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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Sunday, March 01, 2009


Writing in “Devon Traditions and Fairy Tales”, the renowned Devonshire Folklorist J.R.W Coxhead included this following tale, which has been presented in a number of nineteenth century accounts as being true:


The water supply of the attractive seaside resort of Torquay in South Devon was assured for many years to come when the Fernworthy Reservoir, on Dartmoor, was completed and opened on 22nd June, 1942. The reservoir was formed by the construction of a dam across the upper part of the valley of the South Teign River. Work on the project was commenced on 14th August, 1936, and during the course of the work the ancient farm-stead of Fernworthy was demolished. The house was last occupied in 1928, and its former site, on the north­west bank of the reservoir, is commemorated by a very strange little fairy-legend.

Fernworthy was built in 1590, by the last male member of an ancient yeoman family, on the site of a much older house which had been the home of his franklin ancestors for many generations. The house was solidly built of granite blocks quarried from the moor, a stark and gloomy structure, well in keeping with its remote and desolate setting.

The granite used in the building was obtained from outcrops of rock, of a particularly durable quality, on a hillside at some distance from the farm, and unbeknown to the yeoman, these particular rocks were under the protection of certain mysterious members of the fairy race.

Deep within the heart of the hill there lived a number of earth-gnomes who strongly resented the presence of human beings on their domain. When the workmen employed by the farmer commenced to quarry stone for the new house, the gnomes were so enraged that they vowed vengeance upon the rash mortal who had dared to violate the fairy hill.

Soon after the completion of the new farmhouse an event occurred for which the yeoman and his wife had long been hoping in vain. This important happening was the birth of a son. The farmer's ardent desire to have an heir to inherit the home of his ancestors seemed, at long last, to have been fulfilled.

Unfortunately, for the yeoman and his wife, other creatures had also been eagerly awaiting the birth of the heir of Fernworthy. These vindictive little people, were the elusive earth-gnomes of the enchanted hill, who were now ready to have their revenge on the yeoman for taking stone from the rocks belonging to the fairy-folk.

One winter evening as twilight was falling, and the farmer had not yet returned from cutting turf on the moor, his wife was sitting by the great open fireplace in the farmhouse kitchen watching over the child in the cradle. She had left the door of the room slightly ajar in order to be able to hear her husband enter the yard on his return from work. The pleasant warmth of the turf-fire made her feel drowsy, and after a short while she dropped off to sleep.

The opportunity for which the ugly little gnomes had been patiently waiting had arrived, and they acted swiftly. The mother awoke from her brief slumber just in time to see the flutter of a grey cloak as something darted through the half-open doorway. A weird laugh of triumph sounded from outside, and when she looked in the cradle she found to her dismay and anguish that her beloved child had gone. The cruel vengeance of the heartless earth-gnomes was complete.

The people of the neighbourhood were firmly convinced that as the new house at Fernworthy had been built of stone taken from an enchanted hill the first human being to be born in the building had thus fallen into the power of the fairy-folk.

A brief version of the foregoing fairy-legend is given by John L. W. Page in his book “The Rivers of Devon," published in 1893.”


A dense and eerily atmospheric forest situated deep within the heart of the historic and ancient English county of Staffordshire, the Cannock Chase is a high plateau bordered by the Trent Valley to the north and the West Midlands to the south.

And it’s also the very location where I spent much of my childhood and teenage years.

The huge and picturesque Cannock Chase has been an integral feature of the Staffordshire landscape for generations. Following an initial invasion of Britain in A.D. 43, Roman forces advanced to the south to what is now the town of Cannock, and along a route that became known as Watling Street: a major, and historic, Roman road.

The surrounding countryside was heavily wooded even back then, as can be amply demonstrated by the Romans’ colorful name for the area: Letocetum, or the Grey Woods.

And those Grey Woods are, today, home to some distinctly strange and diabolical beasts.

For example, just three years ago, the local Birmingham Post newspaper recorded that: “In March, 2006, ramblers reported seeing a ‘fourteen-foot snake moving through the bracken’ near to Birches Valley. They said the beast had a powerful head and ‘coloring that stood out sharply against the greens and blues of the bracken.’Read on....

Does anyone know what this is?

This is not a competition, whereby we sit back smugly and already know the answer. This has got us beat too. The image was posted on Usenet this morning with the only comment being that it was found behind a bathroom mirror in a North Somerset house.

It is presumably dead. But what the heck is it???

OLL LEWIS: Yesterdays News Today

Good morning everyone, time for the daily news blog update. Yesterday’s stories were: Bigfoot presentations flying in the face of scepticism, Attenborough on the yeti, a dexterous octopus causing a flood and an attack by a komodo dragon on a park ranger.

I bet the ranger needed a ‘commode-oh’, or some other form of lavatory, after that. Thankfully the ranger managed to fend off the beast so he didn’t end up ‘dragon’ his leg across the floor or something.