The Daily Grail on H.G. Wells’ Dislike of Forteans

Science Fiction Legend H.G. Wells REALLY Didn't Like Forteans | The Daily GrailGreg at informs us of the great H. G. Wells’ contempt for Charles Fort. I had no idea … how sad of Wells:


Dear Dreiser,

I’m having Fort’s Book of the Damned sent back to you. Fort seems to be one of the most damnable bores who ever cut scraps from out of the way newspapers. I thought they were facts. And he writes like a drunkard.

Lo! has been sent to me but has gone into my wastepaper basket. And what do you mean by forcing “orthodox science” to do this or that? Science is a continuing exploration and how in the devil can it have an orthodoxy? The next you’ll be writing is the “dogmas of science” like some blasted Roman Catholic priest on the defensive. When you tell a Christian you don’t believe some yarn he can’t prove, he always call you “dogmatic”. Scientific workers are first rate stuff and very ill paid and it isn’t for the likes of you and me to heave Forts at them.

God dissolve (and forgive) your Fortean Society. Yours,

H.G. Wells


Science Fiction Legend H.G. Wells REALLY Didn’t Like Forteans | The Daily Grail.

Radio Misterioso: Rapid Fire

As a Fire Snake in the Chinese zodiac, I am thrilled that we’ve only got two weeks left before we usher in the Year of the Horse. In 2014, I plan to really ramp it up with L.O.W.F.I. Expect much more regular content, insights, weirdness, events and such. In the meantime, here is a recent episode of Greg Bishop’s Radio Misterioso with cognitive psychology professor and all-around fantastic fellow, Dr. Tim Brigham, and myself.

Mothman Mystery Not Solved by Soldier of Fortune Magazine

Hat tip to Regan Lee’s Mothman Flutterings blog for first alerting me to this “debunking” of Mothman…

 From Regan’s commentary:

The “article” by Harold Hutchinson is  a mere one page. Not even that, for roughly 1/4 of the page is taken up with graphics and the title “UFO Mystery Solved: “Mothmen” Were Actually Green Berets.

So right away, the complex topic of UFOs is combined with Mothman, and we’re off. Yes, UFOs were seen in Pt. Pleasant along with Mothman, but the intent here is to just put all the weirdness into one category and be done with it.

Commentary from Loren Coleman, quoting Doug Skinner:

Longtime John Keel archivist Doug Skinner writes: “I’m not convinced that every Mothman report can be chalked up to a paratrooper; but it’s a plausible explanation for some, and certainly for some of the UFO reports.  There was a lot going on in Point Pleasant that year.”

Indeed, I have to speak with some caution and critical thinking about this overreaching explanation too.

The November sightings of Mothman hardly match a parachuting Green Beret. On November 1, 1966, several National Guardsman saw a Mothman described as a large, brown man- shaped figure on limb of tree, near the Armory, on Camp Conley Road, Point Pleasant, West Virginia. On the 12th, five men digging at the cemetery near Clendenin, WV, saw a flying, brown human- shaped object. Then on the 15th, the first widely recorded sighting occurred, when two couples in the TNT Area, near the old power plant outside Point Pleasant, saw a large gray, man-shaped bird-like creature with reflective blazing red eyes and a ten-ft wingspan. After the initial meeting, it pursued the eyewitnesses’s Chevy down a rural road, at high speeds.



Not Falls of Fish or Ice but Flash-Frozen-Fish In Ice

By Will Lerner
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation(NRK) has put up some striking photos of water off the coast of Lovund, a small island off of Norway. Though it was “only” -7.8°C (18 °F), a sharp eastern wind was enough to freeze a large quantity of fish in place.

The translation tools used to understand NRK’s article don’t exactly remove all language barriers, but it seems that Aril Slotte of Havforskningsinstituttet, a marine research institute, believes that the fish might have been chased by a predator, and that’s why there were so many grouped together that closely.

(Hermann Mindrum via NRK)

Ingolf Kristiansen, who happened upon the scene, said that because the ice was still frozen, no birds were enjoying an easy lunch.

This is not the first instance of an animal being caught frozen in a Norweigian body of water. Last week, Inger Sjøberg, came across a moose stuck and frozen in Kosmo Lake. Poor guy. The NRK reports that it is the fourth most common cause of death for moose (also known as European elk) after hunting, traffic, and bears.

It got so cold so quickly in this Norwegian bay that it froze a bunch of fish swimming in it | Odd News – Yahoo News.

A Newland to the West of Iceland 1285?

Pondering Fortean Geography at Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog…

Those stray British, Scandinavian and Dutch references to exploration in the medieval northern Atlantic have frequently been set out on this blog: remember the inventio fortunatatae, or the incest island, brave bishop Erik or, for that matter, Vinland the Good?  Occasionally there is a hint that adventurers or, more typically, storm-driven sailors had stumbled into unusual coves, some of which were in the New World. Suddenly aftifacts like the Maine Penny become a little less controversial… Here, in any case, is a new record that has just swum onto Beach’s historical radar: a thirteenth-century discovery Newland and Downland. The Newland and Downland appear in the Icelandic Annals a late medieval complex of records that present many problems but that could have been contemporary for the 1280s and 1290s. (This is not the same as saying that they were…)

A Newland to the West of Iceland 1285? « Beachcombing’s Bizarre History Blog.

Usko Ahonen: Dec. 2012

December 2012

Are Archons Greys?

