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, February 18, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: The Gurock Cadaver

Supposed sea serpent carcasses that are, from time to time, cast up by the sea, generally turn out to be the decaying remains of basking sharks. It is well known how when the gill rakers and upper tail fluke rot away the outline of the body can resemble what the layman might think a sea serpent would look like.

But not all sea serpent bodies can be explained quite so easily. This notable (and by most accounts, incredibly malodorous) carcass was discovered in 1942, along the shores of Gourock, overlooking the river Clyde, Scotland.

A council officer by the name of Charles Rankin took it upon himself to take detailed notes concerning this beast. Measuring to a length of over 27-feet, this animal was described by Rankin in great detail. Its most notable features included a small, flattened head with pronounced brow ridges situated over laterally slit eyes.

The creature's jawbones were reportedly full of large, pointed teeth. The skull was nestled atop a long neck, which connected to a partially exposed spinal column. The animal's torso still bore two pairs of, what have been described as, L-shaped flippers, which were smaller in the fore-portion, than the rear.

The spine eventually tapered off into a long, rectangular tail. The creature's skin was also said to harbour a multitude of 6-inch long, quill-like bristles. According to Rankin, the creature's appearance was reptilian in nature. Any additional information regarding this intriguing animal was, unfortunately, interred not long after its discovery. The carcass was hacked up and buried under the football field of a local Roman Catholic primary school called St Linnians.

Further disappointment awaits Fortean investigators. As it turns out, Rankin was denied the right to photograph the creature, owing to the fact that it happened to be beached on what was deemed to be a classified area. Being as Scotland - along with the rest of Europe - was embroiled in the Second World War, this breach of security was not permitted.

The war effort also consumed the time of many scientists who might otherwise have been predisposed to investigate this matter. As it stands, the Gourock Carcass must be chalked up to another case of a lost opportunity for science to further illuminate the incredible mysteries of our oceans. That is unless we can convince the Gourock Council and St Linnians to let us try out some geophysics and digging ‘Time Team’ style.


We have contacted the RSPCA's legal department as to the legality of breeding such deformed creatures. To do such a thing is tantamout, in our opinion, to intentionally breeding children with a genetic abnormality such as de Lange Syndrome because they look "sweet". After some research the RSPCA told us that the case of the twisty cat was a tricky one.

There is currently no legislation stopping people from breeding any kind of cat in the UK. However because the nature of the twisty cat's deformity prevents them from acting in a normal way, this could be seen as cruelty. Hence each case involving a twisty cat would be looked at on a case by case process.

However, the whole subject seems so absurd that one is reminded of the wonderfully grotesque internet hoax of the `bonsai kittens` about ten years ago. This was a website that claimed to give instructions on how to grow kittens in bottles as a form of decoration, similar in fashion to a Bonsai tree. Soon after birth the kitten is supposedly placed in a glass container, allowing the kitten to grow to fill the vessel that contains it.

The kitten allegedly breathes through specially drilled holes in the glass and may be fed and expel waste through tubes, and their purpose is supposedly as an elaborate ornament, instead of a pet. This was completely fallacious, and whilst we thought it was funny, lots of people believed it and much merriment was had by all. If the twisty kittens do, indeed, turn out to be a hoax then no-one will be happier than us. However, we think that is highly unlikely. Sadly, this disgusting practise is genuine.

Thankfully we have so far found no publically accessible breeders of these unfortunate creatures in the UK. However, if we come across any evidence that there are indeed such people, we shall regard them as legitimate targets and will take appropriate action ourselves, whether or not the RSPCA choose to do so.

Does that mean that we are prepared to take the law into our own hands if we feel ethically bound so to do?

Hell yeah!


I don’t like cats, I never have, I’m a dog man through and through. Cats decimate small mammal and bird populations. Around he world they are responsible for a number of extinctions the most famous being the Stephens Island Wren (Xenicus lyalli) that was found only on one small island in New Zealand and wiped out by introduced feral cats in 1895.

I wouldn’t be wantonly cruel to a cat, or indeed any animal, though. Which is why I find what discovered last night very disturbing.
In an answer to my posting on the mystery beast of Falmouth and its possible identity as an aye-aye or a springhare a lady called `Eve` suggested it was something called ‘a twisty cat’. I had not heard of this before so I did some research.
Twisty cats, also known as `squittens` or `kangaroo cats` suffer from a deformity of the radial bones in the front legs. Known as Radial Hypoplasia it causes the front legs to become stunted and almost useless. Sometimes the cat can walk on them in a wobbly fashion but in other cases it hops on its hind legs.

Radial Hypoplasia can occur as a mutaion in nature on rare occations but in the USA there is a sick trend in breeding these unfortunate animals for his specific deformity.


Every time I think I can’t despise the human race any more, my own species proves me wrong. I sincerely hope this appalling trend is not getting a foothold in the UK.
I hope the Falmouth beast is not a poor deformed cat, but Occam’s Razor says it’s more likely than a springhare or aye-aye.

I’m hoping to contact the eyewitness herself but in the meantime here are some pictures of cats with this sad deformity, bred on purpose for the entertainment of sicko humans.


Nobody Does It Like The Purple Rail Of Hiva Oa.

Enter a word for your own slogan:

Generated by the Advertising Slogan Generator. Get more the purple rail of hiva oa slogans.

I found the above application on a forum about mosses, and I thought it was ridiculously funny. I am not quite sure why. However, I looked at it again this morning and still think that its funny. I showed it to Richard (who is just as stupid as me) and he thinks it is funny.

So here is a competition. To win a free year's membership of the CFZ and a copy of issue 7 of The Amateur Naturalist be the progenitor one of the three funniest slogans involving a cryptid, constructed using the above utility...

Compy ends sunday night.