Saturday, May 23, 2009
Everyone's a winner!...
After seeing the video on the CFZ blog the other night of the insanely cute fox begging for food, Mum and I went shopping and who should run across the path of our car (thankfully, making it to the other side of the road) but a tiny, tiny fox cub who I hope found his mother in the woods he disappeared into. This incident put me in mind of another orphaned little cutie.
My great-great-grandfather William Jones (of recent bee-blog fame) found one of those horrid poachers’ traps on his land early one morning and with his little paw caught was a very young male fox cub. Will duly freed the furry chap, leaving him there to be rescued by his mother. When my ancestor came back in the evening, however, the cub was still there so taking him back to the farmhouse, Will gave the fox a bowl of milk and bathed and bandaged his leg.
Llwynog (the Welsh word for fox; Will couldn’t think of a better name for him) stopped with the Joneses for the next few years. He had the run of the farm by day but in the evening would always howl to be let in so he could snuggle up with the dog in front of the fire.
One night, however, he didn’t come home. The family was distraught. Will took his elder sons out to look for Llwynog but they never found him.
A year passed. Will was just about to go to bed when he heard the familiar howl of his lost pal. Opening the front door, sure enough, there he saw Llwynog. Will went out to him. Llwynog turned and barked, then looked back at his former master. Moments later another fox; a vixen; crept into the yard, shyly, and waited by the gate. Next two tiny cubs appeared, keeping close to their mother.
As Will bent down to stroke his fox the young family left the yard. Llwynog barked once more and followed them. Old Will never saw his Llwynog again.
1)Plesiosaur- much as I would love Nessie to be a prehistoric creature, the fact the loch only formed about 10000 years ago rather puts the dampers on that idea. However always the open minded I looked at the possibilities. The first one is that as plesiosaurs appeared to be air breathers they would surface a lot more and therefore would be seen more regularly. It is not impossible that a water breathing plesiosaur has evolved (evolution rocks don’t you think!), but unlikely. There are good fish stocks in the Loch including migratory salmon, so I find claims there is not enough fish in the loch not really substantial enough as a reason for there not being a colony of creatures in the Loch. The amount of activity on the Loch would mean someone would have been eaten by now if it was a plesiosaur, either a swimmer or a fisherman would have been washed ashore all chewed. (Sorry if you are eating right now, but you shouldn’t eat over the keyboard anyway) I know from time I have spent at the Loch there are local people who will not venture out on the loch at night so something keeps them home on shore and it’s not the TV.
The loch has constant temperature and doesn’t freeze but some say it would be too cold for a plesiosaur. However research in the last few years has shown that many prehistoric creatures continued on in the Antarctic after they had died out elsewhere, including plesiosaurs, and the water would have been a lot colder than they were used to. Still the peaty black waters of the loch would not have been inviting I don’t think, they were used to clear waters .So unless a very shy underwater possibly vegetarian plesiosaur has evolved in the Loch, I find I have to put this theory to one side.
2) Elephant- this was a rather fanciful notion put forward that it was an elephant swimming in the loch. This is where not doing your research properly shows up, how many elephants have been living around Loch Ness since the first reports in the 1500’s. ? Not a lot I imagine and elephants from visiting circuses would not have been around that often. Nice try but poorly thought out and researched by someone who doesn’t know the history of the Loch.
3) Seismic activity- well there is seismic activity that happens in the Loch and shocks from Inverness could travel down the river causing waves in the Loch. However it wouldn’t have a long neck. It would show strange wave formations and maybe blow a bit of debris from the bottom that could be mistaken for an animal. The problem here is the movement would not be animate like an animal swimming, but certainly would be an explanation for some sightings.
4) Psychological/optical illusion- well yes, if you think you will see something, there is a chance you will. I have seen people in cubicles in a lab subject to atmosphere changes that means they think they see UFO’s and by bouncing sounds waves off the walls, too low for the human ear to hear, they see ghosts. But the Loch is not a lab and not everyone sees something. Again some sightings may be down to the desire to see something or an optical illusion from the reflections of the hills in the loch, but people tend to be not looking for something when they do see Nessie.
