Charles Fort

Born: August 6 1874
Died: May 3 1932
Charles Hoy Fort was born in Albany, New York, USA in 1874. In his youth, he was a budding naturalist, collecting sea shells, minerals, and birds. At the age of eighteen, he left New York on a world tour, travelling through the western United States, Scotland, England, and South Africa. Around 1900, Fort moved to London, England with his wife, where he began to focus on his writing. Fort penned a total of ten novels, although only one, The Outcast Manufacturers (1909), was published. In 1915, Fort began to write two books, titled X and Y, the first dealing with the idea that beings on Mars were controlling events on Earth, and the second with the postulation of a sinister civilization living at the South Pole. In 1919, he published his breakout work, which set the tone for the rest of his writing career: The Book of the Damned. The book was a compendium of “damned” data – phenomena for which science could not account and thus rejected or ignored. Fort spent the rest of his writing career describing such supposedly unexplained occurrences, conducting most of his research in the public libraries of New York and London. Aside from The Book of the Damned (1919), his best-known works are New Lands (1923), Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932). Examples covered in Fort’s work include such things as teleportation, poltergeists, falls of frogs, unaccountable noises and explosions, spontaneous fires, levitation, unidentified flying objects and giant wheels of light in the oceans. Towards the end of his life, Fort established a large cult following. His style of writing was unusual, blending sensationalism with ambiguity and mocking. Many modern readers see him as first and foremost a satirist, others little more than a purveyor of pseudo-science. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are still used to describe the sort of supposedly anonymous phenomena he documented in his writing. Charles Fort died in 1932, aged 57.

All books by Charles Fort