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...


Saturday, April 04, 2009



1= Man Monkey - In Search of the British Bigfoot by Nick Redfern (4)
1= The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent by Neil Arnold (-)
1= Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Dr Karl Shuker (2)
4= The Owlman and Others by Jonathan Downes (3)
4= Dr Shuker's Casebook by Dr Karl Shuker (1)
6 Dark Dorset by Mark North and Robert Newland (-)
7= In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans by Michael Woodley (5)
7= CFZ Expedition Report: Guyana 2007 (-)
7= The Island of Paradise by Jonathan Downes (-)
10 Big cats loose in Britain by Marcus Matthews (9)


1 Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Dr Karl Shuker (1)
2= Big Bird by Ken Gerhard (2)
2= Dr Shuker's Casebook by Dr Karl Shuker (3)
4 Monster - the A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold (4)
5 Man Monkey - In Search of the British Bigfoot by Nick Redfern (7)
6 The Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent by Neil Arnold (-)
7= Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Animals on Stamps by Dr Karl Shuker (-)
7= A&M vol 3 - The Call of the Wild (-)
9 CFZ Yearbook 2009 (-)
10 Strength through Koi by Jonathan Downes (-)

Last month's positions in this pinky colour which I think is called cerise

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Hello and welcome to the cryptozoology news update segment, brought to you from the pages of the CFZ daily news blog. Today is also the day when I say which song has inspired me this week and pop up a link where you can listen to it too and either enjoy it or spew bile at your screen, whatever floats your boat. This week it’s time for a bit of prog ‘The Trees’ by Rush: http://www.last.fm/music/Rush/_/The+Trees
And while you listen to that, here is the news:

Deer Gets Into House Through Cat Flap
Tiger dies in Tirupati zoo
'Stock-take' of garden creatures
Baby chicks do basic arithmetic
Reward offered in cattle mutilation cases
I suppose you could call it ‘Moo’tilation.


Only Fleur could join in the ongoing discussion of teratology and lusus naturae with something almost unbearably cute - a rabbit with two noses. She sent me a link to a story on MSN News which read:

"A pet shop worker found a bunny with two noses in a delivery of six-week-old dwarf rabbits at a store in Milford, Connecticut.

The owner of the Purr-Fect Pets shop says he has never seen anything like it in 25 years in the business.

He says the bunny eats, drinks and hops around like the rest of the litter."

What a peculiar, but very cute, looking creature...

Opisthoproctus soleatus - a very strange fish

I have heard of these things, but I didn't realise they were quite so damn freaky...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Barreleyes, also known as spookfish (a name also applied several species of chimaera), are small, unusual-looking deep-sea osmeriform fish comprising the family Opisthoproctidae. Found in tropical-to-temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, the family contains thirteen species in six genera (four of which are monotypic).

These fish are named for their barrel-shaped, tubular eyes which are generally directed upwards to detect the silhouettes of available prey; however, according to Robison and Reisenbichler these fish are capable of directing their eyes forward as well. The family name Opisthoproctidae is derived from the Greek words opisthe ("behind") and proktos ("anus").

GUEST BLOGGER FLEUR FULCHER: My unexpectedly crypto week

Over, once again to the divine Ms F. After a gap of a few weeks during which she has been about her studies, she is back and as charming as usual....

