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The First Issue of FATE, March 1948

FATE is a U.S. magazine about paranormal phenomena. FATE was co-founded in 1948 by Raymond A. Palmer (editor of Amazing Stories) and Curtis Fuller. FATE magazine is the longest-running magazine devoted to the paranormal. Promoted as "the world's leading magazine of the paranormal", it has published expert opinions and personal experiences relating to UFOs, psychic abilities, ghosts and hauntings, cryptozoology, alternative medicine, divination methods, belief in the survival of personality after death, Fortean phenomena, predictive dreams, mental telepathy, archaeology, warnings of death, and other paranormal topics.

Six decades before the AMC’s Walking Dead, SyFy’s Paranormal Witness, late-night radio’s Coast to Coast AM, and countless websites, blogs, books, and movies began captivating audiences with true tales of the paranormal — there was FATE — a first-of-its-kind publication dedicated to in-depth coverage of mysterious and unexplained phenomena.

FATE was a true journalistic pioneer, covering issues like electronic voice phenomena, cattle mutilations, life on Mars, telepathic communication with animals, and UFOs at a time when discussing such things was neither hip nor trendy like it is today. Recently, FATE celebrated the 65th anniversary of its founding and the publication of its 722nd issue, a rare feat of longevity achieved by only a select few U.S. periodicals.

Though Fate is aimed at a popular audience and tends to emphasize personal anecdotes about the paranormal, American writer and frequent FATE contributor Jerome Clark says the magazine features a substantial amount of serious research and investigation, and occasional debunking of dubious claims. Subjects of such debunking articles have included Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, and the Amityville Horror.

MothMan

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John Keel, The main investigator of The Mothman, worked writing FATE magazine articles for many years. A collection of his articles were contained in a book called 'The Best of John Keel' in 2006. There were at least two MothMan articles in the magazine's history. One was called 'The return of The Mothman' and it was in the January through February 2002 issue of FATE magazine. The other was called 'John Keel On Mothman ' and It was in September 2007 issue of FATE magazine.

History

Where it all began: The birth of the modern UFO era

Established in 1948 by Clark Publishing Company, the first edition of FATE hit world newsstands in the spring. Co-founded by Ray Palmer, editor of the Amazing Stories magazine, and Curtis Fuller, an accomplished editor in his own right, the magazine's inaugural edition featured an article by Kenneth Arnold who recounted in it his UFO encounter in 1947. Arnold's sighting marked the beginning of the modern UFO era, and his story propelled the magazine to national recognition.

The Cold War was in its infancy, and the Space Age was still a dream but across the nation and around the world, people observed strange objects flying through the skies.

Two Chicago-based magazine editors, Raymond A. Palmer and Curtis B. Fuller, took a close look at the public’s fascination with flying saucers and saw the opportunity of a lifetime. With help from connections in the worlds of science fiction and alternative spirituality, they launched a new magazine dedicated to the objective exploration of the world’s mysteries. They gave their “cosmic reporter” the name FATE.

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FATE’s first issue, published in Spring 1948, featured as its cover story the first-hand report of pilot Kenneth Arnold on his UFO sighting of the previous year, an event widely recognized by UFO historians as the birth of the modern UFO era.

In 1955, Curtis Fuller and his wife Mary took full control of Fate when Palmer sold his interest in the venture. The Fullers expanded the magazine's focus, and increased readership to well over 100,000 subscribers.

FATE’s role in creating a new genre: The paranormal

Other topics covered in this and subsequent issues included vanished civilizations, communication with spirits, synchronicity, exotic religions, monsters and giants, out-of-place artifacts, and phenomena too bizarre for categorization. This mix of subjects set a template that the magazine would follow for six decades and counting. In many ways, FATE magazine created the genre that is now known as “the paranormal.”

Palmer and Fuller’s judgment of FATE’s potential proved correct, and as demand for the magazine grew its publication frequency increased quickly from quarterly to bimonthly to monthly. Palmer sold his share of the magazine in the late 1950s, and Fuller brought his wife Mary aboard to help run the growing business.

FATE’s success spawned scores of imitators over the years, but none lasted very long. Through the decades FATE kept going, doggedly promoting the validity of paranormal studies but unafraid to reveal major events as hoaxes or frauds when it was warranted. Among the famous cases debunked by FATE were the Philadelphia Experiment, and the book and movie versions of the Amityville Horror.

In 1988, Fate was sold to Llewellyn Publications (now Llewellyn Worldwide). In his farewell column, Curtis Fuller wrote, "Our purpose throughout this long time has been to explore and to report honestly the strangest facts of this strange world and the ones that don't fit into the general beliefs of the way things are."

Fate underwent a facelift in 1994, when Llewellyn decided to change it from digest size to a full-size, full-color magazine.

In 1998, the magazine celebrated its 50th year of publication. When asked to comment on how a magazine like Fate survived through five decades, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke said, "No product, especially a magazine, can stay around for fifty years unless it meets a need. Fate recognizes that the impossible can be possible; we explore the unknown so that it can be known."

In September 2001, Galde Press, Inc., owned by editor-in-chief Phyllis Galde, purchased Fate. Galde has continued Fate's reporting of unusual events and active reader involvement in shaping the content of the magazine.

In May 2003, Fate returned to its pre-1994 digest size. In 2008, it moved to a bi-monthly format with its July/August issue. True to its origins, in many issues Fate magazine continues the tradition of having retro looking art appear on the cover.

Relevancy today

So how does FATE still stay relevant after all this time? Especially in a fast-paced, high-tech world that is often short on attention span and long on cynicism, how does a magazine like FATE continue to thrive? Editor-in-Chief Phyllis Galde says, “FATE allows readers to think for themselves by providing them with stories that mainstream publications don’t dare touch. The truth is, reality does not conform to the neat and tidy box that many people would like to wedge it into. Our world is a bizarre and wondrous place and our universe is filled with mystery — it is teeming with the unknown. People are longing for something more than the mundane transactions of everyday existence. FATE feeds the soul’s appetite for the enigmatic, the esoteric, and the extraordinary.”

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