New Lands

New Lands
Catalog # SKU1697
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Charles Fort


New Lands

Large Print Edition

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!


LANDS in the sky-
That they are nearby-
That they do not move.

I take for a principle that all being is the infinitely serial, and that whatever has been will, with differences of particulars, be again-

The last quarter of the fifteenth century--land to the west!

This first quarter of the twentieth century--we shall have revelations.

There will be data. There will be many. Behind this book, unpublished collectively, or held as constituting its reserve forces, there are other hundreds of data, but independently I take for a principle that all existence is a flux and a re-flux, by which periods of expansion follow periods of contraction; that few men can even think widely when times are narrow times, but that human constrictions cannot repress extensions of thoughts and lives and enterprise and dominion when times are wider times--so then that the pageantry of foreign coasts that was revealed behind blank horizons after the year 1492, can not be, in the course of development, the only astounding denial of seeming vacancy--that the spirit, or the animation, and the stimulations and the needs of the fifteenth century are all appearing again, and that requital may appear again-

Aftermath of war, as in the year 1492: demands for readjustments; crowded and restless populations, revolts against limitations, intolerable restrictions against emigrations. The young man is no longer urged, or is no longer much inclined, to go westward. He will, or must, go somewhere. If directions alone no longer invite him, he may hear invitation in dimensions. There are many persons, who have not investigated for themselves, who think that both poles of this earth have been discovered. There are too many women traveling luxuriously in "Darkest Africa." Eskimos of Disco, Greenland, are publishing a newspaper. There must be outlet, or there will be explosion-

Outlet and invitation and opportunity-

San Salvadors of the Sky--a Plymouth Rock that hangs in the heavens of Servia--a foreign coast from which storms have brought materials to the city of Birmingham, England.

Or the mentally freezing, or dying, will tighten their prohibitions, and the chill of their censorships will contract, to extinction, our lives, which, without sin, represent matter deprived of motion. Their ideal is Death, or approximate death, warmed over occasionally only enough to fringe with uniform, decorous icicles--from which there will be no escape, if, for the living and sinful and adventurous there be not San Salvadors somewhere else, a Plymouth Rock of reversed significance, coasts of sky-continents.

But every consciousness that we have of needs, and all hosts, departments, and sub-divisions of data that indicate the possible requital of needs are opposed--not by the orthodoxy of the common Puritans, but by the Puritans of Science, and their austere, disheartening, dried or frozen orthodoxy.

Islands of space--see Sci. Amer., vol. this and p. that--accounts from the Repts. of the Brit. Assoc. for the Ad. of Sci.--Nature, etc.--except for an occasional lapse, our sources of data will not be sneered at. As to our interpretations, I consider them, myself, more as suggestions and gropings and stimuli. Islands of space and the rivers and oceans of an extra-geography-

Stay and let salvation damn you--or straddle an auroral beam and paddle it from Rigel to Betelgeuse. If there be no accepting that there are such rivers and oceans beyond this earth, stay and travel upon steamships with schedules that can be depended upon, food so well cooked and well served, comfort looked after so carefully--or some day board the thing that was seen over the city of Marseilles, Aug. 19, 1887, and ride on that, bearing down upon the moon, giving up for lost, escaping collision by the swirl of a current that was never heard of before.

There are, or there are not, nearby cities of foreign existences. They have, or they have not, been seen, by reflection, in the skies of Sweden and Alaska. As one will.

Whether acceptable, or too preposterous to be thought of, our data are of rabbles of living things that have been seen in the sky; also of processions of military beings--monsters that live in the sky and die in the sky, and spatter this earth with their red life-fluids--ships from other worlds that have been seen by millions of inhabitants of this earth, exploring, night after night, in the sky of France, England, New England, and Canada--signals from the moon, which, according to notable indications, may not be so far from this earth as New York is from London--definitely reported and, in some instances, multitudinously witnessed, events that have been disregarded by our opposition-

A scientific priestcraft-

"Thou shalt not!" is crystallized in its frozen textbooks.

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", 210+ pages

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