It all started innocently, with me making my usual trip to the Adam and Eve pub in Lincoln for the pub quiz, I was wearing my new and very shiny shoes.
The questions were the normal mixture of ridiculously easy and horribly unfair, I was no help with the music round (I was ill the week they played the Ying Tong song), but then they asked which bird had laid the giant egg that was recently up for sale, of course I knew that it was the Elephant Bird of Madagascar, I even wrote the latin name, hoping for an extra point.
It turned out that we were the only team to get that question right, so I gleefully texted Max about it; texting Max whilst I’m tipsy is turning into a bit of a tradition.
A few days later my friends Jim and Catherine and I decided the day was too lovely to go to uni so we went to Newark instead, intending on looking at the ruins of the castle, we went to some of the many charity shops that were there, and found in the Oxfam bookshop a copy of the excellent ‘Searching for Hidden Animals’ by Roy P. Mackal, for £4 this was a major bargain and I did my now notorious happy dance all round the shop. In another charity shop they had several plastic dragons and cockatrices, and whilst I was rather tempted by these, I did not add them to my bag of purchases.
On getting home I realised that the Mackal book goes for upwards of £30 on Amazon, so this really was a cheap crypto find, I advise you all to check the shelves of your local charity shops.The next item in my week is rather sillier, I was perusing the amazingly hilarious Cake Wrecks site and found some amazing animal and cryptid cakes –
and dragon and unicorn cakes-
(you really really have to look at these, you won’t believe the top dragon one is actually a cake!)


There have been stories of sea serpents seen off the British Isles for many years, quite a few off the coasts of Scotland . The first one below is from 1898:

Read the original..

It tells of a serpent seen off Stonehaven near Aberdeen . The skipper of the fishing boat said it was longer than his boat which was 34feet long and had fins twenty feet apart . As a seasoned fisherman you would expect him to know an anomaly if he saw one. The next is 1958:

A sea serpent was reported to have been seen on Saturday night in the Tay. The report was made to Fife police by Mr Ronald Avery, bus driver, 3, Milton Crescent, Anstruther and was confirmed by the conductress Miss Betty Kay, Cellardyke. Yesterday Mr Avery said "The bus was standing at the Newport-on-Tay terminus. We were waiting for the starting time and I was standing on the step of the bus looking over the water. It was misty, but about five minutes to eight I was distinctly, about a mile out from Newport Pier, a strange creature moving in the water. Three humps were visible and although it was difficult to tell their colouring I thought they were dark. They were movinh towards the Tay Bridge. They disappeared, and then came to the surface again in exactly the same manner a short distance forward. I drew the attention of Betty Kay and together we watched the creature moving towards the Tay Bridge. We must have seen it disappear and surface eighty or nine times, it made a circle towards some boats near the opposite bank. Then it was time for us to move, but I was so impressed that I reported it to the police. I would say it was a sea snake or serpent, about 15 to 20 feet in length. I don't think the object I saw was porpoises or seals. I've seen sharks and whales in the Indian Ocean but this was the strangest thing I have ever seen in the water.

Various sea monsters have been reported as being seen off the shores of the Scottish Isle of Lewis over the years, including a sighting reported in 1882 by a German ship off the Butt of Lewis. The ship, 15 kilometres off the coast, reported a sea serpent around 40 metres in length, several bumps protruding from the water, along its back. Sea serpents have also been reported at the southern side of the island.

So is Scotland, the home of Nessie, a haven for sea serpents? This is just a small historical sample, there are many more. Keep your eyes peeled if you go fishing off the shores of Scotland,who knows what you might hook!


The April episode of Cryptozoology: On the Track (of Unknown Animals) is finally finished and is being mixed down as we speak. It is a bumper episode of just of 32 minutes, and features all sorts of groovy things that have happened during the last month, and even introduced Oll Lewis playing the part of the Lord of Darkness. Intrigued? Well you will have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


You’ll be wanting to know all the latest cryptozoology news I take it? Well you’re in luck as I present to you yesterdays news stories from the CFZ news blog, Also may it be noted that this weeks tea is English breckfast:

Number Of Black Cat Sightings On The Rise Near State Park
On the trail of mythical beasts
Suffolk 'bear' was actor
Dog owners do look like their pets, say psychologists
Baby twin leopards have soft spot for orangutan
Piglet has two mouths and three eyes
China pays deer price for condor protection

Oh ‘deer’ lets hope they can find a way to protect both species.

NEIL ARNOLD: Monster fish of Dutch Folklore

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...

