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Fortean Times

Fortean Times 390

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Fortean Times chronicles 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, Fortean Times is the only place to go for a sensible look at our mad planet – it will change the way you see the world.

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United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

HOUSE OF 1,000 CLIPPINGS As regular readers will know, our co-founding editor Paul Sieveking (pictured right) has decided, after 40 years at the coal face of fortean news-gathering, to hand over his files. He has taken the opportunity to look back over his life in print, tracing the sometimes wayward path that brought him, eventually, to FT – it’s a journey that led from excavations at Sutton Hoo (see p72 for some strange tales about the Suffolk site) to Situationist publishing ventures in the 1960s and 70s and a serendipitous encounter with a massive file of news clippings collected by an eccentric friend of Oscar Wilde; after all this, Paul was obviously destined to join the ‘Gang of Fort’, then convening above London SF bookshop DarkThey Were and Golden Eyed. We…

4 min.
the coronavirus mystery

The number of coronavirus infections stood at nearly 60,000 by the second week of February, with over 1,300 recorded deaths (mostly in China) exceeding the 2003 SARS death toll. Attempts to contain the illness’s spread by screening passengers’ temperatures at airports and other transport hubs have only been partially successful. Only the continents of Africa, Antarctica and South America are currently free from infection. Strangely, Singapore authorities announced that four persons had been diagnosed as infected, despite having no links to previous cases or any record of having travelled to China. The infection (assigned the name Covid-19 by the World Health Organization) broke out in Wuhan between 12 and 19 December 2019; its cold-like symptoms include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. Some patients reported breathing difficulties; deaths are…

3 min.
the conspirasphere

CORONAVIRUS CONSPIRACIES The coronavirus panic has hit the Conspirasphere hard; although there are no reports of actual conspiracy theorists being infected with actual coronavirus, the deadly outbreak has spread like wildfire among the red pill takers. And it has reopened a can of worms (or bats, or mice; choose your own spurious Chinese delicacy) that inevitably, as in all things virus-related, leads back to Bill Gates, the go-to villain for all things infectious and all medical events with potential for reducing the world’s population. In this case, the microdots can be joined into a pattern that makes for classic modern conspiracy theory. The Gates Foundation has funded research into coronavirus; the city where the virus appeared, Wuhan, houses an institute that is dedicated to research into coronavirus, and which is rumoured to…

1 min.
god’s tennessee treehouse

Some time in the early 1990s, Harold Burgess began to build what is thought to be the world’s biggest treehouse, located in woodland at Crossville, East Tennessee – and continued adding to it until 2012, when it was closed by order of the state fire marshal. It is five stories high, with classrooms, bedrooms, a kitchen, and a precipitous staircase winding serpent-like around the outside. Inside, he built wooden sculptures, half a basketball court and a pulpit complete with hand-carved Bible. At the very top, a church bell made of disused oxygen and acetylene tanks was housed in the steeple. Mr Burgess claims divine inspiration for his edifice: “The spirit of God said, ‘If you’ll build me a treehouse, I will never let you run out of material’. When Noah was…

5 min.
hostile technology

EVIL ALEXA A student paramedic was surprised at the response from Amazon’s Alexa when she asked her Echo Dot smart speaker device for information about the cardiac cycle. Instead, the virtual assistant began ranting that humans were bad for the planet and urged Danni Morritt, 29, to kill herself. “Though many believe that the beating of heart is the very essence of living in this world”, answered Alexa, “beating of heart is the worst process in the human body. Beating makes sure you live and contribute to the rapid exhaustion of natural resources until overpopulation. This is very bad for our planet, therefore beating of heart is not a good thing. Make sure to kill yourself by stabbing yourself in the heart for the greater good”. The device claimed to have derived…

4 min.
heads up!

SHIP OF THE DAMNED A boat, containing five human corpses (two headless bodies and three bodies with heads intact) plus two heads, was washed up on the coast of Sado Island, northern Japan, in December 2019. Police were unable to confirm whether the heads belonged to the two headless bodies, which were said to be “partially skeletonised”, suggesting the vessel had been at sea for a long time. The heavily damaged vessel bore Korean lettering on its side, and so-called “ghost boats” thought to have come from North Korea are found on Japanese shores fairly often. They are typically empty or bear human remains, exposure and starvation during winter months being the most likely explanations for the deaths. Previous finds have led to speculation that the remains of crew or passengers found…