A Theory of Explanations: a Fortean Essay in Story Technology
This article appeared in UFO magazine Vol. 22 No.8 August 2007
If Larry Silverstein organized the events of 9/11, then he is the second Jew to walk on water in 2000 years. But if Bin Laden organized these things, then he is the first Arab ever to walk on water, such is the nature of the competition.
Fragments from a Lost Meme Library
Upon May 28th, 1881, near the city of Worcester, a fishmonger, with a procession of carts, loaded with several kinds of crabs and periwinkles, and with a dozen energetic assistants, appeared at a time when nobody on the busy road was looking. The fishmonger and his assistants grabbed sacks of periwinkles, and ran in a frenzy slinging the things into fields on both sides of the road. They raced to gardens, and some assistants, standing on the shoulders of other assistants, had sacks lifted to them, and dumped sacks on the high walls. Meanwhile other assistants, in a dozen carts, were furiously shovelling out periwinkles, about a mile along the road. Also, meanwhile, several boys were busily mixing in crabs. They were not advertising anything. Above all there was secrecy. The cost must have been hundreds of dollars. They appeared without having been seen along the way, and they melted away equally mysteriously. There were houses all round, but nobody saw them.
Would I be so kind as to tell what, in the name of some slight approximation to sanity, I mean by telling such a story?
But it is not my story. There was, upon May 28th, 1881, an occurrence near Worcester, and the conventional explanation was that a fishmonger did it. Inasmuch as he did it unobserved, if he did it, he did it as I have described, if he did it.”
The Book of the Damned
This essay is about how we attempt to organize our experience of anomalies in order to try and come to terms with them. The structure of our social and individual attempts to rationalize anomalies in terms of common explanations is examined. Also investigated are the methods used by human groups to build and apply psycho-social cloaking mystique in order to mask a world-structure whose order has been fundamentally subverted and disordered morally, physically, and psychologically by anomalies, from the mysterious UFO to the equally mysterious questions raised by the events of 9/11.
If we accept that almost all human experience is a matter of information-processing, then we must agree that different cultures manage anomalous experience in different ways. Our very own Military Industrial Entertainment Complex which emerged from the Industrial Revolution now manages information not in terms of cold hard facts—the language of yesteryear—but by means of powerful and deeply invasive media arrays, using whatever new technology becomes available.
The theories of the early postmodernist Charles Fort in The Book of the Damned, of Marshall McCluhan in The Medium is the Message, and of Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, are particularly useful in analyzing situations where purely mechanistic analysis had proved to be useless. Such situations include the UFO experience as well as the experience of 9/11.
The object here is to demonstrate in Fortean terms how we scale anomalistic experience in order to live with such a thing at all. This examination intends also to demonstrate that our reactions to the events of 9/11 and the UFO phenomenon have a lot in common.
Of Bombs and Periwinkles
All human expression is mythological in the sense that everything is a story of one kind or another. Stories are the most pure form of media. Fortean analysis is not concerned with whether a particular story is true or false, good or bad, but the extent to which it is allowed to function as a dramatization of experience. Degree of veracity as expressed by UFO stories of our own time range from almost nonsense to almost real.
For example, the silly SERPO tale moves to Caret, Roswell, and MJ-12—all three being middle of the road tales—to concrete (a metaphor) mechanistic accounts of causation. This latter story is of course prime-time constellated, and considers itself a good cut above all other stories as regards its own claimed true account of things.
Compared with the “solid” stories told by what Shakespeare called mechanicals, the cosmological accounts of Boylan, Hoagland, or Greer, for example, are at the other end of our Fortean scale to the concrete. Here, almost complete alien control is taken for granted, and direct alien intervention is self-evident, obvious, and multi-dimensional within itself.
Robert Collin’s book Exempt from Disclosure (Peregrine Communications, 2005) alone has helped created a culture of what could be called meta-belief. After his book was published, the Area Fifty One story-memes woke like sleeping princesses to undergo a dialectical process equivalent to viral cell-division. As we shall see, the phenomenon of 9/11 is undergoing exactly the same process as Area Fifty One. In this area, bubble-worlds of almost pantomime-schlock have been created, of differing longevity in the cloud chambers of media-time. These explanations network one another, existing for a time as virtual truths, rather like the short and half-lives of fundamental particles.
Alas, metaphor is everywhere!
One of the classic stories of our time is the explanation that explosives brought down the Twin Towers and the World Trade Centre’s Building Seven.
Certainly, the immediate pictorial and verbal evidence alone would indeed suggest this claim was an accurate description of events.  The only trouble with this explanation is that over seven years later, no trace of explosive substance has ever been found in or around the area of devastation.
