I believe nothing. I have shut myself away from the rocks and wisdoms of ages, and from the so-called great teachers of all time, and perhaps because of that isolation I am given to bizarre hospitalities. I shut the front door upon Christ and Einstein, and at the back door hold out a welcoming hand to little frogs and periwinkles. I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written. I cannot accept that the products of minds are subject matter for beliefs. But I accept, with reservations that give me freedom to ridicule the statement at any other time, that showers of an edible substance that has not been traced to an origin upon this Earth, have fallen from the sky, in Asia Minor.

There have been suggestions that unknown creatures and unknown substances have been transported to this Earth from other fertile worlds, or from other parts of one system, or organism, a composition of distances that are small relatively to the unthinkable spans that astronomers think they can think of. There have been suggestions of a purposeful distribution in this existence. Purpose in Nature is thinkable, without conventional theological interpretations, if we can conceive of our existence, or the so-called solar system, and the stars around, as one organic state, formation or being. I can make no demarcation between the organic, or the functional, and the purposeful. Then in an animal organism, osteoblasts appear and mend a broken bone, they represent purpose, whether they know what they’re doing or not. Any adaptation may be considered an expression of purpose, if by purpose we mean nothing but intent upon adaptation.

If we can think of our whole existence, perhaps one of countless organisms in the cosmos, as one organism, we can call its functions and distributions either organic or purposeful, or mechanically purposeful. — from The Collected Works of Charles Fort


Atlas of the Mysterious in North America

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Fifteen phantom ships and a bottle of rum! The author, who has put out many Facts on File encyclopedias, has waded through the deep waters of the unknown for many a year. She has done her homework and makes interesting speculations about the vast collection of mysterious places she’s gathered. Each of the eight sections begins with a map of the U.S., dotted with the locations of each site and an introductory article about the subject (in case you didn’t know that Bigfoot is nocturnal or what the nine classifications of sea monsters are).
The first section is dedicated to sites with ancient connections; detailed maps of states with an overabundance of a particular phenomena are highlighted, such as: power points (Ariz.), sacred mountains (Calif.), sacred lakes/springs (Oreg.), earthworks (Ohio, Flor.), burial mounds (Ohio), platform/temple mounds (Flor.), effigy mounds (Wis.), enclosed stoneworks (New England), medicine wheels (Colo.; Alb., Can.) and petroglyphs/pictographs (Calif., Ariz., Neb., Utah, New Mexico).
The maps illuminate some intriguing facts. The overwhelming majority of earthworks and burial mounds are found east of Mississippi. The high concentration of platform mounds in Florida makes one wonder if the Bimini Mounds (man-made structures underwater off the coast of Florida) were really part of some ancient sunken continent, as has been hypothesized. Also, almost all the water monsters are found right on the U.S./Canada border, contributing to the latitudinal monster belt which circles the globe (and includes Mokele-Mmembe, etc.).
Also includes state by state listings of the crème de la crème of hauntings, ghost lights, phantom ships, water monsters and mystery beasts. The only drawback with books this comprehensive is that each little blurb leaves one needing to do further research to obtain the full story. SK

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 224 pages

Bigfoot Memoirs

Stan Johnson

“Stan has been blessed by God to receive much information and wisdom through his experiences traveling in other dimensions of time and space. Stan, the official goodwill ambassador of Bigfoots, has received telepathic communication from the Sasquatch people, star people—and the ascended masters of wisdom.”
In a semiliterate, monosyllabic style, the retired logger recounts his good times with the “Sasquatch People” in a number of interviews (which he conducted telepathically—how does one transcribe that?) and stories in which they request salt from him, behave very spiritually, and disclose that they come from the fifth dimension (and vacation there in winter). There’s romance (the 16-year-old Sasquatch daughter falls for old Stan, a septuagenarian); intrigue (the evil ruler of their home planet, Arice, wants to destroy the kindly Bigfeet on Earth—and nothing will stop him in his lust for glory!); travel (Stan describes the fifth dimension as “the true Garden of Eden” and visits the interior of the Earth through a base on one of the Poles); and genetics (there are Sasquatch with dome- and pyramid-shaped heads). If Stan didn’t have a healthy pension to live off of, I’m sure he’d be recounting his stories from inside a psychiatric hospital. SK

