Do Martian Spies Snoop on the Earth?

Arizona Daily Star, p. 3, Friday, July 30, 1920
L'article d'origine, illustré par ce que l'on appelera plus tard des "soucoupes volantes"
L'article d'origine, illustré par ce que l'on appelera plus tard des "soucoupes volantes"

Spies from another world—celestial emissaries—may walk Earth, planning the destruction of man, the annihilation of his civilization and the annexation of his globe!

The ponderous skyships of rival worlds have sailed the air of Earth, and even traversed its seas, says Charles FortFort, Charles, author of the "Book of the Damned."

What is more probable, then, than that they have sent investigators here to work and watch an plan against the time when invasion will take place?

FortFort, Charles presents no argument, has no propaganda and claims no purpose but the confusion of science. In 500 pages he sets forth the alleged facts of alleged phenomena that science, he holds, has never satisfactorily explained.

These are the "damned facts." They are "damned" because they are excluded by science. FortFort, Charles makes them march in a fools' parade, up and down and all around, and every few pages challenges science to explain.

There have been, says FortFort, Charles, and offers the dates and accounts of reputable scientific journals—

Falls from the sky of stones, frogs, ice, blood, oil, metal, birds, strange plants and unidentified substances.

Huge wheeled chariots or luminous fire, seen by mariners at sea.

Dark bodies—small worlds of magnificent celestial transports—between the sun and the earth and the earth and the moon even.

Curious markings made on the surface of the earth and curious markings on stones that have fallen.

"Pipe dreams?"

Science has blithely explained the strange "falls" with its axiom—"all that comes down must have gone up." It has said that if stones actually fell they must have been carried into into the aid by a volcano or a cyclone.

Of the mysterious and luminous shapes that sailors report scholars have said are "opticcal halucination," which is a scholar's way of saying—"pipe dreams." Nevertheless—the reports have been numerous and have been made by trustworthy sea captains and their crews.

But on the "dark shapes between the sun" matter. FortFort, Charles rather "sticks" his opponents. Astronomers have seen such shapes and pondered and wondered and finally "given it up."

So—FortFort, Charles summarizes—it is easier to believe than it is not to believe, that—

Great worlds have come close to ours.

Leviathans of the ethers, carrying passengers and huge freight cargoes, have sailed within our atmosphere; been wrecked occasionally in ice fields of the upper strata and their fuel and the contents of the pantries dumped on earth.

By some unexplained means the inhabitants of another planet have contrived to mark ou earth with "cup marks" and strange hieroglyphics on rocks—not for our edification, but for the instruction of their spies left here by the great skyships.

Regardless of whether FortFort, Charles can convince us of the truth of his beliefs of the meanings of things, the "Book of the Damned" does make one stop to wonder if science really reads the language of Earth happenings accurately.