A search for traces of such substances should not have been all that difficult. Both commercial and military-grade explosives have a somewhat rare and exotic molecular structure. Just one good sample of such explosive substance, one piece of verifiable explosively sheared steel, and our traditional detective story could begin.
Sooner or later, a set of wriggling human beings would be pulled out of the dark to be tried and sentenced for the greatest crime in American history. But with 9/11, there is no such broad and consistent Agatha Christie trail, nothing Sherlock Holmes could get hold of to tease out toothbrushes, hats, and shoe-sizes from a very human hive.
Nearly eight years later, our entire body of cultural reference lies astonished and baffled. Our much-vaunted science has proved to be useless as unfettered speculation. Compounding the mystery is the certainty that a robed figure in some cave in on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border remains almost equally astonished.
We are forced therefore to consider an absurd proposition: that the supposed explosives, which allegedly brought down WTCSeven and the Twin Towers must have been the very first of such to detonate and not leave a single chemical or physical trace of their detonation that could be taken into a criminal court. From the very start, attempts to construct a 9/11 detective story were in trouble. 
Only a week or two after 9/11, there was detectible a feeling that the whole and entire day held secrets quite beyond the mechanics of Cartesian investigation. A thinking of the unthinkable commenced. A few voiced the almost secret thought that in embracing scientific and technological principles and building systems of mechanistic explanations into a planetary culture, humanity cut out some vital sub-texts connecting Mind, Matter, and Community, and the never-ending dispute between the three.
As such, the event of 9/11 has an elemental quality, which arouses awe far greater than that aroused by mere mechanical criminality. Such a psychosocial void generates a great political need to find an explanation, which fits a political agenda concerning state conspiracy.
The basic problem with 9/11 is that we do not have a cultural framework that is capable of analysing what happened on this day. All we have is a steam-age mechanistic science managed by Victorian Station Masters who expect the trains always to run on time. The countless distortions within mechanical, material, human and information/media dimensions mean that the events of 9/11 refer to little understood areas of perception within human intelligence.
On the occasion of 9/11 few trains ran on time, some trains reversed their motion and other trains disappeared altogether, as it were. The Cartesian schedules crashed, and no one now knows who runs the world anymore.
Suggestion for a Possible DNA-type Code for Anomalies
We now move to four very different historical contexts to 9/11. The high-profile examples, which follow here, share a common factor with 9/11 in that all efforts to resolve their particular problematic situation mechanically have failed, and nothing appears to sum in the Cartesian sense.
If we replace strictly mechanical modelling by Fortean scaling, we will see that such a scaling is common to all of the following examples as well as 9/11. This scaling allows us to deconstruct explanations and to see their internal organisation as a system of ever-evolving elements. This is as culturally important as Newton’s change from y/x to dy/dx.
A Fortean scale is the equivalent to a DNA code for anomalies. Instead of a twisted strand, we have a grey-scale ranging from almost solid circumstance to vaporous insubstantiality. All human cognition therefore oscillates between the two theoretical absolutes of Fact and Fiction. Here are some situations which show such a common Fortean scaling.
When an African stick insect meets a marching column of termites, in order to save its life, it marches to their precise rhythm. The ants do not see a creature much larger than themselves. The right rhythm means friend, and limits their cognition as regards seeing the insect as instant meat. Should the ungainly insect falter, the word food is flashed up immediately on the collective ant screen and the insect is finished.
The chemtrail planes fly at high altitudes, and impossibly fast for their rather conventional design. Most of the aircraft look rather like awkward guesses at a kind of humble hybrid Airbus, a modest design limited to some 400+mph.
By simple timing and triangulation, the speed of most of these planes appears to be well in the supersonic region. However, no sonic booms have been heard, and none of the planes have been seen to land or take off. They have no detectable manufacturing sector, and no maintenance, training, or general support base.
They make no noise, and appear to have no problem with any airspace infringements within any country. Accommodation for flight personnel appears not to exist, and upon observation by high-powered telescopes, these aircraft appear to carry no markings, and transmit no standard communications signals, which is just about as illegal as you can get regarding Air Regulations in any country on Earth. See my article “Putting the Noise Back into the System.” 
No Air Force and no Civilian Aviation Authority or transport sector offers any kind of information about the scores of supersonic aircraft leaving chemtrails worldwide over their installations, bases, and airports every day.
We are nearing the UFO here, but more of that anon.
Strange Wounds: the Death of JFK
Dr Charles A. Crenshaw was one of the Dallas surgeons who worked on JFK at the Parkland Hospital in November of 1963. At the time, these doctors agreed—out of respect or fear—not to publish details of their examination of the dying Kennedy. However in 1990, after much deliberation, Crenshaw decided to publish his book, Trauma Room 1: the JFK Medical Coverup Exposed (Paraview Press, 2001).
