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Book of the Damned [Paperback]

Charles Fort
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Jun 1995
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: John Brown Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (23 Jun 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870870530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870870535
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,895,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Charles Hoy Fort (August 6, 1874 – May 3, 1932) was an American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena. Today, the terms Fortean and Forteana are used to characterize various such phenomena. Fort's books sold well and are still in print today. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Jason Mills VINE VOICE
Not only is this a dizzying procession of weirdness and a hilarious satire of the arrogance of scientists and journalists (though not really intended as a criticism of science itself, as reviewer Gordon Thomson here seems to think); it's also a remarkable 'voice', an unconventional and impish thinker merrily smashing idols on all sides. Fort does not really argue that the scientific method is 'wrong', he only emphasises the discrepancy between how incomplete scientific knowledge is and how complete many scientists seem to THINK it is! Time after time he unearths reports of anomalies such as fish-falls, entombed frogs, etc, and follows them up with the immediate, uninformed, lazy and inadequate explanations promptly offered up by the local pharmacist or the astronomer royal. Fort himself gleefully proposes alternative explanations that are deliberately outlandish and ridiculous, and yet which fit the facts better than what the boffins said.

Stephen Fry called science "humility before the facts". Fort spent decades gathering a host of ignored, "damned" facts, and his books are a call for more humility in their face. He was an original, and happily a great wit to boot.
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By fsl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't understand how it is okay for to publish something with a front cover that looks so blurry and with a copyright symbol on it. This book seems to look like a really cheap knock-off book. Maybe it is legal somehow, but even if so, why would want to send these completely distateful things out, when they have their reputation to think about, is beyond me. I thought when looking at the inside of the book as shown on the description, that at least the copyright symbol would not be on the actual copy, and the image not just something that looks like its been ripped off of google images. Cripes. Shameful.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to do with satanism 10 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This book is somewhat misleadingly titled. Amazon seem to have shoved it in with religion and satanism. The word "damned" in this context refers to "damned" data and evidence not accepted by the scientific mainstream, and it is a classic of fortean literature (well, obviously, as it's by the Man Himself).
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars mind mush for the easily lead 27 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As Carl Sagan once said "be open minded, but not so open minded that your brains fall out" This is true of this book and all things Fortean. I agree that science does not have all the answers, but neither do I agree with the Fortean maxim "absence of proof in not proof of absence" Well I say "absence of proof is not proof of existence". Too much criticism, too much reliance on flimsy evidence. The writing style of the book does not help either, and regardless of what others say Fort - to me - is a critic of the scientific method, but at the same time is not able to offer an alternative.

Disappointed is not the word for my feelings about this book. It did offer some interesting ways to view things, but sorry folks I'm not about to start believing in fairies, and Wizards just because I can't "prove" beyond all shade of shadow of doubt that they don't exist. Avoid, unless you are on of these "new age" types hat want's to believe anything.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The First UFO Investigator 19 Oct 2003
By M. A Michaud - Published on
This book, one of four he published before passing away in 1932, exploits Fort's research into reports of peculiar things in the sky or fallen from the sky to challenge the authority of establishment science. He describes the book as an assemblage of data of external relations of this earth, "damned" by those who hold for our planet's isolation. According to Fort, the attitude of Science and Christian Science toward the unwelcome is the same: it does not exist.
Some of the events described in these reports would be described today as UFO's. While some of these cases may warrant attention, others seem marginal.

