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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Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I am still very unwell. Diabetes is a horrible bloody disease, and I feel absolutely wretched. I am in bed most of the time, only emerging to do the bare minimum of officework, and then skulking back to bed (often with Corinna's ridiculous dog, who has appointed himself Head Physician at my sickbed, and whose `treatments` involve bounding about, yelping, and trying to chew my nose off when I am asleep).

I was up for about half an hour earlier to do my emails, and read this:


Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Subject: Re: [jerseydevil_mothman] TUESDAY LUNCHTIME AT THE CFZ: Giant eels, eyewitnes...

Hey Jon, Just dropping you a note. I really like the Lunchtime Articles , Something to brighten up my Day. I don't always comment, on the Things in life, I enjoy. Just thought I would start.
Thanks again. HHW

Thank You HHW whoever you are. It is nice to know that our efforts are appreciated, especially as in the last few days there have been a string of snide comments and ill-mannered insults about the CFZ in general, and me in particular, across The Internet.

I know, sticks and stones and all that, but when you are a manic depressive suffering from the synergistic results of a serious illness and a trivial one, words can hurt you. Being told that the CFZ website is "full of self important crap", that I "will burn in hell" for denying the literal truth of Creation, that I am obviously "a Government spy sent to suppress the truth about angels and the chupacabra" (I cannot work that one out either), that I only write, post and promote this blog because I have "too much time on my hands", and am "over excited" and that I am "abusing" a certain mailing-list by posting the blog updates on it, as well as a string of unpleasant jibes from Big Cat researchers who disapprove of our association with Neil Arnold, and various people who disapprove of our relationship with Tim Matthews, and I do get quite upset.

So when people like you, HHW, and other people who write similar things each week, write to say how much you enjoy what we do, it literally makes my day :)


G L Wilson said...

Jon - I think you do fantastic work. It was your enthusiasm for the subject that made me want to get involved.

As for posting on the blog because you have "too much time on your hands", what universe does the person making this claim think you live in? Perhaps some other dimension where a single day lasts 48 hours.

Geordie Paranormalizer said...

Well said.

Geordie Paranormalizer said...

Well said

stormwalkernz said...

Jon the CFZ is now Big - and has knocked out some competition they are only trying to get at you as you are the figurehead of the CFZ.
Be delighted in the fact as you are obviouly now a tall poppy and they are trying to knock you back to their level. Head High my friend. I know how it is when you are ill - im down at the moment and my computer crashed so lost a hell of a lot of research about a years worth, I know it seems tough when you are down and feel you are getting kicked as well, but hang in there.
With what I have,I know there arnt many years ahead and at least while Im here im Hissing someone off.
Take heart - I consider you a good friend and can sympathise.
Rest and rally and youll be on top again im sure.
all great men have detractors.
I am proud to be associated with the CFZ and to know you and your dear wife.

You are in our thoughts So get well.

fleury said...

those insults are hilarious, and in my opinion both Tim and Neil are ace aren't they?
(unless they go around kicking ducklings and yelling at old ladies in their spare time..)

Jon Downes said...

Thank you my dears....

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Jon, as a lapsed biologist I do rather like what you are doing with regards cryptozoology and in particular I rather liked the debunking of the Chupacabras mythos you have done. What is especially laughable about that myth is the childishly naive assumption of pretty much everyone except yourself that a blood-feeding unknown animal exists across a large and quite well investigated part of the world; quite apart from anything else pure blood feeding animals are rare due to the metabolic adaptations needed to cope with the high iron content of blood.

As for the big cat researchers, I would say that this is very likely to be pure jealousy on their part. The problem with cat research is that there seems to be something most peculiar going on in cat genetics, whereby fertile hybrids of domestic cats and quite a wide range of other little cats (i.e. non-roaring small felids) are not only possible but occur quite readily.

This means that research on big cats in Britain and Europe is divided technically and sociologically into three areas; there's the field you're in where big cats are just another anomalous but completely real cryptozoological phenomenon to be investigated, there's the obsessively small field of pure big cat researchers whose stock in trade is to hype up the phenomenon and imply that all manner of unlikely cat-like beasts are on the hunt in Britain, and there is the mostly unpopulated high-tech approach, which relies upon genetic analysis of samples from these putative big cats; this latter investigation to include not only the normal genetic marker investigation but also chromosome number checking to spot unusual hybrids.

All I can say is, out of all the cryptozoological researchers I have met, you are the only one to have developed a useful systematic classification of the things, and you are one of the very few who can spin a damn good yarn into the process.

Geordie Paranormalizer said...

Good stuff, Dan...but you're off the mark when you say that "pure blood feeding animals are rare...". What about the Inland Revenue, the CSA....they are pure blood-feeders whilst, ironically, simultaneously being leeches :)!

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Years and years ago, I worked (via an agency working for an outsourcing company) for the DSS as a part of their Year 2000 efforts, and back then as part of the roving Yorkshire team, we always used to really like visiting CSA sites.

This wasn't because of their IT systems, which were uniformly horrible and weirdly, unnecessarily over-complicated with a vile hybrid monstrosity called PC X Integrated Infrastructure which seem to mostly act as a parasitic brake on getting anything done.

No, it was because of the staff. The DSS seems to be largely staffed by hatchet-faced old schoolmarms and bearded loons in polyester suits, but the CSA back then seemed to be where all the pretty female staff ended up, which was remarkably easy on the eye (and whilst waiting for a 486 machine to shuffle into sluggish activity, we did indeed get a chance to look about).

So I do tend to remember days spent bludgeoning CSA computers into some semblence of workingness with a certain mistiness of eye, even if the job was horribly underpaid...

Geordie Paranormalizer said...

Aw...now I feel guilty. Actually, one of my best mates works for the CSA, but he won't let me tell anyone in case he gets a knock on the door in the night....

Jon Downes said...


Oh dear...and you were all doing quite well. Look, the truth is that the angels are chupacabra (or chupacabras, or chupacabri, or whatever the collective noun is). I know this because God told me. And that guy wossname who used to be a sports presenter and now wears blue track suits and reckons the Queen is an iguana, or something. He told me as well. And so did Nick Redfern, although he won't admit it because he is one (chupacabra, not government spy). That's three, so they can't all be wrong.

If I want to believe that angels are chupacabras invented by Nick Redfern and the Queen to support Jon Downes' secret plot to take over the world (except for Milton Keynes because its crap there) then I bloody well will and no one - not even the Archangel Gabriel - will stop me. I've known this for years and YOU lot have just figured it out NOW. Lay off those folk who are exposing Jon's evil plot - I think they are very courageous, because they know that Jon is mates with Fidel Castro and the reincarnated Elvis and could have them bumped off with lightning bolts, or whatever, any time he likes.

I soon hope to launch a Facebook group called, "Help Elvis Stop the Evil One (Jon Downes) From Taking Over the World (Except for Milton Keynes) by Manufacturing Angelic Chupacabras". I will be Grand HooHah of the group, and Richie Freeman can be Deputy Grand HooHah. Gail, you can be Chief Executive HooHah in charge of personnel. Together we can all take a stand against the Evil Jon. Unless Jon repents. Then we can just go to the pub.

Yours fraternally,

Chief Grand HooHah and Wizard of the Ancient and Royal Order of Redfernian Chupacabrites (Downsian Sector)