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...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Saturday, August 08, 2009

DAVE SADLER WRITES: Big Cats in South Cheshire

Greetings from southeast Cheshire! I’ve been asked to write a blog by a certain Mr Freeman, and to be honest, this is my first blog entry outside that of the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association.

My name is Dave Sadler. I formed the UPIA in 1998 after several years learning the basics and observing what I believe was the incorrect manner to deal with odd reports in the northwest of the UK. Most of the work covered by the organisation deals with the paranormal and UFOs. We do, however, research and actively investigate other areas within the paranormal sphere; one area in particular and one very close to myself, is the world of cryptozoology, and within the area I reside, in particular that of the Big Cat.

Now I could go in all manner of directions here but save teaching old granny to suck eggs, I won’t cover the last 40 years; instead I'll briefly offer a synopsis of reports and sightings from these here parts.

For them there beasties here lies some of the best countryside for the secretive felids to exist. I won’t suggest my thoughts and theories are perfect, but from the potential evidence gathered and collated my own views will be difficult to shift.

In January 2006 I decided to begin a programme of gathering testimonies to collate and cross-reference Big Cat sightings, after receiving ten reports from the Staffordshire moorlands via the UPIA website. Not expecting much in the way of witness reports I contacted all local media outlets who each ran similar editorials - The Stoke Evening Sentinel, BBC Radio Stoke, Signal Radio, The Leek Times and Post, the Cheadle Times and Post, the Uttoxeter Times and Post, as well as several other weekly columns - asking for information. The reply was phenomenal and having continued to advertise for additional tales (pardon the pun...), at this point the UPIA have received in excess of 300 separate incident reports via email, telephone and letter. Approximately 70% have been either explained or discounted due to lack of information. This leaves us with 95 reports of credible information.

Sightings are continuing to emanate from north Staffordshire, south Cheshire and the Peak District, of a panther-like animal, a lynx, puma and in one case, a lioness, which was found to be a rather large domestic cat, a Maine Coon.

My belief is that the animal is in existence in the wilds of the UK. I do not believe that there are a multitude of the beasts in our countryside; in fact probably very few are actually about. I also consider many sightings are misidentification; some may be domestic cats introduced into the wilderness and larger than the average size of their breeds. I have also found and logged a high volume of watercourses. Lakes, reservoirs, rivers, canals, streams and many tributaries exist. These offer a perfect area of travel, away from prying eyes and with large areas of dense foliage and forestry, areas we know but may not expect for animals to hide away from public view – the reason for my theory? Of the 95 reports, 67 occur within a short distance from these watercourses. Each have similar distinctive attributes; bigger than a large dog, with powerful hind quarters. Several of the sightings suggest a cat-like animal to be stalking deer; this in particular around the herd at Trentham gardens.

We have made contact and continue communications with the RSPCA, Staffs and Cheshire police, including both forces' wildlife liaison teams; this as well as Mark Fraser of Scottish Big Cats and Steve Mera of Manchester’s Association of Paranormal Investigation and Training, whose input have been invaluable.

One of the best reports was received on 05/03/07 by a witness in the Cheadle area of Staffordshire. After witnessing the hind quarters of an animal he was able to find tracks and photograph each. These are with the UPIA for any future use. The print was taken with 2 3-inch shot gun cartridges for scale. The witness, a vermin controller on land in the Totmonslow area, also reports the finding of 6 rabbit carcasses, ripped in half.


Regarding your recent investigations to large black cats in Staffordshire.

My experience was 4 and half years ago, whilst walking my dog (a border collie) on Hanley Forest Park, it was summertime and around 1800hrs. I was on a normal regular run with my dog when I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw about 50metres away in front of me a large black cat like animal which was about 4ft in length and 3ft in height with a large tail. I thought that ain't no normal cat. My dog didn't see it (thank god) and I shouted him to come to me which he did. The cat walked out of the grass at a slow pace, stopped, looked towards me for about 10 - 15 seconds then carried on walking into some longer grass. I made a hasty retreat back to my parked car.

On returning home I didn't report it as my partner took the mick and said I was seeing things.
Hope this has added some information to your enquiries.



I have seen your letter posted in the sentinel and can tell you off two big cat sightings believed to be of a panther.

The first sighting occurred about June 2006 where a colleague whilst on duty as a Police Officer saw what he believed to be a panther or something similar in size run across the main road at Wetley Rocks near Cheddleton.

This happened at about 0430am and he caught the cat in his main beam and it appeared to glide across the road before jumping a wall and going into a field. He is absolutely adamant about what he saw but did not call it in over his radio as he at first couldn't believe what he had seen and thought he would be laughed at. (Interestingly this is relatively close, as in a few miles, to the Leek cattle market sightings)

The second occurred in 2005 where a Special Constable observed what he thought was a big cat similar to a panther on the edge of the Alton Towers Estate. He was off duty at the time and did not report it as he did not think he would be believed.

I won’t disclose their details to you until I have obtained their permission but they are very certain about what they saw and have no doubts at all.

Please let me know if this is of interest to you and how I could help further.



Myself and the UPIA are continuing to monitor the environment with the hope of finding evidence of the events, and assist in the protection of the animal(s) and public. We have a database in operation, with details of sightings incorporated. As yet it is incomplete due to additional work both private and media-related.

