Charles Fort

Charles Hoy Fort (August 6, 1874 – May 3, 1932) was an American writer and researcher who specialized in anomalous phenomena. The terms Fortean and Forteana are sometimes used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print. His work continues to inspire admirers, who refer to themselves as "Forteans", and has influenced some aspects of science fiction.

Fort's collections of scientific anomalies including The Book of the Damned (1919) influenced numerous science fiction writers with their iconoclastic skepticism and as sources of ideas. "Fortean" phenomena are events which seem to challenge the boundaries of accepted scientific knowledge, and the Fortean Times (founded as The News in 1973, and renamed in 1976) investigates such phenomena.

Charles Hoy Fort
Fort charles 1920
Fort in 1920
Charles Hoy Fort

August 6, 1874
DiedMay 3, 1932 (aged 57)
OccupationAnomalistics researcher


Fort was born in Albany, New York in 1874,[1] of Dutch ancestry. His father, a grocer, was an authoritarian and, in his unpublished autobiography Many Parts, Fort mentions the physical abuse he endured from his father. Fort's biographer, Damon Knight, suggested that his distrust of authority began in his treatment as a child. Fort developed a strong sense of independence during his early years.

As a young adult, Fort wanted to be a naturalist, collecting sea shells, minerals, and birds. Although Fort was described as curious and intelligent, he was not a good student. An autodidact, his considerable knowledge of the world was due mainly to his extensive personal reading.

At age 18, Fort left New York to embark on a world tour to "put some capital in the bank of experience". He travelled through the western United States, Scotland, and England, until becoming ill in Southern Africa. When he returned home, he was nursed by Anna Filing, whom he had known since childhood. They were married on October 26, 1896. Anna, four years older than Fort, was non-literary, a lover of movies and of parakeets. His success as a short story writer was intermittent between periods of poverty and melancholia.

Career as a full-time writer

His uncle died in 1916, and a modest inheritance gave Fort enough money to quit his various day jobs and to write full-time.[1] In 1917, Fort's brother Clarence died; his portion of the same inheritance was divided between Fort and Raymond.

Fort's experience as a journalist,[1] coupled with his wit and contrarian nature, prepared him for his real-life work, ridiculing the pretensions of scientific positivism and the tendency of journalists and editors of newspapers and scientific journals to rationalize.

Fort wrote ten novels, although only one, The Outcast Manufacturers (1909), a tenement tale, was published. Reviews were mostly positive, but it was unsuccessful commercially. During 1915, Fort began to write two books, titled X and Y, the first dealing with the idea that beings on Mars were controlling events on Earth, and the second with the postulation of a sinister civilization extant at the South Pole. These books caught the attention of writer Theodore Dreiser, who attempted to get them published, but to no avail. Discouraged by this failure, Fort burnt the manuscripts, but was soon renewed to begin work on the book that would change the course of his life, The Book of the Damned (1919), which Dreiser helped to get published. The title referred to "damned" data that Fort collected, phenomena for which science could not account and that was thus rejected or ignored.

Fort and Anna lived in London from 1924 to 1926, having relocated there so Fort could peruse the files of the British Museum.[1][2] Although born in Albany, Fort lived most of his life in the Bronx. He was, like his wife, fond of movies, and would often take her from their Ryer Avenue apartment to a movie theater nearby, and would stop at an adjacent newsstand for an armful of various newspapers. Fort frequented the parks near the Bronx, where he would sift through piles of his clippings. He would often ride the subway down to the main New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, where he would spend many hours reading scientific journals along with newspapers and periodicals from around the world. Fort also had some literary friends who would gather on occasion at various apartments, including his own, to drink and talk.


Suffering from poor health and failing eyesight, Fort was pleasantly surprised to find himself the subject of a cult following. There was talk of the formation of a formal organization to study the type of odd events related by his books. Clark writes, "Fort himself, who did nothing to encourage any of this, found the idea hilarious. Yet he faithfully corresponded with his readers, some of whom had taken to investigating reports of anomalous phenomena and sending their findings to Fort" (Clark 1998, 235). Fort distrusted doctors and did not seek medical help for his worsening health. Rather, he emphasized completing Wild Talents.