Publisher: Blue Water
Paperback: 84 pages

The Complete Books of Charles Fort

Charles Fort

These four fascinating books are the legacy of iconoclastic philosopher and supreme skeptic Charles Fort. Written between 1919 and 1932, they are full of curiosities, contradictions, anomalies and the kind of data that was and is conveniently ignored or simply suppressed by mainstream science. Gleaned from 27 years of full-time research conducted at the New York Public Library and the British Museum Library are reports from periodicals, scientific journals, newspapers and numerous manuscripts covering such wild phenomena as pre-UFO flying objects, rains of frogs, falls of fishes, selective weather, strange creatures and other rejected data. Fort was a true cynic whoconsidered most scientists pompous and wrote “I cannot accept that the products of minds are subject matter for beliefs.” An essential reference for the beginner and seasoned Fortean alike. BW

Publisher: Dover
Hardback: 1 pages

The Damned Universe of Charles Fort

Louis Kaplan

Called a “scientific tramp and swindler” by his detractors and “grand tourist of the unexplained” by his champions, American cosmographer Charles Hoy Fort (1874-1932) compiled four fascinating volumes—Book of the Damned, New Lands, Lo! and Wild Talents—crammed with dada-style data. “Fort called this crazy collection of outcasted data ‘the procession of the damned’—rains of frogs, black snow in Switzerland, sightings of the unidentified, the spontaneous combustion of bodies, or the telekinetic powers of poltergeist girls.” He was a “Dataist” and his “obsessive collection of anomalous and exceptional data rejected by the sciences of his day” allowed him to make whimsical, “likely-unlikely pseudo-conclusions” about the bizarre nature of our universe. “I think we’re fished for… I think we’re property… There are oceans of blood somewhere in the sky… Many little stone crosses have been found. A race of tiny beings. They crucified cockroaches… ,” etc. Collects “the most inspiring and entertaining of Fort’s texts in a wild montage… a cosmic vision which bombards the borders of fact and fantasy, metaphysics and nonsense, truth and hoax, science and the occult, the arcane and the frivolous.” GR

Publisher: Autonomedia
Paperback: 156 pages

Disneyland of the Gods

John A. Keel

The Earth is “owned” by somebody or something, concluded Charles Fort, the noted super-compiler of weird world events. Keel elaborates on this theme with more reports of trickster spirits, snallygasters and sea serpents, farfrotskis, oopths and other Fortean arcana in this compilation of odd articles first written for Saga magazine. “When we have finally scrambled or crawled our way through the unfortunate 20th century we may look back and realize with a terrible shock that Charles Hoy Fort towers above… all the other alleged giants of these hundred years that ate saints and farted Hitlers,” says the author. “Fort squeezed the udders of the sacred cow of science, and he made us recognize that we were living in an age of miracles—an age when kitchen sinks could fall from the skies.” GR

Publisher: IllumiNet
Paperback: 175 pages

Encyclopedia of the Unexplained

Jenny Randles and Peter Hough

Instead of giving us a few lines on all the anomalous subjects in the heavens and on earth (and appropriated by The X-Files), the authors have attempted to “focus on just a handful of true mysteries of modern science.” And they have tried to do this objectively. Subdivided into eight sections, for your supernatural convenience: “The Supernatural Earth”; “Space Invaders”; “Out of Time?”; “Death by Supernatural Causes?”; “Mind Matters”; “The Spiritual Dimension”; “Strange Beings”; and “The Alien Zoo.”
Jenny Randles of Great Britain, reportedly the most successful writer of books on anomalies, seems to specialize in chatty text and personal anecdotes. This may be the key to her success: Without a high content of cold steely science or crackpot theorizing, her work can be easily consumed by those who file books on UFOs and strange powers next to their copies of the National Enquirer and Soap Opera Digest. This is not to say Encyclopedia is superficial; this is a solid introduction for those seeking to delve into the most well-documented mysterious phenomena. SK

