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...

Search This Blog


Friday, March 13, 2009

AMAZING NEWS: Someone at the CFZ actually knows what day of the week it is!

When I posted the details of this lunchtime's bloggo updates to Usenet I did so under the title "Thursday 13th Part One". This evening I received a terse email from Matthew Osborne, pedant of this parish. It read: "You know it is Friday yes?"


It is good to know someone at the CFZ is on the ball. Forget me not knowing what day of the week it is, with a haircut like mine, I still think it is 1972!


Over the past week or so we have been showing you pictures that I took during my visit to the Buckhorn museum in San Antonio, back in November 2004. This particular image sparked up a reaction in Richard Freeman's psyche, and he writes:

"This display reminds me very much of the late lamented Potter's Museum of Curiosities on Bodmin Moor. If it had not been for Potter's Muesum of Curiosities at the Jamiaca Inn, Cornwall, I would never have joined he CFZ. I first came across Animals & Men in their gift shop.

Potter's was just the sort of old-school museum I love; a heterogenous collection of the weird and random. The main bulk of exhibits were odd taxidermy tableaux. These included stuffed kittens getting married, guinea pigs playing cricket, squirrels playing cards, and frogs in a playground. The display also featured freaks of nature like two headed lambs, as well as odd unconnected things like the head of a maneating crocodile, and a model church made of feathers.

Several years ago when the owners retired, the collection was broken up and sold off. No attempt was made to save it. If this had been a nonsensical collection modern art then hundreds of spinless, bleating pseudo intellectuals of the sort one sees oozing across your TV screen on 'Late Review' would have been falling over themselves to preserved it.
Makes you vomit with rage doesn't it!"


After a string of technical issues, the first issue of the rebranded magazine is now available on Amazon:



11. THE NEWS FEATURE: West Thurrock Marshes
The Emirates Natural History Group.
The British Killifish Association
25. CLUB NEWS: Ryedale A.S Open Show
26. Exchange Publications
27. OBITUARY: Simon Wolstencroft
29. COSTA RICAN ADVENTURE: Central American Wildlife by David Loft
39. FRUIT BEETLES WITH ATTITUDE: Captive Cetoniinae by Max Blake
42. TALES FROM THE BUSH: In the Footsteps of Wallace by Stephen Backshall
47. ADULT BABIES: Axolotls by Trevor Smith
50. NOT QUITE JAWS: Freshwater `Sharks` by David Marshall
55. FROM THE SOLOMON ISLANDS: The Jade Mantis by Graham Smith
58. SNAKES WITH FINS: Channa chat by Max Blake
66. A PRICKLY INDIAN: Bengal Spiny Stick Insect by Janice Holt
69. ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS: Your first snake by Richard Freeman
74. FREE RANGE NEPHILA: Orb spinner spiders at home by Ray Gabriel
80. ZEBRA RODENTS: African striped mice by Oll Lewis
84. IN DEPTH: Insect diets and the role of toxins in food plants by Curtis Lakin
86. GOING FOR A SONG: Charity Killifish Auction by Max Blake
87. BOOKSHELF: Reviews by Richard Freeman
89. HELP: I need somebody

Jon Downes, Graham Smith, Graham Inglis, Corinna Downes, Ray Gabriel, David Loft, Janice Holt, Richard Freeman, David Marshall, Stephen Backshall, Oll Lewis, Ross Phillips, Ray Gabriel, Curtis Lakin, Tim Matthews, Lucy Henson, Trevor Smith,and Max Blake


This is all very gratifying, but why don't we get this sort of coverage when we have a PROPER news story?: We had practically no coverage of the Russia expedition, for example. Ah well....








Bloody Hell!
(Makes you proud to be a journalist dunn'it?)


Dear Jon,

Cryptozoological gargoyle tree type thingy-ma-jiggy.

I added the word "cryptozoological" to get your attention to what is a non starter but I hope you will forgive me.

Read on, dear fellow, read on. You may remember at the end of February I sent you a blurry photo of what I thought may have been a Pine Marten sticking it's head out from behind a tree at Bolam Lake.I know at the time I said Meerkat but I was confused. (Confused as a newt)

Anyway, I went back to Bolam to have a bit of a snoop about in the shrubbery but it turns out my Pine marten/Meerkat was just an unusual gargoyle like growth sticking out the side of the tree. Never mind eh? Win some lose some, honestly the things I do for the CFZ.....moan,
grumble, nobody cares about me, ect, ect.

