Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

But what have you done TODAY???????

Hard at work in the CFZ office

The CFZ personnel work out here on a rota. Today Graham and I have been joined by John Fuller (administrative assistant), who lives at the old CFZ base in Exeter.

John hides behind a teetering pile
of copies of Animals & Men#36

John has been printing off copies of the new journal of the CFZ (bloody hell! Is it really 36 issues already??? Graham has been proofreading one of our next book releases: The Beast and I by Paul Crowther. It is an amusing and often exciting look back at ten years of searching for the `Beast of Bodmin` and its kin, written by the one-time lecturer in photographic studies at Plymouth College of Further Education.

A preview of the cover for Paul's book which will be out by the end of autumn

What have I been doing? Well, apart from working on my father's new book - a history of Pre-colonial Africa - I have been working on a project that is very important to me. For years we have had people offering to help the CFZ on a voluntary basis, but we have never made a concerted effort to marshal these resources.

We now have a Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CFZ_Volunteers/ and we are actively seeking volunteers - so c'mon guys, sign up!

The CFZ is open to all; young and old...
Dad and John Fuller hard at work

Getting it together in the Country....

The rural CFZ

For years I have lived and worked in a rather nasty little mid-terraced house in Exeter. It was bad enough living there as a young married couple back in 1985; but for the last ten years, divorced and sharing the place with a succession of mad cryptozoologists, it has become untenable.

Then in June it all changed. My mother died three years back and since then my elderly father has been rapidly declining in health. He has always refused to move out of the old family home or to have a carer live with him, but by early summer he was far too ill to live independently. His condition was so bad that when he called to me for help I thought that he was not going to last more than a couple of weeks. Graham (Deputy Director of the CFZ) and I moved in immediately, leaving the CFZ office in the lurch. However, Dad began to respond to treatmentb and although he will never recover, he is no longer in imminent danger of leaving us.

Within weeks the entire CFZ office was being run from rural North Devon, and it has worked out on every level. Dad now has people to take care of him 24/7, we have room to move for the first time in years, and I no longer have to live in that grotty little house, in that grotty little estate, in that grotty little suburb....

Plea in Mitigation

For nearly a decade and a half I have been running the Centre for Fortean Zoology - the world's largest cryptozoological research organisation. As it says on our website front page:

'At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the only professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world.'
We have no outside funding, and all our money comes from membership fees, sales of our books, and donations. However, we not only manage to keep going, but over the years have mounted expeditions across the world - most recently to Mongolia (2005) in search of the fabled Mongolian Deathworm, to Puerto Rico (2004) in search of the grotesque vampiric chupacabra, and to Sumatra (2004) in search of a legendary bipedal ape called Orang Pendek.

People often comment that mine must be a wonderfully exciting job - after all, I lead a team of monster hunters, and haven't had a haircut in years! It is very true; what I do can be very exciting indeed, but it is often far more prosaic.

Because we are funded by public monies, I feel that it is only appropriate for us to share our activities with the people who pay for them. Therefore (and I can't remember who's idea it was; probably Corinna, my girlfriend's) I shall attempt to keep this blog going. I don't promise to do it every day, but I shall try to keep everyone who is interested up to date with what we all actually do here at the CFZ.

Once I have managed to keep this going for a while, I shall use my position of moral superiority to try and get some of the other core members of the CFZ team to do blogs as well. In certain cases it might well be the only way I shall ever find out what the buggers actually get up to all day....