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, August 22, 2009


I remember back in 1972 when my late mother had her 50th birthday. I was incredibly impressed that she had reached such a venerable age, and couldn't imagine myself ever attaining such lofty heights. And now I have.

I want to thank all the people who have been so nice to me, especially my dear wife Corinna who decorated my office with balloons, at which I promptly burst into tears proving (as if any proof were needed) that I am basically a soppy old sod! Corinna my love, thank you for putting up with me and all that comes with me. I know that at the age of fifty I should have settled down, and had a haircut, and that I should no longer fill our lives with waifs and strays (both animals and human), and still find farting funny. At the age of fifty I should no longer be obsessed with chickens, play anarchopunk loudly enough to piss off the neighbours, drink too much, get wildly excited, and dance jigs with Max. But I do, and I love you, and both I and the Centre for Fortean Zoology as a whole, thank you for your sweetness and forbearance....

Thank you to Lindsay and Graham for being the first two people to mention my birthday on the blog. Thank you to David for being the first person to telephone me this morning, and thank you Lizwiz for being the first person to wish me happy birthday last night. I love and appreciate you all.

GONG: How to stay alive

From the new Gong album 2032 released 21-09-09 http://www.planetgong.co.uk


FLEUR WRITES: "This isn't news or I'd have sent it to Gavin :) but it is very interesting and some of the birds have ace names and there is a slideshow of some of them here."

BirdLife International is launching a global bid to try to confirm the continued existence of 47 species of bird that have not been seen for up to 184 years.

The list of potentially lost birds is a tantalising mix of species ranging from some inhabiting the least visited places on earth - such as remote islands and the western Himalayas – to those occurring in parts of Europe and the United States.




The landlord of a haunted North Devon pub awoke this morning to find 1,000 extra fish in a tank donated to him by the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation.

Alan Lindsay, of the Farmers Arms, Woolsery, has been working with the CFZ’s Jon Downes on a special project to breed fish with a view to placing tanks in local educational establishments, schools and community centres, to illustrate biodiversity and the work of the CFZ. Last night Lindsay’s daughter, Clarissa, aged 11, noticed massive numbers of baby three spot Gourami (originally from the streams and ponds of southeast Asia) in one of the new fish tanks located in her dad’s pub. Earlier this year the pub made headlines across the world after a series of poltergeist incidents involving the landlady and some teenage waitresses, following the uncovering of an ancient well right in the middle of the building. But on this occasion it is fish experts, not ghost hunters, making a beeline towards the Farmers Arms.

“This is the fourth successful breeding we have witnessed this summer,” said Mr Downes. “This is excellent news as it means that we will be able to press ahead with our initiative to help local people and also to gain better, more expert knowledge. Already we have been able to place two tanks in the Farmers Arms and we are working with a local hospice to provide fish tanks as soon as possible,” he added.

Other species successfully bred include such unusual fish as Heterandaria formosa (the seventh smallest species in the world), and Girardinus metallicus (found only on the island of Cuba) The fish tank initiative is part of the CFZ’s outreach project, whose aim is to educate local people about the wonders of the natural world. At the recent Weird Weekend, the annual conference of the CFZ, held at Woolsery Community Centre, hundreds of people came along to hear a series of talks on mystery animals, rare species and the Paranormal. “It is a great feeling to be able to engage with the local community, give them the benefit of our expert knowledge and help people understand more about the world around them,” said Jon Downes, who celebrates his fiftieth birthday this weekend.

“We welcome enquiries from local establishments interested in finding out more about the fish tanks or about our outreach for schools.”

Take Action! