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Charles Fort, Father Of All Things Fortean. And The Crazy Things He Used To Say.

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posted on May, 28 2011 @ 07:22 PM

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 it, ‘Forteana’

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 contraction…”

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. Tarcher/Penguin. 2008.

edit on 28-5-2011 by Frater210 because: Oops

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 07:32 PM
What a treasure you have received! Wish I had friends like that!

I'm an inveterate Fortean, with many bookshelves devoted to past Fortean Times. Charles Fort is my hero, too. Great post!

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 07:37 PM
reply to post by NazcaP

Thank you so much, NazcaP. I was hoping that people would enjoy this. I have a real affinity for the Man's writing now that I have been working through it. Great to see others dig him, too.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 07:37 PM
As a long time fan of C. Fort,,, I was glad to see this today. I must have read this collection many times, first when I was still a teenager Years ago.
My favorite quote is from the Book of the Damned

We are Property.

He knew we were Owned. Way ahead of his time.
Glad I found him,, was the start of many of my life's investigations.
He mentioned a Rain that happened in my city here in NC,,, Charlotte. That only happened between Two trees.
The Trees are long gone,,, but everytime I pass the area, I think of it and Charles Fort. Actually did some magick rituals there once,,,, maybe I should again...... hmmmmmm

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 07:49 PM
reply to post by EarthCitizen23

Heya, EarthCitizen23....

"Would we if we could, educate and sophisticate pigs, geese, cattle? Would it be wise to establish diplomatic relations with the hen that now functions, satisfied with mere sense of achievement by way of compensation?

I think we’re property.

I should say we belong to something: That once upon a time, this earth was No-man’s Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possession, but now it’s owned by something:

That something owns this earth — all others warned off. … I don’t see how I can, in this book, take up at all the subject of possible use of humanity to some other mode of existence, or the flattering notion that we can possibly be worth something.

Pigs, geese and cattle. First find out they are owned. Then find out the whyness of it. I suspect that, after all, we’re useful — that among contesting claimants, adjustment has occurred, or that something now has a legal right to us, by force, or by having paid out analogues of beads for us to former, more primitive, owners of us

— all others warned off —

that all this has been known, perhaps for ages, to certain ones upon this earth, a cult or order, members of which function like bellwethers to the rest of us, or as superior slaves or overseers, directing us in accordance with instructions received — from Somewhere else — in our mysterious usefulness. Interesting observation Charles. Ve

Yeah, that is a scary Charles Fort quote for sure. Thanks for coming to read the thread.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 08:43 PM
Another really good one from Charles Fort....

Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name. We hear much of the conflict between science and religion, but our conflict is with both of these.

Science and religion always have agreed in opposing and suppressing the various witchcrafts.

Now that religion is inglorious, one of the most fantastic of transferences of worships is that of glorifying science, as a beneficent being. It is the attributing of all that is of development, or of possible betterment to science. But no scientist has ever upheld a new idea, without bringing upon himself abuse from other scientists. Science has done its utmost to prevent whatever science has done.

edit on 28-5-2011 by Frater210 because: Visual Aids.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 10:08 PM
Thanks for shedding some light on the Fortean shadows. T'was a thinker that one was.

posted on May, 28 2011 @ 11:50 PM
reply to post by The GUT

Hey, thanks for coming by to check it out. I aim to please.

I really dig your avatar.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 12:41 AM
reply to post by Frater210

Great post Frater....thanks. I had heard of Fort before, but will now seek out his writings. Thanks for taking the time to share with ATS.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 12:45 AM
reply to post by Noromyxo

Here you go, Dudeman...

Free Charles Fort from none other than, Project Gutenberg.

edit on 29-5-2011 by Frater210 because: colorful!

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 01:07 AM
More from Mr. Fort...

“Phenomena of a man alone on a desert island can be explained in terms of "mass psychology" - inasmuch as the mind of no man is a unit, but is a community of mental states that influence one another.”

Charles Fort, 1923.

edit on 29-5-2011 by Frater210 because: Sourcing.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 01:43 AM
Fort is definitely in an important figure, if not the most important in the study of the paranormal and the unusual but to be perfectly honest I find his writing style is a challenge to read. I tried reading his work and I couldn't really follow what he was trying to get across. It was frustrating.

I think this thread has inspired me to give it another go. Just a warning to other members the books aren't put together in a very straight forward way.
edit on 29-5-2011 by drock905 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 02:00 AM
reply to post by drock905

I am a seasoned reader and it still takes me about fifteen minutes to 'synch' in with Fort.