5) There was a BBC programme that put forward the theory that mass or media hysteria after the King Kong film was shown in 1933 caused the rash of sightings .However there was no cinema, no King Kong film and no road present when sightings were recorded from 1527 to 1932.Once again lack of research marred what otherwise was a good programme. Like most people the programme researchers assumed that sightings only started in 1933.
6) Eel- a large sterile eel is a real possibly. It would have to be very large though to cause the sightings. However there would also have to have been a) more than one b) it would have to be long lived. The loop of a large eel would look like the ‘hump’ people say they have seen. It may be there is a colony of very large eels living in the bottom of the loch.
7) Seal- there are seals and otters seen on and around the loch. A line of them swimming could look like a monster‘s coils, but local people see this all the time and are not likely to be fooled by it. It brings us back to the long neck people say they have seen. The only way that could be possible is if it were either a long necked pinniped or a very large long necked otter. Most people will have seen the excellent article, Michael A. Woodley, Darren Naish and Hugh P. Shanahan wrote , in the March 2009 edition of Historical Biology , a groundbreaking paper, “How many extant pinniped species remain to be described?”
8) Hoax- there has been many hoaxes around Loch Ness. Even if every photo and film were a hoax, which I doubt knowing Tim Dinsdale and others who took films and photos, it cannot explain every sighting.
9) Primitive whale – again possible, but how did it get there? I always thought the loch was only accessed via the River Ness and therefore would be difficult for anything large to have travelled up it unseen as it would have had to be a pair to set up a breeding colony. Then I found this :
British and U.S. scientists claim they have evidence that the sea extended into Loch Ness at two points in history: after the Ice Age in Europe (125,000 years ago) and 12,800 years ago. A geologist working with a research team in 2001 noticed the clay on the anchor of their boat looked different from other deposits found in the same part of the Loch. Carbon dating and amino-acid testing on the clay indicated that it contained clams and sea urchin spines from both 12,800 and 125,000 years ago. This discovery would tend to lend credence to the theory that large animals could have become trapped in the Loch as the water receded back to the sea. Source: The Press and Journal (North Scotland).
So it could be likely that some creatures got into the loch and adapted and stayed. After all eels live in both saltwater and fresh water at various times in their lives.
So where does that leave us? Well of the thousands of the sightings reported of something in the loch, only something like a couple of hundred stand up to real scrutiny. That is not to say the others are false or hoaxes but using scientific rigour cuts down the numbers a lot. That still leaves us with some unexplained sightings. I saw something myself in the loch, but what it was, that lump in the water I don’t know. It was too brief and I was too stunned and when I looked again it was gone. I am happy to believe it was an optical illusion, that makes me feel better, but in reality I think something stirs in the bottom of Loch Ness and has done for a long time. Dan Scott Taylor told me something spun his 5000 lb submarine around in the water at the bottom of the loch, that is some optical illusion!
This picture has been shamelessly stolen from the latest edition of the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomological Society.
It is one of the illustrations from a fantastic article on halved gynandromorphs, but this has to take the biscuit; a halved gynandromorph large copper.
This is the equivelant of having a first issue PennyBlack with a misprint showing Queen Victoria smoking a suspiciously long cigarette whilst wearing a rasta hat!
Biologist, Doug Killam, said that the fish could have weighed more than the 88 lbs salmon caught in the Sacramento River, which is the largest recorded Chinook salmon in California. The heaviest Chinook salmon ever caught was 126 lbs in Petersburg, Alaska, but most of the salmon biologists have weighed in California are between 20 and 30 lbs.
Tony Lucas is one of our New Zealand representatives. We first published his work in the 2008 Yearbook when he wrote us an overview of New Zealand cryptozoology....
1. New Zealand laughing owl.
I choose the New Zealand laughing owl-Sceloglaux albifacies as the first of my three because the evidence for a remnant population of these maniacal little residents of the forest is so strong.
