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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Sunday, June 14, 2009


Dear Nick / Jon

I have been a fan of Nick's publications and your collective investigations for a while. I thought you may perhaps both be interested (especially given Jon's musical background) in one of my creations: the sci-fi rock musical Area 51. Area 51 will be playing the 1,000-seat Hippodrome Circus Theatre in Great Yarmouth in the UK this June. Please find attached press and current poster for the show. I know that you guys tend to be all over the globe on various adventures but I have been an admirer of your work for some time and thought it would be nice to have someone from the field the show affectionately parodies to attend the East Anglia premiere. Should you be too busy then may I simply wish you all the best for the future.

"The weirdest musical since the Rocky Horror Show first stormed the stage" - SFX Magazine

“Aliens meets MTV in this rollercoaster of a musical… a feel-good show that left the auditorium electric and the audience on their feet roaring for more”
UFO Magazine

“Nothing in recent years has felt so fresh and new to me than the concept album of the new musical Area 51... this is exactly the fresh breeze musical theatre needs right now... If you're looking for something fresh and totally different from the mainstream offerings of the West End, then look no further... could be what Cats was twenty years ago – something that simply dares to be completely different and groundbreaking, and could very well become a cult show of Rocky Horror Show-calibre.“ Musical Stages Online

“Filled with sly verbal and melodic allusions to popular movie and television standards, Area 51 is a bright and breezy romp that combines classic genre story elements with modern-day alien mythology and a lively rock 'n' roll attitude… Then We Met Like This, the show-stopping tune, with voices soaring over gorgeous strings and keyboards…dynamic, the recording presents a tantalizing taste of the tale’s inherent energy and excitement.”
Sci-Fi Channel Online

“Really catchy numbers… this really rocks… Stranger than Fiction and Greys are Givin’ Us the Blues are fantastic…”
Dreamwatch Magazine

“Something performers will enjoy appearing in as much as audiences will attending. Great fun!”
George Stiles (Olivier Winner, Best Musical, “Honk!” & named by the Stage Newspaper as “British musical theatre’s great hope”)

Recently listed by Sci-Fi Wire, official website of the Sci-Fi Channel in the top 20 Science Fiction and Fantasy musicals of all time, alongside Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", "The Rocky Horror Show" and "Wicked".

Kind Regards

Daniel O’Brien

LARS THOMAS: Out of Place animals is one thing.. but this is ridiculous

Dr Lars Thomas, who today joins the bloggo community, is one of the CFZ's oldest friends and most long-standing members. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark and has helped us in the past by having our expedition samples' DNA tested. He is a leading expert in the cryptozoology of Scandinavia and is currently working on a book on these cryptids for the CFZ that we are eagerly anticipating.

A couple of days ago I got a phone call from a very nice but slightly hysterical lady who wanted me to come and catch a very strange creature, which had suddenly appeared on her kitchen floor. Seing the beastie, the lady had slammed the door and runneth to the telephone. She had remembered my name from a lecture I had given at her local library last year, so went for the phonebook. Luckily my surname is rather rare in Denmark and only one other Dane is called Lars Thomas besides me, so she made contact rather quickly. Could I PLEASE come and get that horrible black creepy thing crawling around in her kitchen?

Off I went, bringing nets and gloves (I thought it might be a bat) but boy was I in for a surprise. What I did find was the creature you can see in the picture: an oil beetle. Nothing wrong with that except for the fact that the lady lives on the sixteenth floor in a group of high-rise buildings in the southern outskirts of Copenhagen - and oil beetles can't fly!

How, pray tell, did that happen?

I suppose a bird might have brought it but that would have meant a bird should have visited the good lady's kitchen and she was positive nothing of the sort had happened; besides she never opened the kitchen windows more than a couple of inches. Any suggestions? Personally I haven't got the faintest idea how that one happened.

NEIL ARNOLD: Sussex Spook Lore: Phantom hound or black leopard?

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.
From Richard Jefferies Wild Life In A Southern County (1879):

‘Near by the hollow, where the stream crosses the lane, is another spirit, but of an indefinite kind, that does not seem to take shape, but causes those who go past at the time when it has power to feel a mortal horror.

