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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Thursday, June 11, 2009


It has been a monumentally strange day. One day I will tell you about it. However, let me just say that it has been a perfect excuse for why the posts have been delayed for nearly three hours this evening.

This photo was taken at 4.00:

L-R Graham, me, Corinna, Richard, Lady Henrietta Rous, Tara Nolan (Minnow Films), Morgan Matthews (Minnow films), in front: Biggles, and James Hore-Ruthven.

The day involved filming, negotiating and eating barbecued mackerel. A splendid time was had by all, but my goodness it was weird..


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he has just started the Mystery Cat section. This fourth trenche is mostly from the mid 1990s, but with a few from much earlier, and mainly covers London and the Home Counties, and includes the original press reports of Lara the Lynx


RICHARD FREEMAN: What makes a monster?

Guest Blogger time for Richard Freeman again. It almost seems silly introducing Richard to you all once again when he makes an appearance as guest blogger several times a week. However our viewing audience/readers (whatever you like to call yourselves) is growing so fast that it is certain that some of you missed the last time I introduced him.

Some cryptozoologists object to the term monster. They hate being called monster hunters. I don't, it's what I do, hunting monsters (and it has to be said that most of those who object to the term monster are armchair cryptozoologists). The detractors ought really to study the origins of the word. Monster comes from the Latin word “monstrare” meaning to show or a 'revelation'. When applied to a cryptid this is an excellent description.

Some people will say that a cryptid is not a monster, it's an animal. Well an animal can be a monster. What would you call a 45 foot long beast with a beak the size of a rum keg, tentacles lined with clawed suckers and eyes as big as hub caps? The colossal squid is an animal, it's also a monster.

What makes an animal a monster can depend on your point of view. Flamingoes look beautiful to us, but they must seem fairly horrific to the tiny shrimps they feed on (if a shrimp can feel fear).

Man-eating animals may be looked on as monsters. In particular an individual that has killed many people and evades capture. Examples would incude Gustave the giant crocodile in Africa and the man eating lions that terrorized the railroad workers in Tsavo. Ordinary lions and crocodiles were not considered monsters.

A name can make a monster. If a large or savage animal is singled out with a name it becomes special. An out-of-place animal can become a monster. Look at the UK big cats. A non maneating leopard or puma wil be just another animal in its home range. Take it out of its place and put it in a British woodland then it morphs into something else. Given monikers such as 'Beast' (a loaded word) the cat becomes a prowling monster regardless of if it has attacked anyone, or not.

Conversely a monster can become a mere animal. The gorilla was an ogre of native folklore, dismissed by westerners untill it was first captured. Even then it retained a monstrous air until properly studied and kept in zoos. Few people today would consider it a monster. So why is the gorilla not a monster? but the equally scientifically excepted colossal squid still a monster?

Perhaps it is due to the fact we know so little about the squid, or - more likely - it is less like us; more alien. Humans are great narcissists, and fear what is different to them.

In short almost anything can be a monster, depending on where it is, and who sees it.


RICHARD FREEMAN WRITES: Jon introduced me to Forests of Mystery a few weeks back. To be honest, I wasn't expecting it to be any good. How wrong I was. Forests of Mystery shows how great drama and great horror can be done on an almost non-existant budget. Much like the early Dr Who stories, budget restrictions meant that tight scripting, good acting and most of all good script writing held the show together. It's much the same with Forests of Mystery.

The show, that is released online in episodic form, is best described as Blair Witch Project meets Quatermass. Unlike Blair Witch Project but very like Quatermass, it is genuinely eerie. The story could have been scripted by Nigel Kneale himself, and revolves around shady experiments in an ancient, deep forest, with odd specimens brought back to the lab.

Sounds like science fiction so far.

But it also includes Indian folklore, stories from old loggers and some kind of age old woodland entity awakened from its slumber and becoming angry and violent.The whole adventure unfurls through the eyes of two students, Dewey Lansing and Jeff Collins, investigating the weird events like a Happy Shopper Scully and Mulder.

Forests of Mystery is understated (like a good MR James story), well written, well acted, well paced, and above all massively entertaining. I recommend you seek out and enjoy this amazingly fortean show.


Hello everyone -

I just wanted to remind you all that season one (12 episodes total) of the "Forests of Mystery" paranormal web series is available for your viewing pleasure at http://www.forestsofmystery.com/

-- the only web series dedicated to revealing the truth about what's really going on in the deep woods of the Tillamook Forest near the Cascade Forest Research Center --

Dewey Lansing

Vintage episode of Animal X from 2004 featuring Richard F

LIZZY CLANCY: Laying for England!

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 sometimes something more scatological), until I told her not to.

She is also the author of a charming and very elegantl;y written fortean novella called The Second Level which I strongly urge you all to buy at this link:


She is obviously one to watch, and she tells me in her latest e:mail that she is getting "addicted" to writing for the CFZ bloggo.

Back in 1941 when Patriotism was still okay and our men were off fighting world war two, support back home abounded, often from surprising corners.

According to the Rochdale Observer, in August of that year, Mr J. Herbert of the Spotland area (who, incidentally, had previously been a Rochdale Association footballer) was tending to his chickens and came across the remarkable egg shown in the photo.

The V for Victory Campaign had begun earlier that year in January when Belgian refugee Victor Delavelaye suggested on BBC radio that the 22nd letter of the alphabet become the emblem of the allies against Nazism. The idea was, according to Mr Delavelaye, that "by seeing this sign, always the same, infinitely repeated, [the German] will understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure."

