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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Saturday, July 25, 2009


The latest revisions to the Weird Weekend schedule have just been announced...

There is still time to buy tickets to the best fortean event of 2009, so c'mon guys. The Weird Weekend can literally be a life-changing experience...



Many thanks to Dr Dan for coming to our (or rather to Nick Redfern's) rescue. Following our appeal on here, he is giving the world's least hirsute UFOlogist a lift to and from his native Walsall. Bostin.

However, we are still looking for someone to give Alan Friswell and a collection of monsters a lift to and from the metropolis. C'mon guys....

FLEUR FULCHER: Latest internship diary

Over, once again to the divine Ms F. She is spending the summer as an intern at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. This is her story....

Sorry for the large break in diaries, but I've been a busy thing of late. My placement at RAMM continued to be excellent, having worked on a more complicated whale rib. I have now learned how to use a product called microballoons (tiny glass spheres) to mend the bone as well as pigments and paints to colour the infill. My confidence at colour matching has increased dramatically.

A fellow intern and I have been doing a brief survey of some of the Natural History collections, including the fascinating bird's eggs collections, some of which were given by the police after being confiscated from rather naughty oologists of the illegal type.

The Natural History collection at RAMM is large and encompasses many things, from Moa bones to mongooses (mongeese?), from mantises to mosses. All of it is very interesting and a lot is of very good quality. This resource is a treasure for the local community and for scholars of the subject and it is lovely to find a museum that values its Natural History collections. This placement has made me more sure that I wish to specialise in Natural History conservation and I hope to take a course in the next couple of years that will enable me to work with specimens preserved in liquid (how very Hogwarts).

Some of the surveying has led to some marvellous things to look at: a cabinet full of tiny jewel-coloured hummingbirds, a replica elephant-bird egg, a selection of tiger skulls and an Eskimo curlew being amongst them.

Many museums and a minority of the general public feel that Natural History collections are unfashionable, and sometimes politically incorrect (oh how I hate that phrase!) due to the 'colonialness' of things like taxidermied animals and animal heads. This is misleading as these items not only provide scientific information on animals but also a look into the attitudes people in the past had to animals and their habitats.

At RAMM there are bones - and even skins - of many extinct animals. There are a large quantity of Moa bones, a partial moa egg, Diprotodon bones, an Eskimo curlew and several passenger pigeons. No matter how these were collected they are undoubtedly very important and should be (and are being) looked after carefully and well.

I now have a month off from my placement, but I hope to write some other things during that time. I return to RAMM in August and shall resume this diary.

The Stone Curlew pic is, of course, copyright to RAMM and is used with their permission.


The following companies are donating (or have promised) goods or services to the Weird Weekend, mostly as raffle prizes. Everyone has been remarkably generous. Thank you guys...

We have come a long way from when the raffle prizes were half a dozen review books we didn't want and some piece of crap from Richard's bedroom.

GLEN VAUDREY: The Sea monster of Jura

Glen is one of the newer additions to the bloggo family. He wrote to me out of the blue last year to ask whether we wanted a Western Isles volume in our Mystery Animals of Britain series. We agreed that we did indeed want one, and commissioned him. What we were not expecting was such a bloody good writer and all-round nice guy, who - by the way - is writing several other volumes for us, and he is even going to be speaking at the Weird Weekend. Wayhay!!

As is the way when you are writing a book you occasionally miss a story or two; as it were, the mystery animal slips through the net and such is the case with this particular cryptid.

In the summer of 1964 a game keeper from Craighouse going by the name of Neil MacIness reported a sighting he made while looking out to sea from the Isle of Jura. As he was driving along the coast road he noticed a strange creature out to sea at a distance of about 250 yards. At first it looked like a large box floating in the water but as he drew up closer to it he noticed that it started to take on the appearance of a cow’s head. Obviously being intrigued and luckily prepared, he took out a telescope and observed the creature in greater detail. The animal did indeed look more cow-like; while it may have lacked horns it did have buds on the side of its head. It wasn’t only horns it was lacking; it was also devoid of eyes, ears, fins or humps. (I don’t know about you but it really doesn’t really remind me of cow).

While Neil was unable to see the whole of the animal he was able to estimate that it was around 25 feet long tapering towards the tail. He was able to give a description of the colour of the beast as grey and with a smooth texture to the exposed skin.

Whatever the creature was, it slowly made its way along, slightly faster than the tide flow, but without making a wake or leaving a disturbance in the water. Neil estimated that it was moving along at a speed of around 6mph.

After that sighting the creature disappeared into obscurity and so far into the murky world of lost sightings that it totally avoided my attention until long after I had put the finishing touches to mystery animal’s book for the Western Isles.

While it may have missed the book it was still worth unleashing the report to a wider audience


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 aberrations of the natural world and the complete (on occasion) mind-bending insanity of collective humanity. Read on...."

Unlike the picture of the giant ray, this supposedly overgrown rabbit, originally published in November, 1932 is surely a fake. That said, however, the deadpan tone of the writing, not to mention the fact that the image is not at all bad for its time, may well have convinced some more gullible souls of that period that mammoth jackrabbits might well have been on the loose in the southernmost regions of the US. And besides, everything's bigger in Texas....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Your Saturday Soundtrack today is a rock classic notable for being one of the few songs I can actually sing well and to tune (well, so long as I have the lyrics in front of me anyway) http://www.last.fm/music/Meat+Loaf/_/Bat+Out+of+Hell?autostart
And now, the news:

Great white shark caught off La Jolla by fly fisherman
Dinosaur lands on Dorset beach
Hello Ducks! Lost your mum?
Drummer from The Damned will speak at Woolsery Weird Weekend
East London a wild place—if you know where to look
Asbos for unruly baboons
Seal dispute on San Diego beach
Sea lion mates himself to death at Nuremberg zoo
Poor little fellow; got completely shagged out.