50 Years Of Forteana (Well, Nearly)

eziofan

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While thumbing through some early back issues of FT recently it occurred to me that 2023 will be the 50th anniversary of The News/FT.
This got me thinking about what has happened to Forteana over this period.

This is bound to be a contentious post as everyone will have their own views on whether certain Fortean topics continue to be relevant or not.

For my part, we have seen the rise, and fall, of crop circles, and ley lines.
The Millennium has come and gone with little happening of note (Heavens Gate excepted).
Ufology seems to have imploded on itself.
Fortean staples such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, ABC, Yeti, etc, still lack physical evidence with little sign of any on the horizon. Now that everyone has a camera strapped to their hands 24/7 we should be seeing more photographic evidence than ever before (even bloody doorbells have cameras now!).

I am a little puzzled over Cryptozoology. OOP animals are 10 a penny these days. The global trade in endangered species alone can account for the appearance of any number of weird species encountered outside of their normal environment. A browse through FT's Alien Zoo section shows that the majority of the stories relate to reclassification of known species or the discovery of previously unknown species, This seems to me more like Zoology. I had always assumed Cryptozoology was based on the discovery of unknown animals based on folklore.

The spiritual/religious world is obviously a rich vein of phenomenology and this is unlikely to end any time soon. Space exploration will undoubtedly continue to raise amazing questions. And don't get me started on the Quantum world!

We live in strange times. There will always be a place for strange phenomena. I don't expect I will be around to see the 100th anniversary of FT but I am interested to hear what others feel will be the future of Forteana.
 

EnolaGaia

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I can see conspiracy and urban folk lore thriving in the future. ...
I agree with this. IMHO conspiracies (broadly defined) and ULs (disseminated ever more quickly by social networking) stand to be reliable "growth sectors" for the foreseeable future.
 
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EnolaGaia

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Last point first ...
I had always assumed Cryptozoology was based on the discovery of unknown animals based on folklore.
Same here ... Dating back to my childhood and the heyday of Heuvelmans and Sanderson I always thought of cryptozoology in terms of evaluating / proving the existence of species or specimens that were considered fictional, mythic, solely folkloric, extinct, etc., yet were portrayed as "real", even if only in the past.

I am a little puzzled over Cryptozoology. OOP animals are 10 a penny these days. The global trade in endangered species alone can account for the appearance of any number of weird species encountered outside of their normal environment. A browse through FT's Alien Zoo section shows that the majority of the stories relate to reclassification of known species or the discovery of previously unknown species, This seems to me more like Zoology.
Agreed ... I've never considered the discovery of a previously unknown ("real") species as cryptozoological rather than zoological unless there was an extant claim of existence its discovery explained or validated.

Looking to the future ... It strikes me that there could be a resurgence of crypto candidates (in the sense defined above) as we come to believe more and more species have become extinct. Just as classic cryptozoology might be construed as efforts to overturn the opinion a creature is nothing more than fiction, future cryptozoology may well encompass numerous efforts to overturn the opinion that a creature is no longer with us.

One obvious potential test would be the discovery of recognizable "life" outside earth (e.g., on Mars, Europa, etc.). I don't think I'd consider such a discovery to be cryptozoological, even though there'd been considerable literary and artistic speculation about such extraterrestrial life.
 

EnolaGaia

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I've long thought the most quintessentially Fortean quote of all comes from J. B. S. Haldane:
[M]y own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
(Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286)

I tend to suspect future Forteana studies will focus increasingly upon our capacity for supposing (i.e., how an observer may make sense of anomalous phenomena) rather than the classic catalogue of things folks suppose they've seen or encountered.
 

EnolaGaia

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IMHO one of the safest bets one could make on future Forteana is that much of what's reported and debated will involved phenomena wholly known, if not wholly manifest, in cyberspace. I have little doubt the future inventory of 'ghosts' or 'spirits' will include many examples claimed to 'live' in the global networks. The concepts of a global uber-network-of-networks and AI provide a rich foundation for all sorts of strange phenomena and interactions that will be mythologized.
 

