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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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Sunday, July 05, 2009

MYSTERY BIRD FROM AUSTRALIA

UNIDENTIFIED FLYING PIPEFISH

On the 19th June 1984, Fred and Elsie Down, both aged 80, of Halsdon Road, Exmouth, were settled down ready to watch Crossroads (which started at 6.35) when they were startled by a crash, which rocked their terraced home. A large block of ice crashed through the roof and into their tiny house. The report gave no estimated size or weight, but the hole in the ceiling is over 2ft by lft. Fred said: "When we opened the bedroom door I could not believe my eyes. There was a terrible mess. You could see the sky through the roof. It smashed clean through the slates and broke a rafter. There were also lumps of ice the size of two men's fists lying on the bed."

Although anomalous falls of ice are often blamed (these days at least) on ice that formed on and then became dislodged from the wings of flying aircraft - or more unpleasantly on the frozen sewage discharged from airline lavatories - some anomalous objects that can and do fall from the sky are far less easy to explain.

During the summer of 1983, a year before Mr and Mrs Down had their unfortunate accident, I was working in Exmouth. I was a student nurse on attatchment to Stoke Lyne (a hospital for mentally handicapped children, which has now been demolished). I became friends with one of my co-workers there, a Mrs Rowley, and I often used to visit her at her home in Littleham where I would stay for an evening meal with her and her two young daughters. One early evening in July the elder of the two girls - who must have been about twelve - came running in, greatly excited to tell me that there were three “horrid snakes” in the garden. Replete from an excellent meal, her mother and I wandered out into the garden expecting to find that the girls had discovered a nest of slow-worms, or perhaps grass-snakes. Much to our surprise, there, arranged neatly on the lawn in an almost perfect triangle were three dead, and very dessicated pipe fish.

Several species of pipefish (peculiar creatures closely related to seahorses) live in British waters and they are not particularly rare beasts, but they are one of the last things that one expects to find strewn neatly across someone`s lawn in the midst of comfortable suburbia. Mysterious falls of living creatures (sometimes called fafrotskies - an acronym for Fish And Frogs Raining Out Of The SKIES)) are a well known phenomenon.

Charles Fort had several bizarre and gloriously imaginative theories to explain such strange falls from the heavens. His most imaginative idea was the concept of what he called the 'Super-Sargasso Sea'. Just as the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic is supposed to be full of shipwrecks and all manner of objects caught up in its gulfweed, so the 'Super-Sargasso Sea' might be a repository for terrestrial and extra-terrestrial matter high above the earth's surface. Sometimes the sea would suck things up; at other times it would spew them back down to earth. He also formulated the theory of 'teleportation' - a force capable of transporting objects and animals from place to place without traversing the intervening distance. This has been used to explain several anomalies including creature-falls and the anomalous appearance of various out-of-place animals, which appear in places that logic and the accepted dicta of conventional zoology suggests that they should never be.

Other explanations for such phenomena are numerous, but Dr Mike Dash calmly and logically manages to demolish the most widely accepted of them:

“...Another explanation is often advanced to account for the fall of frogs and fishes: the hapless animals were scooped up from a river or a pond by a passing waterspout and deposited later, some way off. This theory has something to recommend it: for one thing it has long been recognised that a number of falls really are caused by waterspouts. A whirlwind dropped fish at Quirindi, New South Wales, in November 1913, and fish fell from a waterspout in Louisiana in June 1921. Nevertheless, the waterspout hypothesis has weaknesses. There do not seem to be any accounts of rains of tadpoles, nor of smelly mud, broken bottles, old bicycles and the rest of the detritus that normally lurks in ponds alongside the frogs and the fish. And the theory cannot easily explain a number of the most peculiar cases. There are instances of extremely localised falls: at Mountain Ash, in south Wales, a large number of freshwater minnows and sticklebacks fell from the sky, in February 1859, covering a rectangle of ground, some eighty yards by twelve, with fish. (For a long time it was supposed that none had landed outside this extremely limited area, but one recent researcher has shown that a few came down in the surrounding hills.)”

None of these theories explain my one brush with a fafrotskie. If the Celestial Sargasso Sea is an inate part of the way things are, then surely the creatures would not have been dried and dessicated when we found them - they would have been fresh and possibly even still alive. The children had been playing in the garden all afternoon and were adamant that they had not been there earlier.