In this book he described as many contradictions and anomalies as would satisfy the most demanding Fortean connoisseur:
Witnesses claim that autopsy photographs are missing, that they don’t show the wounds the way they were originally, and that a different brain than JFK’s appear in the official autopsy photographs.
The 225 pages of his book contain at least as many anomalies regarding JFK’s brain examination as does the single day of 9/11.
Strange Man: the Oswald Dimension
Here is Anthony Summers giving us some idea of the difficulties of trying to discover some kind of integrated mundane base-line for the Oswald dimension:
Oswald’s progress is marked by visits to the employment office, the cashing of unemployment cheques, and the withdrawal of library books. Even these are not necessarily valid for charting Oswald’s movements; The FBI was able to authenticate Oswald’s signature on hardly any of the unemployment documents. Of the seventeen firms where Oswald said he had applied for work, thirteen denied it, and four did not even exist.
Then there are the fake addresses of fake branches of extreme sections of the political spectrum; a series of fake change-of-address cards filed to various mail offices, but the most disturbing of all are the Oswald sightings made before the actual assassination took place. On September 25th, 1963, an Oswald walked into the Austin, Texas offices of the Selective Service System, the American military draft organisation, and asked if he could have his dishonourable discharge revoked on account of his two years good conduct. The assistant could not help because the name Harvey Oswald was not on her records.
Two weeks before the assassination, another Harvey Oswald visited a supermarket at Irving, Texas, and tried to cash a cheque in the name of Harvey Oswald. Twenty-four hours before the assassination, the FBI received a report that a Lee Oswald had behaved strangely – making anti-government remarks – in a Dallas car show room.
Of course these three reports are only of interest because they do not line up with the verifiable movements of the so-called real Oswald at the times concerned. These examples are drawn from Summers’ book Not In Your Lifetime: The Definitive Book on the JFK Assassination, and he goes on to give many more examples of strange Oswald appearances at shooting ranges, gun-shops, and even the good old YMCA.
But the mighty Oswald defeated even this; neither his telegrams nor his money-orders could be traced, though witnesses swore that Oswald identified himself by his now famous library card, this wretched slip of paper being just about only constant fact he ever had anything to do with.
Welcome to the fuzzy world! To bring us up to date, a fake Sarah Palin has been seen stalking the pavements of New York.  True, this is explained as a paid look-a-like, but this explanation will produce fine-shaded, low-energy quasi-appearances of varying credibility quite independent of the original material placement.
Mass suggestion works that way. Witness the Martians of Orson Welles.
Like the 9/11 explosives, the UFO, and the almost transparent doubles of Oswald,  Bigfoot leaves hardly a trail. There are no traces of fur or faeces, no signs of fights, no evidence of nesting or foraging for food or shelter. The life-needs of such animals as appear in the misty and fogged photographs of Bigfoot would surely leave signs as visible to investigators as the habitats of gorillas and the larger apes.
The amount of food needed for such a large animal (and of course its family) could hardly be sustained by a common European or US environment, assuming that like most ape-forms, these creatures are vegetarian. If so, they would leave food swathes big enough to bankrupt farmers, who would certainly hunt them down and kill them as large vermin.
If they are not vegetarian, they would have to hunt for flesh, and then their presence would be quite spectacular, and obvious to all. There would be blood, carcasses, and chewed pelts all over the place; herds of vulnerable animals would flee their usual habitats; there would be countless sightings and doubtless many attacks on human beings and domestic animals.
Yet lacking the slightest thread of any such evidence, still Bigfoot creatures are seen. Like the UFO again, and like the pseudo-Oswald, such beasts are witnessed by the widest possible spectrum of people from an equally wide spectrum of class, income, personal disposition, age, intelligence, and culture.
We have to consider seriously, therefore, that such manifestations as both Bigfoot and the UFO do not exist completely within the traditional Cartesian frame of “objective” reference. Certainly, Bigfoot, just like the UFO, cannot be measured in any traditional sense, yet Bigfoot leaves images on photographic emulsion and digital memories. 
Although the UFO leaves momentary traces on radar screens, and sometimes on human flesh and on the ground, it leaves very few traces of techno-industrial formulation as a device, although—and this is the Fortean point—it has the appearance of being a device, just as Bigfoot has the appearance of being a finite animal, and Twin Towers appear to have been brought down by explosives.
To stop us falling down the Fractal rabbit hole of the world of Fortean scaling, we use explanations as pieces of live software. As fast breeders, explanatory suggestions are a form of viral life that has more different brands and schedules than images in a supermart. As liminal constructs struggling for prime-time, explanatory suggestions in the form of commercial breaks are the cyber equivalent to ancient cathedrals. As liminal stories (such as Roswell), their structural beauty is often such that they can be regarded as an art form built of brilliant and subtle self-deceptions, of which mechanical science is the biggest and best world totem.
