What was the attraction?
Shipley was primarily drawn to the catalog of odd facts—he had little time for Fort’s theories, whether meant as jokes or not. Although obviously a committed scientist, Shipley was open to expanding the known laws to account for unusual phenomena. For instance, in 1919—the same year Fort published The Book of the Damned—he investigated Dr. Albert Abrams for The Scientific American. Abrams was a San Francisco doctor who claimed amazing results with “electronic medicine.” At first, Shipley—who de Ford admits several times was quite naïve—accepted Abrams findings. Eventually, though, he concluded that the doctor was both a charlatan and a dupe.
In her biography of him, de Ford writes that he had several unusual experiences himself. His house in Mill Valley, for instance, was haunted. She said,