Charles Hoy Fort (6 August 1874 – 3 May 1932) was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. (According to some sources[attribution needed] he was born on 9 August.)
Jerome Clark writes that Fort was “Essentially a satirist hugely skeptical of human beings’ – especially scientists’ claims to ultimate knowledge”. (Clark 2000, 123) (see Pyrrhonism for a type of skepticism strongly reminiscent of Fort’s). Clark describes Fort’s writing style as a “distinctive blend of mocking humor, penetrating insight, and calculated outrageousness”. (Clark 1998, 200)
Writer Colin Wilson describes Fort as “a kind of patron saint of cranks” (Wilson, 199), and also argues that running through Fort’s work is “the feeling that no matter how honest scientists think they are, they are still influenced by various unconscious assumptions that prevent them from attaining true objectivity. Expressed in a sentence, Fort’s principle goes something like this: People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.” (Wilson, 201; emphases his)
Fort’s books sold well, and remain in print. Today, the term Fortean or Forteana is used to describe various anomalous phenomena.
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