After he collapsed on May 3, 1932, Fort was rushed to Royal Hospital in The Bronx. Later that same day, Fort's publisher visited him to show him the advance copies of Wild Talents. Fort died only hours afterward, probably of leukemia.[3] He was interred in the Fort family plot in Albany, New York. His more than 60,000 notes were donated to the New York Public Library.[4]

Fort and the unexplained


For more than thirty years, Charles Fort visited libraries in New York City and London, assiduously reading scientific journals, newspapers, and magazines, collecting notes on phenomena that were not explained well by the accepted theories and beliefs of the time.

Fort took thousands of notes during his lifetime. In his short story "The Giant, the Insect and The Philanthropic-looking Old Gentleman" (first published by the International Fortean Organization in issue #70 of the INFO Journal: Science and the Unknown), Fort spoke of sitting on a park bench at The Cloisters in New York City and tossing some 48,000 notes, not all of his collection by any means, into the wind.[5] This short story is significant because Fort uses his own data collection technique to solve a mystery. He marveled that seemingly unrelated bits of information were, in fact, related. Fort wryly concludes that he went back to collecting data and taking even more notes. The notes were kept on cards and scraps of paper in shoeboxes, in a cramped shorthand of Fort's own invention, and some of them survive in the collections of the University of Pennsylvania. More than once, depressed and discouraged, Fort destroyed his work, but began anew. Some notes were published by the Fortean Society magazine Doubt and, upon the death of its editor Tiffany Thayer in 1959 most were donated to the New York Public Library, where they are still available to researchers of the unknown.[6]

From this research, Fort wrote four books. These are: The Book of the Damned (1919), New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932); one book was written between New Lands and Lo! but it was abandoned and absorbed into Lo!.

Fort's writing style

Fort suggested that there is a Super-Sargasso Sea into which all lost things go,[1] and justified his theories by noting that they fit the data as well as the conventional explanations. As to whether Fort believed this theory, or any of his other proposals, he himself noted, "I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written."

Notable literary contemporaries of Fort openly admired his writing style and befriended him. Among these were: Ben Hecht, John Cowper Powys, Sherwood Anderson, Clarence Darrow, and Booth Tarkington.

After Fort's death, the writer Colin Wilson said that he suspected that Fort took few if any of his "explanations" seriously and noted that Fort made "no attempt to present a coherent argument." He described Fort as "a patron of cranks",[7] while at the same time he compared Fort to Robert Ripley, a popular contemporary cartoonist and writer who found major success publishing similar oddities in a syndicated newspaper panel series named Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Wilson called Fort's writing style "atrocious" and "almost unreadable", yet despite his objections to Fort's prose, he allowed that "the facts are certainly astonishing enough." In the end, Fort's work gave him "the feeling that no matter how honest scientists think they are, they are still influenced by various unconscious assumptions that prevent them from attaining true objectivity. Expressed in a sentence, Fort's principle goes something like this: People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels."[8]

However, Jerome Clark wrote that Fort was "essentially a satirist hugely skeptical of human beings' – especially scientists' – claims to ultimate knowledge."[9] Clark described Fort's writing style as a "distinctive blend of mocking humor, penetrating insight, and calculated outrageousness."[10] Fort was skeptical of sciences and wrote his own mocking explanations to defy scientists who used traditional methods.[1]

Fortean phenomena

Examples of the odd phenomena in Fort's books include many occurrences of the sort variously referred to as occult, supernatural, and paranormal. Reported events include teleportation (a term Fort is generally credited with inventing);[11][12] falls of frogs, fishes, inorganic materials of an amazing range;[1] spontaneous human combustion;[1] ball lightning[1] (a term explicitly used by Fort); poltergeist events; unaccountable noises and explosions; levitation; unidentified flying objects; unexplained disappearances; giant wheels of light in the oceans; and animals found outside their normal ranges (see phantom cat). He offered many reports of out-of-place artifacts (OOPArts), strange items found in unlikely locations. He was also perhaps the first person to explain strange human appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of alien abduction and was an early proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis, specifically suggesting that strange lights or objects sighted in the skies might be alien spacecraft.

Many of these phenomena are now collectively referred to as "Fortean phenomena" or "Forteana",[1] whilst others have developed into their own schools of thought: for example, reports of UFOs in ufology and unconfirmed animals (cryptids) in cryptozoology.


