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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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Monday, May 25, 2009

SWEET PAINTED LADIES

Paul from the Entomological Livestock group


wrote last night:


The migration of Cynthia cardui has reached Melton Mowbray (I've just been informed) with around 10 individuals spotted, heading north.... and verystrong numbers still flying north through France, 100 per hour near Paris and Nantes.

As I type, you should be seeing good numbers in southern England and with luck, we shaould have them here in the capital (Sheffield) by tomorrow.

I have always found mass migrations of butterflies interesting, and in these sad days when our own native species are becoming more and more impoverished, often as a result of misguided or stupid action on a local governmental level, these mass migrations will seem ever more spectacular. If anyone has pictures of these wonderful creatures in their garden this year please send them to me.

The fact that such delicate creatures fly to our shores each year all the way from the deserts of North Africa is something that I find absolutely enthralling.

This excerpt on the left is taken from the chapter called `Mysteries of Butterfly Migration` in one of my favourite books L. Hugh Newman's Living with Butterflies (1967).

I would have normally typed it out, but I wanted to try out the new scanner that dear Emma donated to the CFZ. I am a notorious technophobe (although nowhere as bad as Richard F who is a complete Luddite to a ridiculous degree), and I am feeling quite proud of myself for having worked out how to use it in a compltely calm and unworried manner. But that is another story..

In the last few years the migratory butterflies seem to have arrived on these shores pretty well as usual. It will be interesting to see, with the changing weather patterns, and most importantly with the considerably improved weather that we have seen this year, whether they will start to breed in the manner that they did back in the good old days.

For more information see this site:
http://www.plantpress.com/wildlife/search.php?name=&pl=5&adv=1&ot=&r=0&g=42225&p=3&o=366

YESTERDAY EVENING WAS A BIT WEIRD

Yesterday evening was a bit odd. Whilst I was trying to post the evening bloggo, I was beset by telephone calls, computer problems and people trying to set up filters on the new fishtanks. On top of this, Emma and Matty were bullying me into sorting out the CFZ accounts into a form which the Charity Commissioners will accept. They pointed out with some justification that the current accounts look as if a family of alcoholic badgers have been having a long term competition to see who could make the sorst hash of doing them, and that a spectral tarsier with learning difficulties would probably have made a better job. At that point Biggles decided to turn out the bins and knocked over a teetering pile of review books, and then Richard Muirhead telephoned me from some boozer in the back streets of a small village in rural Hungary to talk about the reed wolf.


So. Please forgive me that Maxy's Big Three singularly failed to appear. I will remedy the omission this evening.

"A NASTY MERMAID"

This set of pictures has been doing the rounds lately. It is supposedly of a dead mermaid found somewhere in the neotropics, but - despite being considerably more convincing than either the "Water Blackfella" picture or the ridiculous Quatari `goblin` - I am sure that I do not need to point out that this is a fake.


YES: A FAKE


However, I am getting quite interested in the aetiology of hoaxes. This one turned up twice in the same day in my e-mail inbox. Firstly on a crypto newsgroup, and secondly as an advert for a dating agency. You figure?


As I was posting them here, Emma was looking over my shoulder and said "Eeew its the nasty mermaid. That's just wrong" and shuddered. Apparently these pictures had been prominently displayed on one of the Mysterious Universe websites and had given her "the creeps".

But where did they come from? Whose logo is that in the bottom corner? When and why were they made? And why has it turned up now? I am intrigued.




NEIL ARNOLD: All Bizarre Creatures Great & Small Part One

I have known Neil for fifteen years now since he was a mod 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...

A SEA MONSTER?
From the Rochester Gazette & Weekly Advertiser, Tuesday January 12th 1836 – Number 460 (Page 2) – extracted from Enniskillen Chronicle

‘The huge monster of the deep that recently cut the fishing-boat across, whereby three men met an appalling death off St. John’s Point, on the Donegal coast, has been since thrown ashore dead. It’s said to be one of the largest ever seen in this country, and our correspondent adds that on being opened, a young one, measuring 10 ft in length was found inside. Its death is said to have been occasioned by a part of the boat which it may have swallowed at the time, but this is to be questioned as the gullet of the animal is not sufficiently capacious to admit a large portion of timber. We expect to hear further particulars next week. It is to be hoped the produce of the fish will be applied to the relief of the families of the unfortunate sufferers.’

