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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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Thursday, March 05, 2009

EVEN MORE FROM THE ARCHIVING PROJECT

Oll has been jolly busy and the latest set of scanned news clippings and other stuff from the Archiving Project is ready for you to download HERE should you want to..

Last time we asked which section you wanted scanned next, and you said Lake and Sea monsters, so that is exactly what we have done...

SALMON CHANTED EVENING (You might meet a strange fish)

The largest entirely freshwater fish known to science is the wels catfish (Silurus glanis). The largest specimen of this remarkable creature ever caught was fifteen feet and has even been introduced to British waterways, most notably by the massively eccentric 19th Century Naturalist Frank Buckland. However a quarter of a century ago, came the first tentative reports of a beastie, which if it exists will, in comparison, make the fearsome European Catfish seem like a veritable minnow.

In 1985 Xinjiang University biology professor Xiang Lihao led a party of biology students to Lake Hanas in north west China`s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The expedition was to evaluate the lake`s potential as a wildlife reserve.

The lake has long been considered as one of China`s greatest natural resources. The name itself means `Lake Beauty` and the mountain lake is surrounded by lush pastures which in summer are a riot of wildflowers and deep forests teeming with rare and beautiful wildlife. However the lake has a more mysterious side. According to a website maintained by students in the area the colour of the water appears to change with the seasons…

“for this reason, people also call it"the lake of changing colors".this is one of its mysteries.the people living around the lake have also found that there are some "lake monsters" in the lake. they reported hearing a large "bang" in the lake while watching a very high water column shooting out of the lake. it is still unclear what on earth makes this "trouble"in the lake.”

However, as far as we know, the eminent professor was searching for more conventional wildlife when he made his trip. However on July 24 the Professor and his charges saw several monsterous fish. One of the students was observing the surface of the lake from a wooden watchtower which had been built several years earlier when he saw some immense objects moving slowly beneath the surface of the water. They were resddish in colour and according to my friend and colleague Dr Karl Shuker their heads, fins, and tails all clearly visible. He estimated that their heads were 3 feet across. The next day he took several colour photographs of the fish. One aligned itself parallel to the bank between two lakeside trees. Later measurements of the distance between these trees allowed the scientists to gauge its length at 33 feet.

Two days later they attempted to catch one of these remarkable fishes. However neither such succulent baits as sheep legs or wild duck were effecacious in luring one of these monstrous creatures onto a hook, and therefore into the record books.

Two years later in 1988, a further investigation of the lake was carried out after local fishermen again reported seeing three of the giant fish with a slightly less remarkable length of thirteen feet. An in depth investigation using hovercraft, and aerial recconnaisance was carried out, but again no specimens were secured, and as one wag once put it “what`s hit is history – what`s missed is mystery”!.

So, if these fish do exist what on earth are they?

In appearance at least they appear to be salmon like in form. Therefore the salmon family (salmonidae) would appear to be a sensible place to start our investigations.

The largest salmonid in the world is the King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) which is found in the rivers of Pacific North America. However, another large salmon (Hucho taimeni) which can reach a length of 6.5 feet – a not inconsiderable fish (though miniscule compared to the giant fish of Lake Hanas does live in the area. Although most salmonids migrate to the sea as an integral part of their life cycle, some species are entirely landlocked including some close relatives of the enormous King Salmon, so the idea of an enormous landlocked salmonid may not be as ridiculous as it may first seem.

The concept of landlocked salmonids growing to an enormous size is not a new one. There are many accounts in British zoological folklore of particularly large salmon of the normal UK species – Salmo salar - which have become trapped in landlocked lakes and pools and have achieved an immense size. However the largest known British salmon was a mere 66lb and was caught in Scotland in 1922.

Without, for one moment, intending any disrespect towards the good proffessor, one of the biggest potential problems with the existence of such enormous salmonids is the small matter of their swim bladder According to zoologist Richard Freeman, this organ seems to be only effective up to a certain body size which has, to date, proved an effective limit to the size of fish species that rely on the swim bladder for their buoyancy. Sharks and rays have no swim bladder which is why the largest fish found in the oceans of the world are from this group. If the fish of Lake Hanas are indeed salmonids then they would presumbly have swim bladders, and this presumably means that they have either developed an effective way of uitilising their swim bladders despite the increased size, or that they have evolved another method of buoyancy control entirely.

The final qustion that has to be answered is the relationship (if any) between these enormous fish and the other putative monsters of the lake. Unfortunately the account that we have managed to discover tells us next to nothing about the nature of the Lake Hanas monster. Lake monsters have been reported from a number of Chinese lakes, most notably Lake Tianchi on the border between China and Korea, but the description of “a large "bang" in the lake while watching a very high water column shooting out of the lake.” Is so vague that it could really refer to anything.

One thing, however is certain. As far as we have been able to ascertain, the last expeditions to investigate the events at Lake Hanas took place in 1988, and as far as we know, no-one has been back since. This is a great pity, because this beautiful lake is the site for at least two zoological mysteries, and deserves to be given at least as much attention as is given each year to Loch Ness. Watch this space.

THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO WOOLSERY: the video



WHEN THE GOING GETS WEIRD: The Devil Went Down to Woolsery

Now, I would like to say, here and now, that if I was standing on the outside looking in, I wouldn't believe this story at all, and I would be convinced that those naughty rapscallions at the CFZ had got a little tipsy in The Farmers Arms last night, and were playing a joke upon the rest of the fortean omniverse.
But, speaking as one of the aforementioned rapscallions, I can assure you that I am not!
Just before ten this morning, when Graham was toddling about the place all on his lonesome (because Graham is the first of the CFZ posse to rise in the morning) the telephone rang, and - being a dutiful fellow - he answered it.
It was a local lady who wondered if we would like to go and have a look at some peculiar footprints in the snow in her garden. Graham finished his coffee, grabbed the cameras and set off.

Despite the slidy nature of the roads (the snow having taken everyone by surprise) it only took him a few minutes to get to his destination, a private house next to a small close called `East Park`. (Yes there is a `South Park in the village, much to the amusement of all and sundry especially Oll and Richard)

In the garden he found a long line of footprints leading across the snowy lawn. As you can see, the only human footprints next to them are Graham's.

I am sure that you are all aware of the legend of the Devil's hoofprints - an occasion in February 1855 when a series of prints of what appeared to be cloven hooves were found in the snow all across South Devon. The superstitious locals believed that they were the work of the Devil and that the hornèd one had paid a personal visit to the county.

Well I don't believe that happened then, and I don't believe that is what happened last night either. There is certainly a perfectly rational zoological explanation for both events but our investigations are at a very early stage. In must be stressed however, that there are no scuff marks in the snow as would happen if a person had walked, and although the marks could have been made by someone on stilts that is highly unlikely.

Our investigations are continuing, and we will bring you more news as we get it...

GUEST BLOGGER NEIL ARNOLD: Mystery paw-prints in Kent

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil Arnold to the CFZ bloggo with this first guest blog. I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippie 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...



February has been a chaotic time for my research into exotic cats across the south-east, and one particular animal always makes great headline. The ‘beast of Bluewater’, a black leopard, has been seen a handful of times since January this year, and in February the Gravesend Messenger were eager to tie a set of mysterious footprints to the big cat. However, the tracks, which were discovered by four golfers whilst playing at Southern Valley Golf Club were nothing of the sort.
One of the witnesses, a Mr Bowles, photographed the tracks which he’d found during the morning in a frosty bunker. The impressions, when compared to a size 10 footprint, measured almost as long, and showed four claws on each ‘paw’, but an elongated heel. The prints were dismissed as belonging to a badger by a local badger expert, and the witness sent the images to Howletts Zoo, who told him they were probably made by a German Shepherd dog! However, after looking through many sets of tracks, I believed the impressions resembled those made by a wolverine, or another member of the mustelid family, the Fisher!

These animals are around two to three-feet in length, whilst the wolverine can reach up to four-feet. Mr Bowles mentioned that whatever made the tracks walked on all fours, and was roughly four-feet in length, the indentations of the fore-paws being slightly smaller than the rear. I sent the images to Richard Freeman who mentioned also that a wolverine could well be the answer, and mentioned that although such animals have five claws, the fifth is not always evident in tracks. There have been no local reports of such an animal, but I would like to know what everyone else thinks.


Paw prints: Wolverine (L) Fisher (R)

More on the Pink Dolphin...

More details have emerged about the pink dolphin story that I posted this morning. Thanks to Gavin and others for the information...


Charter boat captain Erik Rue, 42, photographed the animal, which is actually an albino, when he began studying it after the mammal first surfaced in Lake Calcasieu, an inland saltwater estuary, north of the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern USA. Capt Rue originally saw the dolphin, which also has reddish eyes, swimming with a pod of four other dolphins, with one appearing to be its mother which never left its side....


Read on: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4927224/Pink-dolphin-appears-in-US-lake.html

LET IT SNOW

I am not a bad bass player, I'm an OK writer, and I am a reasonably well-known cryptozoologist. But one thing is for sure.. I am a dreadful weather prophet. A couple of weeeks ago I bullishly told you that winter was over and that spring is sprung. However, as you can see, Woolsery had snow last night.

However, apart from the mild embarrassment of wintry weather only two weeks after I proclaimed that the sub had returned, there is an upside to all this. There is a breaking story that is most peculiar indeed, and I will be updating the bloggo with it later on. I do not wish to appear mysterious, but watch this space...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Ok, tea and biscuits at the ready, it’s time for a look at what cryptozoology related stories were on the CFZ daily news blog yesterday.

Ex-Employees Claim 'Horrific' Treatment of Primates at Lab
Amorous frogs get love shack
Camel Car: Animals Take A Break From The Sun
Dalek found in overgrown pond
Discovery of the Planet's Oldest Footprints
Fossil Of 10 Million-Year- Old Bird Found In Peru
Obama Restoring Endangered Species Act Provision
Wombat poo paper launched
Climate 'hitting Europe's birds'
and
Chimps craft ultimate fishing rod

It’s always fascinating when an animal appears to ‘ape’ human behaviour and ‘tackle’ problems in intelligent ways.