In our time, mythological engineering in terms of the manipulation of symbols has become far more important than factual analysis by the nameless grey men of corporate science. Their statements are now more often than not regarded with as deep a suspicion as a statement of international policy issued by the White House or 10 Downing Street.
Regarding national elections and the present conflict in the Middle East alone, the concept of fact has become almost meaningless; witness the attention paid to Sarah Palin’s fake bikini shots and the deteriorating face of Michael Jackson. For better or for worse, these things are now far more significant than some scientific garage manual written by the dead white men of yesteryear which purports to show how the universe works.
Against this avalanche of anomalistic incredulity, this Fortean feast of masks and faces, straight scientists look like pantomime dames gathering up spilt apples as they try to make the rationalizations square up. During the course of the two Gulf Wars for example, the idea of “weapons of mass destruction” travelled through our complete Fortean spectrum from so-called “solidity” to the virtual worlds of media-mythology.
The probable murder of Dr David Kelly  and the Intelligence-forged documents of the Nigerian yellow cake business travelled through the same spectrum of now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t. Fortean fuzz. This is the value of Fort’s political thinking. It takes him out of the lower-case area where over-grown school prefects have a good chortle at his amusing finds of reports of rains of frogs.
But enough examples for our present purpose.
Politics of the Imagination
There are surely enough examples here to show a pattern of grey scales within the dimensions of every investigation. When applied, the longed-for determined rational focus dissolves into an ever-widening penumbra of uncertainty as the discursive observer opens the zooming fractals within the interstices of mechanistic Fact. There is further discussion in my book Politics of the Imagination: The Life, Work and Ideas of Charles Fort.
The very strange collapse of WTC Seven, the mysterious aircraft / missile that hit the Pentagon, the missing passengers and aircraft of Flight Ninety-three, the elusive UFO, the mobile brain of JFK, the shadowy Bigfoot, and the multi-dimensional wraith that was Lee Harvey Oswald, all these things represent insubstantiality at one end of our Fortean scale. They depart from their original unstable solidity (seen, heard, touched, used, photographed, electronically registered), to become shades of shades indeed.
Under such conditions of cognitive mobility, the classic Cartesian detective story as written by Agatha Christie, or solved by Sherlock Holmes, with its calculable inputs and outs, its weights and measures, its scientific Rules and Regulations, moves out into a Fortean shading of fact and fiction. Any theory of objective mechanical separation of those two metaphysical harpies Fact and Fiction will also have to take into account the strange time/space/media conspiracy that produced a UK BBC TV announcement that WTC Seven had fallen some twenty-three minutes before it actually did so. 
The well-photographed large white plane flying casually over the White House on 9/11 (in restricted air space) has also never been explained, hardly commented on, and even less investigated.  Even the few singular mechanical threads that would suggest a detective story have been compromised by various Intelligence sectors that have destroyed and falsified any evidence they could lay their hands on.
With all old brick-built authority corrupted and utterly disgraced beyond all measure, what we see, view, or read, is not what we get. Thus we have a conspiracy of fact as well as a conspiracy of so-called fiction. Our Fortean scale shows this pair of phenomenological demons operating as functions of one another. 
Back to Silverstein: the Periwinkle Problem
Within our Fortean scale, we have the sometime frantic management of the near impossible, the almost impossible, and the quite impossible.
If the claimed explosives were pre-installed some time before the event,
 we have to imagine the transportation, installation, and maintenance of many high explosive charges into central New York, with all the risks involved of traffic accidents and breakdowns, and very possible detection by, for example, sniffer-dogs and various other automatic detection devices.
Since the New York Fire and Police Departments could hardly be asked to carry such an incredible (and totally illegal) task, then private hired labour would have to do it. Like Fort’s mysterious fishmongers, such a team would require much support: their technology, vehicles, their command, control, and communication systems would have to be organized. There would also have to be training and practice runs before the event, and all this done in absolute secrecy.
Such a handling team would have to work faster and more secretly than Fort’s fishmongers. In addition we are told that WTC Seven contained not only a sensitive NY civic hub but a CIA faculty, of all things. We can only imagine the opinions of such personnel if pre-installed explosives were accidentally detected a few yards away from where they worked.
If charges there were, they could not have been in place for very long. The risk of discovery of stored charges through any one of the regular service inspections by maintenance staff, of which there were thousands in the Twin Towers alone, was an incredible gamble taken by our would-be plotters, not to mention possible accidents or premature detonation.
Since we are dealing here with the almost impossible, then let us examine the quite impossible. If the claimed explosives were installed at the time of the conflagration, then here we have a truly Fortean circumstance.
