Image © 2008, John Bruno Hare, All Rights Reserved
by Charles Fort
The focus of this book, the second which Fort published, is to tweak the nose of the mainstream astronomers. Fort's slightly tongue-in-cheek hypothesis is that the Earth is located in a fixed location, and that there are invisible lands in the sky just beyond the atmosphere. He spends much of the first part of the book illustrating a number of embarrassing mistakes in celestial mechanics, and attempting to poke holes in the technique of parallax. Then he pulls together examples of falls of stones, gelatinous substances, anomalous earthquakes, fireballs, which occurred in the same location at the same time, notably in an area which he calls the 'London triangle.' Fort concludes that these manifestations are due to contiguous 'lands in the sky' which maintain a fixed location over the earth.
As in his other books, many of the phenomena here are straight-on UFO reports. Fort gives numerous instances of 'airship' sightings, some with multiple attestations over wide regions. Many of the sightings occurred decades before humans attained heavier-than-air flight. What is striking to modern readers is the language used by the authorities to explain these sightings: bright stars, luminescent gas, mirages, ball lightning, and mass hysteria...and, just prior to WWI, reports of mysterious cylinders over south England were attributed to the Germans. So not only have there been mysterious lights in the sky long before the initial UFO flap in the late 1940s, the powers that be have likewise attempted to dismiss these reports in similar terms for a long time...