First Interest In Fortean Topics

tilly50

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What was your first interest in something fortean?

Mine was reading about the disappearance of the lighthouse keepers in the Isle of Flannan. I read the story when I was about 5 or 6. The story fascinated me and does so today. I began to read as much as I could and expanded my interest into other realms of Forteana.
 

James_H

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I've been into ghosts for as far back as I remember, and used to be convinced that many lived in my house - so I used to scare the bejeezus out of my little self by borrowing books on the subject from the school library. Later, I moved onto aliens, and was firmly convinced that I was probably abducted in my sleep.

I used to enthusiastically consume books on all fortean subjects, and was introduced to the Fortean Times by an uncle.

I now longer believe in most of this stuff, if I'm honest with myself, but it doesn't stop me having a keen interest.
 

Moooksta

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Dinsdale's "Loch Ness Monster" book, Osbourne's big books of Fortean subjects and Miss Farquahson telling me the story of Sawney Beane.

It was either one off or a combination of them of all that made me read more.

Doctor Who didn't help.
 

Timble2

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Doctor Who and articles in Look and Learn on things like "the Devils Footprints", they did the Loch Ness Monster too.
 

Yithian

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Reader's Digest at the dentist, ghost and mystery books at school, Tintin from the library.

Also, a children's story about a headless horseman that gave me nightmares for months and made me first dwell on the idea of death in the small hours.
 

GNC

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I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't interested, so I'm a "don't know". I might have been born this way.
 

danny_cogdon

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Me too. I've had Fortean experiences since my earliest memories. I just sort of grew up with them.
 

Spookdaddy

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Used to spend many blustery afternoons with one of my dad's several mad and elderly cousins huddled around the fire in the tiny front room of a tiny cottage in a huge landscape, crammed with ancient furniture and musical instruments, tapestries, dusty books and random bits of farm equipment - toilet in the back yard, bath under some planks in the kitchen, bicycle in the bedroom - listening to stories of headless horsemen, Maggoty Alice, the Jacobite army my uncles still heard in the woods behind one of the fields they ploughed, a big black dog the policeman's blackthorn went right through when he hit out at it, phantom Russian armies marching in the snow on their way to France and the ghost of a Boer who followed another uncle all the way home from South Africa.

No idea how I got interested.

(edit: If some of that sounds somewhat anachronistic I should probably add that my dad is twenty years older than my mum and that he is also the baby of his family by fifteen years, which puts me in the odd position of having had aunts and uncles, not to mention a couple of grandparents, a generation or so removed from those you would normally expect with someone my age.)
 

MsQkxyz

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Good question!
As far back as I can remember Ive always found forteanian type topics interesting. I can remember my (10 year old) cousin joking around about ghosts and witches and fairies and magic when I was 4. Im sure she had always done that though had other kids to scare instead of me before then. However I also believed in Santa Claus at that point too... Im not really sure when the point came that I seperated some things from being "fairytales" to an interest.

I have however always remembered bits of past lives.
 

oldrover

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February 4 1977, Broad Haven school UFO was on the local news, I remember being too scared to look out of the window that evening and demanding my lego spaceship be immediately dismantled as a precaution. Earlier for crypto stuff which began when I found my Mother's copy of 'Footprints in the snow' I can also remember my Aunt and Mother talking about the Mokele Mbembe in the 70's. The most important one for me though, was in the late 80's, getting ready to go out to the pub and idly glancing at the TV to see the animatronic Thylacine in the 'Nature of Australia'.
 

ramonmercado

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It was through my early interest in SF, I got interested in UFOs.
 

McAvennie

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Probably seeing 'Arthur C Clarke's World of the Strange' and the Newby Church ghost photo on TV when I was about 6 or 7. Scared the life out of me :S
 

GNC

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McAvennie_ said:
Probably seeing 'Arthur C Clarke's World of the Strange' and the Newby Church ghost photo on TV when I was about 6 or 7. Scared the life out of me :S

I recall my dad telling me Arthur wasn't that impressed with Charles Fort, but that series was like all my Fortean dreams come true when I was little. Short of actually seeing a(nother) UFO, that is...
 

Cultjunky

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I blame Enid Blyton - Enchanted Forest and The Magic Far Away Tree are just about the earliest books I remember reading, then a quick hop step n a jump to Arthur C Clark on telly.
 

agentbuffy

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McAvennie_ said:
... the Newby Church ghost photo ... Scared the life out of me :S

I didn't know which photo this was, so I googled it, and, Hey! Presto! up from the depths comes the memory of probably my first Fortean experience.

When I was a lot younger than I am now, my mum had a membership of one of these "book of the month" clubs, and one month got a copy of "Photographs of the Unknown" (I don't think it was anything to do with FT, but the esteemed Bob Rickard was one of the editors). Held within these wonderful pages were pretty much all the "mainstream" Fortean subjects you could ask for - from lake monsters and bigfoots (bigfeet? bigsfoot? I dunno ...), through the Japanese sea monster dredged up on what seemed to be an oil rig, UFO's, moving rocks in Death Valley, and up to ghost photos. And there was one photo that always weirded me out the most, and it was the Newby Church photo - I think it was because it always looked like some kind of weird ghost monster rather than a "normal" human ghost that freaked me out the most. Plus it reminded me of the alien on the front of the Cosmic Encounters box (if anybody here is as big a board game geek as me).

