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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Friday, July 17, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: Yesterday's News Today


Oll Lewis is on holiday. He’s gone on a package tour to Wolverhampton this year and he’s very much looking forward to seeing the beach. Anyhow, he has left me in charge of today’s Yesterday’s News Today, if you can understand that.

Taking the dog for a talk
Mysterious sighting on Okanagan Lake
The real bay of pigs
Bolivia Bans Wild and Domestic Animals in Traveling Circuses
Dozens of Jumbo Squid Beached After Quake--Coincidence?
The common ancestor of humans, monkeys and apes may have originated in Asia
Primate archaeology, proposal of a new research field
Man vs. wild: Colo. camper uses chain saw to fend off attacking mountain lion in Wyoming
Neanderthals Were Few and Poised for Extinction
Mysterious sighting on Okanagan
Mystery Goo in Alaska Could Be Another New Species

It’s customary to end with a pun so hold your sides.
What is a vulture’s favourite kind of film?
A Carry On (carrion) film.


  1. Living in London who will bring Alan Friswell and his monsters?

or Living in the Midlands who will bring Nick Redfern?

Free tickets await anyone who says yes....


As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February, and he is now working on the Mystery Cat section. This 9th trenche is a mixed bag, including stories from Africa, various parts of the UK, and the United States, and mostly dating from the mid 1990s. And this is the last big cat archive update for a while. There will be more, but not yet....



Richard Muirhead is an old friend of the CFZ. I have been friends with him for 40 years now, since we were kids together in Hong Kong. He is undoubtedly one of the two best researchers I have ever met; he and Nigel Wright both have what Charlie Fort would have no doubt called a wild talent; a talent for going into a library, unearthing a stack of old newspapers, and coming back with some hitherto overlooked gem of arcane knowledge. Twice a week he wanders into the Macclesfield Public Library and comes out with enough material for a blog post....
Hi folks, it`s Muirhead`s Mysteries time again!
Tonight I`m posting a few brief entries from my Strange Nature scrap book, which has entries dating from the 17th century, an 1847 edition of John Aubrey`s Natural History of Wiltshire to the first report below, from the main Hong Kong English language paper (at least it was when I lived in Hong Kong from 1966-1986) the South China Morning Post for August 23rd 1995.

Archaeologists from the Chengdu Museum in Sichuan Province found some 2000-year-old seeds in a bamboo tube buried in an ancient tomb in southwest China. To preserve the bamboo they wrapped it in a damp cloth. A month later, to their surprise, they found 40 seeds had sprouted and grew up to be the ancient equivalent of tomatoes. The tomatoes were a different shape from modern cousins but tasted the same, the Guangxi Daily reported.

The illustration shows 10 waterspouts off Malta with the accompanying text:

“EXTRAORDINARY WATERSPOUT. (From a correspondent) I send you a sketch of a phaenomenon seen on our recent outward passage to Malta, of which the following is a brief account:-Lat 37 14 N ;long 8 40 E ; March 2.The weather was just what one may expect in the Mediterranean at this time of year-the sea smooth,the sky cloudless and the atmosphere calm . At one pm a large spreading cloud arose in the north-east, sprinkling a few drops of rain in passing,and then, gradually contracting, it settled low down in the horizon astern. The two centre waterspouts (of enormous size) formed first, the others followed in rapid succession, and in five minutes no fewer than ten were distinctly visible at the same time, and proceeding from the same cloud. Their distance from us was six miles. They were visible a quarter of an hour, and then passed away to the south-west, two of them bursting on the land. The island to the right in the Sketch is Galita, and the point of land to the left, C.Senat, Africa. The base of the cloud was very dark, gradually shaded off towards the top". Illustrated London News April 5th 1856.

This next item features a mystery animal I have never been able to identify and as far as I know it has never featured in the cryptozoological annals. It could be a mutant goose or even an out of place duck-billed platypus.

A very extraordinary bird was this day shot in the earl of Tynley`s park at Wanstead Essex. It has four legs, which are placed diametrically opposite to each other; its size is something less than that of a goose; it is web footed like a duck, with this difference, that the web is quite black, but as fine in texture as the wings of a bat; its neck is prodigiously long, very small, and something resembling the shape of an eel; with very remarkable eyes, which are very small; and its bill or beak is of an uncommon form. Gentleman`s Magazine 1780. Any suggestions anyone?