The same would seem to be the case if they had been transported there by virtue of a mysterious waterspout. Firstly, there had been no rain for days, and secondly, even if there had been an isolated shower that had managed to evade the detection of both us and the Metereological Office, and even if this reticent rainstorm had contained a number of fish, then why were both the fish and the grass around them as dry as a bone?

The last theory that anyone has come up with is that the fish could have been dropped into my friend`s garden by a passing seabird. My only answer to that is that if one is forced to hypothesize a mysterious flying piscivorous predator that lived exclusively on dried and dessicated fish then we would be faced with a putative phenomenon far more bizarre than the one that we are actually examining.

Like so much in this book fafrotskies in general, fish falls in particular and my experience with the three pipefish specifically are just part of the way things are, and are presently completely inexplicable. I included this little anecdote in this book purely to underline (as if any such underlining was needed) that Exmouth, and in particular Littleham has the potential to be an extremely strange place.

But these two were not the only anomalous falls in the Exe Estuary area at that time.

Sometime during the first week of March 1983, a few months before I had my encounter with the unidentified flying pipefish, and several months after the couple from Exmouth had their unfortunate encounter with a block of falling ice, Mrs Rita Gibson, of Topsham, on the other side of the Exe Estuary from Exeter, found a "scattering" of strange pink beans in her back garden. "They could not have been thrown," she says, "because our house is surrounded by three walls around a courtyard." But if they fell, where did they come from? The nearest Mrs Gibson could come to identifying the beans, which were larger than rice grains and smaller than orange pips - see photo - is that they looked a bit like iris seeds; but iris seeds are orange, not pink. Another oddity is that the seeds/beans are quite out of season. Mrs Gibson adds: "They do not look like last year's because they are fresh, not dried out."

NEIL ARNOLD: IN ROCK: CRYPTO METAL!

I have known Neil for fifteen years now, since he was a mod schoolboy with ambitions for adventure and I was an earnest young hippy 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....


I’ve noticed a few posts on the CFZ bloggo pertaining to songs/albums with references to Cryptozoology, so I thought I’d have a trawl through my huge collection of metal vinyl to see if I could find any… .


As metal is without doubt a music existing on mysticism, especially in the album covers, I was rather pleased to dig out Tank’s oily Filth Hounds Of Hades complete with cover showing a three-headed, salivating Cereberus-type beast), but more impressively Samson’s Before The Storm whose cover depicts a knight in shining armour battling with a huge serpent. Meanwhile, Witch Cross and their obscure album Fit Or Fight depicts several scantily clad ladies being protected from a giant man-bat, an axe-wielding warrior. Of course, thousands of metal covers show strange beasts, but we need to be very strict here, which is why we’re surely allowed Kraken, an obscure metal act from the ‘80s, and also Lady Killer’s self-titled record showing a leather-clad wench holding back a black leopard on a leash. Black Knight’s little known album Master Of Disaster depicts a knight in combat with a dragon. My favourite crypto cover however comes from the wonderfully titled rock ‘n’ roll band Sea Hags, whose self-titled debut features a mermaid on the cover. Spread Eagle were an ‘80s sleaze band and their self-titled album depicted a woman in the talons of a giant eagle, but we may be hard pressed to find album covers, let alone songs pertaining to Bigfoot, Chupacabra and Nessie…mind you, there is Sasquatch, a US band who play a ‘70s style of heavy rock, a late ‘90s hip-hop group called Bigfoot, and we mustn’t forget that’s self-styled Satanist, Glen Benton of Floridian death metallers Deicide, claimed that in 2008 he actually saw a Bigfoot locally! Troglodyte are another heavy band who play what they call “neandercore” and adorn themselves in man-beast masks! The have a bizarre song called ‘Skunk Ape Rape’ about a woman being raped by a bog-dwelling man-beast. There’s also an artist called Evil Adam who has a song called ‘The Jersey Devil’. In 2005 British metal band released an album called Angel Of Retribution, which featured a cut called ‘Lochness’, and there’s a Polish doom band called Loch Ness, and used to also be an Italian metal band called Lochness, whilst the bizarrely named band The Flying Fish Sailors did a heavy metal version of a track called ‘Loch Ness Monster’. Indie band The Xcerts are said to be doing a gig on a boat on Loch Ness to promote their debut album In The Cold Wind We Smile…judging by their music, I hope they get swallowed by the reputed leviathan. And lastly, for now anyway, popular metal act Soil in 1998 released an EP called El Chupacabra, its cover showing the Puerto Rican critter about to liase with a naked lady. but if you do come across any, get in touch.