I do hope Mr Herbert’s patriotic hen was commended for her brave effort in support of the allied movement, or at least given an extra portion of feed. Sadly such gallinaceous gallantry in the Spotland area is unlikely ever to recur since the only chicken within a one-mile radius is minced and waiting to be fried in one of the many kebab shops we have to choose from.

DALE DRINNON: Appendix to Cryptozoological Checklist - Former Checklist Summary 1

Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, archaeology, psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore,and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on Archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo..

Section I of former Checklists. Section I is the category most acceptable to conventional science and for the most part contains animals very nearly like known forms, color variants of known forms, disputed forms for which there exist photographic evidence, specimens preserved in museums or mere matters of disputed taxonomic status.

This is an area of Cryptozoology in which ALL of these could be "known" species and hence not deserving of further attention by the most stringent definition of the field. I do so consider that these are not really Cryptozoological subjects.

1. Gosse's beaked whale
2. Alua whale
3. Greek dolphin
4. Senegal dolphin
5. Illigan whale
6. Outsized giant squids
7. Octopus (Otoctopus) giganteus
8. Lake Setani shark
9. Mauretanian wild dog
10. Atlas bear
11. Atlas python
12. Blue tiger, black tiger
13. Outsized reticulated pythons
14. Chinese white bear (like US Olympic black bears, which are white)
15. Kimos (pygmies on Madagascar, possibly human)
16. Ufiti and koolookamba, outsized chimpanzeess
17. Pygmy gorilla
18. Spotted lion
19. Other oddly colored African cats
20. Mngwa as a giant golden cat (which do have a streaked/spotted
and a grey phase)
21. Pygmy elephants
22. Water rhino/pygmy rhino/ African one-horned rhinoceros
23. Ethiopian ?hyrax
24. Spotted bushbuck
25. American lion (even if residual of extinct form, same species as
African lion)
26. Andean wolf
27. Onza
28. Waitoreke (even if "only" a platypus)
29. Thylacines, on Australia and on Tasmania
30. Surrey pumas
31. Australian pumas
32. Felis levantina
33. Possible giant montpelier snakes
34. Quaggas (probably only a color phase of zebras in the first place)
35. Nandi bears, whether black ratels or outsized baboons. Dimensions
quoted for the "Koddoelo" can be matched against the largest "known" baboons.
36.Oceanic hairy pygmies on Malaita
37. on Guadacanal
38. Vui/wui, same in New Hebrides
39. Vele, same on Fiji
(36-39 Mu=menehune on Hawaii, maero on New Zealand, all displaced Celebes "apes" confused with earlier settlers)
40. Wildmen in Europe and the MidEast (wudewasa and seirim)
41. Wildmen in Central Asia (kaptars and almas)
42. Wildmen in the Orient (probably including Orang pendek as a smaller form)
43. Wildmen in Australia (yowies)
44 and 45., Wildmen probably included in lump listings for Africa and South America.
(40-45 can all be provisionally considered one category: Additionally, they must all
be considered most likely Homo sapiens or some closely related species, hence not "Unknown" at all)

1. Dimorphic beaked whale
2. St. Helena elephant seals
3. Beebee's manta
4. Planetosphaera pelagica
5. Lophenteropneusts
6. Deep-sea spider
7. Bigfin squid
8. The thing (giant polychaete worm)
9. Horned Sunda wildcat, possibly only pathological
10. Venomous blackfish
11. Hungarian reed wolf
12. Greek chameleon
13. Steller's white sea-raven
14. Qattara cheetah
15. Tailed loris
16. Pale Loris
17.Chuti/Nepalese hyena
18. Seah malong poo
19. Horned jackal, possibly only pathological
20. Quang khen
21. Mangden
22. Kting voar
23. Argus bipunctatus
24. Elephant-dung bat
25. Giant bushbaby
26.Giant aye-aye
27. Oliver, probably only a mutant chimp.
28. Wobo, probably equals Mngwa
29. Makala, presumed extinct
30. Senegal stone partridge
31. Sudd gallinule
32. Kenyan black swift
33. Green touraco
34.Mexican ruffed cat
35. Van Roosmalen's jaguar
36. Tigerstriped Peruvian cat
37. Speckled jaguar
38. Yama puma
39. Peruvian jungle lion
40. Pygmy brown bear
41. Mitla ('catlike dog')
42. 6 forms of Birds-of-paradise
43. Delcourt's giant gecko
44. Shamanu
45. Bornean babyrusa
46. Schomburgk's deer
47. Pink headed duck
48. Eastern puma (including its darker color variant)
49.Arizona (and Southern USA) jaguar
50.Nesophrontid insectivores
51. Glaucus macaw
52. Australian Tasmanian devils
53. Hoan Kien turtle, actually an identified species
54. Sapo de loma (I basically do not see how this differs from the common Marine Toad)
55. Malagassy giant hawkmoth (this has subsequently become "known")
56. Yamamaya (possibly ony a dwarfed Japanese type of tiger)
57. Malagnira (ultrasmall lemur)
58. Domench's Pseudo-goat (clawed goat, also possibly deformed)

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

Ok, time for the latest cryptozoology related news from the CFZ daily cryptozoology news blog and a bad pun too:

Afghans issue first wildlife list
Hummingbirds 'faster than jets'
Bear bites jogger after chase
Chimp Bites Off Boss's Finger At Knut's Zoo
Welcome to the Spiderlab
Snake slips show slither secret
Lion sighting reported
Tadpole downpour stumps Japanese meteorologists
Now, that is a ‘tad’ unusual.