We have to assume available explosive stock stored, say, in a bunker, on the city outskirts. Such sensitive stock would have to be loaded and transported through a panicking city, and all that that entailed in terms of accidents, traffic jams, and inaccessibility to the WTC Buildings. Chances are that no Police or Fire Department would allow any such suspicious vehicles to approach their area of operation.
Undoubtedly the vehicles would be stopped, their crews would be closely interrogated and the vehicles inspected. In which case, the game would be up. Not very likely, we might say. Local storage? This would entail even more risk, since Silverstein did not own the buildings surrounding the Twin Towers complex.
Nevertheless, some investigators assume that a team of anonymous civilian men and women installed the said explosives at the time of the conflagration, or just before. Nerves of more than steel would certainly be required to go into WTC Seven with explosives when the building was on fire in the upper stories, and only yards away from the inferno of the Twin Towers. One can only hope that such a near-suicidal crew was well paid, if such a crew existed at all. According to Silverstein’s account, we have to accept that the New York Fire Service had explosives conveniently stashed nearby, just what is needed in a situation such as 9/11.
Moreover, if on his own initiative Mr. Silverstein sponsored the installation of the claimed explosive charges before 9/11 in any way, shape, or form, then he was—and is still—in violation not only of every single related statute of the State of New York, but of the criminal law of the United States of America regarding the private transport, storage, and installation of explosive substances.
It goes almost without saying that both Silverstein and the Fire Chief were civilians living under the law of the land, and as such neither had the right to deal with explosives under any circumstances without extensive consultation. Pre-installation, for whatever purpose, would also violate each and every individual human and material insurance package in, and indeed around, the buildings.
Being surrounded during the working hours by high explosives would certainly void all private medical and pension and social security contracts and agreements, as well as Medicare, family, work compensation and injury arrangements. Independent visitors, of course, could sue for being exposed to threats to life and limb. Find explosive traces in the collapsed building, and Silverstein would be a poor man by dawn due to many thousands of law suits claiming criminal damage, not to mention charges of willful mass murder.
Virtual Aeroplanes, Vanished Passengers, and Live Hijackers
The Fortean message here is that the various kinds of explanation systems implicit in our language, culture, and social psychology are there because they enable us to get some sleep at night. This is the role of all finite explanations, if only because every single human being without exception needs a regular diet of self-delusion in order to mentally function at all.
Mechanical explanations are in the very highest class of individual and collective deceptions within our social meta-theatre. They function as the higher forms of psychological management, if only in order to keep us sane and convince each and every one of us that we are the best products in town, and in full conscious command of just about everything that can be imagined.
The belief / denial spectrum within levels of UFO acceptance / non-acceptance automated schedules is identical to that theatre in which we cast the mysteries of the events of 9/11. Thus is the liminal area between fact and fiction produced, directed, lit, cast, and acted out exactly as the cave-wall shadows of Plato, described in The Republic.
We all know secretly that the explosives idea is as likely as some supposed supplier of great quantities of periwinkles, but we accept, support, and preserve such a falsehood as a functional unit of perception just as many accept a Sarah Palin phoney bikini shot as a symbol of faith, hope, and charity. As monkeys clinging to hot water bottles, we dramatize such psycho-social swimsuits as solid and therefore as real as the state of that thing called the economy.
Like our stick insect again, we create such falsehoods as bought protection, and we use their image-making capacity as Central Control in the same way that no human being can live without an ego equally as fictitious as a Sarah Palin bikini shot. A host of such talismanic illusions protects, inspires, and gives us faith and confidence.
They support all the superstructure of thought, ambition, and love. Our illusions of self, and numberless fantastic adventures within the mind serve to define what a human being is. The moral world of creativity and imagination is derived from such mechanically false conditions.
Men who do not at some time act and think as if they are a combination of Clint Eastwood, Robin Hood and Adolf Hitler are heading for social-democratic dementia. It is lack of such projections that cause mental illness, not their presence. Existentially speaking, without such insubstantial and often irrational and subversive projections, a man wipes himself out as a human being.
The Meta Attack Theatre
Most mechanical scientists live in the Norman Rockwell corner store of old America, which was the last time the accounts almost added up at the end of the day. The world is not like that anymore.
Each stage of our Fortean scale of liminal forms and explanations represents a different kind of dramatisation. Old Ufology may not have noticed, but finite products on finite shelves tended to disappear sometime after Roosevelt’s New Deal.
No less than four quite different attack-theatres were acted out on 9/11. Extensive and exhaustive investigation over seven years has produced no single unified mechanical solution as to even the most basic physical events of any of these attacks. If we add the most extraordinary behaviour of the U.S. Air Defence system at the time of these incidents, then we have a fifth major theatre.
