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Lesley is also a columnist for UFO Magazine. Check it out !

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Fort Thoughts, Part One

Last week, I started reading The Complete Books of Charles Fort. Mostly because I wasn't sure that I had read all of Fort's books, but also because it has been 20 years or more since I read any Fort book.

It occurred to me as I started reading The Book of the Damned, that Charles Fort must have had a profound affect on me. In the first couple chapters of The Book of the Damned, though probably far better written, the sentiment is something I have written about many times, without even realizing where that sentiment first started forming, which was likely 20 or so years ago.

Charles Fort disliked both scientific and religious explanations of the paranormal, as do I. He recounts the tale of what were obviously what we now know as meteors falling from the sky in early to late 1700's. Most of the scientists at the time said that these rocks could not have and did not come from the sky. Their explanation was that these rocks contained a lot of iron, which had caused lightning to hit them. The lightning explained both why they seemed to fall from the sky and why they were sometimes burning hot when found.

Oh yes, some are rolling their eyes and thinking how we know sooooooo much more now. Granted, we do know a lot more than in the 1700s, but the fact is that we still don't know for certain what the true explanations for things like UFOs, ghosts and other fortean occurrences are. We have theories, but no absolute proof. We can say something is the logical or the most likely conclusion, but I am sure that back in the 1700s, lightning was a logical and most likely conclusion, for meteors but it was still totally wrong.

As I was working on this, my friend, Alfred Lehmberg, put up his weekly blog post. Every week Alfred has an interesting, for lack of better word, proverb, that goes with his post. Last weeks proverb/art said: It's been said...the aversion to the irrational is something that science has inherited from Christianity. It was very Fortean.

In fact, I have noticed numerous times recently (or since I have been paying attention) that the scientific fundamentalists and the Christian fundamentalists often are in total agreement. They do not necessarily share beliefs, but rather disbelief, which in their case often becomes a belief of disbelief.

It seems to me (and likely to Charles Fort, as well) that it is better to have no absolute beliefs or disbeliefs. It is what Fort would have called Intermediateness and it seems to me that it is the true "skeptics" zone, rather than what we are led to believe in as skepticism.

Paranormal, after all, only means something that is not in the realm of what we consider normal. It does not mean a belief in aliens, devils, spirits of the dead or some new agey religion.

I neither believe in space aliens nor disbelieve, even though I have seen some rather incredible objects hovering in the sky. The easy road would be to totally disbelieve in what I saw or to think they are all "secret govenment projects." However, I DID see them and sometimes with other witnesses. To explain them all with secret projects does not explain those sightings that occurred long before there was even such a thing as an airplane. Neither can I offer any evidence that they were being flown by space aliens. So I am stuck in the Intermediatist zone and likely it is where I will stay.

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