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 21, 2009


We had a "herd" of these in our garden yesterday - we live on the fens near Lincoln. Please could somebody tell us what they are as they are not in our book.

Thanks. Rosie


  • And do you live in London?
  • And will you be travelling down on the thursday in time for the cocktail party?

We are looking for someone to collect Alan Friswell and his exhibition of monster models from London and to take him back again. If you feel like doing that please email me on jon@eclipse.co.uk and I will sort you out. As you know, Alan is a bloggo regular and made us a fantastic feegee mermaid for the museum, and I - for one - am looking forward to seeing the exhibition of monsters that he has made.

This year we are working on an obscenely tight budget. The collapse of the global economy will not mean the end of the Weird Weekend but it certainly means that a lot of stuff that we would previously just have paid for will have to be curtailed. It is time for all good folks to come to the aid of the whatsit!


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....

Hello folks. I'm afraid this isnt going to be a cheerful start to the blog because I shall be talking of a murderer; a rutheless killer. Of course I'm not talking of some axe-murderer wandering around the woods; I'm talking about something much more intelligent: a fox.

This bushy-tailed blighter has recently killed at least half a dozen of our hens, plus our sweet little bantam cockerel. I won't deny I'm more than a little p****d with the ginger chap but thus is nature, and - even though he's destroyed any possibility of making a Victoria sponge (or any egg-based confectionary) out of our own eggs - I am still going to use the situation to my advantage and as long as the farmer doesn't ...well... shoot Mr Foxy in the meantime (yes folks, I'm afraid this will happen at some point), I shall try and get some close-up pics of him (if only my camera was on me the last three times he visited).

Moving on from the murderous vulpine, there are some more interesting (well I think so, anyway) beasties about. It took me many months and many wet wellies (please make sure you dont misread that; we dont need any more pervert jokes about fishermen thank you very much) to catch one but after little luck, I finally netted one of the small trout that live in our stream.

Then, after a while, I took notice of some interesting markings on the fish. Of course trout colouration varies greatly from water to water and is affected by many factors (such as altitude, food and water contaminants) but I thought it would be interesting to note that these fish had a black/ brown mark running down the lower side of the dorsal fin. I also noticed that the orange spots brown trout normally have seem to be scattered, whereas in these ones, the spots were almost on top of the lateral line.

So next week, if all goes well, there will be some photos of Mr Fox, and some piscean piccies of trout...no wet wellies this time.



It was my friend and mentor (and - while we are at it - the nearest thing to a father I have left in this world), Tony 'Doc' Shiels first introduced me to the concept of psychic backlash. Indeed, I often think that it was probably him who first coined the term. Indeed, it was me who first coined the term 'Zooform Phenomenon' and my mate, Ismael Aguyao who first described the bipedal quasi-vampire of the Canovenas Plateau in Puerto Rico as the goatsucker or chupacabra (although it seems the term was in existance as an abusive one beforehand); so the idea that a bloke you know can coin a term that has taken its place with pride amongst the canon of Fortean literature is not that surprising.

In my book Only Fools and Goatsuckers I wrote:

'Tony Shiels is probably the most powerful and wisest man that I have ever met. He has the power to summon up monsters. Although I go looking for them, I would never attempt to emulate him in his invocatory activities because by the laws of magick once you cause something to happen you have to be responsible for the consequences and whilst I can deal with the consequences of looking for something like the chupacabra and even of chronicling its activities and drawing some tentative conclusions as to its nature I cannot take the responsibility for summoning it to appear before me like a rabbit out of a hat. Indeed, I very much doubt whether I have the power to do so.

One thing that I do know about monster hunting, however, is that those who practice it are susceptible to what “Doc” has called “Psychic Backlash”. This is a series of inexplicable and horrific outbreaks of bad luck that can overtake the hapless seeker after monstrous truth on his way to his goal. I never believed in it until, during the months that I was working on The Owlman and Others, two of my pet cats died suddenly, two computers blew up (as did two cars) and my wife left me.'

I wrote those words eleven years ago and nothing that has happened since has done anything to make me feel like changing my mind. Psychic backlash is a very real phenomenon and is the reason I don't really follow the "animals" of the left-hand path anymore. The game, to use Graham's wonderful phrase, which I think he stole from a Billy Bunter story, just isn't worth the candle.

And the news story to which I have linked at the top of the page hasn't done anything to change my mind either.

