Monday, February 11, 2013

Charles Fort: "I Think We Are Fished For."

Folks, here's something WAY Out Proctor. I can't get serious enough to plough into anything very deeply, so, what the heck, might as well have some fun.

In August of 1970 something very odd seemed to have happened in Caldwell, NJ, more or less in the backyard of John Keel, SITU, and Ivan Sanderson. Naturally [?UNnaturally?], they got involved.

Keel seems to have found out about this first, and he may even have been the one to write the article below describing the anomaly.

That article states, as hopefully you can read for yourself, that many residents of Caldwell plus the police had seen what appeared to be long stretches of glistening wire in the sky. This whatever-it-was was high in the clouds and seen only at the just-right Sun angles. Being up there so long, it was attracting a lot of attention.

The "line in the sky" looked to be stretched tight. It seemed to begin unseen, stretch across long distances, and end unseen. What was it attached to? How was it possible? If only the thing would drop down, maybe we could figure something out.

Well, drop down it finally did.

When in late August Keel told Sanderson about the line-in-the-sky, SITU consultant Berthold Schwarz went up to Caldwell. Sanderson may have gone with him as the article [below] in PURSUIT says "We" went up.

The original write-up by Keel for the SITU rival magazine, INFO Journal, said that on August 31st, the main witnesses of the second stage of this saga heard a significantly loud BOOM, which was coincident with what appeared to be a portion of the skyline falling to the ground nearby.

Specimens were taken by witnesses and by police, John Keel was given some of the stuff by the prime witness, and the sheriff's office scooped up the rest. Keel claimed to know that the material was nylon fishing line, a "fact" that he seems to have deduced himself by visiting a fishing goods store and eyeballing the products there.

Schwarz' report to SITU was slightly different, though similar in the important claim. Schwarz was told that there seemed to be several "lines-in-the-sky", not just one. Schwarz or Sanderson took samples given to Schwarz and had them looked at by chemists at DuPont. The substance was said to be a caprolactam nylon.

The incident of the falling-down seems to mean that something severed and that "one end" fell to the ground. This "end" was then pulled on by the property owners, whereupon the line snapped. Allegedly later, another end dropped down and four boys pulled down another wad of it taking about an hour to do so.

... and since YOU want to see what it looked like, here it is.

The smaller piece was given to Sanderson by Keel; the longer piece was given to Sanderson by Schwarz. The material is flexible but somewhat stiff. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the stiffness as this could be the result of 40+ years of age. The stuff is translucent and slightly tinged towards the yellow.

... now don't I deserve a little round of applause for showing everybody what this stuff looked like? OK. OK. It's just my job. I get it. Still, I'm treating myself to a nice lunch featuring ... FISH!!

A little over a year later, Ivan was back at it in PURSUIT. "More Sky-Lines" the title said. Well, it's hard to say that I welcomed that or not. Fishinglines hanging across the sky is a pretty freaky element of a Universe to be living in, and might be one of those things that you'd like to believe got made up by someone, or just forget about it. But nope. Here was Ivan again to torment us.

In the new article Ivan reveals that the amount of the lines which fell into a swimming pool filled a 55-gallon drum. Also, SITU was having a tough time nailing the exact substance down, as DuPont had come to the conclusion that although this was a type of nylon, they didn't make that type. Allegedly also, and a bit surprising to me since the diameter of this stuff is so small, the lines were hollow --- like very thin long tubes. Over time, these hollows filled up with some other solid chemical. Maybe this was a degeneration product of the substance being exposed to whatever it was in the lab.

Then by a mind-bending coincidence, Sanderson was confronted with another witness from an entirely different town. This witness had the lines fall on her fire escape and it was so entangled that she'd just left it there. This stimulated another "field excursion" [to Manhatten Island!], and a second and somewhat different specimen of a fishingline from the sky was obtained. This, and a second fall in a yard nearby, had happened at much different months/days [at least one of these dates is March 21st, 1971; the second incident would have been in 1972].

Well, isn't that great?! Something mind-boggling that I'd like to forget, and now Ivan's piling it on.

OK, you anomalies-greedy folks: here's what the second stuff looked like.

... and here they are side-by-side.

The "new" stuff is slightly thinner, more flexible, and more "silvery". Other than that, it's just as confusing --- assuming no one's lying.

But Ivan has no mercy. He then insisted upon telling us that another such case had just happened in Elberton, Georgia. It WASN'T just crazy folks in the NYC area. (FATE magazine reported this one too, so it had a little more reach than just Keel and SITU).