Fort's work has inspired some people to consider themselves as "Forteans". The first of these was the screenwriter Ben Hecht, who in a review of The Book of the Damned declared: "I am the first disciple of Charles Fort… henceforth, I am a Fortean." Among Fort's other notable fans were John Cowper Powys, Sherwood Anderson, Clarence Darrow, and Booth Tarkington, who wrote the foreword to New Lands.

Precisely what is encompassed by the term "Fortean" is a matter of great debate; the term is widely applied to people ranging from Fortean purists dedicated to Fort's methods and interests, to those with open and active acceptance of the actuality of paranormal phenomena, a belief with which Fort may not have agreed. Most generally, Forteans have a wide interest in unexplained phenomena, concerned mostly with the natural world, and have a developed "agnostic scepticism" regarding the anomalies they note and discuss. For Hecht, as an example, being a Fortean meant hallowing a pronounced distrust of authority in all its forms, whether religious, scientific, political, philosophical or otherwise. It did not, of course, include an actual belief in the anomalous data enumerated in Fort's works.

The Fortean Society was initiated at the Savoy-Plaza Hotel in New York City on January 26, 1931, by some of Fort's friends, many of whom were significant writers such as Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, Alexander Woollcott, and organized by fellow American writer Tiffany Thayer, half in earnest and half in the spirit of great good humor, like the works of Fort himself. The board of founders included Dreiser, Hecht, Booth Tarkington, Aaron Sussman, John Cowper Powys, the former editor of Puck Harry Leon Wilson, Woollcott and J. David Stern, publisher of The Philadelphia Record. Active members of the Fortean Society included prominent science fiction writers such as Eric Frank Russell and Damon Knight. Fort, however, rejected the Society and refused the presidency, which went to his friend writer Theodore Dreiser; he was lured to its inaugural meeting by false telegrams. As a strict non-authoritarian, Fort refused to establish himself as an authority, and further objected on the grounds that those who would be attracted by such a grouping would be spiritualists, zealots, and those opposed to a science that rejected them; it would attract those who believed in their chosen phenomena: an attitude exactly contrary to Forteanism. Fort did hold unofficial meetings and had a long history of getting together informally with many of New York City's literati such as Theodore Dreiser and Ben Hecht at their various apartments where they would talk, have a meal and then listen to brief reports.

The magazine Fortean Times (first published in November 1973), is a proponent of Fortean journalism, combining humour, scepticism, and serious research into subjects which scientists and other respectable authorities often disdain. Another such group is the International Fortean Organization (INFO). INFO was formed during the early 1960s (incorporated in 1965) by brothers, the writers Ron and Paul Willis, who acquired much of the material of the original Fortean Society which had begun in 1932 in the spirit of Charles Fort but which had largely ceased by 1959 with the death of Tiffany Thayer. INFO publishes the INFO Journal: Science and the Unknown and organizes the FortFest, the world's first, and continuously running, conference on anomalous phenomena dedicated to the spirit of Charles Fort. INFO, since the mid-1960s, also provides audio CDs and filmed DVDs of notable conference speakers: (Colin Wilson, John Michell, Graham Hancock, John Anthony West, William Corliss, John Keel, Joscelyn Godwin among many others). Other Fortean societies are also active, notably the London Fortean Society, Edinburgh Fortean Society in Edinburgh and the Isle of Wight.

Scholarly evaluation

Fort is acknowledged by religious scholars such as Jeffrey J. Kripal and Joseph P. Laycock as a pioneering theorist of the paranormal who helped define "paranormal" as a discursive category and provided insight into its importance in human experience. Although Fort is consistently critical of the scientific study of abnormal phenomena, he remains relevant today for those who engage in such studies.[1][13][14]

