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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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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weirder than Ever.... It is the greatest weekend in the cryptozoological year

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of the year again - the time of the year when work starts in earnest on preparing the grooviest weekend in the Cryptozoological calendar: the CFZ weird weekend. As Oll Lewis wrote recently:

"Once a year in Woolsery something magical happens. A quiet village turns into a meeting place for monster hunters for the weekend when the CFZ hosts the weird weekend. The monster hunters are joined by experts from other fields in Forteana for a weekend of talks, where they present their latest findings. Unlike other conferences though the weird weekend is not all talk; it also includes lectures, events and cake eating competitions aimed at (mainly) at children to entertain the younger generation at the same time as their parents."

The weird weekend is, indeed, a magical three days. For one weekend in the year the little North Devon village of Woolsery becomes the weirdest place in England, if not the whole planet. The Villagers enter wholeheartedly into the fun, and many of them get involved in organising what has become the largest Cryptozoological Conference in the English-speaking world. Now in its tenth year, the convention attracts speakers and visitors from all over the world and showcases the findings of investigators into strange phenomena.

Cryptozoologists, parapsychologists, ufologists, and folklorists are descending on Woolfardisworthy Community Centre to share their findings and insights. Unlike other events, the Weird Weekend will also include workshops giving tips to budding paranormal investigators, and even a programme of special events for children. The Weird Weekend is the only fortean conference in the world that is truly a family event, although those veterans of previous events should be reassured that it is still as anarchically silly as ever!

This year I think that we have surpassed ourselves with our choice of guests. There are still two more major guests whom we are waiting to confirm, but so far, the following speakers are confirmed:

ANDY ROBERTS: The big grey man of Ben McDhui
NEIL ARNOLD: Zooform Phenomena - monsters amongst us
MAX BLAKE: Unknown animals in pet shops
PAUL ROSE: My life with the cryptozoologists
ALAN MURDIE: Forteana from Colombia
JONATHAN McGOWAN: TBA
NICK REDFERN: Planet of the Apemen - Stalin's hybrid army
RONAN COGHLAN: TBA
TIM MATTHEWS: Crop Circle Confusion
PAUL VELLA: The Minnesota Iceman
Dr KARL SHUKER: Book launch
RICHARD FREEMAN: Expedition report
OLL LEWIS: Welsh dragons and the gwiber
MICHAEL WOODLEY: A proposed system of taxonomy for cryptozoology
JONATHAN DOWNES: Compere

It is - we think - a pleasantly eccentric mixture of academia and entertainment, of old guard and young turks. The oldest speaker is in his sixties, and the youngest isn't out of his teens. Nick Redfern is flying in all the way from Dallas, and Oll Lewis is walking less than a quarter of a mile to get there. There will be theatre, music, films, art exhibitions, and comedy as well as the lectures. There are stalls, workshops, a children's play area, a sumptious menu and cheap drinks. It is a place to see old friends and meet new ones. And, as long as you book in advance, it is only £20 per head for the whole weekend. Kids under 16 are free, as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult.

I would seriously suggest that you buy your tickets well in advance from The Weird Weekend Website as well as booking your accomodation equally well in advance. Last year there were no B&B rooms available for love or money within a five mile radius of the village by the time that the beginning of August came around.....

So, this year it is the 14th-16th August...see you there

PS. For those of you wanting a little taster of what is in store, check out our guest blogger Max Blake, as he gives a taster of what is in his talk, with a lavishly illustrated article on unknown animals which turn up in the pet trade...

1 comment:

Syd said...

"Kids under 16 are free, as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult."
So how many under 16's are likely to be attending, as responsible adults at the Weird Weekend, tend to be more rare than mongolian death worms.