- Aug 7, 2002
- Reaction score
Oh - more pix ya'll!
One day I will have to make it up there and join the fun!
One day I will have to make it up there and join the fun!
Bwahahahaha - now you belong to me...min_bannister said:No fear of my answer not being genuine, I am very much looking forward to being "trapped" with Gordon for the rest of our lives.
Well you could have saved a bit of money on that front - about half the number of dealers as normal so the number of potential book purchases would have been down.Ravenstone said:it's the hotel rooms, the food, the drink, and the all-important book buying.
http://heritage.scotsman.com/myths.cfm?id=701752006Thu 11 May 2006
Anomalies, forbidden science and a Fortean love story
THIS YEAR'S shindig for lovers of all things weird, the annual general meeting of the Fortean Times took place in London recently. The Unconvention (Uncon) meets once a year so that the motley gang of people interested in unusual and anomalous phenomena can gather together and share theories and ideas.
Fortean Times, which has been recording all things weird and mysterious since 1973, was set up to continue the work of Charles Fort. At the turn of the century this American researcher and writer spent his time collating and debating curious things. The magazine still does, and its yearly Uncon allows like-minded people to come together and wallow in all things weird.
A man in a Darth Vader mask sits outside the entrance way to the Uncon.
The gathered crowd - or Forteans as they are known - are a mixed bag of people. They are predominantly male and there are a lot of men in hats – enough to keep an army of milliners busy for weeks. There are trilbies, cowboy hats, baseball hats, berets and even one top hat. There are also a lot of walking sticks.
Fortean interests are as diverse as their headgear, with Ufologists - whose interest is, of course, UFOs and cryptozoologists - those interested in as yet undiscovered animals. (The Loch Ness monster is perhaps the most famous example "living" in our midst.) There are also a smattering of conspiracy theorists, alternative historians and people interested in the occult and the paranormal.
Colin Munro and his girlfriend Gayle Probert make up part of the Edinburgh contingent who travelled down for the meeting. Munro lists Fortean interests with relish:
"Forteans are interest in UFO's ghosts, history, forbidden science. Stuff scientists are scared to touch in case they look like loonies." And Colin himself? "I'm interested in all these subjects and keen to keep an open mind."
His girlfriend Gayle is here because of Colin. She doesn't go to the monthly Edinburgh meetings, but she has enjoyed the weekend as it gives her a chance to meet up with other people who have had paranormal experiences.
"I've seen a ghost, my gran, and it helps coming here," says Probert. "People are interested and it's nice to talk to someone who doesn't think you're mental."
Stewart Smith, another Edinburgh Fortean is here because he questions everything:
"There was an old t-shirt that Forteans used to wear that said: 'As a Fortean I have no opinion'. It's a certain kind of not being sure about anything. Some people here have their own pet theories – I don't – I don't accept anything unless there's evidence."
The weekend is jam-packed with fellow questors and seekers. At the moment no conference could possible go off without discussion of The Da Vinci Code and Uncon is no exception. Saturday kicks off with a talk from Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, who spent an hour telling the audience that their book inspired "Dan" and because, unlike other authors, they haven't sued, they'd landed a walk-on part in their friend "Dan's" film along with their new best friend "Tom". Well, hurrah for them…
But beyond the Code subjects ranged from magic lanterns, a Canadian sociologist who thought cryptozoology was a load of nonsense, angels, fairies and a cryptozoologist who thought sociology was a load of nonsense.
The hot topic for the weekend was creationism and intelligent design – a theory coming out of America's fundamentalist bible-belt that rejects the theory of evolution and suggests an alternative God-inspired version of how we all got to be where we are today.
These talks proved the most hotly debated and had Stewart Smith puzzling over what stand to take:
"I sometimes don't want to champion evolution because that's a dogmatic theory and I am against dogma," he says. "I'm keen on pastafarianism – where an American academic said it's OK to teach the alternatives, so long as you acknowledge that the alternatives can include a flying spaghetti monster creating the universe."
As the weekend draws to a close it is deemed a success. It's all been very good-natured, and judging by the Edinburgh lot, being a Fortean is not only fun, but also a great way to meet members of the opposite sex.
There's Colin and Gayle, Stuart and Christine, who along with Uncon organiser and Edinburgh teacher Gordon Rutter and his girlfriend spent Saturday afternoon at a Fortean pagan wedding in Greenwich where they all jumped over a broomstick during a handfasting ceremony.
And the love theme didn't stop there. After the final speaker Gordon Rutter took to the stage to ask his girlfriend to marry him. (A very Fortean way of proposing). She said yes, which must mean that for one couple at least this year's Uncon was even more memorable than usual.
To be fair some of the people who attend UnCon are and they are the ones that the press do focus on - I am thinking specifically here of the person with the Darth Vader mask.GadaffiDuck said:While not rude, the subtext of the article above firmly (according to one of my non fortean friends) puts us in the weirdo bracket. We are not saucer folk!
You get that at Sci-fi and RPG conventions. To appeal to the mundane market there has to be a "fingerpointing/oooh, aren't they loonys?" subtext. This, primarily, ignores any sensible elements, 'cause it would mean taking summat seriously. Hence on every (and I mean EVERY) morning news programme that discussed the recent Government/UFO release, they each used the theme tune from the X Files!GadaffiDuck said:While not rude, the subtext of the article above firmly (according to one of my non fortean friends) puts us in the weirdo bracket. We are not saucer folk!
Damn! And I was just thinking to myself, "Top hat, eh? Bet I know who that was!"Stormkhan said:Anyhow, it wasn't me in the top hat this year. So, it wasn't my fault!
Hur! Hur! Hur!Ravenstone said:
Tsk, tsk, tsk! Everyone knows that, in order to capture Stormkhan, one must bait the trap with Real Ale...Stormkhan said:They seek him here, they seek him there ... They'll seek Stormkhan everywhere (until they track him down in a pub when they try to kill him deader than Grigor Rasputin - with as much sucess!)
Heh. I missed that. Must have been while I nipped out to get a cup of tea. That sounds quite funny.Bilderberger said:Just thought I'd share my personal highlight from Uncon....
Jan Bondeson asking Clive Prince if he had considered using craniofacial anthropometrics to scientifically assess the similarity of the face on the Turin Shroud to the Leonardo painting. A very helpful and sensible suggestion I thought...
Clive looked like a rabbit in the headlights and seemed to be suggesting that the morphing of the photos was enough evidence... Jan tried to help - but it was falling on deaf ears...
Unfortunately, I am not sure how many people caught this exchange as everyone seemed to be shuffling around towards the toilets at the time.