Stanford Filbrick "Ford" Pines, Ph.D. (born 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.
Stanford Pines was born in the late 1950s to Filbrick and Ma Pines in Glass Shard Beach, New Jersey, along with his twin brother, Stanley. From an early age, Ford was fascinated with the supernatural and science fiction, attributed to his abnormally high I.Q. and a rare birth defect, granting him an extra finger on both his hands. Despite their vastly different personalities, Ford and his brother were the best of friends, often roaming the beach as an unstoppable duo in search of adventure. Unfortunately, their youth was plagued with frequent bullying due to Ford's six fingers and Stan's wimpish characteristics, most notably from their childhood tormenter Crampelter, which prompted their father enlisting them in boxing lessons as a means of toughening them up.
As the twins reached adolescence, Ford's brains and scientific achievement expanded with every passing year, while Stan struggled academically. Nevertheless, the two remained their closest allies, continuing the construction of their pet project, the Stanowar, to fulfill their childhood dreams of sailing around the globe. However, their future together fell under threat after Stanford's ingenious science fair experiment, a Perpetual Motion Machine, garnered the attention of West Coast Tech, a prestigious university on the other side of the country. With promises of fortune and success should he enroll in the college, Ford agreed to stay with Stan under the condition of rejection from West Coast Tech, which ultimately occurred after Stan accidentally damaged his experiment. Believing his brother's mistake was intentional sabotage, Ford watched on as his father disowned his twin from the family, evicting him from the house until he could repay the potential millions he cost the Pines family.
With no other options, Ford reluctantly enrolled himself in Backupsmore University, a low-ranking college with little remnants of the prestige or ambition of West Coast Tech. Undeterred, Stanford harnessed his brilliance and, due to his intense work ethic, entered a doctoral program three years ahead of schedule. During his collegiate years, Ford befriended fellow student Fiddleford McGucket, a genius mechanic aspiring to build personalized computers. Following the completion of a nationally-ranked thesis, Stanford was awarded an enormous grant of one hundred thousand dollars, bringing an end to his studies at Backupsmore. Inspired by his own physical deformity to investigate anomalies and the paranormal, Ford set out to the sleepy hamlet of Gravity Falls, Oregon, believing there to be a large concentration of supernatural occurrences.
Putting his grant money to use in the construction of a large, isolated research lab in the forest, Ford encountered a plethora of unnatural creatures and oddities, cataloguing his findings within a series of journals marked with his six-fingered insignia. Eventually, Stanford realized a need to expand his work area, establishing a small, heavily-protected laboratory hidden within the woods. Using the confined location as a means of hosting his most dangerous projects and experiments such as the Shape Shifter, Ford made use of his talents and newly-acquired knowledge of Gravity Falls to create deluge of new and extraordinary inventions, including the mind-swapping Electron Carpet and a mind-controlling tie designed for the masters of presidential election candidate Ronald Reagan.
By 1981, six years since his arrival in Gravity Falls, Stanford had amassed a wide array of encyclopedic knowledge on his mysterious new home, now writing his third journal. Unfortunately, his work was soon halted after encountering a roadblock in discoveries, and was left without answers as to how the improbable aberrations of Gravity Falls had come to be. However, the uncovering of a cave filled with cryptic hieroglyphics gave him hope of achieving answers, as the message foretold of an entity containing unending knowledge. Despite the warnings against it, Ford repeated the incantation aloud, later summoning a triangular dream demon known as Bill Cipher into his mindscape. Introducing himself as a muse that inspired a genius intellectual every century, Bill earned a god-like status in the eyes of Stanford, who, under his flattery and manipulation, forged a partnership; Bill would bestow his intellect onto Ford in exchange for the ability to move freely within and without of his own mind.
