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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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NEIL ARNOLD: Chinese Monster Tales Part One

I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippy 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 you can track it down there is an intriguing book entitled The Man Who Sold A Ghost – Chinese Tales of the 3rd – 6th Centuries translated by Yang Hsien-Yi and Gladys Yang. Although most of the tales are cultural folktales there are a handful of strange monster-related yarns, perfect for any campfire.

The Ghost Met At Night reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode and reads as follows:

'During the Huangchu period of the Wei dynasty, a man was riding at night through Tunchiu when he saw on the road a creature the size of a rabbit with eyes like two round mirrors. This thing leaped up and down in front of his horse so that it could not go on. And when the rider fell to the ground in fright, the apparition tried to catch him. The man fainted away with terror. By and by he came to himself, and found the monster gone. He remounted and rode on for several miles till he met another traveller. After exchanging greetings he told the stranger his story, saying how delighted he was to have company.

The other said: “I was travelling alone, and am very glad to have a companion on the road. Since you are mounted and can go faster, you had better lead the way and let me follow.”

So they went on.

Presently the stranger asked: “What did that apparition look like to frighten you so ?”

He answered: “It was the size of a rabbit, with eyes like two round mirrors – a fearful sight!”

The other man said: “Look at me!”

The man turned his head. His companion had changed into the monster! This apparition leaped on to the horse, and the rider fell to the ground and fainted away. His family was surprised when the horse returned alone. Going in search of him, they discovered him by the roadside. He did not regain consciousness till the next day, when he told them all that had happened.'


Geordie-dave said...

It reminds me of the time I took a badly injured rabbit to the Vet.
I said to the Vet " will he have to be put to sleep?" "No" he said and he took out a bottle of ointment, pored some out and rubbed it into the rabbits fur. Almost immediately the Rabbit jumped up and ran to the door, stopped turned round and waved his little paw. He hopped a little further, turned and waved his little paw. He hopped all the wave down the street, stopped and turned to give a wave of his paw before disappearing around the corner.
"Thats amazing" I said" it's just like magic!" "Not at all" said the Vet " It is only a " Hare Restorer with permanent wave!"

borky said...

Re: Geordie-dave.

O, well, you know what they say: hare today, gun tomorrow.

And with you no doubt being an NFC fan you'll likely be using that gun pretty soon - though with me being an LFC fan I'll be wan'in' to borrow it straight after!

Geordie-dave said...

Strangely enough I am not actually a Geordie. The title “Geordie Dave” or Dave from Geordie Land” was given to me by Andy Roberts in his write-up of events at the 1999 Lapis UFO conference in Lythem Saint Annes. Where, apparently after giving the hotel bar a hammering, Jon Downes, Jose Escamilla and myself shocked the great and the good of Ufology (if there is such a thing) to it's core by singing bawdy songs pub piano style until 2 in the morning!