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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Fort, Charles Hoy (1874-1932) This writer, who specialized in recording reports of strange, unexplained events, haunted the New York Public Library in the 1920s searching through newspaper files to find material that he published in such books as Book of the Damned (1919), Lo! (1931), and Wild Talents (1932). He offered no explanations for what he recorded, except for obviously bizarre interpretations which he himself admitted were not at all satisfactory but fit the reports better than any others he had heard.
      Talking dogs, wolf-children, rains of living frogs and blood, dramatic disappearances of persons, and monsters were all part of Fort's work, and his books serve to illustrate how outlandish and highly improbable claims, made alongside a small percentage of genuinely true but incredible events, can capture the imagination of the public and can often attain a false reality of their own as a result of repetition and their intrinsic charm.
      Fort invented the word teleportation, by which he meant passage back and forth between outer space and Earth, though the accepted meaning among psychics is somewhat different.
      Just before Fort's death, his disciple Tiffany Thayer founded the Fortean Society, and in 1937 began publishing the Fortean Society Magazine, the name of which was changed in 1944 to Doubt.
      In 1941, Fort's books were combined into one and published as The Books of Charles Fort.

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