Regards Davy.C

RICHARD FREEMAN: Lakey the horror of Coleridge Lake

Lake monsters are very rare in New Zealand. There are sea serpents reported from its coasts but inland water monsters are almost unknown.

Lake Coleridge is near Canterbury on the South Island. It has a surface area of 47 km² and is 3 km wide by 17 km long. The Rakaia River runs into the lake and in 1914 became the sight of the countries earliest hydroelectric schemes. The Wilberforce and Harper Rivers both have some of their flow diverted intio the lake as well. Lake Coleridge is well known for its salmon and for something else as well.

In the early 1970s there were rumors of something big, powerful and unknown lurking in the lake. The monster is supposed to drag away fishermen’s rods.

In 1972 the beast was blamed for the disappearance of a fisherman. The old man’s upturned boat was found but no body ever found. Many locals from the tight knit refused to fish on the lake after that.

Things seemed to settle for a while but then in 1975 two women reported seeing the monster’s head rise up from the lake. It was described as wolf like but hairless. In the same year a teacher and his wife saw the creature. It grabbed and ate a large water bird from a flock resting on the surface. The monster was imaginatively dubbed ‘Lakey’’

In 1976 a farmer on the west side of the lake began losing considerable numbers of sheep to some unseen predator when they went to drink by the waters edge. Investigating noticed a dark shadow just below the surface of the water where a lamb was moving to take a sip. He shouted, and the huge shape shot off.

The following year several witnesses saw a large monster, 16 feet long, rolling around on the surface, snapping its jaws. News of the sighting spreads like wildfire. The creature is described as gray, with four visible flippers and no obvious dorsal fin. Overall it was quite "fish-like".

After this a hunter from Otago decided to try and kill the monster. He set off at on a boat rigged with radar, harpoons. He was out on the Lake for two weeks but failed to uncover anything but the occasional big blip on the radar.

Taking his hunt under water he decided to dive in a wetsuit. When beneath the water, he found his boat was directly above the wreck of a yacht, which was lying on the bottom of the lake. Curious, he investigated the yacht. As he turned back up to resurface, he was struck in the ribs by something powerful. Not staying around to see what it was, he got back to his boat and left.

In 1979 a group of fisherman on the lakes western most shore saw the creature. The animal was seen to stare at them with its head partially above water. For some time it swam in slow circles, not taking its eyes off the men, then left to beneath the water. The next morning a huge, snake like trail was found in the mud. Could such an animal travel to an inland lake? The answer is yes.

Overall the descriptions sound like a big leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). This formidable beast has a slik, almost snake like head, dark gray fur and a predetory nature.They have been known to attack small boats and one one occation have bitten a human diver to death. A 16 feet ‘Lakey’ is larger than a leopard seal, that grows to around 11 feet. But eye witnesses may have been exagerating the animal’s size.

The snake like trail found in the mud sounds like the slide marks of a seal. Seals haul their bodies along the groud rather than bounding like sea lions. Could such an animal trvel some 50 miles to Lake Coleridge from the sea? The answer is yes. A 3 metre leopard seal was caught in 1870, 48 km up the Shoalhaven River in Australia (having just eaten a duck billed platypus!). They can go much further inland if they please. Mr R E Day saw a seal 400km up the Murray River, Australia. J Dunn, the director of the geological survey of Victoria, saw a shoal of seas swimming in the flooded Murrumbidgee in 1850. They were 1200km from the sea!

The animal has now probably died or returned to the sea. But it left behind a legend. If this had been Australia rather than New Zealand the creature would surly have entered folklore as a bunyip.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's New Today


Good morning, you’ll be wanting to catch up on the latest crypozoology related news from the CFZ daily news blog I expect, well here we go:

Short-legged pony sparks 999 calls
The Entire DNA Code Now Broadcasting Live!
New enemy earns Yorkshire village unwelcome title: Ratville
'Monster Crocodile' Bites Girl's Head Off
Who made footprints in the snow?
Something paid a visit to Woolsery in the snow — but it possibly wasn't Satan

The tracks were quite unusual but then that’s just ‘satan’ the obvious.