 1919. Pg. freakin’ 1.
A PROCESSION of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded. We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded. Battalions of the accursed, captained by pallid data
that I have exhumed, will march.
You'll read them—
or they'll march.
Some of them livid and some of them fiery and some of them rotten. Some of them are corpses, skeletons, mummies, twitching, tottering, animated by
companions that have been damned alive. There are giants that will walk by, though sound asleep.
There are things that are theorems and things that are rags: they'll go by like Euclid arm in arm with the spirit of anarchy. Here and there will flit
little harlots. Many are clowns. But many are of the highest respectability. Some are assassins.
There are pale stenches and gaunt superstitions and mere shadows and lively malices: whims and amiabilities. The naïve and the pedantic and the
bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile.
The aggregate appearance is of dignity and dissoluteness: the aggregate voice is a defiant prayer: but the spirit of the whole is processional.
The power that has said to all these things that they are damned, is Dogmatic Science.
But they'll march.
The little harlots will caper, and freaks will distract attention, and the clowns will break the rhythm of the whole with their buffooneries—but the
solidity of the procession as a whole: the impressiveness of things that pass and pass and pass, and keep on and keep on and keep on coming.
Whoa!. I wish I could have said that. And I find it interesting that by 1919 Charles Fort already had.
I want to put in some stuff from the introduction by Steinmeyer to get a little perspective on Charles, and how he got to where he did. I mean this
guy was interested in really, really strange stuff for his times and he looked into some really weird corners of life here on earth and the kind of
strange stuff that happens to people all over the world.
Charles had not done well in his first attempts at commercial fiction so he turned to his love of the weird...
“He began visiting the New York Public Library, searching the stacks. He studied philosophy, calculus, anthropology, or any other subject that
caught his interest. Fort was an inveterate collector, and he assembled odd accounts of phenomenon that fell outside accepted theories.
He found them everywhere, especially in scientific journals and histories. He took notes on small slips of paper, sorting them by subject,
cross-referencing them by date, and storing them in cardboard shoeboxes in his apartment. Soon he had tens of thousands of notes: things that had
never been explained or that, according to science, could not be explained.
Fort’s research was distilled into two manuscripts, X and Y ( both later destroyed by Fort ), which proposed that humanity might be controlled by
Martians or by a race of unknown beings at the North Pole.”
I don’t want to go on at length about this but why is it when you unleash really smart minds and allow them to get jiggy with it outside the
confines of academia they often come to the conclusion that we are ‘being controlled from the outside’? As examples I will leave you with Vallee,
Gurdjieff and the Wachowski Brothers.
And here is a doozy from his second book, New Lands
, published in 1923 (23 Skidoo!)…
“Lands in the sky-
That they are nearby-
That they do not move.
I take for a principal that all that all being is the infinitely serial, and that whatever has been will, with differences of particulars, be
again-“ “I take for a principal that all existence is flux and a re-flux, by which periods of expansion follow periods on
Wow. This guy was really ahead of the times. And I love the quality of this statement, “all being is the infinitely serial”, it is like he’s
spent time in the Far East or something while simultaneously being a smart-ass. That takes skill.
Here is another prescient gem from, New Lands
“Anybody who broadly accepts the doctrine of relativity should accept that there are phenomenon that exist relatively in one age, that do not,
or do not so pronouncedly, exist in another age”
So take that. Damn, was this guy connected or what? I totally agree with him.
I am going to wind it up pretty quick but I gotta show you this one…
“If, in other worlds, or in other parts of one (Ed.!?) relatively little existence, there be people who are far ahead of terrestrians, (Ed. As
opposed to…?) perhaps teleportatively, beings from other places have come to this Earth. And have seen nothing to detain them.
Or perhaps some of the more degraded ones have felt at home here, and have hung around, or have stayed here. I’d think of these fellows as
throw-backs: concealing their origin, of course; perhaps having only a slightly foreign appearance; having affinity with our barbarisms, which their
own races had cast off. I’d think of a feeling for this earth, in other worlds, as corresponding to the desire of most of us, now and then, to go to
a South Sea island and be degraded.
Throwbacks, translated to this Earth, would not, unless intensely atavistic, take to what we regard as vices, but to what their own far-advanced
people regard perhaps as unmentionable, or anyway, unprintable degradations.
They would join our churches, and wallow in the pews. They’d lose all sense of decency and become college professors. Let a fall start, and the
decline is swift. They’d end up as members of congress”
Again, profound and scathingly sarcastic at the same time. I can’t get enough of this guy. That quote, to me, is a side-splitter.
Here is more of Fort on ‘scientists’...
“Scientists, in matters of our data (Ed.forteana), have been like somebody in Europe, before 1492, hearing stories of lands to the west, going
out for an hour or so, in a row-boat, and then saying, whether exactly in these words, or not: “Oh, Hell! There ain’t no America.”
Another good one that I can really identify with
“As an intermediatist, I find the principle of uncertainty unsatisfactorily expressed. My own expressions are upon the principled-unprincipled
rule-misrule of our pseudo-existence by certainty-uncertainty-
Or, whereas it seems unquestionable that no man has ever been transformed into a hyena, we can be no more than sure-unsure about this”.
“Damn the particle, but there is salvation for the aggregate. A gust of wind is wild and free, but there are handcuffs on the storm”.
Yes. He really said that.
And finally, right in the middle of the book on page 573 I find this…
“Though just at present I am no darling of the popes, I expect to end up Holy, some other time, with a general expression that all stories of
miracles are not lies, or are not altogether lies; and that in the primitive conditions of the Middle Ages there were hosts of occurrences that now,
considerably, though not altogether, have been outgrown.”
Isn’t it amazing that he, indeed, has been honored with a ‘General Expression’? The word ‘Fortean’ is used to describe, in a general sense,
all things that go unexplained. And that is the meat and potatoes of what makes us ATSers tick.
So, I hope that you have enjoyed a little bit of Charles Fort. I have really been enjoying going through his writings.
I would love to hear any stories or anecdotes from other members. And just generally what everyone thinks of Charles Fort and the crazy things that he
used to say.
"Everything" came from: The Book of the Damned
, collected works of Charles Fort. With an introduction by, Jim Steinmeyer. Jeremy P.
edit on 28-5-2011 by Frater210 because: Oops