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, March 27, 2009


It is always nice to be able to introduce you all to a new guest blogger. Possibly the nicest thing about the CFZ bloggo is that it is a living, breathing community, and new people arrive on a regular basis. I can't tell you anything about Liz, apart from the fact that she bought some books from us at Uncon, briefly spoke to Richard, and had a charmingly old-fashioned habit of referring to me as `Mr Downes`, when everyone else calls me `Jon` or `Hey You` (or somethimes something more scatological), until I told her not to. She is obviously one to watch...

Touchstones is a charming museum, art gallery and local studies centre in Rochdale, Lancashire. It contains a wonderful little café where they serve best peppermint tea I have ever tasted.

My favourite feature in the former Rochdale Central Library building, however, is a small unassuming white telephone tucked up a corner in the local history section. There are actually several of these and not one performs the function intended by Alexander Graham Bell but my favourite will dial up any one of a four local legends provided you press the right button.
According to the over-enthusiastic actress employed to record The Rochdale Goblins (the best of these stories, in my opinion), the people of Saxon Rochdale (or Recedham as it was then known) wanted a parish church on the bank of the river Roche. Plans were drawn up, builders employed and stone was cut.

The morning after the first day’s labour the worker’s returned to the construction site to find it bare. After hunting the surrounding area all day the materials were discovered at the top of a steep hill overlooking the river. Everything was slowly dragged back down to where it should have been and tired but relieved, everyone went home.

Next morning, though, same thing again: all stone and equipment vanished, again to be discovered at the top of the hill. These trials went on for some days until some bright spark suggested the local goblins, who must have been there first, didn’t want the Christian edifice on their land and were responsible for the disruption of the work. It was thus decided Rochdale should take the hint; the church was built on top of the hill overlooking the town and river, consecrated in honour of St. Chad and still stands there to this day; intact and still in use.
Since Touchstones itself is built on the bank of the Roche, though, one must assume that goblins have no objection to cultural centres; either that or they are as fond of peppermint tea as I am.

1 comment:

Greatbeast said...

I'm all for Ms. Clancy's old-fashioned habits, Mr Downes.