Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tiffany Thayer: The Old Goat Himself

Robbie Graham (Silver Screen Saucers -- see link) recently explored a series of science fiction movies due during 2013-2014, and among them will be a Robert Zemeckis project for Universal Pictures tentatively billed as Charles Fort.  Quoting The Hollywood Reporter, Graham's Web page states: 

"Fort, which is being described by some who know the material as a "period Ghostbusters," is the first project set up under Zemeckis and his Imagemovers' newly minted first-look deal with the studio [Universal].

Charles Fort was an early-twentieth-century American researcher and writer whose focus was "anomalous phenomena" and the unexplained. Books Fort wrote such as The Book of the Damned (1919) and New Lands (1923) were some of the first to explore everything from levitation and teleportation to alien abduction and other paranormal pursuits. Fort was essentially a curious skeptic who enjoyed collecting data to support explanations for things that he felt were no less possible than the scientifically accepted ones.

In addition to Zemeckis, Dark Horse's Mike Richardson is producing the film, as are Imagemovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey."

In the motion picture, Fort will be portrayed as something of a superhero anomaly fighter, and one suspects old Fort himself would have cracked a smile over the very idea.

While you may know something about Charles Fort simply because you maintain an interest in UFOs and subjects bordering upon the strange and unusual, you may not realize that Fort's friend Tiffany Thayer and a small cadre of famous writers organized The Fortean Society in 1931 in order to promote Fort's work.  Both Thayer (who died in 1959) and The Fortean Society (likewise deceased in 1959) are the subjects in detail of several Web sites, so I'm not going to burden the readers with needless repetition.

However, for history's sake here we'll just mention that Thayer was a minor actor early in his life, and author of  several books of fiction.  I happened upon a 1950 paperback copy of his 1937 hardcover work,  The Old Goat, a few years ago, pretty well yellowed and stained (I always wonder about the origin of ancient stains on old books -- or perhaps I'm better off overlooking such things. . .), and I've taken the liberty of reproducing a few views here.

It's interesting to note that Thayer wasn't easy to know.  He eventually kicked out Fortean Society members after various disagreements, and took over the editing and production of its journal, Doubt, by himself until his death.  Over the years, he developed numerous extreme, if not borderline crazy views, perhaps in keeping with the writing of his novels, the subjects and style of which often infuriated the critics.

The Fortean Society was reincarnated as the International Fortean Organization in the sixties by Ron and Paul Willis, who had acquired the Society's files, and sometime during that period I joined as a member and subscriber, and to this day I still chuckle because I was eventually appointed to the unpaid position of, and was listed as, audio-visuals editor --  for a grand total of one issue of the organization's INFO Journal, and during that time I performed no functions whatsoever.  Great job, though -- no stress!

GUNS, GUNS AND MORE GUNS:  A little more regarding President Obama, New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the others hitched to the gun violence train. . .These lawyer folk know very well--  and they know a lot of people don't know -- that the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting and how many bullets you can have in a magazine.  The 2nd is all about being prepared for the government tyranny or enemy invasions which we hope and trust will never happen.  Nevertheless, the options for self and homeland protection are there, guaranteed in ways alien to most other countries.  Another problem is that once these people start legislating away our rights, they won't stop, advancing from one Amendment to the next.  One crisis leads to another, and they patiently wait to make their move at every opportunity, inciting public hysteria and panic to further their goals, chip by chip.  One needn't have, or even like, firearms to understand and appreciate the application of the Second Amendment to a free society.  Or did I mean to write somewhat free?

THE VATICAN  has piped up and said that President Obama's stance on gun control is a step in the right direction.  Yeah, well maybe those words would have come in handy during the early years of World War II when Nazi guns were decimating Jewish populations all over the world and barely a peep was heard -- but now that we're talking about law-abiding U.S. citizens, I guess guns are just plain bad, nasty and evil.  You know, I can't think of anything better than having the layout of my every day on this earth planned out by the United Nations and the Vatican -- and, hey, why don't you Vatican folk just concentrate your messages upon Catholic minds?  Good "heavens," if it's not some idiotic jihad perpetrated by Islamic crazies who've sniffed too many petroleum fumes over the centuries trying to kill us all, it's the Vatican or the UN advising Obama and friends.  This world's busybodies won't quit until there's not a single gun and ammo left in the hands of USA people who just might need them one day, just as we reach universal orgasm and start to think, wow, peace is finally here.  Beware, beware, beware.