The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'Forteana'

See and Hear Tiffany Thayer!

June 17th, 2013 · No Comments

Tiffany Thayer, aka Elmer Ellsworth, founder of the Fortean Society, publisher of Doubt, writer of memorably sleazy fiction, was in Hollywood throughout much of the ’30s.  Several of his novels were made into reasonably successful movies (particularly Call Her Savage, tailored for Clara Bow).  He had less luck writing screenplays; only a few scenes and […]

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Tags: Forteana

Tiffany Thayer’s Fortean Categories

June 10th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Tiffany Thayer had his own, rather idiosyncratic, ideas about what topics were suitable for the Fortean Society.  In the 56th issue of Doubt (sometime in 1957), he published a list of categories that members were urged to investigate.  The list differs in many ways from contemporary Forteana, particularly in Thayer’s customary mix of social and […]

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Tags: Forteana

Little Blue Books by Forteans (2): Ben Hecht

June 6th, 2013 · No Comments

Ben Hecht declared himself “the first disciple of Charles Fort” in a review of The Book of the Damned,  and used the opportunity to coin the word “Fortean.”  Tiffany Thayer said the took Hecht as a model when he started writing fiction; and Thirteen Men, in particular, seems to aim for Hecht’s distinctive flash. Like […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Little Blue Books by Forteans (1): Theodore Dreiser

June 3rd, 2013 · 9 Comments

The “Little Blue Books” were published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius from about 1919 to 1947.  They were small, cheaply produced, and sold for around a nickel.  There were over 2000 of them; the exact number, despite diligent scholars, is unknown, since the books were often retitled, assigned new numbers, or replaced by other books. Haldeman-Julius started […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Membership in the Fortean Society

May 28th, 2013 · 10 Comments

The activities of the Fortean Society, apart from Tiffany Thayer’s magazine Doubt, are somewhat unclear.  Perhaps that was intentional; as Thayer said, with his usual bravura, “Many details of Fortean endeavor are necessarily surreptitious, because any activity with the avowed intention of causing men to think for themselves and to cherish self-respect is opposed in […]

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Tags: Ephemera · Forteana

“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, […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Memorable Magazines (2): Doubt

May 6th, 2013 · 5 Comments

The Fortean Society was founded in 1931 to promote the work of that indescribable author Charles Fort.  The founders were: Theodore Dreiser, J. David Stern, Tiffany Thayer, Ben Hecht, Booth Tarkington, Aaron Sussman, Burton Rascoe, Harry Elmer Barnes, Alexander Woollcott, John Cowper Powys, and Harry Leon Wilson.  Sussman was a book designer, and Stern a […]

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Tags: Ephemera · Forteana

Wooden Bigfoot Feet

November 26th, 2012 · 5 Comments

I know that people occasionally strap on wooden feet to hoax bigfoot tracks, but had never seen any until I found this pair at the flea market.  They measure 19 inches, and are roughly carved from a knotty wood (I assume pine, but someone else may know better), and are untreated.  They show some cracking […]

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Tags: Animals · Forteana · Hoaxes

The Ullage Group Presents Mark Pilkington

November 4th, 2012 · No Comments

Our old friend Mark Pilkington is in town, on a visit from London.  We had planned to organize a second film festival, and show some of his film work, with other material.  However, his planned talk at that fine institution, the Observatory at Proteus Gowanus, has been canceled, due, as you might guess, to the […]

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Tags: Books · Bulletins · Forteana

Phyllis Benjamin

March 13th, 2012 · 6 Comments

I learned yesterday of the death of Phyllis Benjamin, long the President of the International Fortean Organization.  She had been battling cancer; a stroke in January had further debilitated her.  She died last Friday, on March 9. Phyllis organized many Fortean conventions, under the names of FortFests and FortNites.  John Keel invited me to my […]

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Tags: Forteana