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See also: fortean



Fort +‎ -ean, named after Charles Hoy Fort (1874–1932), an American writer and investigator of anomalous phenomena. The word was coined by American journalist Ben Hecht (1894–1964) in a review of Fort’s book The Book of the Damned (1919) in the Chicago Daily News in 1920.[1]



Fortean (plural Forteans)

  1. A follower or admirer of Charles Fort.
    • 1996, Loren Coleman, “Alligators in the Sewers”, in Gillian Bennett and Paul Smith, editors, Contemporary Legend: A Reader (New Perspectives in Folklore; 4; Garland Reference Library of the Humanities; 1718), New York, N.Y.; London: Garland Publishing, →ISBN, page 153:
      Stories about alligators in the sewers have been of particular interest, however, to Forteans (followers of Charles Fort). Forteans contend that many happenings derided by the official science of the Western world (falls of frogs from clear skies, the appearance of lake monsters, mystery beasts and so on) are genuine occurrences.
  2. One who investigates anomalous phenomena.
    • 2003, Karl P. N. Shuker, “Bring Me the Head of the Sea Serpent!”, in The Beasts that Hide from Man: Seeking the World’s Last Undiscovered Animals, New York, N.Y.: Paraview Press, →ISBN, page 244:
      Not long afterwards, Fortean writer Paul Harris contacted me concerning this putative sea serpent, kindly supplying me with a couple of newspaper cuttings [] that contained photos of its remains, plus various additional details that he had gathered during his own investigation of this case.
    • 2013, “Contributors”, in Alex Norman, editor, Journeys and Destinations: Studies in Travel, Identity, and Meaning, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, →ISBN, page 287:
      Morandir [Armson] is also a traveller, a food blogger, a scholar of the occult, an amateur cook, a martial artist, an enthusiastic Fortean, and a transplant recipient.


Fortean (comparative more Fortean, superlative most Fortean)

  1. Of or pertaining to anomalous phenomena.
    Ufology is a somewhat Fortean subject.
    • 1957, Martin Gardner, “Flying Saucers”, in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, 2nd rev. and exp. edition, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, OCLC 9780486203942, page 55:
      Charles Fort died in 1932, fifteen years before the flying-saucer craze began. It is a pity he did not live to witness this mass mania, because in many ways, it was a triumph of pure Forteanism. Mysterious objects are seen in the sky. They elude all "official" and "scientific" explanation. Wild Fortean hypotheses are invented to explain them, and discussed seriously by the man in the street as well as by seemingly intelligent authors and editors.
    • 1986, Leon L. Gammell, “The Shorts”, in The Annotated Guide to Startling Stories (Starmont Reference Guide; no. 3), Mercer, Wash.: Starmont House, →ISBN, ISSN 0738-0127, page 85:
      Coppel, Alfred: TOUCH THE SKY [] Short story. / Obviously based on Fortean concepts, this one concerns a man who really did touch the sky.
    • 2001, Curt Sutherly, “Strangers in the Night”, in UFO Mysteries: A Reporter Seeks the Truth, St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, →ISBN, pages 44–45:
      Characters such as "Jack Brown" [supposedly a UFO investigator] have been annoying and frightening people for centuries. In earlier ages they were associated with the occult or with religious experience … the "dark men" of countless traditions. Today they are a part of the UFO mythos. They arrive after a UFO or fortean event, sometimes afoot, sometimes driving automobiles that appear new even if the vehicle is clearly many years old. [] They ask strange questions and make outlandish observations, or they simply follow from place to place.
    • 2015, Simon Wilson, “Fortean phenomena”, in Matt Cardin, editor, Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies, Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 92:
      Other Fort-influenced writers argue that Fortean phenomena are themselves the means by which a kind of paranormal conspiracy of cosmic proportions is perpetrated against human beings.
  2. Of or pertaining to Charles Fort.

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Related terms[edit]


  1. ^ Simon Wilson (2015), “Fortean phenomena”, in Matt Cardin, editor, Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies, Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 91.

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