Fortean Philosophy 101
If you want to take you own introductory course on the philosophy of Charles Fort - and the ideas of other maverick anomalists who followed the route that Fort mapped around the seductive Siren calls of scientific respectability - then the following is a solid reading list. In fact, any of these books are a good jumping off point. As Charles Fort wrote in Lo! (included in the first volume below): "If there is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter where we begin...One measures a circle, beginning anywhere."
(For a super crash course, we recommend the following four books from the below list: Charles Fort's Book of the Damned, John Keel's Operation Trojan Horse, Jacques Vallee's Messengers of Deception, and Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality.)
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The father of Ufology, the inventor of the supernatural, and, as The New York Times called him in his obituary, "the foe of science"; Charles Fort and his works are indispensable. At least for those of us with an interest in anomalous phenomena and a suspicion of orthodox approaches to said phenomena.
Fort's four surviving and complete non-fiction books, The Book Of the Damned, New Lands, Lo!, and Wild Talents, are included in the following Dover edition of The Complete Books of Charles Fort. This edition also includes an excellent introduction by Fort biographer Damon Knight. Knight's biography, Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, is also listed below, along with Jim Steinmeyer's Charles Fort: The Man who Invented the Supernatural. As is Politics of the Imagination, Colin Bennett's fantastic examination of the political and cultural significance of Fort's writings, which also includes an excellent forward by John Keel. (The Book of the Damned is also in the public domain, and can be read for free here.)
Keel was a giant in a field overflowing with petty squabblers, intellectual simpletons, and fanatical believers. More than any other author, before or since, he led the charge against the type of thinking that continues to dominate Ufology; an ideology long polluted by science fiction imagery, theosophical nonsense, and an obvious overload of military intelligence spin. The Mothman Prophecies, Keel's most recognized book, remains the best written and most absorbing book about a specific UFO/paranormal flap ever written. Along with his magnum opus Operation Trojan Horse, it is essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in Forteana. The Eighth Tower, Our Haunted Planet, and Strange Creatures From Time and Space are also exceptional additions to the canon, and loaded with Keel's unique insight and wit. Disneyland of the Gods contains mostly previously published articles from Keel, and is notable for its opening chapter: which presents a fantastic overview of Charles Fort and the broader "Fortean" community; a community that Keel loved to take to task for it's pettiness and simplistic interpretations of the anomalous.
The most important living UFO researcher / anomalist (among many other things), Vallee writes with the type of original thinking, and searing insight, that comes, if we are lucky, once every generation. Vallee, an astronomer and infornation scientist - and good friend with J. Allen Hynek - was once a proponent of the ETH (extraterrestrial hypothesis). But the failings and deceit of the University of Colorado's UFO Project (AKA the Condon Committee), which Valee and Hynek had both advised, triggered Vallee to turn from science to a deeper and more esoteric approach to the UFO mystery. The first book that presented this change in Valle's thinking was the revolutionary Passport to Magonia. He also began to suspect that the UFO phenomenon was some kind of control mechanism, perhaps being driven by an undetermined intelligence to instigate social and political change; an idea Vallee explored in the potent Messengers of Deception. His "trilogy" Dimensions, Confrontations, and Revelations are filled with insights, and like any of Vallee's writings, will broaden your understanding of the deep complexities of the UFO phenomenon.
Other Vital Thinkers
Like the rest of the "Fortean Philosophy 101" reading list, this section is not intended to be comprehensive, but includes an excellent, if small, selection of works from other thinkers that are all worth examining. Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality is a rich, intellectual, and almost poetic examination of the anomalous entities that have long haunted and interacted with mankind. It has only ever been matched by Keel and Vallee at their best. We can not recommend it enough. Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman both now reside in the more popular "nut and bolts" and "flesh and blood" camps of UFO and cryptid research, but there was a time when their thinking paralleled that of Keel. Their excellent books (which are now available in one volume) The Unidentified and Creatures from the Outer Edge reflect this. Both are excellent. The now departed Brad Steiger was a prolific writer of paranormal and Ufological books. Like most writers, some of his books are more worth your time than others. Revelation: The Divine Fire, is Steiger at his very best; contemplating and demonstrating the long history of humanity's interaction with a non-human intelligence. One of history's greatest intellects was psychologist Carl G. Jung. His oft overlooked Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky (one of the earliest books, and certainly the most important, to look at the modern UFO phenomenon) is a must read, if for no other reason than to see that there were alternative ways to focus our attention on the phenomenon, layed out for us, from the very beginning. Another significant thinker of the 20th century was philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn. Among other things, he gave us the term "paradigm shift". Written almost 50 years after Fort's Book of the Damned, Kuhn's most important work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions provides a breath-taking validation of Fort's suspicions and criticisms of the sciences, and draws almost identical conclusions, re: the sociological failings and biases driving the scientific establishment.