Here again was a long shining "kite-string" stretching across the sky. The primary witness' son-in-law climbed a building to snag onto it and haul in several yards. Now, the description of this stuff is whacko-weird. Read it for yourself: different materials depending upon which "direction" it was being pulled from??? Now "consarn it!" THAT doesn't make ANY sense at all. Something's wrong with the "translation" by the news writer. ------------- I hope.

Well, maybe that's the end of that...............

Oh come on!!!

There are times when you think that you're a Wise Owl, when you're obviously just a Boggled Bird.

This is one of those times. I have no idea whatever what really lies behind this. It would be easy to be one of those birds who gets up in their restricted universe box, reads this, and rapidly writes it off as kite strings [or some similar knee-jerk hypothesis]. Maybe something like that is the answer, but as the football analyst says: "Not so fast, my friend!!". I am going to need some reasonable thought about how such lines stay up there for days and weeks. I am going to need some reasonable thought as to how they seem to be stretched tight. I am going to need some reasonable thought as to why you can tug on these things from ground level, feel quite a bit of resistance, finally becoming so great that the line snaps.

Reductionist materialist model?? Great!! I'm up for it. But show me the money. Maybe we have large white Cloud Owls having tugs-of-war while "sitting" happily in their fluffy white Aerial Kingdoms. Sounds about as good as some of the alternatives....

Out Proctor we go, in search of greater chaos. Here's ole "Uncle Ray" of Tucson, AZ talking about little streamers coming down from a UFO and attaching themselves to a local's TV antenna. "Angelhair"? Sure, I guess.... do we know what we're talking about even though we've made up a label??

Hmmmmm..... little lengths of thin wire coming down in a yard in Pennsylvania in 1959..... a 750-foot length of thick cable draped across houses in Oakland, CA in 1946............ uh..........

Are you serious?!!!!!!!!!

UFOs on a YoYo string..................................uh oh.

Miniature fairies going up and down a string appearing from the ceiling........... call the CSICOPS!!

OK. Who's happier about this? Charles Fort or Aime Michel's cat?? Doubtless both are reveling in their afterlives at their intellectual superiority over the rest of us. Actually, it might be one of THEM who's doing this. .... hmmm .... hypothesis # 48976257885.

Well, it can't get any worse.

..... garden hoses just disappearing into the ground..... maybe it can get worse.

But at least we know what THAT's all about ... yep, sure we do.... no question.

That's IT!!! Richard Shaver and Ray Palmer!!! THEY're behind all of this! Finally, something makes sense.

From the classic work, Poems of the Legends of Out Proctor, a rare book:

Far UP in the Holler
There's an Ole Fishin' Hole
Not Many Has Found It
And Fewer Has Tole.

It ain't got no Bottom
That's easy to see
But look jist the Right Way
At the Bottom YE be.

Far UP in Out Proctor
There's an Ole Fishin' Hole
There's Goblins around It
And for Us they troll.

Mountain William


  1. It's hard to imagine a thread of such small gauge being visible from a distance of over 100' (~150' in the 1st snippet). Harder still when it's cast against a daylight sky above the witness and the retina is saturated with brightness. Those parts of the accounts throw me off a little and encourage doubts.

    For instance, looking at what an average gauge of paper-clip wire might be predicts something close to .8 mm and one would expect that to be more reflective than the nylon (esque) thread. Using that as a guideline, how far would we have to walk away from it before it was rendered invisible? Furthermore, despite the smaller gauge, hundreds of feet of the stuff would still be as prone to gravity as a sagging spider web and just wouldn't be able to hang in the air.

    On that basis alone, it's tempting to just flick the accounts away as some sort of seminal hoax that gained momentum and copy-cat replication.

    On the other hand, although I've never known Sanderson, Keel or Schwartz, would all three promote such a hoax? To what end? This is where the 'Out Proctor' stuff catches my imagination. Sure, it has the hall-marks of perpetuated hoaxery (somewhere down the line) and yet I frequently find myself considering the story-telling element that seems to be prevalent in these encounters with the unusual.

    Just maybe, an element of the strange phenomena is expressed in the form of story-telling? It's not an idea that anyone can 'do science to' and I could scarcely look someone in the eye and stand by it. Still, it occupies some of my thoughts regardless of the 'Proctorish' absurdity.