Well, I think that’s a blog. At least I’ve attempted to offer background, first-hand accounts and theories behind some of the events. I hope I haven’t performed overkill, and thank CFZ for offering me the opportunity to write some of my thoughts for peer review.

Dave Sadler


How would you like to possibly earn $50,000? The Wildlife Conservation
Society, as far as I read, is still offering a $50,000 reward for any snake at least 30 feet long. It must be delivered alive and in good health,
accompanied by all necessary permits and paperwork, to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Now, before you embark on the Great Snake Hunt, there's something you should know.

The reward was first offered in the early 1900s by President Theodore
Roosevelt, a close friend of William T. Hornaday, the Bronx Zoo's director
at the time. And the money--initially $1,000, then $10,000, and now
$50,000--is still unclaimed. Why? Because it's quite possible that snakes don't grow that large.

Throughout history explorers' tales abound of giant snakes measuring 30, 40, and even 50 feet in length. For example, in 1907 a British adventurer named Percy Fawcett claimed to have shot a giant anaconda (Eunectes murinus) measuring 62 feet. Since Fawcett didn't think to bring back the carcass, few people believed his claim.

Guiness Book of World Records credits a reticulated python (Python reticulatus) that was slain on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 1912 as the longest snake ever reliably measured. According to Guinness, this whopper was 39.4 feet in length. A close second, Guinness maintains, was a 38.3-foot African rock python (Python sebae) shot on the Ivory Coast in 1932.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Richard Freeman would love to see these citations, because the largest snake of which we were aware was indeed shot in Sulawesi, we think in 1912, but we believe that it was a mere 33ft.

While there are those that claim 40 foot Anacondas exist, scientific studies indicate otherwise. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 wild anacondas in Brazil, the largest was around 17 feet and 100 pounds. So to claim there are anacondas out there 50, 80, 100 or even 120 feet long, slithering around in Peru or anywhere else in South America, I find ridiculous. You stand as great a chance of finding a 100-foot snake as you would a 40 pound pigeon. Good luck with that.

Timbersbrook Nature Reserve

Timbersbrook Nature Reserve is based in the beautiful Cheshire countryside, at the base of Bosley Cloud. The Timbersbrook Project offers individuals, groups, schools and other organisations the opportunity to return to the wild.

However, someone has just written to me...

The council are going to place an enforcment notice on the project in three weeks and we need your help to stop us from closing down. If you would like to help please send your letter to timbersbrook@yahoo.com or post the letter to The Timbersbrook Project, Pedley Lane, CW12 3PYOn behalf of Leo Deen, Proprieter of Timbersbrook Nature Reserve

KITHRA WRITES: Falmouth beast returns?

This could be another sighting of that elusive “Falmouth Beast” or it could just be something more mundane. Unfortunately the story only consists of these 3 paragraphs, but I’ll keep my eye on it and see if anyone else comes forward.

7th August 2009

Penryn woman spots strange animal

A Penryn woman has spotted a strange animal in her garden which could suggest that the mysterious beast of Swanpool has moved elsewhere.

Celia Prynn saw what she first thought was a cat at the bottom of the garden but was not certain because its head was out of proportion with its body....


Hi Jon,

I appreciate that this is way off topic for the CFZ but as quite a few CFZ members are to a greater or lesser degree disabled or otherwise unwell in various ways, I thought I would bring this to your attention, in case you would like to mention it in the blog. Details of the government's evil plan to screw the disabled and their carers, can be found on this link:


It appears that a government green paper has revealed plans to stop paying disability benefits and hand the cash over to social services instead.



TONY LUCAS: Is Bigfoot a liver lover?

As a lot of you are well aware I generally consider myself a behavioural cryptozoologist as due to being disabled I cannot get out in the field and get my hands into it as I would like to.
So like some of us here at the CFZ family, I tend to angle more to research.

I generally like to try and get into the animal's head: its behavioural patterns; why it does what it does.

I was sitting down, going through the vast flood of new cryptozoological information, which seems to arrive each day, when I came across an article entitled 'Bigfoot enjoys Deer Liver'.
Now I started to contemplate this, maybe due to the fact that personally I can't stand liver. Why leave a perfectly good deer carcass and just take the liver? I then decided to pester my local medical centre (God bless them, they are used to unusual requests from me) and found out that the liver is extremely high in iron, so it is quite possible Bigfoot's metabolism burns iron quickly and the creatures are prone to anaemia.

It's also extremely high in protein and low in fat; in fact red meat itself ranks second to liver, followed by poultry and fish. Perhaps they eat it because they enjoy it, or perhaps they use it medicinally to treat anaemia among themselves.

Could this be a sign of Bigfoot actually practising some form of medicinal help for perhaps an ailing creature? Only taking what is needed and leaving the rest as unnecessary?

As we all know, women going through pregnancy also generally need a lot of iron. Could these be being taken to bolster a pregnant female in preparation for birth? At this stage we don't know, but we do know animals lacking in iron, for whatever reason, will generally seek out liver above anything else.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterdays News Today


It’s Saturday and time for the Saturday Soundtrack. Today’s song is in honour of our ill eel, Eel-ton John. It’s actually a favourite song amongst his kin: Dan-eel by Elton John.
Just two news items today:

Did gardener find fossilized footprint?
Chicken-hearted Tyrants: Predatory Dinosaurs As Baby Killers

And a very immature pun today:
what do you call a dinosaur with piles? Megasaurarse.