Literary influence

More than a few modern authors of fiction and non-fiction who have written about the influence of Fort are sincere devotees of Fort. One of the most notable is British philosopher John Michell who wrote the Introduction to Lo!, published by John Brown in 1996. Michell says: "Fort, of course, made no attempt at defining a world-view, but the evidence he uncovered gave him an 'acceptance' of reality as something far more magical and subtly organized than is considered proper today." Stephen King also uses the works of Fort to illuminate his main characters, notably It and Firestarter. In Firestarter, the parents of a pyrokinetically gifted child are advised to read Fort's Wild Talents rather than the works of baby doctor Benjamin Spock. Loren Coleman is a well-known cryptozoologist, author of The Unidentified (1975) dedicated to Fort, and Mysterious America, which Fortean Times termed a Fortean classic. Indeed, Coleman terms himself the first Vietnam era conscientious objector to base his pacificist ideas on Fortean thoughts. Jerome Clark has described himself as a "sceptical Fortean".[15] Mike Dash is another capable Fortean, bringing his historian's training to bear on all manner of odd reports, while being careful to avoid uncritically accepting any orthodoxy, be it that of fringe devotees or mainstream science. Science-fiction writers of note including Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, and Robert Anton Wilson were also fans of the work of Fort. Alfred Bester's teleportation-themed novel, 'The Stars My Destination', pays homage to the coiner of the term by naming the first teleporter, 'Charles Fort Jaunte.' Fort's work, of compilation and commentary on anomalous phenomena has been carried on by William R. Corliss, whose self-published books and notes bring Fort's collections up to date.

In 1939 Eric Frank Russell first published the novel which became Sinister Barrier, in which he names Fort explicitly as an influence. Russell included some of Fort's data in the story.[16] Ivan T. Sanderson, Scottish naturalist and writer, was a devotee of Fort's work, and referenced it heavily in several of his own books on unexplained phenomena, notably Things (1967), and More Things (1969). Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier's The Morning of the Magicians was also heavily influenced by Fort's work and mentions it often. Author Donald Jeffries referenced Charles Fort repeatedly in his 2007 novel The Unreals.

The noted UK paranormalist, Fortean and ordained priest Lionel Fanthorpe presented the Fortean TV series on Channel 4. Paul Thomas Anderson's popular movie Magnolia (1999) has an underlying theme of unexplained events, taken from the 1920s and '30s works of Charles Fort. Fortean author Loren Coleman has written a chapter about this motion picture, entitled "The Teleporting Animals and Magnolia", in one of his recent books. The film has many hidden Fortean themes, notably "falling frogs". In one scene, one of Fort's books is visible on a table in a library and there is an end credit thanking him by name.[17] In the 2011 film The Whisperer in Darkness, Fort is portrayed by Andrew Leman.

American crime and science fiction author Frederic Brown included an excerpt from Fort's book Wild Talents at the beginning of his novel Compliments of a Fiend. In that quote Fort speculated about the disappearance of two people named Ambrose and wondered "was someone collecting Ambroses?" Brown's novel concerns the disappearance of a character named Ambrose and the kidnapper calls himself the "Ambrose collector" as an obvious homage to Fort.[18]


Fort published five books during his lifetime, including one novel. All five are available on-line (see External links section below).

  • Many Parts (1901, unpublished autobiography)
  • The Outcast Manufacturers (1909; B.W. Dodge), novel
  • The Book of the Damned (1919), Reprinted by Ace Books, K-156, ca. 1962, and H-24, ca. 1966; Prometheus Books, 1999, paperback, 310 pages, ISBN 1-57392-683-3.
  • New Lands (1923), Reprinted by Ace Books, H-74, 1968, and later printings, mass market paperback. ISBN 0-7221-3627-7
  • Lo! (1931), Reprinted by Ace Books, K-217, ca. 1965, and later printings, mass market paperback. ISBN 1-870870-89-1
  • Wild Talents (1932), Reprinted by Ace Books, H-88, ca. 1968, and later printings, mass market paperback. ISBN 1-870870-29-8

Posthumous editions:

