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, June 29, 2008

Open gardens, poorly turtles and other things

Yesterday was the first day of the bi-annual Open Gardens weekend. I have always enjoyed this event, but yesterday was more than slightly fraught.

I have just spent a happy half hour listening to British Sea Power and leafing my way through Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell trying to find a specific quote that seems ridiculously appropriate to describe the events of yeasterday. But Sod's Law applies (as it so often does), and I can't find it. But the quote reads something like this:

"Animals, like humans, get ill. But they seem to choose the worst possible time in which to do so".

Flump, the softshelled turtle who has been living quite contentedly at room temperature (in the summer) in my varied premises for five or six years, decided yesterday (in front of a party of old-aged-pensioners from Ilfracombe) that it was time to get a chill and become seriously ill. Luckily (for everyone involved) we had a couple of friends of mine from the zoo mafia on hand, and crisis was averted. This morning she is back to her old self, she tried to bite me, and has tucked into a dinner of prawns like they were going out of fashion. But it was not an auspicious way to launch the first public outing of the CFZ museum.

For, after two years of the top of the CFZ grounds looking like a cross between a particularly unsalubrious building site, and a First World War battleground, the CFZ Museum is finally open for business, albeit in a fairly rudimentary state.

We had about 40 visitors, and even sold a book, so we must be doing something right, and I am limbering up for day 2 of the Open Gardens weekend, which starts in about fifteen minutes..

Hey Ho, Let's Go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

For those of you interested..........

Here is this year's Weird Weekend poster.....

....and yes it IS a little girl dressed as Captain Beefheart!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Life is too bloody complicated.

So much is happening at the moment that it is almost too much to take in, let alone document on my sadly neglected bloggything. However, the boys are off to Russia amidst a flurry of terrorist alerts and other high jinks that I am not - at present - at liberty to talk about. You can follow their adventures on The Expedition Bloggything . They leave tomorrow evening, and I expect the first bulletin, telling us that they have, at least, made it through immigration at Moscow, early on sunday.

I am sitting in the office at the zoo at the moment. All the staff have become very fond of Richard in the short time that he has been Head Keeper, and are anxiously looking forward to news from the expedition.

In the midst of this, building work on the museum is just about completed, and we have moved the first four exhibits in; Flump the Chinese softshell turtle, Myrtle the Amboina box turtle, one of our amphiumas (Gumbo), and the alligator softshell. I am sitting here atb the zoo frantically trying to work out where to put a second softshell that we recklessly said that we would have months ago....

And on top of everything, my new book `Island of Paradise` is out next week.

Bloody hell I am exhausted...see u soon

Thursday, June 05, 2008

More on the Mystery Animals of the British Isles series...

Mike's book is being printed as we speak. I am extremely pleased with the cover, so here is a sneak preview...

The publishing information for the first volume is as follows:
ISBN: 978-1-905723-29-4
Title: The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Northumberland and Tyneside
Author: Hallowell, Michael J
The book will be available in the next few days.

We are proud to announce the authors of the next few volumes, which will be published in the next twelve months or so:

The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent by Neil Arnold
The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Dorset by Jonathan McGowan
The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Staffordshire by Nick Redfern
The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Co Durham and Humberside by Mike Hallowell
The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Greater London by Neil Arnold
The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Devon and Cornwall by Jonathan Downes

I hope that you will agree with us that this is an extremely worthwhile series, and I hope that you will decide to support us...