Redemption for the “Book of the Damned”, 100 years later?

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In 1919, exactly 100 years ago, “The Book of the Damned” was published, in which the American writer Charles Fort started a line of studies and publications still alive and vital today.

Strange phenomena, unexplained events, anomalous experiences of all kinds (“damned” because not accepted by science) constituted the raw material for the tens of thousands of notes Fort culled from scientific journals as well as newspapers.

Such matters as ufology, ancient astronauts, cryptozoology have taken on a life of their own, while the broader “fortean phenomena” students continue to gather all kind of unusual and the mysterious news items (ice, frog and fish showers, spontaneous human combustion, out of place artifacts, findings of anachronistic objects…).

Others  have followed in his footsteps, continuing and expanding the collection work, with books, periodicals and associations. In this century anniversary, a new and original work comes out that has required years of study and verification of the sources. British EuroUfo member Martin Shough is the promoter and lead author, while our Belgian fellow Wim van Utrecht joined to lend a hand.

“Redemption of the Damned”  is an accurate “re-evaluation after one hundred years” of the work by Charles Fort, an often quoted, little read, even less understood author. For the first time the eyes and the skills of contemporary researchers have recovered the original sources of all the anomalous observations reported by Fort in the fields of astronomy, meteorology and atmospheric optics, subjecting them to a careful critical examination, correcting mistakes, contextualizing each case, analyzing everything in the light of current knowledge, methods and resources, in an attempt to find rational explanations, something that was possible in a large number of cases (with solutions that can sometimes shock the general public and even surprise specialists), while some well documented events remain unexplained.

The volume has 412 pages in large format (with 250 illustrations), is published in the USA by Anomalist Books with a foreword by Bob Rickard (founder in 1973 and long editor of “Fortean Times”). Needless to say, it cannot be missing from the personal library of every Fortean or student of unusual aerial phenomena.

International Survey of UFO Researchers

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Among the many UFO books published worldwide each year, few are those worthy reading, that will remain in the history of ufology. One just came out as the result of an unprecedented international collaboration, conceived and coordinated by Milton Hourcade.

hourcadeHourcade was the pioneer of Uruguayan ufology, a founder of the CIOVI (Center for Unidentified Flying Objects Investigation) in 1958, and has long been a technical-scientific journalist on printed press and on radio. Since 1989 he’s been living in the United States. In 2008, after CIOVI dissolution, he created the Unusual Aerial Phenomena Study Group (UAPSG). Winner of the Zurich International Prize (organized by Fundacion Anomalia) in 2006 for his book “OVNIs: La Agenda Secreta”, he is also the author of “OVNIs: Desafío a la Ciencia” (1978), “Elementos de Ovnilogía – Guía para Investigación” (1989), “In Search Of Real UFOs” (2011).

In the summer of 2018, Milton launched an unprecedented initiative, a survey among some international experts, who were asked to answer eight questions:

  • Do you use the acronym UFO or another designation, and if so, why?
  • Have your idea about UFOs changed along the time?
  • Should the UFO investigator become an expert in IFOs?
  • If there were still some unexplained phenomena, what could they be?
  • How do you consider this issue in general? What do you think about the whole subject?
  • Is it possible to do something effective to bring the truth to the public and to change the mind of those who still proclaim or believe that extraterrestrial beings are living with us on Earth?
  • Do you think SETI and similar searches are valid activities?
  • What is your idea about multiple universes?

As many as 22  ufologists and scholars of various scientific disciplines (astrophysics, anthropology, physics, history, psychology) answered from 12 different countries: Jan Aldrich (USA), Roberto Enrique Banchs (Argentina), Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos (Spain), Manuel Borraz Aymerich (Spain), Rodrigo Andrés Bravo Garrido (Chile), Ignacio Cabria (Spain), Jerome Clark (USA), George Eberhart (USA), Greg Eghigian (USA), Igor Kalytyuk (Ukraine), Martin Kottmeyer (USA), Rubén Lianza (Argentina), Claude Maugé (France), Hans-Werner Peiniger (Germany), Robert Powell (USA), Edoardo Russo (Italy), Salim Sigales Montes (Mexico), Clas Svahn (Sweden), Massimo Teodorani (Italy), Thomas Tulien (USA), Wim van Utrecht (Belgium), Leopoldo Zambrano Enríquez (Mexico), a considerable proportion of them also EuroUfo members.

After publishing their interventions on the UAPSG website, the project coordinator has now collected them in a book (Aliens, Ships and Hoaxes – The First International Survey of the Top UFO Researchers in the World”), along with an introduction , a summary and evaluation chapter of the survey, and some appendices.

The volume, available both in electronic format and in paper edition, represents a precious opportunity to get an overview from different viewpoints of the current situation and perspectives of science-oriented ufology, and is destined to become a classic in UFO literature. We can’t but highly recommend reading it.

 

Belgium: All Photo Case Histories

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“Belgium in UFO Photographs – Volume 1″ is the latest book from UPIAR Publications.

Authors are two veteran ufologists: Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos from Spain and Wim van Utrecht from Belgium, who joined their experience not just to collect and present but – most important – to analyze carefully all UFO photographic cases (84 case histories) that took place in Belgium from 1950 to 1988, up to before the 1989 great wave of sightings in that country (which will make the main course of the forthcoming “second volume”).

For over fifteen years Ballester Olmos has focused himself on UFO photo reports, with a worldwide collection and cataloguing project called Fotocat, which has so far collected 12,200 cases and published seven monographs and numerous articles.

As he had previously done for Norway, Ballester Olmos was supported by local expert van Utrecht who shares the same scientific approach, as well as a participation in the EuroUfo.net collective.

The result of this trans-national collaboration is not a simple catalog, but a textbook example of how we can analyze UFO reports in a rational way, using different technical skills to extract useful data in order to look for an explanation, every time this is possible.

Like previous Fotocat Project publications, this amazing work is available for free in digital format on the Academia.edu platform, while collectors and libraries can obtain the paper edition (400 + XII pages in large color format, with 366 photos and illustrations, graphs and statistics, plus an accurate bibliography) ordering it from UPIAR Store online.