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bill Bradbury (1982). Tiedon rajamailla [Into the Unknown] (in Finnish). Reader's Digest. ISBN 951-9078-89-4.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Charles Fort: His Life and Times" by Bob Rickard; 1995, revised 1997; URL accessed March 09, 2007
  4. ^ "Tiffany Thayer papers. (MssCol 2971)". The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  5. ^ "The Giant, the Insect, and the Philanthropic-looking Old Gentleman" by Charles Hoy Fort". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Archives and manuscripts Fort, Charles, 1874-1932".
  7. ^ Wilson, Colin, Mysteries, Putnam (ISBN 0-399-12246-X), p.199.
  8. ^ Wilson, Colin: ibid., p.201 (emphases not added).
  9. ^ Clark, Jerome: "The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in the Early UFO Age" in UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, edited David M. Jacobs, University Press of Kansas: 2000 (ISBN 0-7006-1032-4), p.123. See Pyrrhonism for a similar type of skepticism.
  10. ^ Clark, Jerome: The UFO Book, Visible Ink: 1998, p.200.
  11. ^ "Mostly in this book I shall specialize upon indications that there exists a transportory force that I shall call Teleportation." in Fort. C. Lo! at Sacred, retrieved 4 January 2009
  12. ^ "less well-known is the fact that Charles Fort coined the word in 1931" in Rickard, B. and Michell, J. Unexplained Phenomena: a Rough Guide special (Rough Guides, 2000 (ISBN 1-85828-589-5), p.3)
  13. ^ Laycock, Joseph. "Approaching the Paranormal". Nova Religio. 18 (1): 5–15.
  14. ^ Bester, Alfred. The Stars My Destination, p.5; Orion Books; 1956.
  15. ^ Confessions Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Russell, Eric Frank, Sinister Barrier, Paperback Library, New York, 1966
  17. ^ Coleman, Loren (2007). "Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation's Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures". Simon & Schuster.
  18. ^ Brown, Frederic. Compliments of a Fiend. ISBN 1596541229.


  • Gardner, Martin has a chapter on Charles Fort in his Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science 1957; Dover; ISBN 0-486-20394-8.
  • Knight, Damon, Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained (1970) is a dated but valuable biographical resource, detailing Fort's early life, his pre-'Fortean' period and also provides chapters on the Fortean society and brief studies of Fort's work in relation to Immanuel Velikovsky; intro by R. Buckminster Fuller.
  • Magin, Ulrich, Der Ritt auf dem Kometen. Über Charles Fort is similar to Knight's book, in German language, and contains more detailed chapters on Fort's philosophy.
  • Louis Pauwels has an entire chapter on Fort, "The Vanished Civilizations", in The Morning of the Magicians.[1]
  • Bennett, Colin (2002). Politics of the Imagination: The Life, Work and Ideas of Charles Fort (paperback). Head Press. p. 206. ISBN 1-900486-20-2.
  • Carroll, Robert Todd. "Fort, Charles (1874–1932)" (pp. 148–150 in The Skeptic's Dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll, John Wiley & Sons, 2003; ISBN 0-471-27242-6)
  • Clark, Jerome. "The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in the Early UFO Age" (pp. 122–140 in UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge, David M. Jacobs, editor; University Press of Kansas, 2000; ISBN 0-7006-1032-4)
  • Clark, Jerome. The UFO Book, Visible Ink: 1998.
  • Dash, Mike. "Charles Fort and a Man Named Dreiser." in Fortean Times no. 51 (Winter 1988–1989), pp. 40–48.
  • Kidd, Ian James. "Who Was Charles Fort?" in Fortean Times no. 216 (Dec 2006), pp. 54–5.
  • Kidd, Ian James. "Holding the Fort: how science fiction preserved the name of Charles Fort" in Matrix no. 180 (Aug/Sept 2006), pp. 24–5.
  • Lippard, Jim. "Charles Fort" (pp. 277–280 in Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, Gordon M. Stein, editor; Prometheus Books, 1996; ISBN 1-57392-021-5)
  • Skinner, Doug, "Tiffany Thayer", Fortean Times, June 2005.
  • Steinmeyer, Jim (2008). Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural (hardback). Heinemann. pp. 352 pages. ISBN 0-434-01629-2.
  • The complete Books of Charles Fort
  • Wilson, Colin. Mysteries, Putnam, ISBN 0-399-12246-X
  • Ludwigsen, Will. "We Were Wonder Scouts" in Asimov's Science Fiction, Aug 2011

External links

The following online editions of Fort's work, edited and annotated by a Fortean named "Mr. X", are at "Mr. X"'s site

  1. ^ Pauwels, Louis, The Morning of the Magicians (Stein & Day, 1964), p. 91 et seq. Reprinted by Destiny in 2008, ISBN 1-59477-231-2.

