The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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“I never heard of Charlie Fort”

May 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

The Palm Beach Post, September 26, 1937, published a review of the first issue of the Fortean Society Magazine.  The reviewer, E. C. K. (and I have no clue who that is), was impressed by the roster of founders, intrigued by Fort, and puzzled by Thayer.  He or she had also never heard of Fort, leading to these verses.  I don’t know of any other poetry about Fort; maybe there’s some out there.

Incidentally, the interesting verb “debunk” has changed over the years. Now, it mostly means “disprove”; in the ’30s it usually meant “remove the bunk from”: Clarence Darrow was described by an admirer as debunked, meaning that he’d freed himself of silly ideas.  Fort, it should be pointed out, debunked science in that earlier sense of the word.

I never heard of Charlie Fort —
How dumb a person I must be —
For judging by his partisans,
His was a great mentality.

I never heard of Charlie Fort
Who spent his time debunking science,
Who never feared to say “‘Tain’t so!”
Who hurled at sacred cows defiance.

I never heard of Charlie Fort
Until the press enlightened me;
But from the shameful depths I ask:
Did you yourself, now honestly?

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

Tags: Forteana · Literature

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