Apparently a full-scale exercise was being enacted at the time of the events of 9/11. This operation, designed exactly to counter such events as terrorist air attacks, does nothing to bolster any scientific belief that the universe is a machine whose parts are unaware of one another. If 9/11 was a purely human plot, it was the mother of all such conspiracies. It appears that the plotters had complete command of human and material resources involving Intelligence and air technology alone.
Yet apart from tons of fine talc dust and small pieces of fuselage, all that has been found is an array of anomalies spreading over a wide spectrum of human cognition: technical, scientific, and purely mechanical. United Airlines Flight Ninety-three for example, appears to have lost all Cartesian direction as well as aeroplane and passengers.
According to a TV reporter on the scene, all that was found of the aircraft after the crash at Shanksville, Pennsylvania were “tiny bits of debris,” a chilling reminder of similar tiny bits of fuselage found in the crash of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Rare footage, not seen on TV at this time, can be seen on YouTube. 
To claim that a web of finite conspirators engineered such very different theatres, integrated and timed them to perfection, is placing a lot of confidence in human abilities. As Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell might have said, to lose so many passengers might be an accident, but to lose a considerable number of aircraft as well as the conspirators themselves looks more like carelessness.
She might have added that the thing that hit the Pentagon was a virtual aeroplane whose material body appeared not to exist, apart from a single well-photographed fragment in the forecourt. The hole in the Pentagon wall was certainly careless in Lady Bracknell’s sense: it was not even big enough for the fuselage of the Boeing 757–200 to get through, and as for the widespread wings, they disappeared totally, without doing any damage at all.
Some web sites present credible evidence that many of the conspirators themselves are indeed still alive. Examining the system of allowances within our Fortean scale of incredulous materiality, might we find one day that the passengers are still alive indeed, or the relevant aircraft still parked on runways? For the very latest speculation about this mind-boggling consideration, the very latest thoughts on this matter are here. 
“We are now absolutely certain that these two planes—the one that supposedly fell into a forest (Flight Ninety-three in Pennsylvania) and onto the Pentagon—are still flying. It’s an enormous lie,” this Frenchman told Europe 1 Radio. “It’s an American missile that hit the Pentagon, they provoked it themselves, and they killed fellow Americans.”
Such accusations are no more fantastic than the visible collapse of WTC Seven. With only a few minor fires aboard, the complete steel skeleton, floors, and outer cladding descended neatly onto the footprint of the building in what some experts have said was very near free-fall time.
As a human conspiratorial achievement, this is surely equivalent to a juggler keeping 300 plates in the air at the same time, or that there is a fishmonger insane enough to strew tons of periwinkles over Worcester within the course of a single night.
Metaphor Versus Measurement
Our Fortean spectrum is of course modulated by deep context. Apart from the terrorist scenarios, there was of course the world theatre of 9/11. Launched upon highly significant structures and symbols, the attacks on New York and the Pentagon were attacks on the socio-political heart of the Western World.
The inherited Meccano-Cartesian system embedded in both in our dreams and our beloved social-democratic liberal institutions is reluctant to accept the idea that the paradigm which generates our entire conception of what our forefathers once called reality is passing away. In the case of 9/11, the significant alarm is that the paradigm changed within a single day.
9/11 represents therefore a whole new horizon as far as our conception of matter and experience is concerned; from the point of view of Fortean psychology, we have therefore a grey scale, shading from almost solid, to an almost transparent vacuity. This is the management system which opens the zooming Fractals of direct experience.
As all these theatres show, the closer we examine system-connectivity, the more complex the world becomes when it is filtered through the media matrix of the allowance systems within our heads. Our Fortean scale is thus a scale of allowances rather facts.
The Victorian station masters of a pre-media age conceived of the universe as a kind of Rubik’s Cube crammed full of fixed railway timetables and number systems. It was a world full of the weights and measures, rules and regulations of a “scientific” system essentially mechanical in nature, and it remains so at this present time, essentially. This world, with its calculable pushes and pulls and steady-state inputs and outputs was reflective of an Age much more certain of its identity than our own.
Objective mechanical causation as Big Chief Explanation is historically a bit of an infant in philosophical terms. The Greeks had Tragedy as explanation, which was (and is) a far superior mythology compared to mechanical causation, which is largely a Protestant idea formed by the birth of a new manufacturing class emerging after the European Reformation. This in turn gave rise to the Industrial Revolution, whose language we speak, whose thoughts we think, for better or for worse.
Explanations as Products
As Fort, Kuhn, and McLuhan show, all cultures—including the scientific culture—are essentially sales campaigns. The human mind as a media-hungry entity is a ready customer. Every single thing we conceive of is shape, design; some form of animal-like primal persuasion, begging to be taken into the belief spectrum like stray dogs into a home.