He is really tough and rambles all over the place but it is worth sticking with it.

I am glad you are going to give it another try. The stuff on Lycanthropy is really cool.

edit on 29-5-2011 by Frater210 because: Image.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 03:26 AM
reply to post by Frater210

Charles Fort was GREAT!!!! I love his books! Also you might want to check out Fortean Times....a magazine written by people that try to live up to his research of the 'Damned' subjects! It's a great magazine...also with a halfway decent websight, too

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 05:50 AM
His magazine Ive read for years now...his website as well. FORTEAN TIMES MAGAZINE (and web). Search it out. Its monthly

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 06:53 AM
Here is a poem I edited from dozens of pages of one of Fort's books:

(poem excerpted from The Book of the Damned)

the Prince of Dark Bodies: Melanicus
most likely one of the spores of the Evil One
sun spot, maybe
he obscures a star - he shoves a comet

vast black thing like a crow
poised over the moon
the things have been seen
also…their shadows

one looks up at the sky - consternation
its concomitants: lights in the sky
fall of a black substance
shocks like those of an earthquake
“panic seized the whole city”

throttle and disregard the howls of the planets
vast and black
the thing that was poised like a crow over the moon

round and smooth cannon balls
things that have fallen from the sky to this earth
our slippery brains
things like cannon balls have fallen in storms upon this earth
like cannon balls are things that in storms have fallen to this earth
showers of blood
showers of blood
showers of blood

Note: Charles Fort’s The Book of the Damned was just about the first book to explore strange phenomena, which conventional viewpoints sought to damn to the memory hole – thus the title. I found while reading through hundreds of pages of rather turgid prose, occasional flashes of poetry. I lifted some, and put them together here in a way that pleases me, to make another found poem. DD 03-28-2011

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 07:15 AM
reply to post by Frater210

Sincere thanks for turning me on to the F man. I found the first writing sample to be such a delicious & powerful piece of observation, expression and foresight that I am unable to read further; that was intense. ( I like to let --real-- writing flutter like a feather in the wind of my mind uncluttered for ponderance and appreciation, sadly my capacity is limited).

I am going to find some of this gentlemans published for personal consumption. Rarely does someone turn me on to writing of this high quality.

Frater210 I too feel that books are just to wonderful to ignore. Others can enjoy their new Kindles and similar technology but I will enjoy books until I'm blind or deceased. Just like with other forms of recordings, there is too much good material that never makes it in/onto the next level of technology. Most LP albums did not become 8 Track Tapes, fewer still to cassette, and in the day of the CD the hardcore music lovers are still pursuing Vinyl from years ago.

You are lucky to have good friends that pick up treats for you, that is such a loving gesture. Tells me you're a good person, or they wouldn't think to do that. Bless the whole lot of you and your friends.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 07:33 AM
Wow Frater Great thread.

I have been a collector too, many I have not even tapped and they just keep piling up, digital too. LOTS.

I had never heard of Fort, well maybe but not really anything much. Fortean Times makes a lot more sense of a name now.

I read it last night, but like you stated, it took a bit to synch up with it. I had to come back this morning and try it again. Still fuzzy but somethings popped out.

Was he ahead of his "time", what is that "time" thing?

Something else I was reminded of, you posted it too recently, about if you don't know a name ED will do????

I wonder why as he destroyed his X Y? I have a hunch.

As not to pass pass pass it on on on before time.

Cool thread!


edit on 29-5-2011 by timewalker because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 07:56 AM
Here is some more. This one almost has an Mk Ultra meets cyberpunk or M.John Harrison feel to it...

This quote has to do with warfare in the future and is from, Talents...

Girls at the front--and they are discussing their usual not very profound subjects. The alarm--the enemy is advancing. Command to the poltergeist girls to concentrate--and under their chairs they stick their wads of chewing gum.

A regiment bursts into flames, and the soldiers are torches. Horses snort smoke from the combustion of their entrails. Reinforcements are smashed under cliffs that are teleported from the Rocky Mountains. The snatch of Niagara Falls--it pours upon t he battlefield. The little poltergeist girls reach for their wads of chewing gum.

Just gets stranger and stranger. What a wild mind this guy had.

posted on May, 29 2011 @ 08:04 AM
reply to post by Frater210
Yeah, Indeed.

Poltergeist girls huh?


I guess I have to find this book for the collection. Paper would be nice.

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