Anomalistics is the use of scientific methods to evaluate anomalies (phenomena that fall outside current understanding), with the aim of finding a rational explanation. The term itself was coined in 1973 by Drew University anthropologist Roger W. Wescott, who defined it as being the "serious and systematic study of all phenomena that fail to fit the picture of reality provided for us by common sense or by the established sciences."Wescott credited journalist and researcher Charles Fort as being the creator of anomalistics as a field of research, and he named biologist Ivan T. Sanderson and Sourcebook Project compiler William R. Corliss as being instrumental in expanding anomalistics to introduce a more conventional perspective into the field.Henry Bauer, emeritus professor of science studies at Virginia Tech, writes that anomalistics is "a politically correct term for the study of bizarre claims", while David J. Hess of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute describes it as being "the scientific study of anomalies defined as claims of phenomena not generally accepted by the bulk of the scientific community."Anomalistics covers several sub-disciplines, including ufology, cryptozoology, and parapsychology. Researchers involved in the field have included ufologist J. Allen Hynek and cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, and parapsychologist John Hayes.

Bob Rickard

Robert "Bob" J M Rickard is the founder and editor of the UK magazine Fortean Times: The Journal of Strange Phenomena, which debuted in 1973 under its original title The News. The magazine's express purpose is to continue the documentary work of Charles Fort on the strange, anomalous and unexplained. In addition to his editorial role, Rickard has written several books and hundreds of articles on a wide range of Fortean topics. In 1981, he was a founding member of ASSAP and is also the founder of the Charles Fort Institute.

Charles Fort (Ireland)

Charles Fort (Irish: Dún Chathail) is a trace italien fortification, a bastion fort with one section of the curtain wall built in star fashion. It is located on the water's edge, at the southern end of the village of Summer Cove, on Kinsale harbour, County Cork, Ireland. First completed in 1682, Charles Fort was sometimes historically referred to as the "new fort" - to contrast with James' Fort (the "old fort") which had been built on the other side of Kinsale harbour before 1607. The fort is now operated as a heritage tourism site by the Heritage Ireland arm of the Office of Public Works.

Charles Fort (disambiguation)

Charles Fort (1874–1932) was an American writer.

Charles Fort may also refer to:

Charles Fort (poet) (born 1951), American poet

Charles Fort (Ireland), military fort near Kinsale in Ireland

Charlesfort, or Charles Fort, a 16th-century French settlement on Parris Island in what is now South Carolina

Charles Fort National Historic Site, the site of a short-lived Scottish settlement in Nova Scotia in the 1620s

Charles Fort (poet)

Charles Fort (born 1951 New Britain, Connecticut) is an American poet.

Fortean Society

The Fortean Society was started in the United States in 1931 during a meeting held in the New York flat of Charles Hoy Fort in order to promote the ideas of American writer Charles Fort. The Fortean Society was primarily based in New York City. Its first president was Theodore Dreiser, an old friend of Charles Fort, who had helped to get his work published. Founding members of The Fortean Society included Tiffany Thayer, Booth Tarkington, Ben Hecht, Alexander Woollcott (and many of NYC's literati such as Dorothy Parker). But "Fort had his share of detracters (his friend H.L. Mencken said his head was filled with “Bohemian mush”!)." Other members included Vincent Gaddis, Ivan T. Sanderson, A. Merritt, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller. The first 6 issues of the Fortean Society's newsletter "Doubt" were each edited by a different member, starting with Theodore Dreiser. Tiffany Thayer thereafter took over editorship of subsequent issues. Thayer began to assert extreme control over the society, largely filling the newsletter with articles written by himself, and excommunicating the entire San Francisco chapter, reportedly their most active, after disagreements over the society's direction, and forbidding them to use the name Fortean. During World War II, for example, Thayer used every issue of "Doubt" to espouse his politics. Particularly, he frequently expressed opposition to Civil Defense, going to such lengths as encouraging readers to turn on their lights in defiance to air raid sirens. In contrast to the spirit of Charles Fort, he not only dismissed flying saucers as nonsense, but also dismissed the atomic bomb as a hoax.The Fortean Society Magazine (also called Doubt) was published regularly until Thayer's death in Nantucket, Massachusetts in 1959, when the society went on hiatus and the magazine came to an end. Writers Paul and Ron Willis, publishers of "Anubis", acquired most of the original Fortean Society material and revived The Fortean Society as the International Fortean Organization (INFO) in 1961. INFO continues to this day and went on to incorporate in 1965, publish "The INFO Journal: Science and the Unknown" for over 35 years and created the first conference dedicated to the work and spirit of Charles Fort, the annual FortFest.