Out there, somewhere, in the silted depths of the Netherlands watery abodes, there do indeed exist large swimming forms dredged out of folklore and into the minds of the general public. One such beastie was ‘Big Mama’, a huge European catfish that had tourists fleeing from their skinny-dipping escapades. The terror of Centreparcs made big news in 2006 with website Ananova reporting:

‘The 2.3 metre European catfish eats two or three ducks a day and has even taken a few small dogs, reports Hetlaatste News.

Dutch divers reckon 'Big Mama', in the lake of a Centerparcs at Kempervennen, could be the world's biggest. Remco Visser, head of a Dutch diving school which uses the lake for practice dives, said the fish had scared a number of divers.

"They don't have to worry because catfish don't eat humans. Most of the ducks have moved to another lake but visiting ducks, who don't know there is a catfish in the water, get caught." He commented. Centerparcs guards patrol the lake to keep away fishermen who have been trying to climb over the fences at night to catch Big Mama. Biologist Jean Henkes, of Centerparcs, added: "The catfish has grown so big because of the excellent water quality, enough food and rest."

The world record European catfish weighs in at 226 lbs, caught in Spain’s Ebro River in 2007.

There are several legends pertaining to monster pike in the Netherlands. One such giant was hooked by Rotterdam man Ewout Blom in 2004. After a good day of fishing with friends, one of whom caught a 35 lb specimen, Ewout caught a big one, weighing in at 42.9 lbs (almost 20 kg), and measuring some 127 cm (approx 50 inches). Bizarrely, one of the photos of Ewout and his prize fish, began doing the rounds on the internet with anglers far and wide claiming they’d caught the fish, or been there when it had been hooked, and the legend spread worldwide. This amazing freshwater shark, as pike are known, became a true ‘friend of a friend’ tale in fishing circles and there were even statements of it being a world record, but this was false information. The world record pike stands at 55.1 lbs, caught in 1986 at Lake of Grefeern, in Germany by Lothar Louis. One particular giant pike, rumoured to inhabit the IJ, is said to measure 1.60 metres in length but because no-one has ever photographed it, and rarely caught it, it has taken on mythical status. The fish is said to haunt the depths behind Central Station and pike fishing is illegal in the area. In 1998 a rumour also circulated of a monster fish living in the Oosthaven in Dordrecht and another monster pike at Lith.

In Kralingse Plas, Rotterdam, a person walking their dog filmed an unusual form in the water. Upon viewing the footage it’s likely that the ‘monster’ in question could be anything ranging from a dog, to a log, or something being dragged by a boat. In 2007 something very large was seen swimming at Moordrecht in the river Hollandse Ijssel. Witnesses claimed a freshwater shark was lurking in the twenty-nine mile stretch of water and the story made national news. Although it was believed to be a hoax, sharks have been known to turn up around the Netherlands. De Telegraaf reported in 2006 that a blue shark was the latest specimen to be added to Rotterdam’s Natural History Museum after it was found dead at Oosterschelde near Tholen. The shark was a young female measuring just over a metre and a half in length. Such creatures are considered very rare along the Belgian and Dutch coast line.

FOK!Weblog of March 2007 commented on an investigation into a sighting of a monster inhabiting a small lake called Oldambtmeer in Groningen but no beast was forthcoming. On the 16th August 2004 Patrick Scholte hooked a strange fish whilst angling at a canal in Rampur. The silvery fish with razor teeth turned out to be a piranha but at first Mr Scholte thought he hooked a Rock Bass due to its red belly. After photographing the fish, Patrick released it back into the water.

In the May of 1966 a white whale appeared in Dutch folklore. The creature, whilst en route to a zoo park in England, was aboard a boat which capsized during a severe storm, releasing the mammal into the north Atlantic. From here, and via the Rhine in Rotterdam, the whale would take in Berlin, Germany, and then travel back to the Netherlands, capturing the hearts of many who began to campaign against local pollution. In 2002 a documentary-film entitled ‘The Tale Of The White Whale’, directed by Stephen Koester was made about the incident, the promotional website stating:

This story of a white whale could have arisen from the fantasy of writers for Disney. However, it is a true story: On the 18th of May 1966, a huge animal appears from the dirty tides of the Rhine, near Duisburg-Neuenkamp and about 300 kilometres away from the open sea, to take a breath: the white whale. For one month this strange visitor will move the people and the media: it will raise conflicts between animal-rights activists and zoologists, between Germans and Dutch, between the political factions. In the meantime, the white whale swims further inland.’


