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.

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Monday, September 28, 2009


Tony Shiels is a dear friend of mine, and also one of the wisest men I know. "You know that nobody will believe you" he told me about the Killarney lake video. I was prepared for that, but I wasn't prepared for the level of vitriol that has been pointed in my direction. I have had attacks on me because of my accent. One should never trust a "posh f******" like me, apparently. According to someone on youtube the video is "booring!!! what a load of old tosh!, just some old geezer rambling on and on and on". I suppose that I have now reached `old geezer` status, although I do my best not to be a boor.

Then there was the person who insinuated that I am an elderly pederast and that Max is my catamite, and someone else made a dirty joke that I didn't understand about `trouser trout`. Others have jumped on the fact that Tony Shiels was present and have either claimed that somehow he faked the whole thing, or used it as an excuse to start asking me questions that I cannot possibly answer about the 1977 Loch Ness Monster pics that Tony took. (For the record I know nothing about these pictures and never have done. I was 17 and more interested in The Sex Pistols at the time).

It has been insinuated that I somehow created the video through digital jiggery pokery, and even (by judicious use of the word `allegedly`) that Max was not actually weilding the camera. I cannot remember whether it was Doctor Johnson or Oscar Wilde who described the Americans and British as "two nations divided by a common language" so I shall ignore the description of Corinna, Max, Tony and myself as four people "associated with the CFZ" which makes us sound like a group of slightly dodgy also-rans rather than the Director, his wife (who also happens to be Administrative Director), the Assistant Zoological Director, and the Eire representative. But that, I am sure, is just a matter of international nuance.

And the general outpouring of glee that accompanies the fact that even I now think that the black object at 6:25 is probably a cormorant would seem to indicate that the vast majority of these marching morons believe that I have carried out some massive fraud upon them and deserve to be thrown to the lions for my impudence.

The one thing that all these gobshites in and outside the cryptozoological community seem to miss is that the whole thing is a journey. I posted the video unedited because this is what I saw. I will admit that I was very excited by the black blob. I am equally excited that the mystery - or at least that part of it - seems to have been solved. I am very proud of Glen, Naomi and Richie amongst others for having helped solve that part of the mystery.

There is, however, a hell of a lot more on the video that remains unsolved.

What all my detractors seem to have forgotten, is that I have always tried to use the words 'Lake Monster' in inverted commas, and have always referred to the objects in the video by saying "we filmed and photographed some anomalous objects that appear to be animate...." I make no claims for what they are. By the way, to correct two things in the cryptomundo coverage of the story, Tony Shiels is Irish, not English and the reason that he has been largely absent from the scene in recent years is that he retired some years ago, and no longer wants to do it. Not because he was trounced by some rather dodgy research by the late Mark Chorvinsky.

The journey continues, and I am enjoying most of it immensely. I am working on the definitive account of what happened, which will appear in Fortean Times sooner than you might think. To my friends, loved ones and supporters, thank you for standing by me during this portion of the Great Silliness; and to the idiots who insist on throwing mud either for fun; because they think I and the CFZ should be taken down a peg or two; or because they resent my accent, experience, class, nationality, long hair, reputation, relationship with Doc, drinking habits or anything else...

...Get Stuffed!


Tabitca said...

There are people in cryptozoology who want all the glory for themselves Jon. They ridicule everyone else to make themselves look important. Some of them I have found to be basically nasty people, and I was a psychology lecturer for 20 years so know what I am talking about.All you have to remember is be true to yourself and your convictions, that is what has earned you the respect of many people. What ever Doc Shiels may have done or not done in the past has no bearing on the present.He is obviously very dear to you and has standing in the CFZ community. Don't let them get to you Jon , because that is what they gain pleasure from. Keep the faith and bugger the rest! *hug*

Kithra said...

Regardless of what mud the "nay sayers" and the jealous "cryptozoology wanna-be's" throw at you, I think those of us who have followed you for a few years respect your impartiality when it comes to examining evidence either for or against any possible sighting. Without fear or favour you've exposed hoaxes, and you've supported those who believe that they've seen something. You are an example to us all when it comes to investigating all things cryptozoological. And let's all remember that the word cyrptozoological doesn't mean "Monster" but out-of-place animals. That's not to say that one day a sighting could be of a real Monster, but I'd suggest to these "sensationalist" journalists that they look up the definition of the word before they start denigrating you and your wonderful work.

Lena said...

Also, aresholery is endemic on the internet. Anonymity breeds spitty vitriol, it seems.

