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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Friday, March 27, 2009


Syd, your email keeps on bouncing. I have been trying to email you for days. Can you ring me?




It is always nice to be able to introduce you all to a new guest blogger. Possibly the nicest thing about the CFZ bloggo is that it is a living, breathing community, and new people arrive on a regular basis. I can't tell you anything about Liz, apart from the fact that she bought some books from us at Uncon, briefly spoke to Richard, and had a charmingly old-fashioned habit of referring to me as `Mr Downes`, when everyone else calls me `Jon` or `Hey You` (or somethimes something more scatological), until I told her not to. She is obviously one to watch...

Touchstones is a charming museum, art gallery and local studies centre in Rochdale, Lancashire. It contains a wonderful little café where they serve best peppermint tea I have ever tasted.

My favourite feature in the former Rochdale Central Library building, however, is a small unassuming white telephone tucked up a corner in the local history section. There are actually several of these and not one performs the function intended by Alexander Graham Bell but my favourite will dial up any one of a four local legends provided you press the right button.
According to the over-enthusiastic actress employed to record The Rochdale Goblins (the best of these stories, in my opinion), the people of Saxon Rochdale (or Recedham as it was then known) wanted a parish church on the bank of the river Roche. Plans were drawn up, builders employed and stone was cut.

The morning after the first day’s labour the worker’s returned to the construction site to find it bare. After hunting the surrounding area all day the materials were discovered at the top of a steep hill overlooking the river. Everything was slowly dragged back down to where it should have been and tired but relieved, everyone went home.

Next morning, though, same thing again: all stone and equipment vanished, again to be discovered at the top of the hill. These trials went on for some days until some bright spark suggested the local goblins, who must have been there first, didn’t want the Christian edifice on their land and were responsible for the disruption of the work. It was thus decided Rochdale should take the hint; the church was built on top of the hill overlooking the town and river, consecrated in honour of St. Chad and still stands there to this day; intact and still in use.
Since Touchstones itself is built on the bank of the Roche, though, one must assume that goblins have no objection to cultural centres; either that or they are as fond of peppermint tea as I am.


Why does this seemingly NEW !!! attitude by the RSPCA come as no real surprise to me. Their general approach to wild life stinks and has done for a long time. Pretty much the same as their approach to domesticated critters - 'lets put it down rather than let it go to a good home'.

Well over ten years ago we found an injured swallow in the road outside my home, It had hit a phone cable and damaged its leg and torn its breast. The RSPCA told my mother they could not do anything and we should put it out of its misery. We then found a local animal charity AARU - (Animal Accident Rescue Unit) who got it collected within half an hour and treated by a bird expert. When it was recovered fully they contacted us to see if we would like to release it which we did with pleasure.

Around six years ago at 3 am one morning I found a very badly injured fox, (it had been hit by a vehicle and suffered a serious back injury & had no use of its back legs). I took time out from my job as a taxi driver to catch it and make it as comfortable as possible in my car then rang the RSPCA. They flatly refused to come out or do anything about it saying "We don't deal with foxes and other pests". Their only advice was to leave it where it was to die.

Naturally this made me rather angry and after pointing out exactly what I thought of her and the RSPCA, I then got the number for the AARU and within ten minutes, arrangements had been made for me to take the animal direct to a local vet (who happened to be my own vet). I was advised a couple of days later that following an x-ray the fox had been put down as its spine was broken.

I have no doubt that many of the RSPCAs workers are genuine, dedicated animal lovers, but the folks at the top who make decisions, only consider their inflated salaries and do not give a damn about animal welfare.

Some if not all of the CFZ animal lovers may be interested in the links on THIS SITE


We get an average of nearly 2,000 visitors a day, and the number is continuing to rise. We know that this is fairly small beer compared to some of the other blogs that are around. Darren over at TetZoo for example gets about twice what we do, but when you consider that back in the second week ofJanuary when we started the daily bloggo we were getting only about fifty hits a day, then I think we have done rather well.

However, I didn't come online this evening to post a "didn't we do well" bloggo. There are so many of those online at the moment that one would have thought that it was Bruce Forsyth rather than Sir Tim Berners-Lee who was the father of the Internet. But I digress. What I really want is some fibreglass resin, and I preferably want it without having to pay for it.

You see, we have run out of money. We have enough money to live on, and enough money to pay our bills. We even have just about enough money to pay the exorbitant Council Tax bill, but we don't have enough money to continue our work on the Visitor Centre. Not at the moment at least.

So we are on the want. Is there anyone amongst the bloggo readership who can let us have some fibreglass resin, in reasonably large amounts, cheap - or even better, free? I would prefer it to be legitimate, but my scruples are easily oversome when it comes to things like insurance write-offs....

Email me on jon@eclipse.co.uk or telephone 01237 431413