Fortean Times

Fortean Times 385

Fortean Times, named after maverick American writer Charles Fort, is one of the world’s most individual and best loved magazines. For over 35 years FT has been chronicling the stranger side of life, delivering a heady mix of weird world news, up-to-date reports and features on every aspect of the unexplained: myths, monsters, ghosts and UFOs rub shoulders with ancient wonders and future science, while expert columnists bring you the latest on everything from cryptozoology to conspiracy theory. Open-minded, well informed and maintaining a healthy sense of humour, FT is the only place to go for a sensible look at our mad planet – it will change the way you see the world.

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES We’d guess that many FT readers – at least those who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s – will have fond memories of Usborne’s ‘World of the Unknown’ books, which introduced a young readership to the pleasures of various fortean subjects, from monsters and mythology to vampires and UFOs. For some reason, though, it was the volume devoted to ghosts that most deeply stirred the imaginations of British children, whose nightmares were henceforth filled with terrifying spectral monks and screaming skulls. FT regular Bob Fischer was one such youngster, and in this issue (p32) he explores the impact that All About Ghosts had on him and a whole generation of impressionable protoforteans. Bob also meets the man behind this legendary compendium of chills, the mild-mannered Christopher Maynard, whose…

4 min.
re-chalking the cerne abbas giant

What’s the first thing you notice about the Cerne Abbas Giant? It’s not his lack of ears is it? The giant with his mighty club sustains an entire tourist industry in this quiet corner of Dorset. He appears on postcards, T-shirts and dozens of novelty items, including a wall clock with a disturbingly hypnotic hour-hand. He’s probably the only image of a fully erect naked man on uncensored public display in the British Isles. Like all hill figures, grass, moss and weather erosion gradually obscure his outline, so this summer the National Trust decided to give him a makeover. The re-chalking involves more than 80 volunteers, digging out the cracked and discoloured chalk, then pounding in 17 tonnes of clean crushed chalk to make a fresh surface. This once-in-a-decade event is…

3 min.
the conspirasphere

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MAD... It’s a commonplace of media agonising over conspiracy theory that the phenomenon is on the rise; that more and more people are coming to believe an increasing number of increasingly bizarre theories – flat Earth, the Moon landing hoax, QAnon, Tupac Shakur is alive and rapping – and thus, the reasoning generally goes, we are all off to Hell in a handbasket, tin foil hats tightly on, wool pulled firmly over our eyes. The main weakness in this argument is that it’s not actually true; it appears that conspiracy theories are no more numerous or prevalent than they were 50 (or even 100) years ago. Research by Uscinsky and Parent, for instance, into around 120 years of activity, strongly suggests there is no rising trend.…

6 min.
astral bulletin

It is the furthest object ever explored by humankind • The mysterious cigar-shaped interstellar object known as ‘Oumuamua (or 1I/2017 U1) [FT362:24-25, 363:13] continues to intrigue. At the end of 2018, NASA’s infrared Spitzer Space Telescope was expected to track ‘Oumuamua as its trajectory brought it close. Strangely, however, the elongated traveller managed to slip past the space telescope unnoticed. ‘Oumuamua (whose Hawaiian, roughly translated, means “distant messenger from the past”) was first noticed in our Solar System in October 2018, and is the first confirmed visitor from another star. ‘Oumuamua is about 10 times as long as it is wide. No known asteroid or comet from our Solar System has such a large ratio between length and width. The most elongated objects seen to date have been no more than three…

2 min.

POLICE POLT? Ghost hunters exploring an ex-police station in Accrington, Lancashire, with stars of TV’s Most Haunted, had to be rescued from a cell by firefighters after being mysteriously locked in – despite the lock being disabled. Metro, 29 July 2019. JIHADISTS MOCKED Al-Qaeda has released embarrassing outtakes from a 2017 Daesh propaganda video of fighters in Yemen in order to undermine its bitter rival. The ‘blooper’ reel shows a kneeling jihadist trying to renew his pledge of allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakh al-Baghdadi, but repeatedly being interrupted by a squawking bird in the tree above. D.Telegraph, 16 Aug 2019. SNOUT’S HONOUR Uzair Farooq, 10, has set a record for blowing up a jeep tyre with his nose in under a minute, in Pakistan. Sun, 20 June 2019. CRAZY WHITE RATS The small village of Gattolino…

3 min.
all fall down again

On a quiet Friday morning in July last year pandemonium broke out at the Ketereh national secondary school (SMK Ketereh) in the village of Padang Lembek in Kelantan, north-east Malaysia. Siti Nurannisaa, 17, was the trigger. “The assembly bells rang,” she recalled. “I was at my desk feeling sleepy when I felt a hard, sharp tap on my shoulder. I turned round to see who it was and the room went dark. Fear overtook me. I felt a sharp, splitting pain in my back and my head started spinning. I fell to the floor. Before I knew it, I was looking into the ‘otherworld’. Scenes of blood, gore and violence. The scariest thing I saw was a face of pure evil. It was haunting me, I couldn’t escape. I opened…