Next we have a report of a thistle in July 1839 at Shrewton, (Wiltshire?) with a stalk 7 and a quarter inches in circumference and a head 10 inches in diameter. Salisbury Journal September 4th 1869.

And finally back to my favourite country, China: it`s slimy, it`s mysterious, it moves towards food and consumes it, and moves on. It`s not exactly an animal and it's not exactly a plant and normally it weighs a few grammes. It sounds like a science fiction monster and it has been puzzling scientists for decades. It`s a slime mould. Yesterday the official Chinese news agency announced the discovery of a 35 kg slime mould. The almost epic blob was spotted in a river in Shaanxi province in August. It put on 10kg in three days. “Specialists at the biology department of Northwest University in Xian have determined that it is related to fungus and is still alive…” The Guardian October 14th 1992

That`s all for now folks. Rich.


Like a diligent stepfather I sat down for two hours starting just after 2:00 to watch the live feed of Olivia's graduation, and was entertained by a short set by veteran avant-sax player Lol Coxhill, who was getting an honorary doctorate. I loved it. I bet most of the audience hated it. However, about 90 minutes in came the bit I had been waiting for, and in true CFZ fashion I bootlegged it...


KARA WADHAM WRITES: For those of you intending to book a table on the 8th August event, please do so quickly.

We have almost run out of space and it is going to be busy. We have had well over 1000 hits on the website in the last couple of weeks and the publicity campaign has only just started!

I hope you will be able to support us. Whether you are a trader or individual, we will welcome you.




A few days ago we posted some pictures sent to us by Tony Lucas of a body on a beach in New Zealand, and included the portentous words that "in our opinion it was no placental mammal known to science". We were hoping that the marching morons of t'internet (or `teh internetz` as it is more widely known to these people) would jump upon the bandwagon and start shouting nonsense about alien bodies and Government conspiracies.

True, a few did just that, but most of you (golly, what sensible and erudite readers we have) correctly noted that it was the body of an oppossum. Something both Tony and we had agreed on before we posted it. The clue was in our line about PLACENTAL mammals.

However, this is a second body from another NZ beach, and we include it because it is bright blue. It is probably another opposum, but this time we honestly do not know....

CFZ PEOPLE: Welcome back Gavin

Gavin Lloyd Wilson, our newshound is back. Welcome back dude, we have missed you. In the past six weeks or so your place was ably filled by my darling wife and her able assistant who really defines the term `newshound`.

It is good to have you back, Gavin....

CFZ PEOPLE: Well Done Olivia

Today is one of those days of mixed pride and sadness for a stepfather. Olivia, my dear, beautiful, loveable, and occasionally completely ridiculous step-daughter #2 is graduating from the University of Portsmouth.

However, quite understandably, there are only limited numbers of tickets per head available, and so Corinna and Olivia's father are in Portsmouth, while I will stay at home and cheer from the comfort of my study! However, I cannot tell you all how much I wish that I could have been there in person.

I shall be watching on the link below from 2:30


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Well, I’m off on a trip to the bright lights of Plymouth for a few days, but don’t panic as I’m sure Jon has somebody lined up to fill in for my absence so you’ll still get the links to the latest news at least and who knows, maybe even better quality puns. Before I go, though, it’s Friday and Friday means it’s time for your Friday fact:

Charles Hawtrey, of Carry On movie fame, set the world record for longest distance travelled by pogo stick without falling off in 1972. The distance he travelled was 8.921 KM and remains unbeaten to this day. Sadly Hawtrey went missing on the slopes of Mount Everest in 1988 when, at the age of 73, he attempted to set another daredevil pogo record by being the first man to pogo solo to the summit of Mount Everest. His large collection of brass bedsteads, which he had collected his entire life, were acquired by a national lottery grant in 2006 and form the nucleus of the world famous Charles Hawtrey memorial collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London along with a gold plated pogo stick that was donated to him by the Queen.

And now the news:

Final stage in red kite project
Orphaned albino wallaby needs a name
Do you own your cat or does your cat own you?
Schoolgirl nets 9ft monster fish
Huge blob of Arctic goo floats past Slope communities
Arctic sea full of huge blobs of floating 'goo'
Serial penguin killer on the loose
Burmese pythons thrive in Florida Everglades
Watch the birdie
Three "killer" cougars killed near Canadian town
Reintroduced Chinese alligators now multiplying in the wild in China

Lets hope the species can make a snappy comeback.