Modern ufology usually postulates that aliens come from another planet or dimension. But what if they’ve been here since the dawn of time? Autodidactic scholar John Lash has a most compelling theory rooted in Gnosticism: that some aliens are Archons, devoid and corrupt cousins of man put here by the same celestial forces that created human beings.

The Archons were whispered about in texts after the burning of the library at Alexandria which contained some mention of these mysterious beings. But the powers that be spent 1,300 years expunging the records and have practically written out the Archons from human history. In 1947, texts were found in clay jars in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. In these texts was a story of what the Nag Hammadi people, 2,000 years ago, thought the world was about.

The word Archon means “primordial” and “a ruler,” and exist in contrast to the Aeons, who, in Gnostic theory, are “any number of emanations of God, taking part in the creation and government of the universe.” “According to the myth, Archons were created by a celestial interdimensional entity, Sofia, who was pleiroma with other Aeons, and thus partly emancipated from the wholeness of the Heavenly Father. The Archons are a spinoff of Sophia, and corrupt because they had not been approved by the other Aeons.

This happened billions of years ago, before the solar system was born. These celestial consciousnesses are hard to imagine, since they exist outside of space and time. A materialized neonate-type of Archon would appear to be quiet, psychotic and prone to lying.

Read the rest of this Guest Editorial…

Usko Ahonen: Dec. 2012

Richard Spence: June 2012

June 2012

Searching for James Shelby Downard

by Dr. Richard B. Spence

Anyone who has dipped a foot into the murky waters of conspiracy theory has more than likely encountered a reference to James Shelby Downard. In a realm where the bizarro-meter is usually set pretty high, Downard goes straight to “11.” For the uninitiated, suffice it to say that Downard’s writings, most notably his autobiographical The Carnivals of Life and Death (hereafter, Carnivals), purport to unveil a nightmarish nexus of Masonic Sorcery, mystical toponomy, Call to Chaos sexual depravity and the Eternal Pagan Psycho-Drama lurking just beneath the surface of simple, homespun American reality. If Downard’s world was a movie, it could only be directed by David Lynch.

It’s easy, and comforting, to dismiss James Shelby Downard as a charlatan or a nut or some amalgam of both. His claims and stories are often so improbable, or just ludicrously absurd, that one is stunned as much by their audacity as their improbability. I’ll confess that Carnivals was probably the only book I’ve actually thrown against a wall out of sheer disgust that anyone would expect me to swallow such a pile of horseshit. Yet I always picked it up again. Maybe I was hoping he would reveal it was all a bad dream, but mostly it was just weirdly fascinating, and more than a little disturbing; a bad acid-trip blending of Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.

Read the rest of this Guest Editorial…

Richard Spence: June 2012.

Paul Tompkins: Jan. 2012

January 2012

Paul F. Tompkins presents…

The Fortean Fantasy

by Benjamin De Casseres

Living in Los Angeles, I am privileged to witness time travel on a monthly basis ( H. G. Wells’ time machine was not just a fanciful novelty with which to base a science fiction novel around. No, no. Why, only last week he was discussing Sherlock Holmes, the Cottingley fairies and the untimely death of Houdini with none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. ( I very graciously asked Wells if by chance he would be so kind as to summon forth Charles Fort, but it could not come to pass. Instead, he fished from the great ethereal time stream this rare 1930 essay by Benjamin De Casseres.

[Left: Paul F. Tompkins as H. G. Wells]

Born April 3, 1873, De Casseres put in a decade with the Philadelphia Press before writing regularly for newspapers and magazines in New York. He also authored 22 books (with such titles as I Dance With Nietzsche and The Adventures of an Exile) yet it is lamented that “little is known” of him. None of his books are in print, and the manuscript of his 1,000 page diary, Fantasia Impromptu, languishes in the bowels of the New York Public Library.

A mysterious admirer of De Casseres tells us that “no-one has heard of Benjamin DeCasseres — he was greatly admired by many (including Jack London, Clark Ashton Smith, H.L. Mencken, James Huneker, Thomas Hardy, Charles Fort and Ayn Rand) but was something of a cult back between 1915-‘45. Ahead of his time, he wrote for posterity, but his time has not yet come.” Although Fort biographer Jim Steinmeyer referred to De Casseres as a “socialist,” he was in fact a “Nietzschean individualist,” something akin to Emerson’s Luciferian younger brother. The biographical note from his work, Second Book of Modern Verse, tells us that “… he is poet, essayist, critic, and satirist. As a poet his best-known work is in The Shadow-Eater, 1915.” What we do know, and what is relevant for our purposes here, is that he was a contemporary, friend and correspondent of Charles Hoy Fort. Here, for the first time, is his essay for the April 1930 issue of The Thinker, titled “The Fortean Fantasy.”

Read the rest of this Guest Editorial…

Paul Tompkins: Jan. 2012.

Initial Points: Anchors of America’s Grid – CLUI Los Angeles Exhibit

Initial Points: Anchors of America’s Grid
Exhibit on view at CLUI Los Angeles, from January 27, 2012

This new exhibit looks at the historic surveying infrastructure of the USA, and how literal monuments of place have evolved into expressive cornerstones of space. An exhibition by the Center for Land Use Interpretation in association with the Institute of Marking and Measuring with contributions by the National Museum of Surveying and the Principal Meridian Project. CLUI Los Angeles, 9331 Venice Blvd., Culver City.

Yours in Fort,