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Fortean TimesFortean Times

Fortean Times 377

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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£4(Incl. tax)
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12 Issues


access_time3 min.
hardhats and loo paper

FT MEDIA ALERT In recent months, mentions of FT have cropped up in a couple of unexpected places. Firstly, novelist and historian Robert Irwin penned a nice appreciation in the pages of the Times Literary Supplement (26 Oct 2018). Providing some brief background on Charles Fort for those who’ve never come across him, Irwin sketches the “surprisingly respectable literary ancestry” of the “Fortean movement” and drops some names that are probably more familiar to TLS readers – Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, John Cowper Powys, Sherwood Anderson – all of whom were early supporters. Irwin rightly identifies one of FT’s main strengths as being “its actively engaged readership: fans send in reports and write letters on such matters as a robin landing on one’s head considered as a death omen; Cyrano de…

access_time4 min.
the dyatlov pass revisited

A year ago, on 11 February 2018, a 49-year-old Russian tourist set out for the Dyatlov Pass in the Northern Urals, and three weeks later his wife reported him missing. The absence of any follow-up report suggests he has yet to be found. tass.com, 28 Feb 2018. It’s now 60 years since the death of nine Russian cross-country skiers on 1/2 February 1959 – an incident known to history as the Dyatlov Pass Incident, one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. A report on the incident by two journalists from the Moscow Times was our cover feature a decade ago [FT245:30-35]. In 1959, Khrushchev’s government offered the non-explanation of “an unknown elemental force that [the skiers] were unable to overcome”, and banned all travel to the region for three…

access_time3 min.
the conspirasphere

CLUMPS A recent article in the Guardian, looking at the victims of online vitriol, some of it connected to conspiracy theories, made a passing comment that caught my attention. Talking about the weaponisation of conspiracy theory, the author says: “Together with their first cousins, fake news, they [conspiracy theories] are challenging society’s trust in facts.” There is truth in that statement, of course, but there is also a loose bundling of conspiracy theory with fake news that, I think, deserves a little scrutiny. That bundling technique has appeared elsewhere in treatments of conspiracy theory: in a study conducted by researchers at Fribourg University, it was found that creationists tend to believe conspiracy theories. The reasons proposed for this correspondence of beliefs were twofold: first, that both creationists and conspiracy theorists tend to…

access_time2 min.
winter wonders

ICE DISCS In mid-January, a massive disc of ice formed in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine. The disc, roughly 300ft (91m) in diameter, was slowly rotating counter-clockwise, with birds using it as a resting area. The location was dubbed “Moon River” because of its resemblance to the pale lunar orb. By general agreement, it was the most exciting thing that had happened in Westbrook since a giant snake was spotted eating a beaver in 2016. Such discs occur at river bends where the accelerating water creates a force called ‘rotational shear’, which breaks off a chunk of ice and twists it around. As the disc rotates, it grinds against surrounding ice, smoothing into a perfect circle. CBS Local, 15 Jan; BBC News, 16 Jan; Times, D.Express, 17 Jan; chroniclelive.co.uk, 31…

access_time2 min.
fake news

GALLING STONES In December, archæologists announced the discovery of an “amazing” recumbent stone circle in the parish of Leochel-Cushnie, Aberdeenshire. Since Paul Devereux’s report (FT376:14), a farmer who had once owned the land has confessed to building the circle himself about 25 years ago. “These types of monuments are notoriously difficult to date,” said Neil Ackerman, the historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire council. He said the revelation was “disappointing”, but doggedly looked on the bright side: “That it so closely copies a regional monument type shows the local knowledge, appreciation and engagement with the archæology of the region by the local community. I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient, [the circle] is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature…

access_time7 min.

BEAN A LONG WAY A sea heart bean that probably fell from a monkey ladder vine in the Brazilian rainforest and rolled into a tributary of the Amazon washed up 5,000 (8,500km) miles away at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, where it was found by Jim Gale, 31. The bean looks like a big heart-shaped conker and is often used to make lockets. Times, Sun, 14 Dec 2018. BOOK WRAP BLUNDER Martin Dorey is furious that his book No More Plastic (on how to reduce plastic waste) was shrink-wrapped by a US distributor. The book’s publisher Penguin was equally put out. Mr Dorey launched the Two-Minute Beach Clean campaign in 2009 to encourage people to pick up marine litter. “We’re sleepwalking into oblivion with plastic,” he said. D.Telegraph, D.Express, 3 Dec 2018. XMAS BLAZE Nicola Jackson,…