In order to stay alive and thinking, human beings are natural-born customers, built to crop images and products as beasts in the field crop grass. Fantasies range from furniture to high-quality moral rationalisations, from scientific facts to supposed fragments of crashed UFOs. We buy these things as we once bought pieces of the True Cross in 1400, in the full knowledge that there were enough such fragments for hundreds of Crosses.
We buy these things now as we once bought coloured jollop in jars from old-timers in covered wagons. We know that the wart-cure offered is rubbish, but as systems of play—like explanations—both belief and buying are fun.
And fun to science is a meaningless concept in that it is a healthy waste of time, which is something else science cannot deal with. Within intellectual consumerism, crosses are now somewhat old in the tooth, and scientific fact as a media construct is sold as powerfully as the words of Christ or any Hollywood spectacular.
As postmodern beings in our Entertainment State, we now view explanations as we view prime-time TV. In this sense, explanations are now essentially products. They function as does any other product in terms of style, function, practicality, status, and buying power.
Already, such Web authors as Salla, Greer, Hoagland, Boylan, and the creators of the Caret story are building viewer-based god-memes completely analogous to the recently released Spore game, where entire worlds are products:
Creatures can be made to have scales, fins, wings, claws, extra appendages, additional eyes, or body parts in unexpected places. The online game’s programming gives characters artificial intelligence and creatures can pass on virtual genes to their progeny and build civilizations with cities, governments and economies. 
As a human parallel to this, Dr “Star Seed Boylan”, through a network of channellers, is on first-name terms with aliens, including those of the aquatic type. The communications are rather disappointing. They are largely staid moral observations worthy of the average provincial town councillor. Occasionally however, intriguing girl Reptilians appear, together with sexy star-troopers, such as Fran, the Mantis Incarnate Woman. 
Of course, there have been sightings of Fran quite independent of Dr Boylan’s channelling creation. Like the semi-appearances of both Palin and Oswald, the explosives explanation of 9/11, and the trackless Bigfoot, we have here a new kind of postmodern molecular ontology, where any real detective story becomes merged with media gaming systems. 
We must remember that the film star George Raft imitated the speech and dress of the old gangsters, and they in turn imitated Raft’s performance in the circular manner of the artist Escher’s hands. We could say the same as regards the performances of Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
In our corporate Entertainment State it is getting increasingly difficult to recognize any state of being which is not such a complex of controlling memes. This is an entirely new form of image-controlled subliminal life as we know it. This somewhat annoyingly allows such as Richard Doty and Robert Collins into the UFO gaming matrix. They are joined by those who say they know the name of the breakfast cereal preferred by J-Rod in Area Fifty One, who has now had his fifteen minutes of bubble-fame, à la Warhol.
These somewhat enjoyable Fortean pantomimes—the term web soaps has been used—are heavily manufactured system-stories existing in a kind of liminal limbo within the domains of a new kind of Web-related soap-technology. The functional mythology of such almost-rejected systems within the liminal canon, such as the Caret phenomenon, makes concepts of fraud and disinformation rather ambiguous in our burgeoning Entertainment State.
In this cosmic model, even the death of aircraft and passengers are now, given 9/11, uncertain performances; good, bad, and indifferent. It could be said that the shades of Sarah Palin, for example, are now being run through Boylan-type channelers and assuming many forms in a kind of meta-consumer frenzy.
Her elemental form, as it were, now inhabits the same liminal dimensions as Boylan’s Mantis Woman, or Collin’s Area Fifty One aliens, EBE-1 and EBE-2. In our Entertainment State, what we call reality is an intermediate state between fact and fiction, located along our Fortean scale.
This new map of media-soaked consciousness can lead, of course, to extremely dangerous dimensions of the psyche. The school, campus, and supermart mad-dog shootings of recent years—the latest being in Finland—are possibly the result of an consumer-existential condition well described by the writer Jaye Beldo, who describes a kind of consumer inferno:
My name is Jaye Beldo and I suffer from Advertising Affective Disorder, or AAD. My affliction results from life-long exposure to advertising. Ronald McDonald haunts me in my dreams and tries to get me to pledge allegiance to the New World Order. The Pillsbury Doughboy claims that he is the messiah and if I don’t worship him he will turn me into dinner rolls. Tony the Tiger waits in the shadows, ready to pounce on me as punishment for trying to think outside the cornflakes box. Palmolive Madge threatens to soak my entire body in dish detergent because I desire world peace. The Charmin Teddy Bear causes me to fight with my girlfriend. Every time I try to go to an art exhibition, I see Mr. Clean splashing floor-cleaner onto a painting by Picasso or Van Gogh. Advertising mascots like Joe Camel, the California raisins or the Michelin Tire Man trespass into my brain and demand that I buy their products, or else. It doesn’t matter if the ad aired yesterday or 30 years ago because the icons, logos and jingles continue to torment me 24/7. My sense of time has become grossly distorted. Sometimes my attention span comes in 30 or 60 second ad spots.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m being targeted by the CIA. Or perhaps AAD is the result of some Psy-Ops experiment. Perhaps the NSA is behind it all. If so, I’d like to know who or what my handler is. Could only Madison Avenue know for sure? I believe AAD is a silent killer. If you think you are suffering from AAD, please contact me at the following address: email@example.com.
