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, April 17, 2009


The trouble with the Internet is that one hardly ever knows whether people are telling the truth. The nubile 17 year old girl in the chatroom is a middle aged bloke with an unwholesome leer on his face, the altruistic lawyer who has an unclaimed fortune with your name oin it, is a Nigerian bloke in an Internet Cafe, and the bloke offering you methadone through the mail is an FBI agent. So we have no guarantee that this following video was actually shot in Florida. But then again we don't know that it wasn't.

The blurb accompanying it says: This video was shot in Orlando FL. There is a unknown black animal running around through the tree tops. What is it? A bat? Doesn't seem to have any wings. A cat? Its alot smaller than a cat and runs through the trees alot faster than a cat. So what is it?????

Well its not either a cat or a bat. We think lemur. But how about you?


Finally, after six months of faffing about, production has started on the new CFZ movie, tentatively entitled Emily and the Big Cats. It tells the story of a fifteen year old girl called Emily who's family see a big cat in the North Devon woods, and her own quest to find out about it.

It is a true story, and we are filming Emily's quest as it happens, and we hope that it will be completed later in the year.

Here we see the filming of the opening sequences, as Emily walks through Huddisford Woods telling the story of her Uncle and Aunt's sighting that first sparked her interest in the subject.

Back in February, Jon Hare described Jon as looking more like a cross between Dumbledore and Hagrid every day, although we would say that he looks increasingly like an unholy melange between his `real` father, and his adopted one, the quondam Wizard of the Western World. However, it is undeniable that his greying beard makes him look either wise or massively eccentric (or perhaps both.

He is driving the Daihatsu, while Graham (forgetting his advancing years) squats, filming in the open back, filming.

Emily Taylor (15) seems to be taking working with such a bunch of middle aged weirdos (we are not counting Max as middle aged, but during the session he was certainly a weirdo who spent most of his time climbing up trees and chuntering happily to himself, he took all these pictures by the way).

This film is a technical challenge for Jon who, as Director, is finally in the position of being able to `direct`. Usually he just has fifteen or twenty hours of raw footage from an expedition plonked on his desk, and is left to get on with it. Working in such a conventional manner is somewhat strange for him

Has the pink headed duck been rediscovered?

Over on Cryptomundo, Loren has posted a story about a of a supposed new sighting of the pink headed duck.

The pictures were allegedly taken by a Mr Thorns back in February, and if they are what they appear to be then it would seem that congratulations are in order.

The pink headed duck is supposed to have been extinct in the wild since the 1930s, although there have been intermittent claims of their survival ever since.


These are the first pictures of the newborn yellow bellied girardinus from our Cuban biotope tank. They were born yesterday, and Max and I watched the first four of the little chaps popping out.

They are tiny, and extremely dificult to photograph, but Maxy did the best that he could. He also tried to film one of the births (they are livebearers) but the film was so blurry you couldn't really distinguish anything much...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


I would think that if you’re taking the time to read this bloglett you’ll be wanting to know what the latest cryptozoology news is courtesy of the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog and Mr Wilson (not to be confused with the other Mr Wilson). Here is the news:

Investigating the Cattle Mutilation of March 2009 in Trinidad, Colorado
Snakes on a plane
Mystery animal snapped
‘Man bat’ reported in Chihuahua, Mexico
Why, that ‘man bat’ must be tiny to fit in a… Ah, I see, I’ve read the headline wrong… carry on, as you were gents.


Darren Naish wrote: "Hey Jon, is this for real?" Well, buddy, it would certainly appear so. As I wrote back: It is the first that I have heard about it, but it is certainly a palm civet. There were a few at an animal dealer in Hertfordshire last year - and it would not surprise me THAT much if they got into culture, and subsequently got loose. I would not have thought that they would have survived the last winter though - it was a little harsh by recent British standards....

CFZ ARCHIVING PROJECT: The Owlman and Others

Oll Lewis has done a very good job (and is continuing to do a very good job) digitising the CFZ Archives. Eventually they will ALL be available on line, and they will be indexed and sorted. Even the 30,000+ pictures in the CFZ picture library will be available for free as low res thumbnails, and for money as high res downloads. But this takes time and effort, but we get there slowly.

In the meantime here is a collection of newspaper stories from the CFZ Archive of Owlman-Related material. There is tons and tons more, but these (which include the hysterically funny "Weirdest Family in the Land" story frtom The Sun in April 1978) will do for starters..



This is another specimen from Truro Museum, and is the only bona fide Cornish specimen of the red squirrel that I have been able to find. In 1966, S.C. Madge wrote that the species was almost extinct in South-eastern Cornwall, although ‘there still might have been a few at Mount Edgecombe’.

Two years later, Dr. D.W. Turk wrote that:

“Although local the species is still widespread in the county and may indeed be spreading into new areas”.

In 1979, Manning noted that:

“It seems likely that the Red Squirrel has vanished from this part of England”.

although he expressed a faint hope that some might still survive in the far western tip of Cornwall. There are a few other Cornish records in the archives of the Institute for Cornish Studies, but after the mid-1970s even these peter out.

Officially, the status of the species is even less certain. Harry Pepper from the Forestry Commission Research Centre, says that the most recent Westcountry sightings that he is prepared to substantiate are from the edges of Bodmin Moor in 1965. (We believe that this roadkilled specimen was that animal). His most recent records from Devonshire are a decade earlier than that!


Another image from the CFZ photo archives that may be of interest - a rather motheaten stuffed pine marten from the store rooms of Truro Museum. It is the only bona fide wild pine marten specimen from the county which still survives... as far as we know.

According to Langley and Yalden, the Pine Marten was extinct in the country by 1879, although we have records going on into the 1930s. This poor beastie was shot near Truro in the last few years of the 19th Century, and as far as we can ascertain, there are no other bona fide Cornish specimens around.

The only bona fide Devon specimen is in Combe Martin museum and is pictured in my book The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry.

All the other pine martens in Westcountry museums were donated by the late H.G.Hurrell or his family. Hurrell was a brilliant naturalist who was ever so slightly obsessed with pine martens, and his children and grandchildren are a major dynastical force in Devonshire natural history to this day.

For those of you interested, my book about martens and polecats in the westcountry is available at the link below:



I am really rather enjoying going through the darker recesses of the CFZ Picture library. The odd thing about it is that these are all prints of pictures taken during the early days of the CFZ which were put in a box and forgotten about until recently. Oll has spent as goodly time sorting through them, and I am posting interesting images on the bloggo.

This is the impression made by a barn own that flew into a glass window of a house in suburban Exmouth in the mid 1990s. There ain't much more to say, but it is interesting...