Under Cipher's guidance, Ford was introduced to overwhelming information and wisdom, learning of another dimension of paranormal phenomena that had leaked into his world, creating the peculiarities of Gravity Falls. With Bill's assistance, Stanford drafted blueprints to create an interdimensional gateway beneath his home, and recruited his college friend Fiddleford McGucket and his mechanic prowess into the project. As construction went underway, Ford furthered his obsession with the all-knowing Bill, collecting memorabilia such as rugs and statues, modeling his home's architecture in his image and even converting his private study to a place of worship. As their partnership seemingly grew to friendship, McGucket became uneasy towards the true purpose and function of the device they had constructed. During the portal's first trial, Fiddleford's suspicions were confirmed, glimpsing the Nightmare Realm Bill covertly intended to merge with the mortal world after accidentally inhaled into the device. Horrified with the visions he endured, McGucket immediately abandoned the project, leaving Ford with suspicions of his own.
During a confrontation with his former ally, Stanford learned of Bill's true nature and ultimate plans, and quickly realized the portal would result in the destruction of the universe. Refusing to part with his life's work, Ford deactivated the device, as well as installing a metal plate into his head to prevent Bill from taking further possessions of his body. To further protect himself, Stanford created Project Mentem, a piece of machinery capable of bio-electrically encrypting one's thoughts and preventing Cipher from wreaking havoc in the mindscape. However, Ford remained stricken with paranoia, fearful of the catastrophe he had created, and took to continuing his research through invisible ink. Unfortunately, his fear of Bill's inevitable return grew stronger, leading him to taking extreme security measures by abandoning his research and hiding his journals, preventing the portal's activation from ever reoccurring. Hiding his second and third journals locally and converting his offsite laboratory into a makeshift fallout shelter designed to survive Bill's impending apocalypse, Ford sent for his estranged brother Stanley in an urgent call for help.
After Stan's arrival, Ford's plight was near its end, as his final task rested on his brother's shoulders. Entrusting him with his first and final journal still in his possession, Ford ordered Stan to bury the book far from Gravity Falls in a place where it would remain for eternity. Enraged his brother had only sought him out for his own devices rather than a reconciliation, Stan spitefully prepared to burn the journal and much of Ford's work, resulting in a brawl within the laboratory that inadvertently reactivated the portal. In a matter of minutes and a few unfortunate steps, Stanford was sent flying into the device, disappeared into dimensions and regions beyond.
Ford now found himself stranded between dimensions in an unfamiliar netherworld of the supernatural, something he was hardly prepared for in all his years of studying Gravity Falls. As his brother Stan formulated a plan to reacquire the instructions to the device and continue to pay his house's mortgage through a tourist trap known as the "Mystery Shack", Ford navigated his strange new home for thirty years and came into contact with a variety of anomalies, such as the highly-illegal infinity sided die and the strangely pleasant Dimension 52. Though Stan concealed any remaining remnants of his twin brother for the time being, Stanford ultimately lived on as a legend to his grand-nephew Dipper Pines, who locates his journal and becomes infatuated with its author.
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.
In "The Last Mabelcorn," Ford is shown having a dream with Bill Cipher in it, wherein Bill greets him as an old pal and tells him that he's been preparing for "the big day," going on to say that Ford will slip up and "things change", Ford warns the family and sends Mabel on a quest to obtain unicorn hair to Bill-proof the shack while he and Dipper go into Ford's research room. While having his mind read, Dipper decides to see what Ford is hiding about Bill and discovers that Ford made a deal with Bill and used to be friends with him. When Ford wakes up, he tells Dipper he "shouldn't have done that" and proceeds to try and take the rift from Dipper. Dipper, thinking Ford is Bill fires the gun, it ricochets off Ford due to the metal plating in his head and destroys the machine. Dipper apologises and Ford forgives him, and proceeds to explain his past with Bill, revealing that Bill had tricked Ford into thinking he was a friend, until Fiddleford McGucket discovered that Bill had tricked them into building a portal between the real world and the realm of nightmares. Ford and Dipper then form a partnership and by using the unicorn hair that Mabel had retrieved they form a protective shield around the Mystery Shack, protecting their minds from Bill.
Ford bears a close resemblance to Stan Pines. However, there are a few notable differences: His hair, unlike Stan's, has a silver streak along the sides of it, and he possesses unusually long sideburns. his chin has a much less prominent five-o-clock shadow, and possesses little to no hairs on his chin whereas his twin's is covered in grey stubble. When he first comes out of the Portal, 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, as well as all subsequent appearances, Ford is seen wearing a tan coat, red turtleneck with a black belt that slings across his chest, black pants, and large, brown boots coated in dirt.
