Ancient Mysteries Unexplained Book of the Damned

Book of the Damned

Book of the Damned
Catalog # SKU1696
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Charles Fort
 
$18.95
Quantity

Description

The Book
Of The Damned


Large Print Edition

by
Charles Fort

Charles Fort was a crank in the best sense of the word. Lovecraft and the X-files can't begin to compete with the spooky stuff he uncovered. In the early twentieth century he put together great quantities of exhaustively documented 'puzzling evidence' (in the words of David Byrne), data which science is unable or unwilling to explain. Forts' books gave me nightmares when I read them when I was seven. Strange items drop from the sky, bizarre artifacts turn up in unexpected places, stars violate the laws of astronomy, giant clouds blot out the moon and the sun trembles in the sky. Is the world inside out? Is it flat? Or maybe shaped like a giant spindle?

What does it all mean? He drops cryptic, breathless hints such as "I think we're property." and "I think that we're fished for. It may be that we're highly esteemed by super-epicures somewhere." Whatever you think about this information, you will at some point while reading Forts' books feel like the foundations of your reality are slipping slightly to the south...

Consider yourself warned!

EXCERPT

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 naive and the pedantic and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile.

A stab and a laugh and the patiently folded hands of hopeless propriety.

The ultra-respectable, but the condemned, anyway.

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.

The irresistibleness of things that neither threaten nor jeer nor defy, but arrange themselves in mass-formations that pass and pass and keep on passing.

* * *

So, by the damned, I mean the excluded.

But by the excluded I mean that which will some day be the excluding.

Or everything that is, won't be.
And everything that isn't, will be -
But, of course, will be that which won't be -

It is our expression that the flux between that which isn't and that which won't be, or the state that is commonly and absurdly called "existence," is a rhythm of heavens and hells: that the damned won't stay damned; that salvation only precedes perdition. The inference is that some day our accursed tatterdemalions will be sleek angels. Then the sub-inference is that some later day, back they'll go whence they came.

* * *

It is our expression that nothing can attempt to be, except by attempting to exclude something else: that that which is commonly called "being" is a state that is wrought more or less definitely proportionately to the appearance of positive difference between that which is included and that which is excluded.

But it is our expression that there are no positive differences: that all things are like a mouse and a bug in the heart of a cheese. Mouse and a bug: no two things could seem more unlike. They're there a week, or they stay there a month: both are then only transmutations of cheese. I think we're all bugs and mice, and are only different expressions of an all-inclusive cheese.

Or that red is not positively different from yellow: is only another degree of whatever vibrancy yellow is a degree of: that red and yellow are continuous, or that they merge in orange.

So then that, if, upon the basis of yellowness and redness, Science should attempt to classify all phenomena, including all red things as veritable, and excluding all yellow things as false or illusory, the demarcation would have to be false and arbitrary, because things colored orange, constituting continuity, would belong on both sides of the attempted border-line.



About the Author: Charles Hoy Fort

Charles Fort (1874-1932) fancied himself a true skeptic, one who opposes all forms of dogmatism, believes nothing, and does not take a position on anything. He claimed to be an "intermediatist," one who believes nothing is real and nothing is unreal, that "all phenomena are approximations one way or the other between realness and unrealness." Actually, he was an anti-dogmatist who collected weird and bizarre stories.

Fort spent a good part of his adult life in the New York City public library examining newspapers, magazines, and scientific journals. He was looking for accounts of anything weird or mysterious which didn't fit with current scientific theories.

He collected accounts of frogs and other strange objects raining from the sky, UFOs, ghosts, spontaneous human combustion, the stigmata, psychic abilities, etc. He published four collections of weird tales and anomalies during his lifetime: Book of the Damned (1919), New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931), and Wild Talents (1932). In these works, he does not seem interested in questioning the reliability of his sources, which is odd, given that he had worked as a news reporter for a number of years before embarking on his quest to collect stories of the weird and bizarre. He does reject one story about a talking dog who disappeared into a puff of green smoke. He expresses his doubt that the dog really went up in green smoke, though he doesn't question its ability to speak.

Fort did not seem particularly interested in making any sense out of his collection of weird stories. He seemed particularly uninterested in scientific testing, yet some of his devotees consider him to be the founding father of modern paranormal studies. His main interest in scientific hypotheses was to criticize and ridicule the very process of theorizing. His real purpose seems to have been to embarrass scientists by collecting stories on "the borderland between fact and fantasy" which science could not explain or explain away. Since he did not generally concern himself with the reliability or accuracy of his data, this borderland also blurs the distinction between open-mindedness and gullibility.

Fort was skeptical about scientific explanations because scientists sometimes argue "according to their own beliefs rather than the rules of evidence" and they suppress or ignore inconvenient data. He seems to have understood that scientific theories are models, not pictures, of reality, but he considered them to be little more than superstitions and myths. He seems to have had a profound misunderstanding of the nature of scientific theories. For, he criticized them for not being able to accommodate anomalies and for requiring data to fit. He took particular delight when scientists made incorrect predictions and he attacked what he called the "priestcraft" of science. Fort seems to have been opposed to science as it really is: fallible, human and tentative, after probabilities rather than absolute certainties. He seems to have thought that since science is not infallible, any theory is as good as any other. This is the same kind of misunderstanding of science that we find with so-called "scientific creationists" and many other pseudoscientists.

Apparently, Fort was a prolific writer. He is said to have written ten novels, but only one was published: The Outcast Manufacturers (1906). One of Fort's amusements as an adult seems to have been to speculate about such things as frogs falling from the sky.

He postulated that there is a Super-Sargasso Sea above the Earth (which he called Genesistrine) where living things originate and periodically are dumped on Earth by intelligent beings who communicate with secret societies down below, perhaps using teleportation.

Fort had very few friends, but one of them, Tiffany Thayer, created the Fortean Society to promote and encourage Fort-like attacks on science and scientists.Ê When Fort died in 1937, he left over 30 boxes of notes, which the Fortean Society began publishing in the Fortean Society Magazine. In 1959 Thayer died and the Fortean Society came to an end. Others, however, took up the torch. There are many Fortean groups, but it is worth noting that Fort opposed the idea of a Fortean Society. He thought that such a group would attract spiritualists and crackpots.

... And sure enough...


Softcover, 8¼" x 10¾", 280+ pages
Perfect-Bound

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