FORTEAN TIMES is a monthly magazine of news, reviews and research on strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities, prodigies and portents. It was founded by Bob Rickard in 1973 to continue the work of Charles Fort (1874–1932).
Born of Dutch stock in Albany, New York, Fort spent many years researching scientific literature in the New York Public Library and the British Museum Library. He marshalled his evidence and set forth his philosophy in The Book of
the Damned (1919), New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931), and Wild
Talents (1932). He was sceptical of scientific explanations, observing how scientists argued according to their own beliefs rather than the rules of evidence and that inconvenient data were ignored, suppressed, discredited or explained away. He criticised modern science for its reductionism, its attempts to define, divide and separate. Fort’s dictum “One measures a circle beginning anywhere” expresses instead his philosophy of Continuity in which everything is in an intermediate and transient state between extremes.
He had ideas of the Universe-asorganism and the transient nature of all apparent phenomena, coined the term ‘teleportation’, and was perhaps the first to speculate that mysterious lights seen in the sky might be craft from outer space. However, he cut at the very roots of credulity: “I conceive of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while.”
Fort was by no means the first person to collect anomalies and oddities – such collections have abounded from Greece to China since ancient times. Fortean
Times keeps alive this ancient task of dispassionate weird-watching, exploring the wild frontiers between the known and the unknown.
Besides being a journal of record, FT is also a forum for the discussion of observations and ideas, however absurd or unpopular, and maintains a position of benevolent scepticism towards both the orthodox and unorthodox.
FT toes no party line.