Although the last trace of this little bird was a dead specimen found in July 1914 at the Blue Cliff Station in Canterbury, there have been over the years possible calls heard occasional pellets and most tellingly possible egg fragments which seemed to indicate that the species may still exist d and still remains unsighted.
There are many remote and unexplored areas of open, rocky high country in the Southern Alps which is habitat that these birds dwelled in.
This moderately sized species of owl could easily have been driven back into the high country of the South Island and could remain undetected with very little difficulty.
Regrettably I feel there is no hope however the North Island subspecies exists as from the records the last of these were kept in captivity by Mr. W.W.Smith in Wellington and died somewhere around 1883.
2. Thylacine-Tasmanian Tiger
It is very likely that the species still exists as there have been numerous reports of sightings, close encounters, tracks, droppings, pictures and video footage.
There have even been reports of adults with young indicating that somewhere a breeding population still exists.
When you get this much evidence being presented from a supposedly extinct creature you have to start asking yourself whether it truly is extinct.
There are no shortage of eyewitnesses and quite a few people believe in certain areas these animals definitely still roam about, not only in Tasmania but also still on parts of the mainland.
My personal theory is that these animals do still exist and have retreated further back into the bush after being made scared of humans by the relentless hunting that went on during the 1930s.
There are vast areas of both the mainland and Tasmania with ample habitat and enough abundant food resources to easily support remnant populations.
Their reclusiveness is probably the only thing that saved a remnant population from being wiped into extinction by overenthusiastic hunters and direct competition from the introduced Dingo.
My third of the big three is a somewhat unusual choice but seems to have a lot of backing.
3. New Zealand Mosasaurs.
There have been numerous reports of sea monsters around New Zealand waters, all described as having a Crocodilian like head, long slender body and flippers.
A New Zealand paleontologist, Alan Marks presented a theory that a small population of these creatures live in the depths of the Pacific Ocean and range occasionally into the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
With New Zealands deep coastal waters there are enough species such as the giant squid that could provide more than enough food for these marine reptiles.
One of the more fascinating tales of this creature comes from researcher Sam Yivano; apparently in 2008 two of these creatures rammed and attack a boat belonging to Ivan Levy for about an hour.
The unfortunate and bewildered man returned to the shore with a very wrecked and battered boat.
Were these a breeding pair protecting an area they were breeding in? Or was the boat mistaken for a whale, another possible food source for these creatures? We may never know but something did tear up Mr. Levy’s boat. This is only one story of many of crocodilian headed monsters and their encounters with humans.
Like most marine mystery creatures they no doubt are very well attuned to the noise of boat engines and have no doubt learned to avoid them and stay out of the way of shipping lanes.
Perhaps somewhere in the dark waters around New Zealand this large reptilian predator cruises the oceans even today feasting on giant squid and raising young as they have done for millions of years.
New Zealand Cryptozoologist
Well done guys, and thanks to Fleur for bringing this to my attention..
After sticking to basically the same format since we started in 1994, and having been completely the same format since 2003, we have changed completely. This new format of Animals & Men has been in the pipeline for a long time, but for various reasons we have always decided to maintain the status quo.
However, after we failed dismally to retrieve any semblance of a relationship with the people who have been leasing us printers for the past decade, after their service got worse and worse, and they became the sort of capitalists that you sincerely hope are going to go belly-up during the current recession. We never wanted to run a print shop anyway. It was not one of my better ideas, and we all let out a resounding huzzah as the hairy handed sons of toil removed the bloody thing out of the CFZ front gates, and we steadfastly refused to take delivery of the excessively expensive replacement that they tried to land us with.
There were a few weeks of unpleasantness during which they tried to insist that we pay the remainder of the lease (in complete contravention of the agreement that we had made at the beginning, they have finally just cancelled it all, and we are free of them.
So, we have decided that rather than get another photocopier and continue with the increasingly tedious business of making, collating, and messing about with the bloody things at home, we have bitten the bullet, and decided to turn the magazine into a proper journal and have it printed professionally by Lightning Source who do all our other books.
The changes in the postal system a few years ago also completely banjaxed our pricing system, and we have been waiting until the next format change to rejig our prices and subscriptions, so this seems to be as good a time as any.