And here are the lyrics to Judas Priest’s ode to Nessie:

GREY MIST DRIFTS UPON THE WATER
THE MIRRORED SURFACE MOVES
AWAKENED OF THIS PRESENCE
DISPELLING LEGENDS PROOF

A BEASTLY HEAD OF ONYX
WITH EYES SET COALS OF FIRE
IT’S LEATHERED HIDE
GLIDES GLISTENING
ASCENDS THE HEATHERED BRIAR

THIS LEGEND LIVES
THROUGH CENTURIES
EVOKING HISTORY’S MEMORIES
PREVAILING IN ETERNITIES ON AND ON AND ON

LOCHNESS CONFESS YOUR TERROR OF THE DEEP
LOCHNESS DISTRESS
MALINGERS WHAT YOU KEEP
LOCHNESS GROTESQUE MONSTROSITY
LOCHNESS CONFESS TO ME

SOMEHOW IT HEEDS THE PIPER
FROM BATTLEMENTS THAT CALL
FROM SIDE TO SIDE IT PONDERS
IMPASSIONED IN THE SKULL

THIS HIGHLAND LAIR OF MYSTERY
RETAINS A LOST WORLD’S EMPATHY
RESILIENT TO DISCOVERY ON AND ON AND ON

THIS LEGEND LIVES
THROUGH CENTURIES
EVOKING HISTORY’S MEMORIES
PREVAILING IN ETERNITY
YOUR SECRET LIES SAFE WITH ME

THIS CREATURES PERIL FROM DECEASE
IMPLORES TO MANKIND FOR RELEASE
A LEGACY TO REST IN PEACE AND ON AND ON AND ON


FRISWELL'S FREAKY FEATURES: It's a shame about Ray

The other day Alan Friswell, the bloke who made the CFZ Feegee Mermaid and also the guy responsible for some of the most elegantly macabre bloggo postings, wrote me an email.

He had an idea for a new series for the bloggo. Quite simply he has an enormous collection of macabre, fortean, odd and disturbing magazine and newspaper articles, and he proposed to post them up on the bloggo.

Alan Writes: "Yes! Welcome to Friswell's Freaky Features, an ongoing spot on the CFZ blog page where you will encounter the fun, the freaky, the frightening and on occasion, the downright horrifying. Many of these items are from almost forgotten archives and no doubt should, in many cases, have stayed forgotten. But no chance of that on this site! So be prepared to be amazed by the bizarre manifestations of nature, the abberations of the natural world and the complete (on occasion) mind-bending insanity of collective humanity. Read on...."

What a smashing idea, we thought, and so with a burst of alliteration that will - I hope - make Dr Shuker proud of me, here we go....

I wonder if any of you out there has seen this before, or knows anything about it. We're all familiar with the famous 'lost' pictures of people holding up dead thunderbirds, or other giant species, but has anyone heard of this huge ray, photographed in April 1934? While it undeniably has the look of a classic 'hoax' about it, I think that it's authentic. What do you think...?

40 YEARS AGO TODAY

For Max, and all the other readers of his age, who only know The Rolling Stones as a mildly embarrasing cabaret act, not dangerous, sexy and the epitome of rock and roll. And yes, there's even an on-topic reference; the butterflies released just after Jagger's tribute to the recently dead Brian Jones, (see bottom clip) were bred by none other than my hero L. Hugh Newman, of the Butterfly Farm in Kent, whose name has come up in these pages on a number of occasions....



OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

Sunday brings with it the most exciting of my weekend features, the chance to witness history in the making, it’s Stereo-graphic Sunday! Red and cyan 3D glasses at the ready folks, because not only did I post the first 3D photograph of a mermaid (the CFZ’s feegee mermaid crafted by the talented Mr Friswell) but this week it’s another 3D first, a pilot whale skull.