Implicitly manipulated disorientation? We might well compare the experience of Beldo with the experience of Paul Bennewitz as described in Greg Bishop’s book, Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth.  If Western minds have entered this advertising dimension, what stage in this development has any alien mind reached?
This kind of argument of course worries the old-time UFO mechanicals, who want to separate Fact from Fiction and keep their nineteenth Century, neat-hedgerow universe clipped and tidy, and who expect alien intelligence to be sober, practical, honest, and reliable as their good bourgeois selves. I have discussed this latter area in my essay “Meme Wars: We Have an Agenda.” 
Of course the beloved scientific UFO Commissars of Old Ufology will protest, despite not a single one of these eminence grises ever having seen a UFO or had a UFO experience. Yes, they will wave their tribal ju-ju-sticks of magnetometers, radar traces, and equally blessed data-bases in protest against the above views, but they too are part of the shifting sands of our Fortean Matrix in which all is Metaphor, not Measurement.
Such tribal wands are prime-time rationalizations. As performers in our meta-theatre, they represent the hallucinations of time present and time past in the military-industrial-entertainment complex, with its pseudo-plotters, and its pseudo-deaths of some of the almost-passengers in the nearly virtual aircraft. In every sense this 9/11 landscape functions as such systems-animals as Hamlet’s Elsinore, Hardy’s Egdon Heath, Kafka’s Castle, and the BBC, and CNN.
Get rid the personnel of all these deep Western interiors and nothing would change. As system animals, such corporate structures old and new never die or sleep, just change their outer configuration from time to time. Meantime, as Jaye Beldo indicates, these animals grow through us as trees grow through an old house.
Mine Author Wrote Me
The search for purely mechanical explanations—objective being the politically correct dialectical term—of both the JFK assassination and the incidents of 9/11, and indeed the UFO, have produced masterpieces of Fortean comedy. Some explanations are so fantastic they can be viewed as a distinct kind of cerebral pop art, such as Hynick’s marsh gas, and Jenny Randles’ Rendlesham lighthouse beams as UFO explanations.
We are, after all, bits of paste clinging to a spinning rock in space, and as cerebral pop, club-footed mechanical certainties alone make for some side-splitting Fortean howls if only as a way of measuring the passing of time on our bleak promontory in space. Our claims alone for the mechanical real would have deeply amused Greek comic playwright Aristophanes. He is said to be the only man whose work terrified Aristotle, and that took some doing.
Consumerism and media have created a kind of intellectual sexuality in which the mechanical explanation has become just one optional act within a range of a kind of powerfully erotic performances within cultural advertising. Every good salesperson knows that the miracle of mind is that it can imagine itself imagining itself imagining itself ad infinitum.
The Matrix cinema opens, and the deeper the rabbit hole, the more extraordinarily absurd the picture of the world becomes. At this very moment, extraterrestrial aliens of all kinds are under construction in this region. They are prototypal products woven out of that mass suggestion-concentrate which will eventually replace that objective molecular form out of which we try desperately to form our rational lives.
The Mind being such a media entity, we learn to lift the garden-stone very carefully, as it were. Underneath the stone we see countless creatures running about. They don’t usually run about like that. They are doing so because the roof of their firmament has been torn off. That’s what 9/11 did that to every single one of us. The events of this day opened up vast interiors of time present and time past to show that the mechanistic age is passing more quickly than we ever supposed.
Such anomalistic events pour out of the cracks in our shattered self-confidence. This once assured us that we were the master mechanics of all creation. Perhaps we could be forgiven for thinking that an observation by Charles Fort is apt: “I think we are property.”
Watch this space!
5. See my article “Lee Harvey Oswald as Fortean Man.” (Anthologised in this volume.)
6. Coleman, Loren and Huyghe, Patrick. The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide. NY: HarperCollins, 1999
8. See a collection of reports on this broadcast: bit.ly/2mIUbd5
9. See collection of reports: bit.ly/2n64fOb
12. See rare footage (not seen on TV at the time), at bit.ly/2nAUZ1d
For a selection of sites dealing with Flight 93, see bit.ly/2mW7d7u
16. See Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003
17 Bishop, Greg, Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth. New York: Gallery Books, 2005.