Fort hypothesizes that "there is somewhere aloft a place" where life may have orginated; "evolution on this earth has been induced by external influences." He offers alternative explanations for unexplained sightings: another world that is in secret communication with certain "esoteric" inhabitants of this earth; other worlds that are trying to establish communication with all the inhabitants of the earth; other worlds and vast structures that pass us by without the slightest desire to communicate; a vast construction that has often come to this earth, dipped into an ocean, then gone away. At one point, Fort writes that the earth was a no-man's land explored and colonized by other worlds; now something owns this earth, warning off all others. All this, he goes on, has been known, perhaps for ages, to certain ones upon the earth.
It is hard to know how much of this is serious and how much is just satire. Fort's imagined super-constructions a few miles above the earth stretch credibility too far. His quirky writing style, though sometimes entertaining, tends to further undermine his believability. Nonetheless, anyone wanting to read into the UFO phenomenon may find this book useful background.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scepticism for starters: the trippy mind of Charles Fort 9 Nov 2003
By Takis Tz. - Published on
Hailed as the man who kick-started modern day scepticism for the findings and conclusions of mainstream science, Charles Fort is actually a man who is paid more tribute now than ever before with the advent of alternative archaeology and science in general and with more and more people (researchers, scientists or not) actually doubting some of our more precious scientific dogmas.
This book is a celebration of humor as well as scepticism, the humor part being the one which most people have greatly misunderstood about C.Fort.
Fort takes literally 100s of examples of bizzare unexplained phenomena such as things falling from the sky (ranging from frogs or fish to metal objects) to spontaneous combustion, to unidentified flying objects, to time travel among others and actually exposes science's comical "answers" to these phenomena.
Frogs that have been rained by the sky or fish for that matter are not a phenomenon that has stopped. It still happens. The "official explanation" remains as hilarious as it was back in Fort's times, namely: a hurricane or a whirlwind picks them up and "rains" them somewhere else. However, why these winds are selective in what they pick up remains unaswered by science.
The usual and continuing up to this day explanation about UFOs which concerns mass illusion or the classic "weather baloon" explanation is picked up by Fort and given the ridiculing treatment it deserves.
What makes Fort such a classic and cult figure is his ability to use subtle (mostly) but lethal sarcasm to debunk the dogmatic and more than often funny explanations that scientists offer when cornered with occurences that dont fit or even shutter their sacred theories.
Fort's intention is none other than to highlight our trait of mixing cluelessness with arrogance and at the same time to trigger openmindedness or more importantly thinking for oneself and not religiously depending on science to shape the answers so that they fit the question.
The problem that Fort brings out with the "Book of the damned" is one that persists today as well. With Darwinistic theories being heavily challenged, with the Bing Bang theory being literally taken apart by daring scientists, and with Quantum physics proving that the "unthinkable" might actually be very thinkable indeed it's the Fortean spirit celebrated all over again on a grand scale.
Fort's critics (and they aren't few) take his theories the way they take the theories of mainstream science as well: for granted. Fort offers in this book for example a theory of a "super Sargasso sea" where all these living organisms keep falling from. One would have to be tremendously lacking in humour or imagination not to gather that Fort is yanking the collective chain here. What he does say in reality is: "if you can offer such a ridiculous theory about this phenomenon (insert unexplained phenomenon here) then i might as well add my own which by no means is less or more serious but it's nevertheless just as unproven as yours".
It's as simple as that really and Fort uses this technique repeateadly in his "Book of the damned" calling damned those who "dare" refuse official dogma.
There has been much criticism as well concerning the overwhelming bulk of paradigms that Fort uses in this book and the critics are probably right in this case. There was no need for such volume as the point would easily get across with 1/3 of these examples.
But that aside, this is in fact a book way, way ahead of its time.
It's funny how a man can be thrown to the pyre exactly because he uses his humour to dismiss our fear of not being able to explain the world around us. It's even funnier that we keep insisting we can despite alarming failures.
The "Book of the damned" is a grand example of a brave mind. The problem with brave minds is that they are usually shoved under the gigantic rug tagged "truth" for a very long time before anyone recognises their impact.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and hilarious classic! 10 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This is not a new book, but was written sometime around the turn of century and has been considered a classic on most 'required reading' lists. A spoof on the awe in which society holds the Holy Writs of the scientific community, the author marshalled an impressive army of established, documented facts for which the official scientific explanations are simply absurd. A 'must read' for anyone who believes science teaches The Truth -- or for anyone who suspects otherwise.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting; well worth the read 6 Jun 2002
By GIR_336 - Published on
Weird rains of fish, frogs, blood, powders, meat, marsh paper, butter. Mysterious planets and black spots. UFOs. Giant axes. Fairy crosses and coffins. Huge footprints. Devil's walks. Rock-throwing poltergeists.
All this and more can be found in Charles Fort's "The Book of the Damned".
Fort's work is, of course, a satire on the dogmatism of science. Personally, I didn't find Fort very funny, and his work was very plodding, but well worth the time and effort.
Fort's first two chapters are a good build up. An interesting quote: "A procession of the damned.
By the damned, I mean the excluded.
We shall have a procession of data that Science has excluded.
Battalions of the accursed, captained by pallid data that I have exhumed, will march. You'll read them -- or they'll march. Some of them livid and some of them fiery and some of them rotten.
Some of them are corpses, skeletons, mummies, twitching, tottering, animated by companions that have been damned alive. There are giants that will walk by, though sound asleep. There are things that are theorems and things that are rags: they'll go by like Euclid arm in arm with the spirit of anarchy. Here and there will flit little harlots. Many are clowns. But many are of the highest respectability. Some are assassins. There are pale stenches and gaunt superstitions and mere shadows and lively malices: whims and amiabilities. The nave and the pedantic and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile."
He goes on to cite red, white, and grey hailstones, and hail the size of elephants, before he gets into his rains.
Fort's writing style is biting and interesting. It is certainly very draining on many; he smothers you with a catalogue-like listing of all kinds of falls, evidence for giants, UFOs, etc. You're getting very anxious. But when you finally get to the end . . . nothing.
If you're like me and for some reason just want to hear about the events, then this book is great.
While some of his theories have been outdated, I reccomend Charles Hoy Fort's "The Book of the Damned" for anyone who is even vaguely interested in the paranormal. Long but well worth the read. 7 out of 10
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book, well written, somewhat inconsistent 24 Dec 2002
By john landry - Published on
I recently learned of Charles Fort and his dedicated followers, self-described "Forteans". Forteans try to think outside of the box, "question everything" could be considered their motto. The "Book of the Dammed" is regarded by many to be his finest work.
The Good:
Fort does a great job at criticizing scientists, doctors and other experts. Through hundreds of examples he skillfully punches holes in their observations and conclusions, showing them to be slaves to a science that has closed the door on new phenomena. He offers interesting theories on relationships of objects and our understanding of them, dissecting the art of communication and understanding. Fort questions science with a sharp tongue, humor and wit. Conspiring to make a entertaining read although written nearly 100 years ago.
The Bad:
Sources, sources, sources. With a purported 1001 examples of unexplainable phenomena Fort seems to take every report at face value. Being boldly skeptical of the findings of modern science and not being nearly as critical of his sources seems contradictory.
The Ugly:
Being the father of modern skepticism must be pretty big shoes to fill, maybe too big. Criticizing science is one thing but by coming up with equally as silly theories, Fort has painted himself into a corner. He believes that there is a "Super Sargasso Sea" in our upper atmosphere that harbors fish, frogs and gelatinous substances. Pretty bizarre for a skeptic, especially when his proof appears to be wholly circumstantial.
Fort lived about 100 years ago and not much has changed, doctors and experts are still full of it when they act like they have all of the answers. Personally I believe that science has a long way to go toward explaining global warming, ozone depletion, UFO's etc... Kudos to Fort for pointing out the sham that science was and still is; perhaps his greatest achievement is that he has opened the eyes of many.
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