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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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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Dragons of Africa



PRESS RELEASE: DRAGON HUNTERS RELEASE FILM OF THEIR AFRICAN EXPEDITION

A team of British cryptozoologists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology have released a film, documenting their expedition into the swamps and jungles of West Africa, in search of a dangerous dragon-like monster known as the Ninki-Nanka.

The six person team visited the Gambia and Senegal last summer, to investigate the legend of a monster so awful, locals believe that to look upon it is death. The Ninki-Nanka is said to resemble a gigantic crested serpent and provokes terror in the locals even to this day.

“One man was so frightened of the monster he refused to enter a swamp where, years before, a sighting of the beast had caused a whole village to be abandoned. We had to speak to him from behind a bush, where he was hiding in terror,” said Richard Freeman, Zoological Director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology.

The team spoke to many people who claimed their relatives or friends had seen the dragon, and had subsequently died. One man, who claimed to have seen the beast himself, described it as a monstrously huge snake with a horse-like head, and a crest. He believed that only a herbal potion from a holy man saved him from the Ninki-Nankas’ curse. When shown pictures of an Apatosaurus, a Komodo dragon, a Nile monitor lizard, and a Chinese dragon, he chose the Chinese dragon as being most like what he saw.

The beast was also blamed for causing a lorry to crash, as it slithered out on to a rural road. The team visited the crash site, where the lorry is still on the side of the road.

They spoke with keepers at a sacred crocodile pool, who recount an ancient song to keep the monster at bay, and were even given a supposed Ninki-Nanka scale for examination.

The team also investigated two other unrelated mysteries; a supposed sea serpent carcass - buried on a beach by an amateur naturalist - and the continued existence of a tiny lizard known only from five museum specimens.

Just as tangled as the African forests, are the jungles of the mind, where legend, and superstition, are entwined with natural history. The film goes some way towards exploring both of these shadowy places.

The music for the film was composed especially by Paul Whitrow, a Bristol-based record producer from the legendary Bristol recording studio, Channel House, best-known for his work with Portishead, John Getty, The Mission, Alison Moyet, Imogen Heap, and cult indie band, the Blue Aeroplanes, as well as Japanese production company Creativeman.