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp (also known as The Lizard Man Of Lee County) is a humanoid cryptid which is said to inhabit areas of swampland in and around Lee County, South Carolina. It is described as being seven feet tall (over 2m), bipedal and well built, with green scaly skin and glowing orange eyes. It is said to have three toes on each foot and three fingers on each hand, which end in a circular pad on them that stick to walls. The creature has an incredible degree of strength, more than capable of ripping into a car.

The first reported sighting of the creature was made by Christopher Davis, a 17-year-old local, who said he encountered the creature while driving home from work at 2 a.m. on June 29, 1988. According to his account, Davis stopped on a road bordering Scape Ore Swamp in order to change a tyre that had blown out. When he was finishing up he reported having heard a thumping noise from behind and having turned around to see the creature running towards him. Davis said the creature tried to grab at the car and then jumped on its roof as he tried to escape, clinging onto it as Davis swerved from side to side in an effort to throw it off. After he returned home, Davis's side-view-mirror was found to be badly damaged and scratch marks were found on the car's roof - though there was no other physical evidence of his encounter.

“I looked back and saw something running across the field towards me. It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green, rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off.”

In the month that followed the Davis sighting there were several further reports of a large lizard-like creature and of unusual scratches and bite marks found on cars parked close to the swamp. Two weeks after the Davis sighting the sheriff's department made several plaster casts of what appeared to be three-toed footprints - measuring some 14 inches (360 mm) in length - but decided against sending them on to the FBI for further analysis after biologists advised them that they were unclassifiable.

And after that the legend fizzled out, although Davis was a minor celebrity who appeared on paranormal TV shows, where he talked about his experience, on and off for the next two decades. But apparently this new-found fame brought him no happiness and now he is dead - the victim of a drug-related shooting. As the Sumter Item reports:

'Former Lee County Sheriff Liston Truesdale said there would be no Lizard Man without Davis. "In July 1988, Chris was the first witness interviewed as seeing the Lizard Man," Truesdale said. "And what impressed me was that he told the same story every time. And he had to tell the story over and over again to the media and others. If you're lying, you can't tell the same story twice." Everybody wanted to hear the Lizard Man story from the eyewitness, Truesdale said.

Davis served as a grand marshal at a festival parade and signed T-shirts at a mall in Myrtle Beach, he said. "At that time, he was super, nice kid," he said. "You know, I bet he told the story more than 100 times every week for several weeks." Truesdale said he believes the media attention and publicity became too much for him."He could have made a mint from this," Truesdale said. "A lot of people don't know that he was scheduled to go to the Oprah (Winfrey) Show, but he cancelled it. I think finally he just had enough."'

Bad luck does tend to haunt those who encounter monsters. It has done me no good in my life, it has adversely affected Tony Shiels and I can think of a dozen other folk who have got too close to one of these dark zooform shadows, and it has ruined parts of their lives for a time at least. Killing someone? Probably not; but screwing your head until the only way out is narcotic and then leading someone into a drug-soaked hell? Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. It's just that my druggy associates didn't have guns.

Is this Psychic backlash at work or just another victim of an increasingly unstable and screwed up society?

We shall never know but this underlines my decision even more. To the people who want me to go back and write another book about Owlman, or even worse, to get involved in some half-arsed scheme to do a seance to summon it up, the answer is NO!

(Not unless you pay me a hell of a lot more than I usually get paid, because each man has his price, and mine is not as high as you might think)

CFZ PEOPLE: Shosh's final exams

As most of you know, Shosh is the eldest of my two darling step-daughters and an occasional bloggo contributor. The first of Shosh's final exams is tomorrow - after nearly 5 years studying at The Royal Veterinary College. We all give her big hugs and kisses and wish her all the very best for the coming week.

Good luck baby - everyone at the CFZ is rooting for you, as - I am sure - are people in the CFZ family across the globe....


As it is Midsummer's Day, this morning I put a few lines from Mike Scott's The Return of Pan up on the main CFZ website. To my surprise, lots of you did not know the song, so here it is, from the Waterboys album Dream Harder. I prefer the solo Mike Scott version from the album Sunflower but I couldn't find it on YouTube (I think its a bootleg).

I stood upon the balcony with my brand new bride
The clink of bells came drifting down the mountainside
When in our sight something moved
- lightning eyed and cloven hooved -
The great God Pan is alive!

He moves amid the modern world in disguise
Its possible to look into his immortal eyes
He's like a man you'd meet anyplace
Until you recognise that ancient face
The great God Pan is alive!