I recently brought a copy of Charles Owens’s 1742 book An Essay Towards A Natural History Of Serpents: In Two Parts. The book makes fascinating reading as it was written at a time when science and learning were replacing legend and folklore.

Owen is remarkably on the ball on a number of topics. He rejects the idea of spontaneous generation from mud or rotting corpses. He likewise has no time for the 'vulgar error, that salamanders can live in fire' and extensively quotes experiments showing that they cannot. He knows that snake venom is a liquid injected via hollow fangs. He believes in the death dealing basilisk but thinks the ‘conjectures of its descent’ (a cock’s egg hatched by a snake or toad) are ridiculous. He thinks it is a snake and that it kills with a noxious effluvia from the breath rather than by the ‘evil eye’.

Yet there are still some highly strange descriptions of snakes and other animals and their behavior. For example on scorpions he writes….

‘By the Spaniards the scorpion is call’d Alaicran from an island in America called the Island of Scorpions, for the numerous multitude that ravage the place. In Brazil is a vast number of scorpions some four or five foot long, in shape like those of Europe but not so venomous.’

‘In the East Indies are large scorpions of the winged kind; so in Egypt, were it is reported they are armed with two stings. It is observable, these large scorpions taking their flight against the wind, sometimes drop down and so are taken by the country people, and perhaps sent to scorpionize other kingdoms.’

‘The sea scorpion is a flying animal, and of a red colour, whose flesh is good and much better than the Scorpena, that effects muddy water and Moorish habitations.’

‘In Madagascar, a large African island are several sorts of scorpions, particularly water scorpions, that lie in the marshes and standing waters, which are very mischievous, killing dogs and beasts and sucking their blood.’

Any ideas where these strange notions sprang from?

There is so much interesting material in Owens’s work that I will be writing a number of posts on his book.


Since yesterday's posting made when I was ill in bed, I have had so many people write to me I am overwhelmed. Despite the fact that I have always been careful NOT to appeal for money, except for specific projects, two people - Richard Muirhead and Steve Jones - have made financial donations to the CFZ, and two others have offered to lend me significant sums of money to tide us over until times get better. I have also received dozens of messages of support, some from complete strangers, and I am completely overwhelmed.

Thank you my dears

I am not going to borrow money from my friends unless there truly is no other alternative. Friends shouldn't really get involved with each other financially, and if I had followed that sage advice then we wouldn't be in the position that we are now. Simon Wolstencroft died owing me thousands of pounds that I can never recover, and as I alluded in a previous bloggo, we have £50k stuck in a business venture run by erstwhile friends, that we seem unlikely to be able to recover. So I shall try to follow Shakespeare's advice about neither lending nor borrowing, and we shall soldier on.

However, whilst on the subject of being totally overwhelmed, Gavin Lloyd Wilson emailed me last night:

Hi Jon

I'm not trying to bother you when you're not feeling well, but just wanted to share with you the fact that I've just posted the 500th entry on the CFZ news blog. That's not bad in just 2 months. At this rate we'll have over 3,000 entries by the end of the year!

I know you're not well so I'm not expecting a reply.

I hope you're feeling better soon.


Bloody Hell Gavin - 500 in two months. That's going it some! Well done mate. I am really not sure what to say. I never thought that this bloggo would become anywhere near as succesful as it has, and although I hate to overuse words, I cannot think of anything more apposite to say than that I am overwhelmed by it all, and eternally grateful to people like Gavin for all that they do.

Finally, you might be wondering why there is a 1999 picture of a short-haired me, with a clergyman and an elderly lady at the top of this posting. The clergyman is my brother, and the lady is my late mother. Today would have been my mother's 87th Birthday, and I miss her very much.