AN EAGLE!
From the Rochester & Weekly Gazette Advertiser, Tuesday February 16th 1830 – Number 465 (Page 4).

‘A large eagle was washed ashore at Deal (Kent) a few days ago, and has been presented to the Canterbury Philosophical Institution.’

A MONSTER!
From the Rochester Gazette & Weekly Advertiser, Tuesday May 3rd 1831 – Number 528 (Page 2)

‘On Saturday April 16th, a ewe, the property of Mr M. Lawson, of Fullford, nr York, yeaned a lamb of perfect conformation and healthy appearance, and which is alive and well; together with it was also produced an animal of the following singular malformation. Its head assimilates with no genus or species of the animal creation that we are acquainted with. Its forehead is arched, and the top of the head covered with a greyish hair, resembling that of a dog. It has cheek bones, high and prominent, like those of the human species, and only one eye of diamond form, remarkably large, and fixed in the middle of the brow, being projected over by a flesh protuberance somewhat resembling the ears, which are fixed in their natural position. There are no nostrils, and the mouth is wide, the upper jaw projecting considerably beyond the upper part of the mouth. The tongue, which is large, is thrust out so that the top extends over the jaw. The body partakes more of the form of a dog. Altogether it forms a curious object, when viewed in front and in an upright position, the countenance, from its unnatural association with some human form, reminds one of the fabled Cyclops, of mythological note. This curious freak of nature has been presented to Mr Phillips for the Yorkshire Museum.

THE CATS OF UPPER MINSTER: Episode 3 - "The General's in Country"

Last week, as an amusing one-off Tim Matthews, wrote a silly short story spoofing some of the more ridiculous exploits of various self-styled big cat researchers over the years.
It was so popular that he wrote another one, and now - by public demand - it has become a serial. Starting this evening, every other day will see an episode of Timmo's new Fortean soap opera The Cats of Upper Minster. And having read the first few episodes I can confirm that it is bloody smashing and highly amusing. "I'll carry on until it stops being funny" says Tim, and you can't say fairer than that!

The General forced himself into one of Marj’s vintage armchairs and, without asking for permission, plonked a tape recorder on the coffee table that divided Marj from her visitor. (She hardly considered him a guest.)

“So,” said the General in his dulcet East London tones. “I have report form here. It took many months to perfect and the colour scheme of brown background with white writing seems to be quite appropriate,” he insisted. “I need to ask you a number of questions and it might take half an hour. I should point out that ours is a scientific organisation. Big Cats Research and the associated ABC Team is backed by notable individuals the length and the breadth of the land!”
“Oh yes,” exclaimed Marj. “You don’t seem scientific to me and my son Nigel is actually a PhD at Imperial College, London. I wonder what he’d make of all this. Hardly a big deal, just a dog barking at something he’d seen.”
“Come on now, we’re not talking those kind of dry as dust scientists,” countered The General. “I’m talking Discovery Science, Borderlands, stuff we don’t understand, the boundary between what is real and accepted and the Other Side!”
“Other side,” said Marj, somewhat taken aback. “What other side?”
“Well, one of things I was going to ask you, dear lady, was whether you have had any bedroom visitors, psychic encounters or felt a presence at any time over the last few weeks. This is crucial!”
“Crucial to what?” asked Marj. “This is getting odder and odder. I thought you were interested in the dog and whatever it was he saw.”
“Only partially,” replied The General. “You see, we have the experience and we know we’re not alone. These creatures are much cleverer than you might think, and they are indeed, our experts tell us, shapeshifters!”
“Whaaaat?” said Marj, horrified. “What aaaare you talking about young man?”
“Well, years of tracking these things down tells me they can’t simply be a big cat living in the wild. There is so much more to this. I mean, my sources tell me about sightings in the graveyard by the Upper Minster Church.”
“Well, I have heard similar stories but they came to me via drunken schoolchildren who were so high after a night in the pub that they could have seen anything. I’ve never heard of anything especially credible.”
“What we are dealing with here can take any form and affect people in ways we hardly understand,” The General insisted. “So what we are going to do is stake out various locations with cameras, infrared, a range of other scientific equipment and wait for IT to return.”
“I am not sure that will be particularly popular,”
Marj exclaimed.
“It’s as if we’re under siege!”
“Once we’re satisfied we’ll be on our way. As I speak, groups of My People are making their way here and one of them is setting up in the back room of the pub. He has maps, books, walkie talkies, the whole shebang.”
“Heavens,” added Marj, wondering whether she’d made a big mistake allowing this slob into her nicely kept cottage. She was a very polite, very English lady not given to excesses. The General, in contrast, seemed to have excesses in all the wrong place, particularly in what he said.....
Meanwhile, back in the village, a large white truck with a satellite dish was pulling up outside the Minster Pub. The landlord, Rob, was seething in anger as regulars would have trouble getting in to his pub through the front door and some prat of a TV director appeared to think he owned the pub, the village and probably everything within ten square miles.
“What the hell are they doing here,” boomed Rob. “This is becoming a circus and not something I like. I mean, if anything was really going on with mystery animals don’t you think the sentient beings in Upper Minster might have noticed?”
“Well,” said Adam Barton, a well-known local farmer, “I reckon foxes have a lot to answer for...and they’re not very mysterious.”