At sea on a ship in a thunder storm
On the very night that Christ was born
A sailor heard from overhead
A mighty voice cry Pan is dead!
So follow Christ as best you can
Pan is dead! long live Pan!

From the olden days and up through all the years
From arcadia to the stone fields of inisheer
Some say the gods are just a myth
But guess who Ive been dancing with
The great God Pan is alive!


When I was a boy and lived in the same village where I find myself living now, I was always obsessed with lepidoptera and one of the most fertile spots for hunting said creatures was not the hedgerows and fields; not the lanes and woodlands but the wall of the village shop.

The village shop (which in those days was owned by a couple called Paddon), had (and indeed still has) whitewashed walls and there are two large street lamps, which cast great pools of light upon the walls.

These used to provide a perfect moth trap and each morning, as I queued up outside the shop for the school bus, I would check the walls for moths. The most common was this: the white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda). This chunky medium-sized moth is allegedly quite common over most of Britain, and produces hairy caterpillars that eat a variety of weeds and garden plants, and I have always thought of it as being one of the species that is synonymous with Woolsery.

The only trouble is that I haven't seen one here for years. Although I check the walls, the village shop no longer acts as an attractor for moths and although other species (a considerably smaller viaiety, however) still glide silently across the North Devon night, there ain't no white ermines and I have grieved the fact for the past four years.

Then, once again, Greg came to the rescue. Greg is my ten year old Godson who, unlike so many boys of his age, still catches butterflies and moths (although his collection involves a digital camera rather than a setting board). Greg was the first to photograph one of the painted ladies a few weeks back and now he is the first to catch, photograph and release white ermines. Thank you Greg, my dear. You have restored my faith in nature, both human and otherwise....

LINDSAY SELBY: Thought for the day

Does cryptozoology have a point?

Some one asked me what the point of cryptozoology is. Well my first answer is: does it need to have a point? You could just as well ask does ghost hunting, trainspotting or Morris Dancing have a point? They are all the interests of some people, no matter how comical or strange other people find them (I admit I find Morris Dancing bizarre, and who was Morris?).

However that would be facetious of me and the serious answer is yes, it does have a point. It strives to find answers to questions, to identify new or once extinct species and researches what some mainstream scientists will not or are afraid to. New species and old species are being rediscovered all the time and I give some links below, plus a list of some that we all know about.

Just because something has only been seen or heard by a few people and that others have seen fair to put out hoax photos and stories, does not make it not worth investigating. The giant Squid or Kraken was a seafaring myth until filmed underwater by Japanese scientists.

People like to believe there is something more in the world than what we see every day and most would love to find that Nessie or Bigfoot really exists; so don’t knock the people who investigate these things. Be glad they do because even if there are no answers, the fun in finding that out, one way or another, is great science by anyone’s standards.



Oliver has bought a 3D-camera. The pictures look a blurry mess unless you look at them with special glasses that are available surprisingly cheaply from the link at the top of the page.

On friday we had a lovely day with our transatlantic visitors, Naomi (familiar to you all from the bloggo), her husband Ritchie and her mama, Barbara.

They were utterly delightful and I don't know when we have had so much fun. We went to Dartmoor, where we saw various sites of Fortean and historical interest and then went to the old family home of my old mate Lionel Beer, best known for his pivotal role in setting up BUFORA in 1962.

Lionel gave us some biological specimens for the CFZ Museum. They are from the collection of his late father and were killed around the time of WW1. Some of them are pictured here in 3D. Have fun guys.

P.S. Just in case you are too poor/ disinterested/ cannot be bothered to buy 3D glasses or do not already own a pair, we shall be issuing photographs of the most interesting of these specimens over the next few days....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

In a radical departure from the normal purpose of this bloglett, instead of furnishing you with links to the latest cryptozoology news and a bad pun, I’ve decided that each link will now lead to a clip of traditional dancing from each E.U. member state! This is a fantastic plan and it surely CANNOT fail.
And now the Morris Dancing:

Nah, sod it; I can’t be bothered searching out dances on Youtube. You’ll have to take the news and pun instead.

Police probe over poisoned eagle
Flush puppy survives toilet scare
Thai Navy Launches Sea Turtle Conservation Program...
Baby flamingos 'scared of pink'
New population of endangered Shore Plover created off the west coast of New Zealand16
Small blue butterfly restoration project
Bird stuck in tree
Cocaine haul hidden in sharks

This shark… swallow your drugs haul.