Saturday, May 10, 2008

Charles Fort, father of the supernatural

On May third, Coast to Coast AM host, Ian Punnett spoke with magic and special effects designer, Jim Steinmeyer about his new book. Steinmeyer, credits author, Charles Fort with drawing the public’s attention to ignored phenomena—phenomena damned by science and now considered supernatural.

I took a look at Ford’s book and this is what I found:

The book gets off to a slow start with a long skeptical description of what is, what isn’t and what not. The language is interesting; for example, “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.” But one wonders, what’s his point? Just where is this guy coming from? He finally tells us, “We are not realists. We are not idealists. We are intermediatists—that nothing is real, but that nothing is unreal: that all phenomena are approximations one way or the other between realness and unrealness.”

Yeah, okay, so where is he taking us? To the land of unexplained things, it seems. He begins by describing effects of the Krakatoa eruption which were observed prior to the event. He then describes all sorts of strange things that fell from the sky, including manna. He describes them for pages upon pages. More interesting than falling frogs or fish are the meteorites examined by Dr. Hahn, who “found fossils in specified meteorites: also he published photographs of them. His book is in the New York Public Library. In the reproductions every feature of some of the little shells is plainly marked. If they're not shells, neither are things under an oyster-counter.”

Other things turn up in places where they shouldn’t, like iron nails embedded in quartz, or metal cubes found in coal lumps.

All in all, Ford’s book is an ambitious catalog of unexplainable oddities. Yet his commentary is even odder, “It may be that the Milky Way is a composition of stiff, frozen, finally-static, absolute angels. We shall have data of little Milky Ways, moving swiftly; or data of hosts of angels, not absolute, or still dynamic. I suspect, myself, that the fixed stars are really fixed, and that the minute motions said to have been detected in them are illusions. I think that the fixed stars are absolutes.”

Ford’s, “The Book of the Damned” has been re-printed recently. But it’s also in the public domain and you can download it.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About Me

My photo

Dave Loeff (davelef.com) is an author and graphic designer. In addition to fiction, Dave writes about graphics, travel, and other topics. Find him at http://truthandtalltales.com.

Dave worked domestically in the sewn goods industry, before he became a buyer in Taiwan. He subsequently worked as a mental health clinician, technical writer, computer technician, and graphic designer.

His freelance services include conversion of manuscripts into eBooks, photo retouching, book design and illustration,