You’ll notice that the skull is also upside down. The reason for this is because many people have seen upside down whale skulls and assumed they belonged to hitherto unknown sea monsters. Most recently a physics professor, who should have known better, sent off a press release about his discovery of a sea monster skull on display in a Mexican museum.
And now, the news:

Monster snake slithering in Rumford canal
Brazil's huge wetland under threat
'Bee sting honey' for arthritis
All creatures great and small
Cat appears on Question Time
Honeybee mobs overpower hornets
Kleptomaniacs of the skies
No safe haven for rarest antelope

How do you make an antelope?
Tell her that her father intends to stop the wedding.

SCOTT CORRALES: No Rational Explanation" Found for Cattle Mutes

I have always been a great admirer of the work of Scott Corrales, and have decided that when I receive an English Language version of one of his South American reports, that I will repost it, so it reaches as wide an audience as possible. I recommend that you check out his three books which are available from Amazon HERE

Inexplicata
The Journal of Hispanic Ufology
July 3, 2009

Source: http://www.diariovictoria.com.ar/

Date: July 1, 2009/



Argentina: "No Rational Explanation" Found for Cattle Mutes**


The police found four cows whose eyes, uteruses and tongues had been removed. The animals were found dead in the rural area of Nogoyá. The absence of water in a nearby lagoon also drew their attention. Residents of the rural area known as Crucesita Tercera, in the Department of Nogoyá, are shaken by the strange death of four cows in the interior of two fields and the unforeseen draining of a lagoon. Personnel of the Office of Cattle Theft and the Nogoyá Police
ascertained that the cows had succumbed to a mysterious mutilation, but also noted that a nearby lagoon, which a day earlier had been full of water, was now empty.

Once more, fantasy, myth and mystery began to weave themselves over the deaths of these animals. Apparitions of the so-called "Chupacabras" and even a UFO sighting are now part of the comments being made in the heart of the province.

The cows found by police officers were missing their reproductive organs, tongues and eyes. For this reason, the veterinarian attached to the Office of Cattle Theft, a part of the Nogoyá Police force, stated that there is no rational explanation for the animals' deaths and much less for their strange mutilations.

The dead bovines, according to police, were the property of Gustavo Cabañas, an employee of the Banco de Entre Rios, Nogoyá branch. The man owned the field and the herd of cows and calves within it. A few days later, Cabañas had surveyed the farm and found that everything was in good order. Even the volume of water of nearby lagoon presented a generous quantity of the vital fluid, considering the drought. But for reasons that remain unclear, the lagoon dried up in a
few hours, forcing the field's owner to transfer the animals. He found the dead animals as he performed the transfer.

Nogoyá's cattle rustling authorities and agents of the Sheriff's office confirmed their investigation and the mysteries that surround it. The events cannot be explained scientifically.

Crucesita Tercera is some 50 kilometers from the departmental capital. Due to this event, the Cattle Theft officers spoke to local residents, who gave scant details on elements that could help explain the deaths of these animals. The subject expanded yesterday when it was learned that Police found another mutilated bovine in an adjacent field. The carcass displayed the same characteristics: it was missing both eyes, its tongue and uterus. The cow belonged to a woman surnamed Sanchez and the incident was discovered only a short distance from the Sheriff's office.

The Cattle Theft office noted that they had reported the mutilations on the three cows found over the weekend, but that the bones near the mutilated parts were clean, as if death had occurred some time ago, and not a matter of days, either. Furthermore, surgical incisions were
confirmed, some of them without scarring or blood on the grass of the animals' hides.

Three years earlier, a pair of bovines was found lifeless and mutilated only a short distance from this last discovery. Veterinarian Esteban Puntín, who investigated the events a while ago
explained, "while he is aware of these last cases from remarks, he believes that [all of this] is the result of natural action." Puntín noted:"due to uncontrolled deforestation, predators began looking for food in smaller and cleaner fields. With the onset of cold weather and the drought, there is very little grass. Therefore, animals are hungry. Bovines look for grass, and they may end up eating "yuyos" (brambles) which are poisonous, such as the Mio Mio. When the animal
dies, foxes, weasels, vultures and even mice report to the site, eating the softer parts of the carcass, which are generally the anus or vulva, the udders and the tongue. Carrion animals also eat the eyes. These animals are great feeders, and only stop at bones and harder tissue."

He added, "If there is no blood to be found, it is due to the cold weather, which dries up all manner of fluids."

/(Translation (c) 2009, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Grupo GABIE:
www.grupogabie.blogspot.com)/