The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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The Ullage Group and Forteana

April 14th, 2008 · 2 Comments

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We started this as a sort of Fortean Society, as you may have gathered from the occasional remark.  Since there’s some confusion over the term, we might as well clarify matters.

First off, both founders (Doug Skinner and Anthony Matt) have been active in various Fortean groups — loosely defined as groups that bandy about topics that might have interested Charles Fort.  Anthony has written for the “Fortean Times,” and is working on a documentary about Fort and Forteans.  Doug, being older, had a head start; he was a member of John Keel’s disreputable NY Fortean Society (see above), and has written and lectured on a bouquet of topics.  We also do other things, thank you; it’s not the brainstem of either of us.

The word “Fortean” was coined by Ben Hecht, who proclaimed himself the first one.  For him, it simply meant that he liked reading Fort.  Some citizens, especially those pseudo-skeptics hooked on debunkery, take it as a synonym for “believer”; and deride all Forteans as saucerheads and Sasquatch trackers.  Fair enough — some are, and vice versa.  Some Baptists play baseball, if you get my drift.  Fort himself is best defined as a Pyrrhonist (that is, a deep-dyed doubter, in the style of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho).  Anthony is interested in hoaxes and stereo photography.  Doug goes gaga for methodology, and for the literature and history of heterodoxy.

The founder of the original Fortean Society, Tiffany Thayer, defined himself as a Pyrrhonist, anarchist, and atheist; and devoted the organization to “dissension from all dogma.”  We like his spirit, but see several reasons not to turn his anti-dogmatism into dogma.

We hope that clears things up; and we love you all, sort of.  How are you doing with that ullage?

(Doug’s “Fortean Times” article on Thayer has been posted here, if you’re interested.)

(Posted by Doug Skinner) 

Tags: Clubs and Associations · Forteana

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paul // Nov 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Any news on Mr. Matt’s documentary?

  • 2 Doug // Nov 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    He was planning to show some of the footage at our last event, but we ended up turning the afternoon over to Mark Pilkington, since Mark’s talk at another space was canceled due to damage from the hurricane. I’ll nag him about it!

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