The original magazine Doubt and society were not connected to the present-day magazine Fortean Times created by a British fortean and long-time correspondent to Paul Willis, Bob Rickard, who encouraged Willis to publish. Much of the Fortean Society material including material from Fort, Dreiser and Hecht, excepting many of the notes of Charles Fort which was donated to the New York Public Library as a collection, was incorporated into the International Fortean Organization (INFO).

Fortean Times

Fortean Times is a British monthly magazine devoted to the anomalous phenomena popularised by Charles Fort. Previously published by John Brown Publishing (from 1991 to 2001) and then I Feel Good Publishing (2001 to 2005), it is now published by Dennis Publishing Ltd.

In December 2017 its print circulation was just over 13,600 copies per month. This does not include digital sales. The magazine's tagline is "The World of Strange Phenomena".

Governor of Kinsale

The Governor of Kinsale was a military officer who commanded the garrison at Kinsale and Charles Fort in County Cork. The office became a sinecure and in 1833 was to be abolished from the next vacancy.

International Fortean Organization

The International Fortean Organization (INFO) is a network of professional Fortean researchers and writers. John Keel, author and parapsychologist, in both his writings and at his appearances at INFO's FortFest, says "the International Fortean Organization (INFO) carries on Charles Fort's name as successor to the Fortean Society." Keel, Colin Wilson and John Michell were long-time advisors to the organization.

The International Fortean Organization (INFO) published the INFO Journal: Science and the Unknown, keeps a library of Forteana and offered a research service. Science Digest, in 1978, mentions their "attempts to handle inquiries from a world-wide membership". The Skeptic's Dictionary says "The International Fortean Organization publishes INFO Journal several times a year. It features stories on such topics as anomalous astronomical phenomena, anomalies in the physical sciences, scientific hoaxes and cryptozoology." The quarterly INFO Journal grew from a 54-page publication to a 69-page publication and according to Factsheet Five, a publication dedicated to the review of periodicals, by 1993 was the longest-running Fortean publication.

John Michell and Bob Rickard in their book Unexplained Phenomena said of the International Fortean Organization "INFO was founded in 1965 as the natural successor to the original Fortean Society." Colin Wilson said he wished to assure The American Spectator that Charles Fort is far from forgotten and credited the publishing efforts of the International Fortean Organization's INFO Journal.

Una McGovern in Chamber's Dictionary of the Unexplained said, "Seven years lapsed between the demise of the Fortean Society and the formation of the International Fortean Organization (INFO)...which played a vital role in encouraging a new generation of young forteans." Although the Fortean Society was never officially dissolved their aims were continued by the International Fortean Organization according to Lewis Spence in the "Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology" and encouraged by Damon Knight who credited the organization in his introduction to the Complete Works of Charles Fort published by Dover. Martin Gardner, in a chapter devoted to Fort, which according to the Sceptic Report neither scorns or damns, in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, notes that Fort doubted everything, even his own speculations. Gardner makes the point that Forteanism serves to remind science that no theory is above doubt, and that knowledge is provisional, it serves a 'sound and healthy' purpose.


Kinsale (; Irish: Cionn tSáile, meaning "Tide Head") is a historic port and fishing town in County Cork, Ireland, which also has significant military history. Located approximately 25 km south of Cork City on the southeast coast near the Old Head of Kinsale, it is located at the mouth of the River Bandon. Its population was 5,281 at the 2016 census. Its population increases during the summer months, when the tourist season is at its peak and the boating fraternity and other tourist visitors arrive in numbers. Kinsale is in the Cork South-West (Dáil Éireann) constituency, which has three seats.

Kinsale is a holiday destination for both Irish and overseas tourists.

Leisure activities include yachting, sea angling, and golf. The town also has several art galleries and a school of English. There is a large yachting marina close to the town centre.

