Charles Forts Entire Note Collection Becoming Available Soon – Hat tip to user Kandinsky at the ATS forums!
The notes of Charles Fort will be made available to the world by the generosity of Dr John H Reed and the World Institute of Scientific Exploration.
Over 60,000 individually transcribed 3X5 index cards, all with Charles Fort’s original small notes on strange and unusual events that he made in the 1920s and 1930s, were recently rescued from a house in Bridgeport, CT. They were rescued on July 29, 2014, by John H. Reed, M.D., on behalf of the World Institute for Scientific Exploration (WISE) only days before the new owners of that house had planned to dispose of them, not realizing their importance or significance.
WISE Journal; Vol 3 No2 (free PDF)
Charles Fort used to plough through all the newspaper archives in the New York Public Library before his later years took him to the British Museum Library. Like a gold panner, he shook away all the tiny printed words in search of the elusive grains of magic and wonder we now call Forteana. Reports of whimsy and weirdness were all that he was looking for and who can say from where that enchantment arose? Whatever greased his wheels, he made tiny notes of all the words that caught his imagination – over 60000 hand-written notes on square scraps of paper.
Fort was arguably one of the first conspiracy theorists as he condemned ‘dogmatic science’ and half-jokingly described humanity as the ‘property’ of Folk from Elsewhere.
‘The earth is a farm. We are someone else’s property.’
His notes are publicly accessible in the NY Library and yet are marginalised by the conditions that apply to viewers. You must arrive within certain hours and are only allowed to make notes in pencil. No pens and no photography! How better to keep at bay the ‘procession of the damned?’
A gentleman called Carl Pabst, like Fort, became fascinated with these small glow-worms of strangeness that seem to hang around the head of humanity like so many half-forgotten dreams. He spent 15 years and 100s of visits copying out Fort’s notes, with paper and pencils, and returning home to type them out onto small cards. These cards slowly began to fill up a wooden card catalogue until his mission was completed in 1987.
The card catalogue was subsequently lost in the twilight when Pabst died and his relatives left it to languish unappreciated.
Thankfully Dr John H Reed kept his eye on the prize and made offers to buy the collection; the relatives repeatedly refused to sell. It was only days before it was due to be disposed of that he was able to finally purchase it. On July 28th 2014, he took possession and so begins the next metamorphosis of what Fort called the ‘damned’ and the ‘excluded.’
Battalions of the accursed, captained by pallid data that I have exhumed, will march. You’ll read them—or they’ll march. Some of them livid and some of them fiery and some of them rotten.
The next stage for these ‘damned’ reports is a plan by W.I.S.E. to make them all available online. Fort’s books might have contained the best examples of peculiar human experiences, but they didn’t contain everything. As it happens, many thousands of the notes haven’t been seen by more than a dozen or so people since Fort was alive. We might just find that the unseen notes represent a fascinating array of otherwise lost-in-time moments. Placing them in an accessible collection will allow the Forteans, Anomalists and similarly-minded aficionados of surreality to look for patterns. What peculiar delights might lie behind those small drawers?
The inherently elusive nature of ‘paranormal’ phenomena means such experiences are frequently unique and short-lived. They exist in a moment and are gone. The percipients and witnesses enjoy a slightly longer existence, but they too are lost to death and take their memories to the grave. The fingerprints of the ‘Trickster,’ or whatever triggered the experiences, are given some sense of immortality as long as the written records continue to exist and be available. Whilst the stimulus and percipients are long dead, their experiences continue to have a pulse.
Thanks to the efforts of W.I.S.E. those fleeting moments will remain a part of the public record. Cool huh? Please read the entire article as it’s an interesting read and contains good links. JH Reed is a friend of Prof Mike Swords and a frequent visitor to the Big Study blog.
Fort’s books can read at this Sacred-Texts Fort Page or by searching ‘Charles Fort books pdf.’