Simply discount all that is unconstructive, assume people have their own reasons for beings twats, and leave them to it. That said, the whiffy sniffiness of certain individuals in the crypto-community means I won't be donating to their little enterprise again.


Richie said...

Apparently your video is provoking another type of "monster".

Danielle said...

Dear Jon,
Just an American admirer here...I have been following this blog for a while, and I just love it. It comes across as unpretentious and smart. I know that you became a cryptozoologist because of the excitement that you get on a day like the one where you shot the lake video. Don't let anyone take that passion away from you! They just don't understand that a (partially) solved mystery could be just as exciting as one that remains unexplained. Thanks for your work!

Neil A said...

Jon, the detractors are always crawling from their holes. Even if you'd filmed a multi-humped leviathan emerging from that lake, they woulda reacted the same. We all know that a majority of the smart arses are just people who sit behind a PC saying what can and cannot be and people who've never been out in the field in their life.
Cryptozoology is all about discovery, investigation, mystery, but unfortunately there's this other side where people behind false organisations and PC's make smirking, slimey remarks without having the balls to say it to the face. Sadly, alot of this criticism seems to come from the 'old guard' of investigators who appear tragically jealous of the CFZ and the opinions and investigations.

Syd said...

It is more than possible that many of the less than complimentary remarks you have received, have been due to your own comment -
"we filmed and photographed some anomalous objects"
Regrettably due to the poor standards of education in Britain, the fools do not understand what the word anomalous means, so you totally confused and baffled them.

Greatbeast said...

Anyone with a finger who's facing the right way can comment on YouTube, and it's well known to be the prime source of the most garbage-strewn drivel on the Web. If you decide to venture out in public in these ways, your hide must become as thick as that of the rear end of your average lake monster. C'est la Interweb, Monsieur!

Ego Ronanus said...

If you remember, Jon, I warned you that the film would cause the kind of adverse criticism that you mention (though even I didn't think it would sink as low as some of what's come in). However, I also said you shouldn't let it worry you: anyone who knows you cannot doubt your sincerity and honesty.

anna lee said...

Hello Jon cheer up, you do a great job and have educated and entertained me for a long while!
You've stuck your head above the parapet and you are going to get some rotten fruit thrown at you aren't you? There is plenty out there. Cryptomundo at least showed balance imo. Thats good isnt it better than being surrounded by sycoph-pants.
Hope to shake your hand one day and have a pint with you.

Andrew D. Gable said...

All the other commentators have hit the nail on the head with this one. I think there's several issues at play here - the unfortunate pederasty comment is, sad to say, about up to par when it comes to the maturity level of the average Internet denizen - which is to say, none at all. For every good and reliable and knowledgable person on the Internet, there's about 25 idiots. And YouTube is truly the darkest and most backwards pit on the Net.

I think that some in the cryptozoology community are hung up on Doc Shiels' former reputation as somewhat of a trickster and perhaps now cast aspersions of doubt on your sighting simply because he was involved, albeit tangentially.

Another factor partially responsible, I think, is the simple fact that a researcher into cryptozoological topics was the one that saw this thing - it's rather bizarre, how cryptozoology tends to turn on its own sometimes when they have sightings. Truthfully though, one would think a cryptozoologist would be a better witness than anyone else as they're aware of the pits that ensnare witnesses, etc.

Retrieverman said...

Just reading the comments on that youtube video makes me wince.

The worst insults I get on my zoology blog are about the Montauk Monster and its kin. It has to be a pug or a boxer-- never mind that pugs and boxers don't have teeth like that!

You should see what I get on the dog blog. Dog people are very set in their ways and the various legends that supposedly make up the history and lore of their dogs, including breed standards that change every 20 years or so.

Because people are on the internet, they have a degree of anonymity.

And that anonymity can be a license to be a total jerk.

I no longer comment on "Eel or No Eel." I got tired of explaining how your hypothesis made some sense and was worth exploring.

Kurt said...

Whatever the video may or may not reveal about the inhabitants of Irish lakes, the reception you've received speaks volumes about the vulgarization of society.

Be brave. You are respected and admired by the people who matter.

Tilmeeth said...

I've only just watched the video. It looks like a diver taking off to me, so pacosoccer7's comment on the original video post would seem to be correct.

As for the insults, Jon, the vast majority of people who post on these virtually anonymous websites can safely be labelled trolls. They do it for reaction and to make themselves feel better/superior (the my Dad is harder than your Dad brigade). I find it best to ignore the lack of obvious intelligence and simply laugh at their stupid nicknames, and exceedingly poor grammar and spelling of course :)