Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Charles Fort Said to Invent the Supernatural

Jim Steinmeyer a historian of stage magic discusses his latest book about author and researcher Charles Fort. He titles it "Charles Fort The Man Who Invented The Supernatural"(The phtoillusreation is from the cover.)

Fort's four books about oddities were groundbreaking in the era they were written (1919-1932). For instance, he was one of the first to write about mysterious airships or "vessels in the sky," long before they were called UFOs, Steinmeyer noted. He also was known for chronicling strange meteorological phenomena like frogs and fish falling from the sky (he speculated there might be a kind of gigantic Sargasso Sea or junkyard pool in he sky from which these objects come).

To explain some of the phenomena, such as the airships, Fort proposed the theory that Earth might be controlled by another planet and that "something thinks that it owns us," Steinmeyer recounted. Fort also wrote about mysterious creatures, coined the word "teleportation," and inspired the term "Bermuda Triangle."

He researched material, including many scientific journals, at libraries in New York City and London, and created some 40,000 handwritten notes on separate pieces of torn paper that he cross-categorized and used for his books. The Fortean Society, formed in 1930, was the first of a number of organizations interested in the strange, unexplained phenomena Fort popularized (The UK magazine Fortean Times also takes its name from Fort). Steinmeyer particularly recommends Fort's book Lo, as being one of his most readable (all four are available to read online in a compilation on Google Books).

Some strange happenings are even refered to as "Fortean Events"

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