Stan and Ford are twins just like Dipper and Mabel. During their childhood Stan and Ford were the closest of friends and would go out on adventures together. As they grew older, they slowly grew apart from each other, they finally separated when Stan accidentally broke Ford's machine and ruins his chances to go to a superior college and as an extension a chance of a large fortune for the family. Due to this incident, Ford held a grudge against Stan for many years. When Stan finally managed to send Ford back to their dimension, Ford still held a grudge at Stan for all he had done despite Stan's efforts at rescuing him. Ford and Stan eventually reconciled albeit strained. Ford allowed Stan to stay in the shack until summer ends whilst Ford kept the interdimensional rift contained and worked on finding a way to stop Bill Ciphers plans. He then told Stan that when summer ends, Stan is to return Ford's shack and identity.
Ford and McGucket were close friends in Backupsmore University. During Ford's time at Gravity Falls, he called his old friend Fiddleford for help in researching the mysterious paranormal activities in Gravity Falls. They researched together and eventually, they built the Universe Portal. When they test the machine, McGucket accidentally got sucked into the portal causing him to see something he wanted to forget, McGucket even questioned who Ford was really working for. Ford and McGucket eventually cut their ties and McGucket quits helping Ford in his experiments and they never see each other again as McGucket eventually becomes a crazy old man.
Bill Cipher is Ford's greatest enemy as Bill tricked Ford into building the Universe Portal. Ford attempted to warn people who read his journal about Bill Cipher's existence and the dangers he could do to their world. During Ford's time doing research at Gravity Falls, he hit a roadblock and he summoned Bill to assist him. He considered Bill a friend due to the amount of help and knowledge that Bill shared with Ford however when Fiddleford McGucket was sucked into the Universe Portal, Ford realized Bill's true goal and stopped him by deactivating the portal. Ford's current mission is stopping Bill Cipher from getting his hands on the interdimensional rift and goes to great lengths in doing so (to the point where he would Bill-proof the Mystery Shack).
Ford is an idol to Dipper as Dipper was always obsessed about the Author of the journals. When Dipper obtained Journal 3, one of his main missions was to learn the mysteries of the town and to find out the Author of the journals. When he finally meets the Author, Dipper becomes extremely excited and Ford becomes flattered that Dipper was a fan of him. With eagerness Dipper wishes to assist him yet, Ford was initially reluctant to allow Dipper to help him at all because he is a child and he didn't want Dipper to be in danger. However during their game of Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons, their common interests and enjoying the same things further strengthens their bond. Ford thinks of Dipper not only as his great nephew but a friend, Ford then decided to trust Dipper with the knowledge of a dimensional rift he sealed away, swearing Dipper to secrecy. Despite their close relation, Ford still kept secrets from Dipper about Bill Cipher, but he finally tells Dipper the truth in "The Last Mabelcorn" as he didn't want Dipper to distrust him. Due to this, he tells Dipper that no more secrets should be kept between them.
When meeting Mabel for the first time he was surprised but endeared, upon coming up to her he liked her charming weirdness.Ford hasn't interacted with Mabel as much as he has with Dipper however they are seen to be in good terms with each other. Mabel (along with Stan and Grenda) rescued Ford and Dipper from Probabilitor the Annoying despite Stan and Grenda's reluctance to do so. When Ford called for a family meeting, he allowed Mabel to him find a lock of unicorn hair to protect the shack from Bill Cipher. Despite Ford's belief that Mabel won't be able to succeed, Mabel returns with the required item, shocking Ford. With Mabel's help, Ford assures Mabel that she is a good girl.
- Intro: "Gravity Falls Main Title Theme"
- 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"
- 214. "The Stanchurian Candidate"
- 215. "The Last Mabelcorn"
"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. Well, call me for dinner!"
- 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."
- To keep Bill away he had a metal plate inserted in his head.
- According to Bill Cipher, Ford will die of a heart attack at the age of 92.
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