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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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Friday, May 22, 2009

TIM MATTHEWS: Are big cat hunters the new UFOlogists?

Tim Matthews is one of my best friends, and also - coincidentally - one of the most controversial figures in contemporary forteana. He has been involved with the CFZ for nearly a decade now, raising eyebrows wherever he goes. Now he has started to write fiction. But like other works of fiction produced by CFZ worthies, it is fiction where the lines of reality and make-believe meet.

In the distance the threatening sound of a Police helicopter and the all-powerful beam of Big Brother’s searchlight hitting the ground below. A while away the flashing blue light on the vehicles the mystery cat almost hit suggest an incident in the making...Panicked police officers to-ing and fro-ing in a frantic search for their elusive pray.

200 miles away, sat in front of a computer, a Big Cat Expert looks admiringly at his camouflage gear, his shelf of books indicating his fascination in such unusual subject matter, his stomach heaving over his jeans. By the bin in the corner of his darkened room a pile of Macdonalds cartons indicate a less than healthy attitude to diet but he needn’t worry about such matters as he is King Of The ABC Forum! From here he can control his dozen troops and think of himself as The General.

Ah yes! Sightings, and more sightings! Sightings of something, four-legged. Must be an ABC even if any resulting pictures and publicity could be evidence of nothing more than a local cat photographed at an unusual angle or seen by somebody who is not given to gathering effective data on animals mystery...or otherwise.

And how, a local reporter asked him last week during an interview for the Little Chiddington Gazette, can these thousands of sightings be taken at all seriously given the almost total lack of photographic evidence for their existence. “But the sightings, and, most of all the peeeeeeople,” answers The General shuddering at this oikish journalists questions. “They can’t allll be wrong,” he adds, wondering at the disbelief on show from the man across the table at the local cafe.

“We need to meet somewhere anonymous,” the General had told the journo. “Better that way. I don’t want too much public recognition. Especially not since the book was published.” (Total sales so far, 36.)

Sightings. Yes. Proof. All those people, over all those years seeing.....something. Just like UFOs. Sightings. Yes. Proof. All those people, over all those years seeing...something. Ah, we are caught in a time loop or are we repeating history? What would the General say if he’d met himself on a remote hillside with his camouflaged friends back in the 1990s by Ashurst Beacon Watching The Skies!

1999. A helicopter passes overhead but it’s....just....so...weird. GASP! Further proof and all those people can’t be wrong. Perhaps, as one commentator seriously suggested, it is really an alien spaceship posing as helicopter. “They’d never think of that.” Thousands of sightings. A whole lot of “evidence” proving what exactly?

2009. A helicopter passes over South Gloucestershire. It is chasing a mystery animal but it doesn’t come from the local zoo in Bristol. All their animals are safe and sound, says the zookeeper. What has been seen has “Large paws, a long tail and a loping walk". Proof. Sightings.

The General reaches for his notebook then logs on to the ABC Forum.

“Would you answer my question,” asked the reporter. “About all these sightings. I’d like to include some sort of visual evidence in my article.”

“Ah yes well we presented you with a good photo of us In Country”, replies The General. “Such pictures are few and far between!”

“And why do you think that is,” he is asked.”

“Because there is a Paranormal element at work,” insists The General.

.....................

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/8061265.stm

2 comments:

Neil A said...

...And with that, The General, slaps on his camouflage, gathers his sheep kill photo's (which have been made by dogs) and trips arse over face on his cuddly toy panther.
Assembled on the moor are several regional rep's, abit like representatives on Ibiza Uncovered except none are good looking or in any way fit, but overweight, usually dull individuals who've spent their lives behind a PC stealing other people's ideas and news paper clippings. These people are the crack team. The A-Team. The Pussy Hunter's. The top squad. They spend seven minutes a week looking for a big cat in the countryside yet to no avail strangely...so, these cats must be abominations from the ethereal realm or possibly hideous demons cast down to the Earth via UFO.

Either way, it's anoraks on, and the procession marches across the bog, binocular's in hand and camera's at the ready, in hope that they can make everyone else jealous if they can get a bigger cat on film than you, cos' their dad is bigger than you're dad so ner-ner-ner-ner-ner ...and then, after six minutes the rain comes..."Time to go home then...!" the General sighs, his flock gathering at his side, all praying deep down that no large cat prowls from the shadows and frightens them witless. But again, it's been another worthwhile trudge across the fens, and it's back home to a cup of Horlick's, cosy slippers and a cuddle with the toy panther.

C-E C said...

Round of applause!

Liz