Anyway - heartily recomend the book, although it does come across as a little non-critical in places (Silver Belle, anybody?!), but then it always struck me as a mass market publication rather than aimed at a more sceptical audience. It was definitely my first introduction to the genre, and the fact it doesn't lambast any of the seeming obvious fakery (as I look at it now), probably helped foster my love for the weird and wonderful.
 

McAvennie

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I think my brother-in-law had those books as I remember being slightly older and staying at my sister's and they had a set of leather bound paranormal part-work books. Had the Newby ghost in as well as several worrisome - to a pre-teen wimp - pics of ectoplasm spouting mystics.

Being now somewhere between 6'4" and 6'5" I often think of dressing up as the Newby Ghost at Halloween for some scares but worry that it would be that unsettling that I would scare myself before I even got to the party :lol:
 

OldTimeRadio

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Personal Fortean Genesis

In my case it seems to have been the American comic books of the late 1940s and early 1950s, with their wild four-color speculations concerning ghosts, pyramid builders, Atlantis, UFOs, monsters, time and dimension travel and so on.

P. S. A year ago I obtained many of those same comics again, this time on computer disc.
 

LaurenChurchill

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My earliest memories of fortean-type interest involve the tv shows Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Scooby Doo, a Reader's Digest book of the unexplained and the Usborne Guide to UFOs.

I think it all started with my not being allowed to stay up late and watch The X-Files with Dad. Anything he did was cool to me, so if I couldn't watch it, I'd read about it. Enid Blyton books with the fake ghosts that always turn out to be smugglers didn't hurt either :D
 

colinbaker32

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When I was a kid I would often spend ages waiting for my dad to finish looking at stuff in shops, and one day I noticed this book called 'photographs of the unknown'.

I look at it every week in the shop and I eventually saved up for it and bought it, by which time I had seen all of it.

It still gives me the creeps today, itb has sections on ghosts, ufos, strange life, paranormal persons etc....
 

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I had a paperback book on ghosts when I was about 5. I still remember the contents quite well. It had a few celebrity experiences, including my favorite about Telly Savalas who was helped home by a good samaritan ghost when he ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere! Loved that story.
 

shruggy63

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An R.E. teacher who liked to think he was a very broad-minded, liberal christian arranged an, heavily subscribed, outing to a lecture (with slides!) on the Nazca ground drawings. I was the only kid that turned up...
I wish I could remember the name of the lecturer; she was a game old bird of the old school (late 1970's) theories?
In my memory she was tanned as a turtle & wearing khaki.
 

GNC

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I now have a copy of Photographs of the Unknown, and it is a great book, or it was for me when I was a kid borrowing "strange thingies" type tomes from the library. One of the most memorable, and stands up pretty well, great to have those pics all in one place, too.
 

James_H

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I have to add that the Arthur C. Clarke books (as found in car boots sales), along with The Unexplained, were huge influences on my interest in forteanism.
 

Dr_Baltar

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I can't be certain, but it may well have been watching David Attenborough's Fabulous Animals that really hooked me. I still have the book that accompanied the series as a treasured relic of my childhood.
 

kirmildew

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Definitely Orbis' Unexplained partwork. My dad collected it and I would give myself such terrors reading about mothmen, green children, malevolent aliens and tulpas!
 

Spookdaddy

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Dr_Baltar said:
I can't be certain, but it may well have been watching David Attenborough's Fabulous Animals that really hooked me. I still have the book that accompanied the series as a treasured relic of my childhood.

Same here. Present from my grandparents.

The first books I remember buying myself were Janet and Colin Bord's Mysterious Britain and The Secret Country while on holiday in York with my mum and dad back in the 70's. I read them so much they fell apart.
 

Ronnor

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My interest was garnered when I was around 7 or 8 by the Reader's Digest Book of the Unexplained, which contained a large version of this drawing and led to many sleepless nights. I still have to book and can barely look at that page, years later...
 

uair01

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oldrover said:
crypto stuff
At least the conspiracy / espionage part of my interest began with the book "Cloak and Cipher: A History of Secret Writing; the Analysis of Famous Codes and Ciphers". I must have been 10 or so. And then came the UFO's and the books by John Keel.
 

Mythopoeika

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My first interest in Forteana was through reading Countdown and TV21 comics when I was about 10 or 11.
I had a stack of Countdown comics. They had a regular, well-written section on UFOs - it really sparked my young imagination.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countdown_(Polystyle_Publications)


Edit: I also had a stack of Look and Learn magazine, which also similarly inspired me in many ways. Why aren't comics like that around these days?

Edit 2: Just remembered - Ranger magazine - that was brilliant too!
 

escargot

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I was raised on it. My father's mother was a Spiritualist and told us kids stories of Manifesation Mediums :shock: (which she witnessed many times) and my father collected books on every Fortean subject known - UFOs, ghosts, the Yeti, the hole in the earth, Atlantis, teleportation, you name it. :D

My mother didn't hold with any of this, while regularly seeing and hearing ghosts. :lol:

Having seen how the gullible can be exploited by the cynical, I tried to bring up my own family with a healthy scepticism but was thwarted at every turn by their unsettling experiences of ghost cats, nature fairies, our 'Phantom Drip' and numerous other phenomena. :roll:
 
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