Eccentric Orbit

Eccentric Orbit

I never set out to be a blogger. I write slowly and don't like launching opinions without first applying a protective coating of footnotes and qualifiers. Nevertheless when asked to contribute to CFI, I immediately said yes.

It's not for the salary (they're paying me in cowry shells), or the groupies, or the glamour of the thing. Neither is it an urge to pontificate or promote an agenda. Most likely it's the same impulse that drives children to share their discoveries with anyone who'll listen. When I was just a larva, I chased my mother around the house reading factoids out of Grolier's Encyclopedia or Stranger than Science; 36 years later, technology has made it possible for me to harass a much larger audience with odds and ends about vampires, monsters, haunted houses, psychic phenomena and flying saucers. Other people feel the urge to do this, perhaps even the man whose name is carved over the Institute's door, Charles Hoy Fort.

Since this a fortean blog, let me say a few words about our founder. I came to Fort's work long after being weaned on Ivan Sanderson, Brad Steiger and countless cheap strange-but-true paperbacks. When I finally read The Book of the Damned, the anomalies and outrageous theories felt familiar but the style was jarring and the larger concepts escaped me. I've had to rely on other writers to explain Fort's viewpoint, which seems to be that reality is a sort of lava-lamp with everything in a state of flux and flow. That sounds as reasonable as any other theory I've heard about the nature of reality, but grand ideas don't hold my attention- I'm here for the anomalies or, to be precise, the stories about anomalies.

Call them "folklore", "strange-but-true" or "damned nonsense", the real subject is always stories and they intoxicate me. There are different versions to compare, changes to chronicle, sources to ferret out, layers of meaning to explore, and the supply is inexhaustible.

I've been fortunate to spend my life working with extraordinary material, to meet the people involved, visit out-of-the-way places, and then have venues for discussing the results. This blog is an opportunity to consider subjects too odd or obscure for a general audience, but not for forteans; I hope that you enjoy the results.

Now, if the reader will excuse me, there's an 18th century American poltergeist case that requires attention.

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