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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Sunday, July 29, 2007

what a week!

Dear Friends,

It is a shock to realise how long it has been since I made a proper posting on this blog, and how much longer it has been since I made a post that wasn’t either a re-hash of a CFZ press release, or something appertaining to my then forthcoming wedding.

Well. We have done it. Corinna is now Mrs. Downes, and furthermore she has made an honest man of me. Stop that sniggering in the back row.

As everyone who reads Corinna’s blog will know, the day after the wedding we went to The Eden Project, where we saw the Dirty Pretty Things and The Pet Shop Boys. The first band were slightly disappointing, despite a strong and varied debut album. I have a sneaking suspicion that in a sweaty little club they would have been magnificent. Dwarfed by the splendour of The Eden Project, they were less so, although Carl Barat claims that he and his compadres have spent the summer hanging out in graveyards writing new material, and that the second album will be released early next year. I am quite looking forward to it, but regretfully admit that I don’t think that either Barat or Doherty are any where near as good separately as they are together, and I hope that The Libertines will eventually forget their differences and make a third album.

The Pet Shop Boys, however, were magnificent. There can be no better start to married life than an evening of high camp and gay disco. Much to my surprise, unlike the Dirty Pretty Things, The Pet Shop Boys’ performance was majestic and suited to what was essentially a festival crowd perfectly. But enough of this. If you wanna read someone’s ramblings about contemporary music there are far better places to go than this blog.

What is happening with the CFZ, I hear you ask? What is new in the world of monster hunting? While you were poncing around singing along to ‘Left to my own Devices’ what was happening in the world of cryptozoology?

Well, Bernard Heuvelmens once wrote that there are lost worlds everywhere. This is an assertion that I have always believed to be true, but even I was somewhat taken aback when I discovered that there is a potential major cryptozoological mystery on our own figurative doorstep – OK, in an area of thick woodland at Huddisford – a mile or so from the village.

This is where things begin to get strange. Avid readers of Corinna’s blog (and here I would like to take grave exception to her verbal assertion to me only a few minutes ago that I only persuaded her to write a blog so I didn’t have to do it so often) will know, only a few days before the wedding Corinna, Richard and I spent an evening at Huddisford on the track of an eight foot black cat. She told the story better than I possibly could, and there is no point in repeating it here. However, the implications of the sightings at Huddisford are immense.

Yes, sightings – plural!

Over the past few years there have been a whole string of sightings in the region. Interestingly, some of them are of a powerful black creature, but others describe a smaller brown one, with thick set shoulders and a nasty mastiff like face. As regular readers of this blog will know, this is getting dangerously close to the animal postulated by Di Francis. I wonder how many more times this year I will have to use my blog space in eating humble pie and apologising for my previous cavalier attitude towards Di’s theories. The further I go in my descent into British big cattery, I become more convinced that to dismiss Di Francis’ theories out of hand would be both unscientific and unwise.

Also in the week before the wedding, we finished work on Nick Redfern’s delightfully nutty new book – Man Monkey a British Bigfoot. This will be available in the next few days, and looks set to be a massive success. It is the first dedicated book on British BHM phenomena and furthermore tells the story of the quest from Nick’s delightfully idiosyncratic perspective. Even I turn up in one chapter as my 2003 encounter with the Beast of Bolam is put under the microscope.

Next out of the starting gate is Karl Shuker’s impressive update of his 1990 book Extraordinary Animals Worldwide. Extraordinary Animals Revisited will – we hope – be available in the next couple of weeks.

Before the end of the summer we have the Weird Weekend, issue 41 of Animals & Men, two more books, issue 2 of Exotic Pets, and even some sort of a honeymoon.

Dudes, the future is so bright that it is good job I don’t have hangovers any more, ‘cos I would then be forced to wear shades, and that would just look pretentious.

Onwards and upwards.