The Pine Barrens Institute

Cryptids - Folklore - Sightings

What is “Fortean”?


 Fortean: Fort·e·an /ˈfôrdēən/

adjective: Fortean

  1. relating to or denoting paranormal phenomena.

Origin: 1970s - from the name of Charles H. Fort, American student of paranormal phenomena.

Usage: ‘I discovered, many years later, that Fort directed that his notes and papers were to be made available to Fortean researchers.”


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Charles Hoy Fort (August 6, 1874 – May 3, 1932) was an American writer and researcher who specialized in anomalous phenomena. The terms Fortean and Forteana are sometimes used to characterize various such phenomena. For more than thirty years, Charles visited libraries in New York City and London, assiduously reading scientific journals, newspapers, and magazines, collecting notes on phenomena that were not explained well by the accepted theories and beliefs of the time.

Examples of the odd phenomena researched by Fort include many occurrences of the sort variously referred to as occult, supernatural, and paranormal. Reported events include teleportation (a term Fort is generally credited with inventing); falls of frogs, fishes, inorganic materials of an amazing range; spontaneous human combustion; ball lightning (a term explicitly used by Fort); poltergeist events; unaccountable noises and explosions; levitation; unidentified flying objects; unexplained disappearances; giant wheels of light in the oceans; and animals found outside their normal ranges.

He collected many reports of out-of-place artifacts (OOPArts), strange items found in unlikely locations. He was also perhaps the first person to explain strange human appearances and disappearances by the hypothesis of alien abduction and was an early proponent of the extraterrestrial hypothesis, specifically suggesting that strange lights or objects sighted in the skies might be alien spacecraft.

I cannot say that truth is stranger than fiction, because I have never had acquaintance with either.
— Charles Fort ( From the book 'Wild Talents')