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Fortean Times

Fortean Times 391

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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.

FT NEWS – IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT As we’ve said many times before, news clippings are the lifeblood of FT, and we appeal to readers worldwide to join in the fun and send us your clippings – for more info on how to get involved, turn to p78. Existing clippers: note that we now have a new address to which you should send your stories and clippings. The old PO Box will continue to operate for a few months, but from now on, please email news stories to csjosiffe@forteantimes and address your much-appreciated clippings envelopes to: Fortean Times PO Box 66598 LONDON N11 9EN ERRATA FT387:22: Martin Jenkins, feeling slightly sheepish about regularly drawing attention to our shortcomings, writes: “Sorry to do it to you again – but Alan Murdie’s done it to you. On p22, he refers to Thomas…

4 min.
coronavirus comes west

With the coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic having apparently peaked in China, attention shifted to the rest of the world, where, at the time of writing, some countries were already experiencing hundreds of fatalities. The gradual realisation that the Western world would not escape the virus saw social media awash with unorthodox theories as to how to avoid infection. Eating large amounts of garlic was one such theory. While garlic has some antimicrobial properties, it is ineffective against Covid-19. Indeed, the advice may itself lead to health problems; it was reported in the South China Morning Post that a woman received hospital treatment for a severely inflamed throat after consuming 1.5kg (3.3lb) of raw garlic. That universal panacea, MMS or “miracle mineral supplement” (otherwise known as the bleaching agent chlorine dioxide) was proposed…

3 min.
the conspirasphere

KEEP TALKING Conspiracism is regularly portrayed as the intellectual preserve of right-wing propagandists. There is a kind of truth in this observation, of course; much of the content in the Conspirasphere is provided either by people whose views are avowedly right-wing, or those who claim no political affiliation, but whose views and statements lend themselves to right-wing points of view. But the fact that many right-wingers are conspiracy theorists does not mean that all conspiracy theorists are; nor does it mean that conspiracism can be located neatly on a traditional political axis. A recent report on a conspiracy group called Keep Talking is a case in point. The report, by the Community Safety Trust, an organisation that “works to protect British Jews from antisemitism, terrorism, hate crime and related threats”, and Hope…

5 min.
fossil finds

The earliest known fossilised trees, some 386 million years old, have been found at an abandoned quarry in Cairo, New York. They are thought to have been part of a forest so vast that it originally stretched to Pennsylvania. These latest finds are believed to be two or three million years older than those of Gilboa, also in New York State, previously thought to be the world’s oldest trees. The findings throw new light on tree evolution. Over 3,000m2 (32,300ft2)of forest have already been mapped; home to at least two types of trees: Cladoxylopsids and Archæopteris. A third tree remains unidentified. Palæobotanist Dr Chris Berry from Cardiff University and coauthor of the study published in Current Biology, says: “This is the oldest place where you can wander around and map out…

6 min.

HOLY TOAD The starry night harlequin toad, considered sacred by Colombian indigenous people, was believed to be extinct; but community leaders recently rediscovered the holy amphibians in mountain streams, and have invited scientists to come and view them. <i>, 13 Dec 2019. GOOD LUCK Lu Chao, 28, flying for the first time, threw coins into the engine for “good luck” as he boarded an internal flight at Anqing Tianzhushan Airport in eastern China in February 2019. The plane was grounded after the coins were found near one of its engines. He was ordered to pay £13,100 compensation to the budget airline – called Lucky Air. BBC News, 3 Jan 2020. SPECIAL POWER A Queensland trucker was electrocuted by overhead power lines while climbing atop his truck to check a load of cattle, suffering brain trauma,…

3 min.
white van panic

A recent ‘white van’ scare in the USA is a salutary example of how unsubstantiated rumours may be widely and rapidly disseminated via the Internet. Urban legends and mass panics have been given a new lease of life as a result of social media. Facebook was the tool in this particular case, spreading a baseless story that men driving white vans were criss-crossing the US to kidnap women for sex trafficking, and to sell their body parts. The tale had spread to such an extent that the mayor of Baltimore issued a warning. “Don’t park near a white van,” said Mayor Bernard ‘Jack’ Young in a TV interview. “Make sure you keep your cellphone in case somebody tries to abduct you.” Admitting that Baltimore police hadn’t notified him of any threat,…