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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Monday, January 12, 2009

Art for Art's sake (But who is this bloke Art?)

This year our output of press releases is reaching prodigious proportions. OK, that is hyperbole; we have only released three so far with another one (announcing the launch of the publicity drive for the 2009 Weird Weekend) overdue, which will appear when I get around to it!

However, this one, released a few minutes ago, is mildly amusing:

Jonathan Downes, director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, [CFZ] the world's largest mystery animal research group is the last person that one would expect to be part of the radical chic art world. However, on Saturday 17th he will be appearing at The Senate Room in the Royal Academy that was formerly the Museum of Mankind, in London as part of the season called GSK Contemporary (series of contemporary art exhibitions and events), curated by artist Gail Pickering.

Gail wrote: "My response has been rather than present my own work but to use the time more as a discussion with invited guests producing a day of talks/performances/screenings. Taking as a staring point the role of animals within contemporary culture and our relationship to them. I'm viewing this in an expansive sense and focused initially – perhaps inevitably as an artist – on their representation both in art, film and history. It's out of this research that I continually come back to the proposed 'mystery' of animals and the universal desire for observing, locating, producing (in art, science)."

Jon, who as well as being a cryptozoologist and author, is also a composer and musician, will be talking about the relationship between mythology, art and science, as part of a day which includes performance, music and lecture. It promises to be an amazing day, and best of all - it's free. See you there...

Check out the website for this season of events:

This is probably not the place to note that the late, great John Lennon said that "avant garde" was French for bullshit!


* The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation. It was founded in 1992 by British author Jonathan Downes (4 and is a non-profit making (not for profit) organisation registered with H.M. Stamp Office.
* Life-president of the CFZ is Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, best known for his groundbreaking youth work organising the ‘Operation Drake’ and ‘Operation Raleigh’ expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s.
* CFZ Director Jonathan Downes is the author and/or editor of over 20 books. Island of Paradise, his first hand account of two expeditions to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in search of the grotesque vampiric chupacabra, will be published in the next few weeks.
* The CFZ have carried out expeditions across the world including Russia, Sumatra, Mongolia, Guyana, Gambia, Texas, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Loch Ness, and Loch Morar.
* CFZ Press are the world’s largest publishers of books on mystery animals. They also publish Animals & Men, the world’s only cryptozoology magazine, and Exotic Pets, Britain’s only dedicated magazine on the subject.
* The CFZ produce their own full-length documentaries through their media division called CFZtv www.cfztv.org. One of their films `Lair of the Red Worm` which was released in early 2007 and documents their 2005 Mongolia expedition has now been seen by nearly 50,000 people.
* The CFZ is based in Jon Downes’ old family home in rural North Devon which he shares with his wife Corinna (52). It is also home to various members of the CFZ’s permanent directorate and a collection of exotic animals.
* Jonathan Downes presents a monthly web TV show called On the Track (http://cfzmonthly.blogspot.com/) which covers cryptozoology and work of the CFZ.
* The CFZ are opening a Visitor Centre and Museum in Woolsery, North Devon.
* Following their successful partnership with Capcom www.capcom.com on the 2007 Guyana expedition, the CFZ are looking for more commercial sponsors.


The newspaper industry never ceases to amaze me. Despite the story being well and truly defunct, (as far as I am concerned at least), the newspapers still seem fascinated by it. I have done three newspaper interviews already this morning, and I would not be surprised if there were more to come.

Our old friend Dr Darren Naish (that's Dr Daz to you) who gave the final verdict on the creature, has written up the affair in full at Tetrapod Zoology, and I was amused to find that it has even been mentioned on David Icke's message board.

Goodness. What a long, strange, trip this is becoming.

In the meantime, thanks to Matty, here is another press clipping, from last week's North Devon Journal...


Matty looking mean, moody and magnificent.
Unbelievably girls..he's still single!

Poor Matthew Osborne. He works harder than most people at CFZ business, and basically the poor chap ends up being lampooned mercilessly by me, both in writing, verbally, and in our monthly webTV show `On the Track`. However, he was an integral part of the caper last week that saw the intrepid boys of the CFZ go and pinch a decomposing seal skull, and when he saw that both Graham and Oll had written their bit about it, he demanded his say....

Matt (right) and Graham (left) looking furtive

As the mountain of Paperwork once again threatened to engulf our hero, the Hotline rang, “it is J here, mission for you, Body washed up on the beach, we need to deal with this in a suitable manor”, I politely reminded J that he no long had a manor and it would be easier to do it on the beach where it was.

J sighed and asked if I was free, I said I would be free if he sent the Limo to collect me. With the Call over I contacted Home to say I would be late for supper, grabbed Wellies, climbing harness and 2 types of saw, 2 hats, a fleece and a second pair of trousers. and tipped off S there was a mission afoot, and left for the rendezvous.

With in minutes the Mission Wagon Arrived, this was some shock as the last I had heard its engine was on a sunk ship that had been trying to get to Dover.

With the Team all prepared, HawkMan Driving, Super Welsh Boy Filming and me navigating we set off, and very quickly found a chip shop at which to stop, having filled up with chips we set off to the Secret Location, On arrival at Croyde we headed on to the beach, it was deserted apart from the people who were there!

HM and I took the shore line and SWB took pictures of us looking busy, and pointing at random nonexistent things as if we were to be in the next Next Directory.

I headed up to talk to the Group of Young Ladies at the top of the beach, having worked out they did not want to be chatted up I established they had not seen a body lying around, and left them to their Icicle smashing.

I met with HM and head back across the beach to SWB where upon the MatPhone rang
“M this is J, Body is known to be on the rock at Down End”

With which we 3 returned to the car and headed to the other end of the beach, on arriving there I was over heard by a person who knows me as the mild mannered First Aid Trainer Matthew and not as the Super hero Super MattMan, Mr L, who is a great bloke and does the best work for North Devon Tourism you will ever imagine.

HM headed to the sea line which was still going out and would be until 2100 SWB headed north and I headed South, on finding the body I summoned assistance and everyone did what they could do best, HM took pictures, SWB Videoed everything, and I rang my Friend Mr K so as to get my name in the papers again.

With miles of film and plenty of pictures we gained the required samples and headed back to the Wagon.

Wrapping the Sections of suppurating Piniped in Black polyethene we jumped in the Mission Wagon and headed back to Shamwickshire so as to collect the MatMobile.

All we could hope now was that HM and SWB could get the evidence to J and DragonHunter before the smell over came them…

All was well until, the Sun announced the Head STOLEN, I rang J and told him. He advised me to do just 3 things:
1 phone my Lawyer,
2 pack all the burn I could find
3 hope I was less pretty than Super Welsh Boy.

I was still doing 3 having failed to do 1 and 2 when the Hotline rang.

“ M, J here. The Police say keep it, you are not going to prison for accessory to decapitating a rotting mammal that no one wants”