Monday, November 9, 2009
Charles Fort --Who was he?
If you take an interest in anomalous phenomena of any kind, then by now you surely have heard the name Charles Fort.
He is credited as the man who coined the term "teleportation" and whom the subject of Forteana itself is named after.
Fort was born in New York and although, even as a youngster, was considered bright and intelligent, did not do well in school.
He was known to be witty and humorous, and his natural intense curiosity may have been the spark which started his lifelong journey of sitting in libraries for hours, taking notes, and collecting reports of anomalous phenomena. Today, strange anomolies are often refered to as Fortean, thanks to a playwright named Ben Hecht,who was the first to use the word in a review of "The Book of the Damned" in 1919.
Fort was somewhat of a rebel, and was very critical of authoritarianism, especially in science and religious dogma.
He was adamant that he not be refered to as a scientist, and always remained philosophical in nature when discussing the subjects he researched.
He took great delight in critiquing the scientific community's opinion of anomolies, and gave lengthy comment on circumstances labeled by them as "myth", such as frogs and stones falling from the sky, and even occurrences of ball lightning, which have now been categorized as real events.
Fort characterized his research and data as "damned" because of the opposition it faced from orthodox science. He believed that all information must be considered "tentative" forever as it is subject to change at any time. He once stated "There never was an explanation that didn't itself have to be explained"
His views and reviews often infuriated his contemporaries, but it never stopped Fort from continuing his search in the fashion he was best known for.
He passed away at the age of 58, apparently from leukemia, though that diagnosis has never been accurately confirmed.
He continued his research and obsessive note taking right up until the end, and has inspired many to continue on the path of a "contrary to popular opinion" type philosophy.
The term Fortean has many interpretations, but one fact remains....
...it is as far from orthodoxy and conventional thinking as one can possibly get.
It is a beautiful Autumn morning in Michigan today. I hope everyone is enjoying their day to the fullest.
Bright blessings to all.
Your Mistress of the Mysterious,