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'Fortean' is a term used to describe strange, unexplainable phenomena. It is derived from the work of Charles Hoy Fort, a nice man by all accounts, who spent a large portion of his life investigating strange things that were happening in the world, from water divination to frogs falling out of the sky... and everything else in between.

In the early 20th Century, science was trying to explain everything in the world with hard data and factual information; but that which did not fit into this framework was often dismissed with facile explanations or, all too often, ignored. By collecting newspaper clippings of anything peculiar happening in the world, Mr Fort was able to write a number of books on many subjects explaining his own views and beliefs. These beliefs were further expounded in the publication of The Fortean Times, which attempts to perpetuate his research and ideals.

Most people have a view, for or against, on subjects such as UFOs. Indeed, there are many who have fanatical views, but these folk are best avoided. The friendly Fortean is usually quite sane (or at least no madder than the next person), and believes that investigation and research will reveal the truth. Far too often, in the field of the paranormal, people put forward their beliefs without looking at both sides of the argument.

Hopefully, people will learn to take advantage of the Internet and other resources to read original research data themselves1.

1The late Dr Carl Sagan expressed concern that 'The enormous volume of sensationalist misinformation in popular media presentations, such as those that present whimsical, often outrageous notions with no scientific basis, and which pose questions as statements of fact, is outcompeting knowledge based on well-grounded research and good scientific technique.' Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, New York, Random House, 1996.

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