The work of and around 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 at the British Museum. He marshalled his 'data' and set forth his philosophy in four outrageous tomes: 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 was ignored, suppressed, discredited or explained away. He criticised modern science for its reductionism, its attempt to define, divide and seperate. 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. Fort had ideas of the Universe-as-organism and the transient nature of all apparent phenomena, he coined the term 'teleportation' and was amongst the first to speculate that mysterious lights in the sky were perhaps craft from outer space. However, he cut at the very roots of credulity: "I concieve of nothing, in religion, science or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while."
1872, The Low Countries, Belgium and Brussels imparticular; over this city late one August evening rises a star like object. In December of the same year at a railway station in Bristol, England, Thomas B. Cumpston and his wife are arrested and charged with disorderly conduct; both of them attired only in their nightclothes. An ocean away in Albany, New York a couple take off their nightclothes and concieve a child.
"I think we're property. I should say we belong to something. That once upon a time, this earth was No-man's Land, that other worlds explored and colonized here, and fought among themselves for possesion, but that now it's owned by something ... all others warned off."
"One of the greatest of secrets that have eventually been found out was for ages blabbed by all the pots and kettles of the world ... A tree cannot find out, as it were, how to blossom, until comes blossom-time. A social growth cannot find out the use of steam-engines until comes steam-engine-time."
"Horses erect in a blizzard of frogs, and the patter of worms on umbrellas. The hum of ladybirds in England - the twang of a swarm of Americans at Templemore, Ireland. The appearance of Cagliostro - the appearance of Prof. Einsteins theories. A policeman dumps a wildman into a sack, and there is alarm upon all the contents of this earth because of a blaze in (the constellation of Orion) ... All are related, because all are phenomena of one organic existence."
"I have a story of a horse that appeared in what would, to any ordinary horse, be a closed room. It makes one nervous, maybe. One glances around, and would at least not be incredulous, seeing almost any damned thing, sitting in a chair, staring at one."
"My interest in mysteries was first triggered when I read stories of frogs falling from the sky. These had been collected, in the early part of the century, by a remarkable American by the name of Charles Fort..."
Arthur C. Clarke