“Does anyone actually believe anything anymore?”

These panels from Volume 1 of Saucer Country dip a toe into the ideas of Charles Fort.

These panels from Volume 1 of Saucer Country dip a toe into the ideas of Charles Fort.

In the panels shown here, Paul Cornell, author of Saucer Country, says that we are all “Forteans.” He was referencing the Charles Fort quote “One measures a circle beginning anywhere,” found in Volume 1 of Saucer Country. At this point in the story, as Michael is leaving, he and Arcadia are talking about the public, and what people are choosing to believe, or not believe. What is true, what isn’t? After the supposed abductions, they’re both questioning everything.

Charles Fort worked for scientific journals and periodicals to research phenomena. He published four books that covered topics from UFOs, ghosts, mass hysteria, disappearing people, and more. “Forteans” are his followers, who continue to support and research his work, and even hold conferences like FortFest, FortNite and FortScape. They also publish a journal, however, the last conference I could find was held in 2011, but the Fortean Times is still published today by Dennis Publishing.

The Fort quote explains a bit about Fort’s theory of Continuity — that everything is in an intermediate and transient state between extremes. Continuity comes from the idea that there is no place for disbelief in any theory, (Lippard, 2008) and that all things seek to become real, or positive, by defining themselves as separate from other things, or by excluding other things.  (Steinmeyer, 2008)

I think the message that Cornell was trying to send was that Arcadia has to be careful. “’His work reminds us to hold ourselves at a distance from conjuring up swift theories which can easily turn into cant.’ ‘But in this day and age, we’re all Forteans.” We’re all following someone who has spent so much time devoting themselves to theories that we aren’t seeing the picture clearly anymore. I think Cornell was making a statement about people blindly following the government, and that people like Arcadia need to step up and make a change.

Works Cited

Lippard, J. (1996) Charles fort. New York, Prometheus Books.

Steinmeyer, J.  (2008) Charles fort: The man who invented the supernatural. New York: The Penguin Group.

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