The town is known for its restaurants, and holds an annual "Gourmet Festival". Chef Keith Floyd was previously a resident of Kinsale.The town's Community School has been awarded the "Best School in the Republic of Ireland" twice, including at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in 2014.Prominent historical buildings in the town include St. Multose's church (Church of Ireland) of 1190, St. John the Baptist (Catholic) of 1839, the Market House of c. 1600, and the so-called French Prison (or Desmond Castle, associated with the Earls of Desmond) of c. 1500. Charles Fort, a partly restored star fort of 1677, is in nearby Summercove.


Lo! was the third published nonfiction work of the author Charles Fort (first edition 1931). In it he details a wide range of unusual phenomena. In the final chapter of the book he proposes a new cosmology that the earth is stationary in space and surrounded by a solid shell which is (in the book's final words) ".. not unthinkably far away."

New Lands

New Lands was the second nonfiction book of the author Charles Fort, published in 1923. It deals primarily with astronomical anomalies.

Fort expands in this book on his theory about the Super-Sargasso Sea – a place where earthly things supposedly materialize in order to rain down on Earth – as well as developing an idea that there are continents above the skies of Earth. As evidence, he cites a number of anomalous phenomena, including strange "mirages" of land masses, groups of people, and animals in the skies. He also continues his attacks on scientific dogma, citing a number of mysterious stars and planets that scientists failed to account for.

Of all of Fort's books, New Lands is the worst-regarded. His speculations (serious or joking, he does not reveal) concerning continents in the sky and the supposed top-like shape of the Earth have dated considerably.

New Lands is available in Dover Publications' The Complete Works of Charles Fort with Fort's other paranormal writings, and an edited online version is linked below.

Siege of Cork

The Siege of Cork took place during the Williamite war in Ireland in the year of 1690, shortly after the Battle of the Boyne when James II attempted to retake the English throne from King William III.

In a combined land and sea operation, Williamite commander Marlborough, took the city and captured 5,000 Jacobite prisoners.


Teleportation is the theoretical transfer of matter or energy from one point to another without traversing the physical space between them. Teleportation, or the ability to transport a person or object instantly from one place to another, is a technology that could change the course of civilization and alter the destiny of nations. It is a common subject in science fiction literature, film, video games, and television. In some situations teleporting is time traveling across space.

Since 1993, energy and particle teleportation has become a hot topic in quantum mechanics.

The Book of the Damned

The Book of the Damned was the first published nonfiction work by American author Charles Fort (first edition 1919). Concerning various types of anomalous phenomena including UFOs, strange falls of both organic and inorganic materials from the sky, odd weather patterns, the possible existence of creatures generally believed to be mythological, disappearances of people, and many other phenomena, the book is considered to be the first of the specific topic of anomalistics.

To Charles Fort, with Love

To Charles Fort, With Love is a short story collection by fantasist Caitlin R. Kiernan, published by Subterranean Press in 2005. As the author explains in the preface, many of these stories were inspired by the writings of Charles Fort (1874-1932), and many of them have a Lovecraftian flavor. Two of the stories have received the International Horror Guild Award: "Onion" (Best Short Fiction, 2001) and "La Peau Verte" (Best Mid-Length Fiction, 2005). Also, "La Peau Verte" and the collection as a whole were both nominated for the World Fantasy Award (2005). As with Kiernan's earlier short-story collections, the book is illustrated by Canadian artist Richard A. Kirk, and the cover art is provided by Ryan Obermeyer. An afterword, "A Certain Inexplicability," was provided by Ramsey Campbell.

Wild Talents

Wild Talents, published in 1932, is the fourth and final non-fiction book by the author Charles Fort, known for his writing on the paranormal.

William Alexander (the younger)

Sir William Alexander (c. 1602 – 18 May 1638) was the founder, in 1629, of the Scottish colony at Port-Royal, now the site of modern Annapolis Royal. He also built forts in Cape Breton then in Port Royal. He was the son of colonizer William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, but predeceased his father and never assumed his title.

For many years the site of Alexander's settlement, known as Charles Fort or Scots Fort, was thought to be on the hillside overlooking the Habitation. This site, marked by a stone monument and brass plaque, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1951. The plaque has been removed and relocated as the actual site of Charles Fort has been established through archaeological evidence at Annapolis Royal; lying beneath Fort Anne.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.