A black dog may be seen in at least two different places: the wayfarer is suddenly surprised to find a gigantic animal of the deepest jet trotting by his side, or he sees a dark shadow detach itself from the bushes and take the form of a dog. The black dog has perhaps more vitality, and survives in more localities than all the apparitions that in the olden times were sworn to by persons of the highest veracity. They may still be heard of in many a nook and corner. I have known people of the present day who were positive that there really was “something” weird in the places where the dog was said to appear.

It is supposed that horses are peculiarly liable to take fright and run away, to shy, or stumble, and break their knees, at a certain spot in the road. They go very well till just on passing the fatal spot a sudden fear seizes them as if they could see something invisible to men; sometimes they bolt headlong, sometimes stand stock-still and shiver, or throw the rider by a rapid side movement. In the daytime – for this supernatural effect is felt in broad day as well as at night – the horse more frequently falls or stumbles, as if checked by an invisible force in the midst of his career. This, too, is a living superstition, and some persons will recount a whole string of accidents that have happened within a few yards; till at last, such is the force of iteration, the most incredulous admit it to be a series of remarkable coincidences. These last two, the black dog and the dangerous place in the road, are believed in by people of a much higher grade than carters…

The carters have a story about horses which had spent the night in a meadow being found the next morning in a state of exhaustion, as if they had been ridden furiously during the hours of darkness. They were totally unfit for work the next day. Instances are even given where men have hidden in a tree with a gun, and when the horses began to gallop fired at something indistinct sitting on their haunches, which something at once disappeared, and the excitement ceased. But these things are said to have happened a long time ago.’


Are you seeing a pattern developing here: long hair, boyish good looks? And we are not just talking about Jon. We have Max; Dave has grown his hair; and now Tristan, who writes: "Hello, I'm a fifteen year old animal and rock freak, that loves being outoors, observing nature! I'm home educated so I have plenty of time to do stuff that most people wouldn't consider 'education,' even though I've learnt far more from being outdoors and thinking for myself (instead of being cooped up in a classroom,being taught instead of learning). I hope one day to be finding new beasties and conserving known ones so I thought it might be a good idea to blog for the CFZ!" With Jon's wild hair and beard the CFZ is rapidly beginning to resemble a fortean version of the Manson Family. Fleur as `Squeaky` anyone? Welcome aboard Tristan...

First of all, I would like to thank Jon for letting me partake in this wonderful blog. And now that summer is starting I'm sure there will be plenty of fortean phenomena going on this year.

Anyway, to the blogging.

Today we will be looking at some unexpected cryptids: sparrows. I first came across these little guys (and gals) when me plus mum were at a smallholding doing some sheep shearing and such-like in south-west wales, where I lived at the time. The owners of the smallholding were rather blasé about them as they thought they were just rather pretty but average birds.

They did look like an average house sparrow, or not dissimalar to the rarer tree sparrow, except that, whereas on a normal sparrow areas would be grey or brown, the colouration was replaced by a reddish brown. I was pretty shocked when I first saw a red sparrow but as I was around twelve at the time I didn't have enough scientific discipline to think of taking photos or behavioural notes. But I did compare them to Italian and Spanish sparrows; and still no match to what they were.

But hopefully one day I'll be able to get some photos of them and then you can realise that I'm not completely loony, talking about red sparrows. But if anyone else has seen similar birds I would be very interested to hear from you. Until next time; keep watching the hedgerows.


Bloggo reader Robert Schneck writes:

The CFZ needs a goat tower.

I'd keep goats just so I could have one of these.
Besides, I like goats.



I completely agree, Robert and wish that I could set Graham onto building one this afternoon...



Greg and Mike Warner have contacted noted herpetologist and TV Presenter Mark O'Shea; a man for whom we have the highest regard. He is unconvinced but has asked to see the rest of the evidence that the Warners have ammassed. Greg and Mike will be posting a video presentation of their results on YouTube later today and we shall be streaming it here on the bloggo. In the meantime, here on CFZtv, these are Richard Freeman's comments on the events so far..

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

Sunday is the day when I use this bit nobody reads before the news links and bad joke to recommend a film. This week’s film is Death Note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hasfbzk0B_c

The Three Bears? Try 163,000 ... and counting
Wallaby found wandering in field
Reindeer herds in global decline

What’s a reindeer’s favourite Beatles song?‘Elk’er Skelter.