  2. As I gave you the impression in my language, this is one of those things that is so far out there that even open-minded students of anomalies want to shake their heads and just say: no. I'm certainly completely boggled by the whole deal in many different ways. There is one aspect of this though which seems to be a little more possible than I thought. I saw somewhere on the internet where a photographer was shooting at a thin wire quite some distance away and the sunlight did create enough of a streak of light in the sky that the camera picked it up --- as did his eye, which was why he tried to shoot it. This had nothing to do with anomalies nor research, just an arty photographer shooting an effect. But almost everything else about this business addles ones pate and refuses to sit well even with the imagination.

    So I don't know what to do with it. What would have been most interesting to me would have been some detailed interviews with the Caldwell policemen, as well as the property owners on whose land the Caldwell things came down on. I'm willing to discard the NYC incident as some kind of foolishness, as the coincidence of the girlfriend of a photographer down to visit for some filming just happening to have some [different] fishingline uncleared up months later on her fire escape seems a bit much to swallow. So, for me it's the Caldwell thing, and as usually happens, Keel didn't do the work of field investigation to tighten it down.

  3. there are many those "fishingline" in the sky when UFO came, here is the pictureds:

  4. Thanks, Professor.

    I hate thrashing around in these Out Proctor Briarpatches, so I will choose to blame the fibers on some secret military research project that has remained hidden.

    Though I think the timing would have been right for it, he lines sound too fine to have been used for fiberoptics, so I am still left wondering what amazing technology kept them aloft and anchored.

  5. By the way, I've searched both the blog and Google for The Helen Lane Case, with no luck. Did you remove it?

    1. It's WAY back there on something like September 19, 2009. The format is crude as I wasn't understanding the site very well yet, but that post is just on the Helen Lane event.

  6. Prof weirdly enough I was waiting for a bus a few weeks back when something kept catching my attention out the corner my eye yet when I'd look there'd be nothing there which's unusual for me though after a while I worked out as the sun slipped in and out behind a series of rapidly moving small dark clouds it was periodically illuminating what I at first took to be a strand of billowing web of the kind spiders use to ride the wind but when I realised how incredibly long it was I kept watching the length of the third floor guttering in the hope when the 'web' periodically reappeared again in either its pure radiant white light or shimmering rainbow form or some combination of the two I'd finally be able to spot where some spider'd attached it to the roof in the hope of building a web big enough to catch a whale.

    As it happens it wasn't attached to anything and just kept vorticially billowing upwards seemingly to a considerable height.

    I mention this because while whatever I was seeing probably was some form of web the fact it periodically seemed made of solid white light and other times flashed with the fiery hues of the rainbow convincing me the fishing line witnesses' reports about how it'd seem to appear and disappear as well as exhibit varying degrees of metallic reflectiveness were probably acccurate.

    But never mind the periodic invisibility of the fishing line what on earth was 'invisibly' attached to the end of the line down here? Because something had to be keeping it taut.

    The other thing that strikes me is there is at least one possible cultural precedent for whatever this phenomenon was namely the Indian Rope Trick but other possible precedents for threads forming connections between different worlds or realms of existence are Rapunzel's hair and of course the thread Ariadne gave Theseus to help him return from the centre of the maze.

  7. Just a useless(?) data-point: Back when (the 1960s & '70s sometime), I used to make kites (of the tailless type) every March and fly them in a park bordering the Chicago River. March is very windy (prevailing wind from the west) in Chicago, though cold in wind-chill. Other warmly-dressed people flew kites there too. One March, I saw that a box kite had gotten away from its owner, crossed the river, and gotten its cord tangled on something on the roof of a factory on the opposite bank. It was up there maybe 10 or 15 feet from the roof, bobbing a little in the wind. It was up there for a week or two, because I remember coming back at least two weekends (maybe three) in a row and seeing it. I was a bit surprised that the wind hadn't ever slacked enough to let it fall in the night.

    So all you really need is six miles of exceptionally good monofillament kite cord, to catch the Jet Stream. And a good box kite. Or do you drop the line, and then kick the kite out of the airplane? Or out of the UFO, for fun I can understand?

    Frank John Reid.

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  9. they looked like a fishing reel wire or a kite wire. i dont know if any military stuff also use such wire in larger spools.. but definitely seems man made (in photo above)

    by the way , how do you rate keel's Trojan Horse book?

    1. The entry says it looks like fishing lines --- are you reading all the sentences in these entries?

      Also, some of these questions are repetitive. I have answered already on John Keel.



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