For the past six years, Animals & Men has been 60pp in length. As of this issue we go up to 96pp (not counting the cover). OK, the last fifteen pages are the current CFZ Book List, and a four page blurb about the CFZ for all the thousands of you readers that I hope will start buying the magazine now it is available on Amazon. There is also a full colour pdf version available much cheaper as a download from the increasingly popular CFZ bloggo. So, finally, we have left our roots in the DIY Fanzine culture of the 1980s, and joined the 21st Century.
About bloody time.
The contents page of this issue reads:
7. Faculty of the CFZ
10. Weird Weekend 2009
11. Newsfile: New and Rediscovered
17. Newsfile: New and Rediscovered
22. Newsfile: Hoaxes
25. Newsfile Xtra: Tsuchinoko - An undiscovered pit viper?
27. Newsfile Xtra: The Beast of the Bay
31. Obituary: John Michell
32. Aquatic Monsters Log Book
(CFZ Aquatic Monster Study Group)
by Oll Lewis
37. Mystery Cat Diary
(CFZ Mystery Cat Study Group):
Mystery Cats of Michigan
by Raven Meindel
with an introduction
by Nick Redfern
39. Mystery Cat Diary
(CFZ Mystery Cat Study Group):
Cougars in Illinois
by Derek Gebner
40. Letter from America:
by Nick Redfern
42. Bigfoot Notebook
(CFZ BHM Study Group)
by Paul Vella
46. Unknown animals in the Pet Trade
by Max Blake
51. Mystery Animals of Flemish
Folklore Part One
by Neil Arnold
55. Another Mystery Cat in Hong Kong by Jon Downes and Richard Muirhead
60. The Moa you Know
by Oll Lewis
62. Moas for Sale
66. A whale of a tale
70. CFZ News
72. CFZ People
74. Letters to the Editor
80. The Sycophant
82. Who we are and what we do
86. Books from CFZ Press
For a 4-issue (one year) subscription:
£16 UK £18 EC
£30 US, Canada, Oz, NZ (airmail)
£35 Rest of World.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
- Subscription rates INCLUDE postage.
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Then all sorts of things happenned, and the next two hours went by in a blur. I'm not sure what they actually were, but all of a sudden it is nearly 1:00, the bloggo is an hour late, and I haven't done any of the things I had intended to do.
Never mind. T'is all sorted now, and we have even finished the latest book from CFZ Press: Michael Newton's Giant Snakes.
In this exciting book, Michael Newton takes an overview of the most terrifying uberpredators in the world - giant snakes. Outsized examples of known species as well as putative new species are looked at in detail. From fact to fiction, and from continent to continent, the stories and the science are examined, and the cryptozoological significance of these creatures explained. A fascinating (if slightly scary) book. Well done Michael.
The book will be available at the end of next week price £9.99
Marjorie Seaton was walking her dog, Toto, along a lonely country path through the village of Upper Minster when suddenly the dog started barking frantically and pulling on his lead. It was as if Toto had sensed something up ahead and he was frantic. Marjorie considered this quite unusual. After all, this was Toto’s favourite route, quite a safe one and unremarkable if beautiful.
Up ahead, Marjorie could see the outline of a large black creature and, before jumping a wall into a field full of cows, the thing looked towards her and Toto and she was sure she could see some piercing green eyes weighing her up. Toto wasn’t for waiting and he pulled forward so hard that he slipped his lead and dashed off towards the last known site of the mystery creature.
Marjorie rushed off after her pet and found him all wet and covered in mud in state of some distress. It was all most unusual and instead of following their traditional route she decided to go back towards the village and visit the local tea shop to tell see if any of her friends were around so that she could tell them about her odd experience.
“Hello Marj,” said Jenny, the nice young girl who worked at the cafe five days a week and who was very friendly towards her regulars. “Are you OK,” she asked. She liked Marj, who reminded her of her dear old Gran.
“Well, I’m not sure!” replied the older lady. “Toto went rather mad as we were walking down Dark Lane past the fields and he seemed to be upset by a black creature further up the path.”