Spudrick68

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I also feel that, even though at a glacial pace, things may be moving away from the reductionist materialistic scientific viewpoint. They of course will cling on to dogma as long as they can. A refusal to accept that this approach is not an appropriate tool alone to investigate certain phenomena.

Advances in quantum physics (I have no knowledge of the subject beyond that of the bloke in the pub) may raise further questions into the nature of reality.

Frustratingly to me personally I can see if e phenomena is understood in the future where some people derided it, they will see it as proof that their view of the scientific method has conquered once again. It is a win/win situation for them.
 

catseye

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I think we may see more research into - not what we see when we are reporting supernatural phenomina, but why we see what we see.
 

Analogue Boy

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Actually, I think we’re entering a new age of wilful ignorance with things like Flat Earth becoming a thing again. This gives me hope there’ll be a healthy return to witch trials and talk of changelings again as there is still an old stocks on the village green up the road from me and it would be nice to see a return to simpler times. Thanks to the internet, there also seems to be a rise in PDS. Public Displays of Stupidity. So there’ll be no shortage of those sorts of stories. Sadly, everyone carrying a camera hasn’t helped people’s understanding of how they work, what lens flares can do to an image or USING THE CORRECT ASPECT RATIO.
 
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Sharon Hill

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am a little puzzled over Cryptozoology. OOP animals are 10 a penny these days. The global trade in endangered species alone can account for the appearance of any number of weird species encountered outside of their normal environment. A browse through FT's Alien Zoo section shows that the majority of the stories relate to reclassification of known species or the discovery of previously unknown species, This seems to me more like Zoology. I had always assumed Cryptozoology was based on the discovery of unknown animals based on folklore.
The field of cryptozoology is entirely fluid because it ebbs and flows due to the media response to popularity of local legends or the people that search for them. Dr. Shuker has an antiquated idea of cryptozoology as described by Heuvelmans because that is certainly not what the modern cryptid fan considers it now. Example: Check out the new movie Cryptozoo and see that almost all the animals are supernatural from mythology and clearly non-zoological. So, that's just not consistent with anomalies or "damned data".

Looking to the future ... It strikes me that there could be a resurgence of crypto candidates (in the sense defined above) as we come to believe more and more species have become extinct. Just as classic cryptozoology might be construed as efforts to overturn the opinion a creature is nothing more than fiction, future cryptozoology may well encompass numerous efforts to overturn the opinion that a creature is no longer with us.

One obvious potential test would be the discovery of recognizable "life" outside earth (e.g., on Mars, Europa, etc.). I don't think I'd consider such a discovery to be cryptozoological, even though there'd been considerable literary and artistic speculation about such extraterrestrial life.
Good point. But that would be pretty dull and pointless if that's the way it goes. Even the thylacine sightings stuff is tedious to me.

For the future of Forteana, we will always have "It Happened to Me". Everything seems potentially "enchanted" these days because people really want that.
 

Trevp666

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I think we’re entering a new age of wilful ignorance
I think you're right, but also, and somehow conversely, I feel like we have moved ever increasingly into the 'Age of Debunking' in which peoples general 'willing suspension of disbelief' has been more and more eroded.
The old 'I want to believe' as popularised during the time of 'The X-Files' being on our TVs now seems to have been replaced with a greater lack of credulousness, a greater cynicism and greater scepticism. More like a case of 'I want to believe??'
I sometimes think that the theory about 'Why aren't aliens landing on the White House lawn' as put forward by Dr Michio Kaku, and the quote from Carl Sagan of ‘Remarkable claims require remarkable proof’ are becoming more fitting with each passing year.
 

