Stanford "Ford" Pines, Ph.D. (born c. 1953 in Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey), also known as the Author, is a mysterious paranormal investigator who came to Gravity Falls, Oregon, to study the huge concentration of supernatural activity in and around the town. After spending years cataloging his research in a series of journals, he disappeared into an alternate dimension, his writings the only evidence of his existence.
His identity and whereabouts were a central mystery of the Gravity Falls series until the middle of the show's second season, when he was revealed to be Stan Pines' long-lost twin brother who vanished into an alternate universe after a falling out with his brother caused him to stumble into the universe portal.
Ford grew up in the town of Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey, along with his twin brother Stan. At one point, the two brothers found a broken ship in a cave along the beach, which they decided to rebuild. They named the ship the Stan O' War. To toughen them up, their father, Filbrick, made Stan and Ford take boxing lessons. At one point in his childhood, Ford and Stan observed the seaside while swinging on a swing.
In the 1970s, a year before college, Ford had built a perpetual motion machine for a science fair which impressed all of his teachers. Because of this machine he got a chance to go to the best college in the USA, West Coast Tech. But in his anger over Ford leaving, Stan accidentally broke Ford's machine and any chance of going to his dream college. The next day, when the college admission team came, they denied Ford entry into the college.
Ford ended up going to Backupsmore University, where he worked twice as hard. He went from undergrad to PHD in just three years, and ended up earning a grant for his scientific research. Ford decided to study anomalies, inspired by his own anomalous six-fingered hands. He learned that the location in the world with the highest concentration of anomalies was the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Ford settled in Gravity Falls and built his home with the help of some locals.
Ford dedicated six long years to studying the supernatural secrets of Gravity Falls. His discoveries were recorded in a series of three journals emblazoned with a drawing of a six-fingered hand, representing his own. Ford felt that the biggest mystery of Gravity Falls was where its anomalies came from, and came to the conclusion that a dimension of weirdness was the source, and it was leaking into Earth's dimension. Ford decided to build the Universe Portal to take him to that dimension.
Ford recruited a college friend, Fiddleford McGucket. With the two of them, the Portal was completed and was activated for a test run. However, McGucket was taken by the portal and was almost pulled in completely. He was pulled out by Ford, but McGucket believed that the portal could bring about the end of the world based on what he had seen. McGucket quit the project and erased his memory of it with his memory erasing gun. Ford began hearing whispers shortly afterwards.
At one point in his stay within the town, Ford summoned and befriended Bill Cipher, deceived by the demon's seemingly affable nature. He soon saw through Bill's facade and sought a way to defeat him, and he was seemingly successful. As his work in Gravity Falls continued, Ford found himself increasingly paranoid and fearful, developing a fear of an unknown entity referred to only as "He." Now writing in his journals via invisible ink, Ford took extreme security measures and created an underground laboratory serving as a fallout shelter, keeping it hidden beneath the Gravity Falls forest.
Sometime around 1982, Ford called his brother, Stan, over to Gravity Falls, feeling he was the only person left he could trust. Ford instructed Stan to take Journal 1 and hide it as far away as he could, all the way on the other side of the world. However, Stan was angry that his brother was telling him to leave after they had just seen each other for the first time in ten years, and the two began to fight. Stan accidentally activated the Portal and pushed Ford into it. Before he was completely sucked in, Ford threw Journal 1 into the hands of Stan Pines, and the Portal deactivated itself. Stan began a search for the other journals so he could reactivate the Portal, spending thirty long years hunting for their knowledge. Stan remained among one of the few people aware of the journals' power, the others being Gideon Gleeful, who was able to locate Journal 2, and eventually, Dipper Pines, who located Journal 3.
During the events of "Gideon Rises", Stan was able to locate all three journals and use them to activate the Universe Portal again. It would remain active for all of season 2, and during the events of "Not What He Seems", a countdown initiated to the Portal's complete activation, a tremendous event. Gravitational anomalies spread throughout town as a result, and on the completion of the portal, Ford reappeared from the Portal after thirty years spent trapped inside.
In "Tourist Trapped," Dipper unwittingly stumbles upon his third journal and becomes entranced by the information it contains, and he quickly begins to use this knowledge to aid him in his encounters with the supernatural.
Eventually, Dipper and his family become entangled in Gideon's quest to learn the Author's secrets, convinced this knowledge would give him unprecedented power that would allow him to take over Gravity Falls. Gideon nearly achieves his goal of gaining all three journals in "Gideon Rises," but is stopped by Dipper and Mabel. His defeat enables Stan to seize possession of Journal 2, and Dipper's revelation of his ownership of Journal 3 lets him complete this same goal.
After learning about the invisible ink in his Journal, Dipper leads his friends into the Author's bunker to search for clues on his whereabouts in "Into the Bunker." There, they come face-to-face with the mysterious figure's 210th experiment, the Shape Shifter. After successfully recapturing the beast, they emerge with their greatest lead yet: the Author's laptop (which actually belonged to Fiddleford McGucket, as later revealed) .