“Really? Wow,” said Jenny, intrigued. “What do you think it was?”
“I have no idea,” Marj replied.
After work, Jenny was in the local pub talking with her friends and it didn’t take long before she was telling everyone about Marj’s mystery black creature. It was something fun to talk about! Before long, quite a crowd was gathered and people were swapping stories of supposed unusual encounters locally. UFOs, crop circles, odd feelings down Dark Lane, an odd light in the nearby woods and the time they thought they’d seen a shape in the local graveyard.
And The General loved it. The next morning he managed to fight his way out of his bedroom into the cold light of day having heard stories from his mate Tony East who worked as a glass collector at the Upper Minster pub. Tony, who liked Vampires and spent a lot of time on Fortean discussion boards, had listened in awe as further proof of his own personal, and deeply held, views that “something odd was going on all around us all the time” were presented by the lovely Jenny to those assembled.
“I’m telling you now, something BIIIIG is going on in Upper Minster,” he told the General by MSN chat. “It’s all been kicking off mate. Sightings of odd lights, unusual shapes in the churchyard and now a black mystery creature doing the rounds. I never thought it would happen like this during my lifetime.”
“I am calling for a Regimental Turnout,” said the General who was much given to unnecessary military talk. “This time we’ll be there and I am calling the press. Nothing much happens in places like Upper Minster but this will put the village on the map and, more importantly, we’ll be famous. I can see it now; the interviews, the fees, the magazine articles, a mention in Fortean Times and those bastards as the Forteana Study Centre with all their intellectuals, scientists and international links, and damned credibility, won’t be able to touch us.”
“You’re r-r-right,” stuttered Tony, wondering whether The General was more bothered about the media glare or the mystery animal.
Next morning The General was on Marj’s doorstep. Tony knew where she lived and gave his leader the information he required. The General nearly knocked her door off its hinges and when she answered she felt a little intimidated by the camouflaged slob outside. With tatty briefcase in hand, The General introduced himself and pushed a business card he’d made up using a machine at a local service station into her hand. “I’m here about The Creature,” he boomed, spitting in all directions as the remains of a burger worked their way out of his mouth. “I need to know everything,” he added.
“Well, you’d better come in I suppose,” said Marj, her pet Toto growling at the visitor and not liking the smell of him one little bit.
“So THIS is the brave hound then,” asked The General, rhetorically, as he snapped a shot of the dog with his mobile phone camera.
“Yes indeed,” said Marj, “but really I am not entirely certain what all the fuss is about. I’m not sure what Toto saw to be honest with you.”
“Ah yes, but you will let the experts decide,” exclaimed The General. “My group has the tools to do the job and we intend to crack this case wide open!”
“But it was a fleeting glimpse of a dark creature,” said Marj, slightly horrified that this man might start interrupting the peace and quiet of her lovely village retreat with wild stories. “I’m not sure what to make of it!”
“Exaaactly,” The General noted triumphantly. “And this is the heart of the mystery....”
Here is a Czech song about Jozin the Swamp Monster that a friend
found at Youtube.
Go for the subject matter, stay for the dancing.
Along with the latest cryptozoology news on Saturdays I pop a link to some music in this pre-amble paragraph that nobody reads. So without further ado here’s this week’s tune, “Thinking ‘bout You” by Yusuf: http://www.last.fm/music/Yusuf/_/Thinking+%27Bout+You?autostart
But before I go onto the news here is an interesting way to waste your Saturday, Empire magazine’s cryptic canvas: http://www.empireonline.com/crypticcanvas/default.asp
The idea is that there are 50 film titles cunningly hidden in the picture, you have to find them all by clicking on them and typing in their names. I worked out all 50 in just under two hours, see if you can do better.
And now for the cryptozoology news:
Boffins identify inherited 'werewolf' mutation
Wallaby mother and baby spotted in Cornwall
Beekeepers accused of stealing each others' hives
What is a bee’s favourite singer? Sting.And what is their favourite group? The Bee-gees.