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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, May 20, 2009

NEIL ARNOLD: Crypto Stories From The Illustrated Police News Part Four

I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a mod 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...


From 1873 – AN ENCOUNTER WITH A SEA DEVIL: ‘We have received from the mate of an English trading vessel a rough sketch of “a monster of the deep”, known by the title of a “Sea Devil” attacking a fishing smack. We are informed by our correspondent that he can vouch for the truth of the strange encounter, which is briefly described in the paper he forwarded…(Japan Gazette April 23)…The apparently exaggerated description of the Sea Devil in The Toilers of the Sea loses much of its impossibility in one’s mind after an inspection of a huge cephaloped now being shown in the house near the temple at Asaksa, Yedo. It seems that a fishing boat was seized by its tentacles whilst off the village of Kononoto, in the district of Kisarazou, and that the boatmen killed the creature by repeated blows. Its length from the tail to the insertion of the tentacles is about sixteen feet, one of arms is from the junction of the body to the sucker at its point nearly five feet. It must be borne in mind that the polypus has shrunk since its death, so that living it would probably measure considerably more. After this, even Bishop Eric Pontoppidau’s kraken stories are almost credible.’

From 1876 – A SPONGE DIVER SWALLOWED BY A SEA MONSTER: A very terrible story reaches us from the Holy Land. There can be no doubt that in the depths of the sea there exist uncouth fantastic monsters, which like the Great Sea Serpent and Devil Fish, are only seen occasionally by mariners. It is difficult to persuade some persons that there is any truth in the story of the Sea Serpent. Nevertheless it seems most improbable that so many witnesses can be found to vouch for the truth of the statement. The monster depicted was seen by some score of persons or more. Mr T.S. Jago, Her Majesty’s Vice Consul at Beirout, in his report of the trade of Syria in 1875, states that the crop of sponges were very deficient, in consequence of the appearance of a sea monster, alleged to equal in size to a small boat, in the neighbourhood of Batroun, Mount Lebanon, the chief sponge fishing locality. The actual injury done appears to have been confined to one man, but as he was “swallowed whole”, according to the testimony of his fellow workers, there was such a fright among the divers that many of them ceased operations, and the deficiency in the quantity of sponges obtained ran prices up.’

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

That last one sounds an awful lot like a great white shark. Great whites live in the Mediterranean.

In fact, it is thought that the story of Jonah is based upon a shark attack. The original texts I've read in English say "a great fish," not a whale, swallowed Jonah.