In "Sock Opera," Dipper devotes himself almost excessively to cracking the password for the laptop. After innumerable failed attempts, he makes a deal with Bill Cipher, but is tricked into letting the demon take possession of his body. Bill destroys the laptop to prevent Dipper from coming any closer to finding out some "major answers" and attempts to do the same to Journal #3, but is stopped by Mabel.
In "Society of the Blind Eye," after discovering that the laptop was manufactured by McGucket Labs, Dipper becomes convinced that Old Man McGucket is the Author of the books. In his confrontation with the elderly man, Dipper learns of the mysterious Blind Eye Society and goes to look for them. Recovering McGucket's stolen memories from the Society reminds him that he worked side by side with the Author (and that the laptop belonged to him, not the author), and begins trying to remember the man's identity.
In "Northwest Mansion Mystery," McGucket succeeds in fixing the laptop, and discovers a countdown to an "Imminent Danger" which McGucket refers to as the end times.
In "Not What He Seems," it is revealed that Stan has been collecting radioactive waste, for the purpose of powering a doomsday device, and the twins encounter an old newspaper article which claims Stan Pines to be deceased. Contrary to this incriminating article, it is discovered that Stan Pines is at least the direct brother of, if not, the one mentioned in the article who is actually alive. At the same time as this discovery the author of the journals is definitively identified, after his emergence from a portal in the center of the aforementioned "doomsday device," by Stan's reference to him as his "brother."
In "A Tale of Two Stans" Stanford, Dipper, Mabel and Soos ask Grunkle Stan about everything that's going on, so he explains in backstory (see in Early Life) after Stan's tale, After the story is told, the government agents descend on the Mystery Shack. Stanford takes Dipper's mind erasing gun and amplifies it, also connecting it to the speakers outside so the effect is broadcast all around the Shack, making the agents forget about this entire operation. He later talks to his brother, telling him he can have the house for the rest of the summer, but after that he will give him his name back and his house. In return, Stan tells Ford to stay away from Dipper and Mabel.
In "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons", Ford emerges from the basement, fighting a Cycloptopus, which he quickly defeats. Dipper tries to ask him questions, but Ford tells him not to get involved with his work. Later, when Dipper falls into the basement with his 38-sided die, Ford becomes excited, saying that he loves to play Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons. They begin playing in the basement, and their session gradually takes over the house, including the living room where Stan, Mabel, and Grenda are going to watch the Duck-tective season finale. After Stan accidentally rolls the infinity-sided die and releases Probabilitor the Annoying, Ford and Dipper are captured by the wizard and taken to the forest. When the others arrive, Probabilitor shrinks Ford and Dipper, turning them into playing pieces. With Stan and Mabel's help, they defeat Probabilitor. After that, Ford shows Dipper what he's been doing in the basement - not only did he destroy the portal, but he has also contained the interdimensional rift produced by the portal in a small case. He makes Dipper promise not to tell anyone about its existence before putting the rift away.
Ford bears a close resemblance to Stan Pines. However, there are a few notable differences: He has brown hair which is only partly grey, and only has a few hairs on his chin whereas his twin's is covered in grey stubble. He is seen wearing a large black coat with multiple pockets on the inside, and an item that appears to be a gun rested on his back. Underneath his coat, he wears a black shirt and pants. He also dons bulky black boots, a brown belt that slings from his shoulder, a tattered cape, and a gray scarf. He has a gold dot on either side of his glasses and a crack on the left lens. He is a polydactyl, having six fingers on each hand. In Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons Ford is seen wearing a tan coat, red turtleneck, and pants.
- 101. "Tourist Trapped" (mentioned)
- 109. "The Time Traveler's Pig" (no lines)
- 119. "Dreamscaperers" (flashback, no lines)
- 120. "Gideon Rises" (flashback, no lines)
- 3. "Mailbox" (mentioned)
- 201. "Scary-oke" (mentioned)
- 202. "Into the Bunker" (mentioned)
- 204. "Sock Opera" (mentioned)
- 207. "Society of the Blind Eye" (mentioned)
- 211. "Not What He Seems" (no lines)
- 212. "A Tale of Two Stans"
- 213. "Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons"
"It's hard to believe it's been six years since I began studying the strange and wondrous secrets of Gravity Falls, Oregon."
"Unfortunately, my suspicions have been confirmed. I'm being watched. I must hide this book before he finds it. Remember: in Gravity Falls there is no one you can trust."
"If my suspicions are correct, this is the work of Fiddleford. Does he really have to go to such great lengths to forget?"
"The portal when completed will open a gateway to infinite new worlds and herald a new era in mankind's understanding of the universe. Plus, it will probably get girls to start talking to me finally."
"I'm sorry, Dipper, but the dark, weird road I travel, I'm afraid you cannot follow."
- Alex Hirsch has on multiple occasions joked about the Author's identity:
- In Journal 2 on Bill Cipher's page, there's a quote saying "He's in my wallet!". Under it, it shows half of the back of a Negative Twelve Dollar Bill. This is odd, considering Quentin Trembley's time in office was long before Stanford was born. This may mean that Ford is a collector, unless Bill is on other dollars.
- Ford wears the same type of glasses that Stan finds in "Carpet Diem."
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