EXCLUSIVE: Mystery carcass at Fuerteventura

Christian Vincent Jung writes:

In the beginning of 2008 I was on the Island of Fuerteventura as a rep, and one day I and a co-worker went on a trip to the south of the island.

On one beach we found this weird looking cadaver of some animal, that we could not make out what was.

Since then, I have tried to figure it out, with no luck.

Maybe you can help me?


One picture with my co-worker is to show the surroundings, another is a map of the island indicating where we found the animal.

The last three pictures are of the animal.It was pretty big: The backside approx 2x2 times the size of a grown man's hand (Picture 060.jpg), and 6-8 hands long(Picture 059.jpeg).(Sorry for the weird measurements, but I hope it gives the general idea.)
I hope You can solve this little mystery for me :)

My considered opinion is that they are a small cetacean of some sort.
However, I would value a second opinion, and possibly a more detailed identification. The pictures are all credited to Christian by the way.


































FLEUR FULCHER: Fleur's internship diary week 2

Over, once again to the divine Ms F. She is spending the summer as an intern at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. This is her story.......


We have been continuing with the cleaning of shells and their boxes, which despite predictions to the contrary I still love. In fact I am starting to wonder why I never found snails interesting previously the most delicate object yet was some 100 year old freeze dried snail eggs.
This week we also learnt more about how the documentation works in a museum, something which my fellow intern grasped far more quickly than I. I did, however, get to help with the wrapping of a donated Rhino horn for freezing. Objects such as that horn have to be frozen when aquired to kill any pests that may be living within.

When working on the shells we were on the lookout for Byne's disease, which oddly is not a disease at all but rather efflorecense caused by a reaction with acid vapours in the air. the beautiful wooden cabinets that such collections are often kept in are one cause of these vapours.

Working at a rate of about 200-300 shells a day there are still many days of shells left, but there are other projects to be working on, these might include historic man-traps, helping check the stores for signs of pests and helping to freeze objects that need it.

We've met more of the other museum staff, and I'm starting to understand more about how a museum works. Catherine went to South Molton museum to help with putting up an exhibition, and next time I shall be helping in a different museum.

A similarity I have noticed between members of the CFZ and the people I work with is a noted fondness for cakes of various types.
Fleur's bosses at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum have been kind enough to allow her to write this blog, even though it is not usually their policy to allow such things. We would like to thank them for this, and to point out that all pictures of museum specimens are copyright to the RAMM

More Gynandromorph Fun

Totally coincidentally, as I was writing the article explaining gynandromorp[hs, Fleurie sent this link with some amazing pictures of a halved gynandromorph swallowtail....

http://www.pbase.com/bob_r/mutant

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Yesterday’s News Today
http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

Hope you’re all enjoying your bank holiday, or if you don’t have the time off taking advantage of the overtime pay. Whatever you’re up to right now you can take a bit of a breather to catch up with the latest cryptozoology related news posted yesterday on the CFZ cryptozoology news blog, oh and where would you be without a bad pun after the news links too:

Tiny seahorse, world's longest insect among top new species
Bees trap workers in NYC game store
Shelter cat wins top honours at show
San Diego wants to use barking dogs recording to drive seals
Dormice decline 'is slowing down'
Acupuncture for pets 'on the rise'
Most scientists say difficult to ‘pin’ down the benefits of alternative medicine.