Publisher: O'Mara
Hardback: 256 pages

Fire from Heaven

Michael Harrison

Microwaveable humans that cook from the inside out! Flesh and fireworks! “Billy Thomas Peterson, of Pontiac, Michigan, was found dying in his car after a passing motorist had seen smoke coming from Peterson’s garage. Billy was also burnt: ‘His left arm was so badly burned that the skin rolled off. His genitals had been burnt to a crisp. His nose, mouth and ears were burned.’ And a plastic religious statue on the dashboard had melted in the intense heat. But nothing else was even singed—not even Peterson’s underwear.” An exploration of an astonishing mystery—Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC)—that has been historically shrouded in fear and misunderstanding. Includes plenty of case histories and scientific analysis. The author proposes a psycho-kinetic poltergeist theory as the cause of SHC, and relates it to telekinesis and other psychic powers. GR

Publisher: Skoob
Paperback: 396 pages

The Mothman Prophecies

John A. Keel

Fortean investigator and journalist Keel takes the documented facts about a series of UFO flaps over Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in 1973, and weaves them into a spine-tingling tale of true terror. It stars the sinister Men-in-Black, the “Mothman” (a giant winged creature with glowing red eyes) and mysterious aerial light formations—all descending on a small rural town for 13 months of sci-fi Walpurgisnacht. “Innocent people lived in surrealistic horror, haunted by the fearsome demonic ‘Bird’ and besieged by legions of strange beings. It is guaranteed to shake all of your beliefs and concepts of reality. It will open your mind to things you never dared to think about before. And it will scare the hell out of you!” GR

Publisher: IllumiNet
Paperback: 275 pages

Science Frontiers: Some Anomalies and Curiosities of Nature

William R. Corliss

“Anomaly research, though not a science per se, has the potential to destabilize paradigms and accelerate scientific change. Anomalies reveal nature as it really is: complex, chaotic, possibly even unplumbable.” If anything, Corliss raises the standard set by Charles Fort, and with these 1,500 fully indexed items of anomalous science news and research taken from an ongoing survey of over 100 scientific journals and magazines, amply demonstrating the uncertainty of knowledge. Originally published in Science Frontiers, a bimonthly newsletter sent free to buyers of Corliss’ landmark Sourcebook Project (a work of some 40,000 articles covering 25 years of searching), this collection covers subjects ranging from ancient engineering works, cosmology, biological enigmas and diffusion and culture, to geological anomalies, geophysical phenomena, psychological mysteries and the very edge of mathematics and physics. Indispensable. BW

Publisher: Sourcebook Project
Paperback: 356 pages

Unexplained!: 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena

Jerome Clark

This reference guide covers not only the familiar unexplained phenomena such as the Yeti, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51 and the Loch Ness Monster, but also such lesserknown enigmas as bloody rain, the Chinese Wildman, and Thunderbirds. This book brings back fond memories of, and nostalgia for, the von Daniken years of the early ’70s which were rife with such volumes. Unlike those books, Clark’s provides many firsthand accounts which give a fresh look at unexplained phenomena. He carefully annotates and footnotes his sources on nearly every page and includes such revered sources as Fate magazine and UFO Quarterly. Many scholarly references are sited in his documentation of cryptozoölogy. Often the mundane solution he offers to certain mysteries takes the edge off the glamor. For example, the phenomenon of bloody rain is casually dismissed as buzzard vomit descending upon unwary pedestrians. Clark ties together his variety of sources without being preachy, proselytizing, patronizing or paranoid. MM

Publisher: Visible Ink
Paperback: 443 pages