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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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Thursday, April 09, 2009

GUEST BLOGGER NEIL ARNOLD: Bodies!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie who merely wanted to start a club for people interested in unknown animals. Nothing much has changed over the years. We are just both a tad older...

If there’s one thing that irritates me, it’s when sceptical folk who harp on about ‘big cats’ in the UK, say stupid things like, “If there are big cats out there, why haven’t I seen one ?”, or, “Where’s the evidence ?”, and, “Surely there’d be bodies ?”

Of course, if we rely on the evidence which the newspapers obtain then those sad little sceptics have every right to so ignorant, but I’ve always felt that as each year more than two-hundred people report to me sightings across the south-east, in court this would be good enough voice to condemn a person for a crime. And yes, there have been bodies, as chronicled in my new book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT. Evidence is in abundance - sheep kills (sheep dragged up into trees) – bloody dogs and their trampolines!, paw-prints, faeces, and in my case, personal encounters and film footage.

I recently spoke to an old mate who told that around 2000 he’d been driving through the marshes at Romney one night when he clipped the back end of a black, Labrador-sized animal which resembled the cat he’d never believed in. I’ve known of incidents where black leopards have been splattered over the road (M25 near Surrey), written cars off (Dover), and cats have also been shot dead (Sheppey & Higham). Of course, sceptics, perched behind their PC’s all day want a body on their lap, but would it still be sufficient proof ? Of course, not, the idiot brigade would soon say, “Well, maybe it was just a one-off escapee.”

Predators such as the black leopard are extremely elusive, mainly hunting at night on dark, remote roads. Foxes and badgers certainly turn up as road kill, but how many of them are out there in comparison to large cats ?

Other strange animals have also turned up on the roads. The most fascinating case comes from 1980 when a motorist and passenger were travelling through East Kent, when suddenly an Indian nilgai antelope leapt a hedge and came crashing through the windscreen. Both witnesses were killed instantly. I even spoke to the mother of one of the men that was killed.

More known cases have turned up dead crocodiles in Wales, and also a pond in London. A strange lizard was also found dead in a road in the capital, a leopard cat was shot dead in 1988 at Devon and in 1981 fishermen from Aberdeenshire were amazed to find a dead elephant floating in the sea of the Scottish coast. And these sceptics want bodies….

2 comments:

Chris Clark said...

I hate to quibble, but if both witnesses to the nilghai were killed instantly, in what sense were they witnesses?

Neil A said...

Well, dead or not, when that antelope came through the windscreen, they must have seen something! (or maybe my terminology was incorrect!)There was alot of uproar about the case, and when the mother of one of the dead called me many years later accusing anyone and everyone for the deaths, it was a very styicky situation to be in. I'm pretty sure the state of the windscreen, with the antelope buried in the front of the car, was quite a grisly sight.