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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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Friday, January 23, 2009

BIRD DROPPINGS OR SOMETHING MUCH MORE UNPLEASANT?

For five or six years our Indiana representative has been a charming young lady called Elizabeth Clem. We met face to face during my visit to Illinois in 2004, and have been firm friends ever since. Today she sent me the following, slightly revolting story...

SW side homes showered with brown spots
Health dept. suspects bird droppings
Last Edited: Wednesday, 21 Jan 2009, 11:43 PM ESTCreated On: Wednesday, 21 Jan 2009, 5:08 PM EST
Eric Halvorson
Edited by Andrew Bonner

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Some people in Camby, Indiana want to know what hit them. Their neighborhood in southwestern Marion County is covered with splotches of brown matter. The event is enough for a health department investigation.

The department's inspectors said whatever it is, it's not like anything they've ever seen before. And, they're still trying to figure out just what "it" is. One resident said the brown spots stretch for about half a mile.

It's smeared on siding and clumped on cars.

"All honesty, yeah, it's pretty disgustin," said neighbor Randall Cooper. "That's definitely not mud fallin' from the sky, for sure."

Some neighbors speculated that since jets fly over the area all the time, it's human waste dropped from a plane. But the health department has another theory.
"Well, we're leaning to thinking we're probably talking about bird feces," said John Althardt of the Marion County Health Department.

The department sent environmental specialists to examine the area and collect samples. They hope to have the test results for an official explanation, Thursday.
"I'm just glad it's winter time and not 90-degree weather and smelling up the place," said Cooper.

The Health Department said neighbors can use a hose to clean their houses but should first cover the hands, eyes and mouth. They also say to clean your shoes before going back inside. And, if your pets walk in anything, wipe their paws. The basic point is: limit your interaction with the substance...whatever it is.

Well, I tend to go with the airliner theory, although I would have imagined that there would have been strict zoning laws as to when and where aircraft could empty their lavatory tanks. I also have a vague memory from reading an article in Fortean Times some years ago that aircraft mix their human waste with green chemicals of some sort, so perhaps this aint human waste after all?

So what the bloody hell is it? We await further developments with interest.
Being frivolous: Maybe - 32 years after its last appearance - the Illinois thunderbird has made a visit to the neighbouring state. If so, Marlon Lowe had better look out just in case his hair this time turns from white to brown!

I think that The Buzzcocks said it best on the B-side of What do I get?

2 comments:

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

There's an easy way to tell if the droppings are from birds or not: test for the presence of uric acid (the white stuff in bird droppings).

Humans excrete very little of this; uric acid in people causes gout. Birds and reptiles by contrast use this as their default nitrogenous waste excretion route, to avoid poisoning themselves in the egg stage.

A quick spot of googling shows such kits are available for around 300 dollars, and even a small sample of birt dropping should give a fantastically strong response, given that these kits are designedto look for uric acid in human samples (it is possibly best to ask a friendly hospital medical technicians to obtain one or two of the things for cash in hand).

Lanette said...

Has seen some of that "stuff" in our area of southeast Missouri. I had figured it was due to hawks in the area since we have had a huge increase in population.