Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Source Criticism of the Fortean Text

Status report: It's freezing cold, I can't feel my feet, and I got a Fortean Times in today's mail.

"Freezing cold" locally, from the perspective of my uninsulated house heated by 2 gas space heaters, is about 40 degrees, but right now I'm speaking literally, not hyperbolicly. I am a great deal colder than Texans like to be. I hate cold.

Cover story in FT 271 concerns source criticism of the account which gave us the original iconic look of El Chupacabras (I refuse to drop the S). According to Mr. Benjamin Radford, who has interviewed the eyewitness, Madelyne Tolentino is a sincere, earnest, honest person who conflated her memory of the monster in the movie Species, which she had seen shortly before and consciously compared to the chupacabras flap going on at the time, with whatever she saw and couldn't identify in 1995.

This is of course exactly the sort of thing that people do. It can also be argued - and if it were warm enough and early enough to sit here thumbing through my Forteana shelves I could find you examples - that the Cosmic Joker deliberately appears to us in familiar forms because - well, it's the Cosmic Joker, isn't it?

But humanity gets the last laugh, as chupacabras loses the terminal S and becomes conflated with Texas blue dogs.

You know how to tell fiction from fact? Fiction has to make sense and sooner or later all trails lead to the end of the book. Fact is under no such obligation. Fact is infinite and far less limited than fiction.

1 comment:

  1. Oh brrr! It's like 15 degrees 75 miles north of you and the wind is BLOOOOOOWING!