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



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Sunday, March 22, 2009


This past week, Richie and I were granted a visit with Mr. Devin McAnally, the rancher famous for shooting a Texas Blue Dog in Elmendorf, Texas on May of 2004. The story was investigated by the CFZ and ultimately featured on the History Channel’s Monster Quest. However, the story remains far from resolved, as the identity of the creature has yet to be satisfactorily determined.
McAnally submitted a bone to several different companies for DNA testing with dubious results each time. Whitley Strieber paid for the first DNA testing at University of California Davis. According to Strieber, UCAL said that very little DNA was obtainable because the bones had been previously exposed either to extreme heat or radiation. (The closest nuclear plant is 200 miles from Elmendorf, and there are no nuclear waste disposal sites within 400 miles.) UCAL could not complete the testing, but the results they did find were unusual and matched with nothing known.

McAnally sent another bone to a man claiming to be a graduate assistant in a northern university, but the university in question had never heard of him. McAnally called to monitor the status of the sample, but gave up when the man proved nonresponsive.

McAnally then signed a contract for DNA testing through Disney, who sent the bone to a doctor with a private laboratory in East Texas. After missing three deadlines, Disney began ignoring McAnally’s calls altogether. Mcanally learned that the doctor had had to delay the tests due to pressing DNA contracts with all open criminal investigations in the state of Texas. The Blue Dog tests were only fifty percent done, and the results appeared to be coyote at that point. Mcanally is convinced the testing was never finished, and nothing beyond mitochondrial was attempted.
In his final attempt, Mcanally submitted a bone through the History Channel to New York University, who claimed that due to “exposure to the elements and heat”, they could not obtain any nuclear DNA, and only a short sequence of mitochondrial. The results revealed that the DNA did not match any species of coyote, but was “identical to the sequences of dozens of breeds of domestic dog.”

Our mission was to bring closure to the Elmendorf mystery by obtaining a DNA sample. Considering the frustration McAnally had experienced with past offers, we were happily surprised when he consented to our request for a bone. The only condition was that we provide a definitive plan for DNA testing, that the testing include both mitochondrial and nuclear testing, and that McAnally be the first to know the results. We agreed to this, and once that plan is in place, we will have our bone.

We video-recorded an interview detailing McAnally’s 2004 shooting of the creature, as well as more recent alleged sightings by other Elmendorf residence. Video is on its way…

Pic shows Jon with Devin Macanally in November 2004


Tony Lucas, who is rapidly becoming my antipodean right-hand man wrote to us this morning. He found the following item on an auction site in New Zealand:

"I've had this guy get in touch with me and is selling a Moa feather.

The guy rang and spoke with me tonight, the feather, that was in a first edition Maori bible that had been locked in a metal trunk since 1900, has apparently been authenticated by Te Papa Museum in Wellington as the genuine article. I was wondering if the CFZ museum would be interested in purchasing this item"

Well, despite the fact that we are skinter than we have been in a long time, with enormous printer, garage and council tax bills on our plate, I am interested, yes.

But then came a second e-mail:
"Just done some research and Dont think this is a Moa feather, if you look at the bottom of the second pic of the feather you can see the split where asecond spine came off, Yes there were two feathers attached,The only bird to have such feathers after extensive research is - You guessed it an EMU.Sorry to get your hopes up Its not the genuine article by the look of it soforget it.Feel a bit of a dumb ass now. Still who knows one day perhaps the real thing."

Tony, I will not have ANYONE badmouth members of my team. Not even the members themselves. You have done a remarkable piece of detective work, and deserve to be congratulated, so be warned that I will be really cross with you if you EVER describe yourself as a `dumb ass` again.....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


As Jeff Lynne once said… oh wait, I’ve done that one already. Anyway, today along with the latest cryptozoology related stories from the CFZ daily news blog it’s music recommendation time. I thought it’d be a good idea to link you to the song on last fm too so the artist gets royalties and you can listen to it while reading the news stories, chomping your biscuits and drinking your tea. This weeks tune is from one of My favourite albums ‘Sparks Of An Ancient Light’ by Al Stewart and the song is ‘Elvis At The Wheel’: http://www.last.fm/music/Al+Stewart/_/Elvis+At+The+Wheel?autostart
Good isn’t it? Now for the news:

Rare vine in Hawaii put on endangered species list
Moricetown Bigfoot tracks continue sighting outbreak
Feathers fly over new dinosaur find
Scientists Find Almost Complete Skeletons Of 25 Young Bird-Like Dinosaurs In China's Gobi Desert
Complete dino skeleton offered at NY auction
New big cat sighting in Norfolk
Bigfoot researchers study Sand Mountain
Russia Bans Hunt for Young Harp Seals

Well done to the Russian people for getting the ban, that certainly gets my ‘seal’ of approval. Also, if I can be serious for a minute I’d like to bring peoples attention to that Hawaiian vine, the vine was one of the high profile species that was caught up in president George W. Bush’s attempts to destroy the American Endangered Species Act so it’s good to see that it’ll now get the protection it needs, lets hope its not too late.

RICHARD "PSYCHO" FREEMAN: The BBC invent a new newt

Whilst pootling around on Facebook last night Fleur sent me this link.


If you read it carefully then you will see that the BBC have apparently invented a new newt, the ‘grey crested newt’. This isn’t a misprint as it appears in the photo caption too.
They mean GREAT crested newts of course, the total WAZARKS!

What’s the world coming to when even the British Broadcasting Company can’t get their facts right about our native natural history? BBC why, oh why, oh why can’t you do your research better? I bet you wouldn’t have made a mistake if the story was about a "celebrity" or someone off a reality TV programme.


As you may or may not know, both my parents are dead. My mother died in March 2002, and my father in February 2006. However, I still have parent-figures in my life. The nearest thing to a father that I have is Tony "Doc"Shiels, one-time Wizard of the Western World, and the nearest thing I have to a mother is the lady on the left.

This is Mrs Marjorie Braund, who during the 1970s when I was a childgrowing up in the North Devon village of Woolsery was like a second mother to me. Thirty something years later, when I am back living in the same house, and she is still living next door nothing much has changed. This picture was taken at the 2006 Weird Weekend and the Access All Areas pass around her neck was the result of a teensy little argument we had, when she wanted to pay to get in, and I flatly refused.

She is still like a mother to me, but she has been taken seriously ill. Please remember her, me, and her bona fide family in your thoughts, and prayers to whichever deity you believe in...