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, February 20, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER LINDSAY SELBY: Here be monsters...or are they?

A browse through the university special collections found some monster stories.

A relation of a terrible monster taken by a fisherman neere Wollage, July the 15. 1642. and is now to be seen in Kings street, Westminster. The shape whereof is like a toad, and may be called a toad-fish, but that which makes it a monster, is, that it hath hands with fingers like a man, and is chested like a man. Being neere five foot long, and three foot over, the thicknesse of an ordinary man. The following discourse will describe him more particularly. Whereunto is added, a relation of a bloudy encounter betwixt the Lord Faulconbridge and Sir John Hotham, wherein the Duke of Richmond is hurt, and the Lord Faulconbridge taken prisoner. With some other misselanies of memory both by sea and land, with some forreigne occurrences. [electronic resource] : Imprint London : Printed for Nath. Butter, 1642.

This sounds to me like some sort of seal or walrus . Others may have some idea. In 1642 I don’t suppose they had much idea about marine creatures .The tale below is obvious to us what it is.

A true and perfect account of the miraculous sea-monster, or, Wonderful fish lately taken in Ireland bigger than ox, yet without legs, bones, fins, or scales, with two heads, and ten horns of 10 or 11 foot long, on eight of which horns there grew knobs about the bigness of a cloak-button, in shape like crowns or coronets, to the number of 100 on each horn, which were all to open, and had rows of teeth within them ... : together with the manner how it first appeared and was taken at a place called Dingel Ichough ... / [electronic resource] : faithfully communicated by an eye witness. Imprint [London?] : Printed for P. Brooksby and W. Whitwood, 1674.

It’s a squid or octopus of course. It got me thinking though about what other misidentified animals could be reported as cryptids. It is easy to see a monster when you are not familiar with it’s appearance.

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