The First UFOlogist

Charles Fort. the first UFOlogist, wrote the first UFO book: The Book of the Dammed, published in 1919.

Charles Fort
Born in Albany, New York, Charles Fort was working as a newspaper reporter before the age of 20. Determined to become a writer, he traveled the world searching for experiences to write about. In South Africa Fort contracted a fever that followed him back to the United States. He married his nurse, Anne Filing, and embarked on a career as a freelance writer. Fort spent hours on end in the library pursuing his interests in nature and behavior.

While paging through old newspapers and scientific journals, he began to notice, among other repeatedly chronicled oddities of the physical world, reports of strange aerial phenomena. Taking voluminous notes, he eventually turned out four books. The first three The Book Of The Dammed (1919), New Lands (1923), and Lo! (1933), dealt in part with UFO's.

An intellectual with an impish sense of humour, Fort was fond of constructing outrageous "hypotheses" that could "explain" his data. But beneath the humour Fort was trying to make a serious point: Scientists were refusing to acknowledge that the world was full of weird phenomena and occurrences that did not fit there theories. "Scientific attempts to explain away such strange events as UFO sightings were laughably inadequate; their explanation, Fort wrote, were no less crazy then his own.

"Science is established preposterousness," he declared. "Science of Today -- Superstition of Tomorrow -- Science of Tomorrow -- Superstition of Today"

Behind the joking, however, Fort suspected that sightings of craft like objects in the air indicated extraterrestrial visits to earth. Yet he also understood humanity's resistance to such a fantastic, even threatening notion. In a letter he published in the September 5, 1926, issue of The New York Times, Fort offered some prescient observations. Extraterrestrial beings would not have to hide their activities, he wrote, because if "it is not the conventional or respectable thing upon this earth to believe in visitors from other worlds, most of us could watch them a week and declare that they were something else, and likley enough make things disagreeable for anybody who thought otherwise.

An eccentric American writer, finally put it all together, becoming the worlds first UFOlogist.