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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Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Madness of Butterflies

I have now done 17,000 words of my new book, which is about a sixth of it, and the project is substantial enough for me to talk about it now without looking like an idiot.

My new book is using the decline, extirpation, and - in one case extinction - of various species of British lepidoptera, as well as an examination of changing population trends and deliberate introductions, as an analogy by which to look at the subject of cryptozoology as a whole.

A lot has been written about the subject of trying to fit cryptozoology into mainstream zoology - this is doing almost completely the opposite.

However, in order to make the thing readable, as well as giving me a chance to put into print various things that I have never been able to fit into a book before, so the whole thing is being presented alongside a series of my own life experiences...

It is also the first time for thirteen years that I am collaborating with my old mate Richard Muirhead, who I have known since I was a boy in Hong Kong, and who did much of the background research for The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry and who's own life experiences, some of which are shared with me, are actually an integral part of the story.

There is a lot more, but I don't want to give it away just yet, partly so no-one else pips us to the post, and partly because if I reveal all of the story here in my blog there will be no point in anyone going out to buy my book when it finally comes out next year.

This, by the way, is why - I believe - that a well known publisher who specialised in books based around people's blogs, went bust earlier this year. Nobody wants to pay for what they can get for free.

I can't remember if I have plugged our latest books on here, but if I haven't may I reccomend Karl Shuker's latest Dr Shuker's Casebook.

"Although he is best-known for his extensive cryptozoological researches and publications, Dr Karl Shuker has also investigated a very diverse range of other anomalies and unexplained phenomena, both in the literature and in the field.

Travelling the world in search of mysteries and marvels of every kind, Dr Shuker has climbed the volcanic slopes of Easter Island on the trail of moai and manbirds, he has traversed the Theban necropolis of Egypt's West Bank in search of a singing Colossus and the head of Ozymandias, he has journeyed to Woolpit in the footsteps of its mystifying Green Children, and to Niagara on the lookout for its long-lost winged cat.

Whether it be flying over the Bermuda Triangle (four times!) , inspecting cropfield circles in Buckinghamshire, questing for mermaids and unicorns, gazing in awe at a putative living dinosaur emblazoned upon the magnificent Ishtar Gate of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, revealing a bizarre yet hitherto-undocumented bat-winged monster encountered in the heartland of Kent, uncovering an anachronistic Cambodian stegosaur at Angkor Wat, peering in hope across the dark waters of Loch Ness and the monster-haunted lakes of Iceland, seeking resurrected avifauna in New Zealand, finding solace in the stark majesty of Stonehenge and the holy grandeur of Lourdes, charting the preternatural entities of Senegambia's forests or Australia's Dreamtime, tracking elusive black panthers on Exmoor, or unmasking serpent-necked panthers on an enigmatic artefact from the ancient Middle East, if there are mysteries to be investigated, Dr Shuker is in hot pursuit.

Now, compiled here for the very first time, are some of the extraordinary cases that he has re-examined or personally explored down through the years - from sky beasts and reptoids, statues that weep, bleed, and even come to life, vanishing planets and invisible saints, frog rain and angel hair, and the world's weirdest ghosts and aliens, to a chiming tower of porcelain and a talking head of brass, spooklights and foo fighters, Herne the Hunter and photographed thought-forms, the chirping pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, magical mirrii dogs Down Under, and the most comprehensive study ever published of winged cats in which he successfully unveils their long-debated cryptic identity.

All of that, and much more, await you inside this arcane archive of inexplicabilia, dubitanda, and mirabilia or, as we prefer to call it, Dr Shuker's Casebook. "