Analogue Boy

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The thing about most Fortean stuff is the phenomena change to remain elusive and just out of reach. Old cow-lassoing airships of days gone by are now tic-tacs outperforming military jets. Plain old ordinary hauntings have become demonic possessions. Some old piece of electronics kit suddenly becomes the means to communicate beyond the veil, pretty much as a trumpet and a tambourine on a string provided a soundtrack to a Victorian seance. Mysterious miraculous archeology has proven to be down to good human technique, so now, as yet undiscovered underwater cities are now being claimed to be the home and bases of ancient super advanced civilisations. Bigfoot becomes a pandimensional elemental spirit manifesting and disappearing like a fairy at will…. just out of reach.
None of this makes the study of folklore and cultural beliefs any less interesting but you get the idea where my time studying this stuff has left me.
 

escargot

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I think you're right, but also, and somehow conversely, I feel like we have moved ever increasingly into the 'Age of Debunking' in which peoples general 'willing suspension of disbelief' has been more and more eroded.
The old 'I want to believe' as popularised during the time of 'The X-Files' being on our TVs now seems to have been replaced with a greater lack of credulousness, a greater cynicism and greater scepticism. More like a case of 'I want to believe??'
I sometimes think that the theory about 'Why aren't aliens landing on the White House lawn' as put forward by Dr Michio Kaku, and the quote from Carl Sagan of ‘Remarkable claims require remarkable proof’ are becoming more fitting with each passing year.
I think the opposite: a lot of people will still believe any old rubbish. There's a rich stagnant blend of old and new brands of poppycock for them to lap up, usually at a stiff cost.

For everyone who says 'There's no such thing as ghosts!' ten are taking herbal supplements to cure cancer or picking a partner on the basis of their birth sign.
 

catseye

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I think the opposite: a lot of people will still believe any old rubbish. There's a rich stagnant blend of old and new brands of poppycock for them to lap up, usually at a stiff cost.

For everyone who says 'There's no such thing as ghosts!' ten are taking herbal supplements to cure cancer or picking a partner on the basis of their birth sign.
Plus, as the old generation, brought up on Harry Price and Peter Underwood drop off and the new generation coming behind has been brought up on DEMONS IN MY HOUSE YouTube channels and Most Haunted, things are bound to change. People don't seem to learn from books any more, it's all multi-media, televised stuff, half-seen images on blurry Ring doorbell films and EVP machines. I wonder if the lack of need to use ones imagination quite so much may influence future Forteana?
 

EnolaGaia

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... I wonder if the lack of need to use ones imagination quite so much may influence future Forteana?
It can, and will, influence almost all aspects of individual and social life as time goes on. The inability to 'imagine' on one's own is one of the greatest and most disturbing deficiencies I've noted in younger folks specifically and people of all ages who've allowed their empty heads to be filled with whatever others are peddling.

I sometimes wonder whether the relatively sudden rise of interest in aphantasia (a label not invented until 2015) since the turn of this century is symptomatic of a general atrophy of imagination or decreased experiences that nurture imaginative faculties in childhood.
 

Nosmo King

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Oh yes, there are still a huge number of credulous, gullible, imbeciles around.
And they even go to try and look up the word 'gullible' when you tell them it isn't in the dictionary.
My friend fell for that one, twice :hahazebs:
 

catseye

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It can, and will, influence almost all aspects of individual and social life as time goes on. The inability to 'imagine' on one's own is one of the greatest and most disturbing deficiencies I've noted in younger folks specifically and people of all ages who've allowed their empty heads to be filled with whatever others are peddling.

I sometimes wonder whether the relatively sudden rise of interest in aphantasia (a label not invented until 2015) since the turn of this century is symptomatic of a general atrophy of imagination or decreased experiences that nurture imaginative faculties in childhood.
I'm assuming that the number of aphatasics has remained the same as it ever was, rather than increasing - it's just that people are now realising that it's a 'thing' and that others aren't being metaphorical when they talk about 'seeing in the mind's eye'. I sometimes wonder about people who say things like 'oh I couldn't write a book, I can barely write a shopping list', whether they truly mean that they have no 'inner stories' or whether they are just unconfident about their ability to put words on paper.
 

Trevp666

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CarlosTheDJ

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I wonder if kids today are still reduced to heaps of shaking crying blubber when they see ol' Newby for the first time?

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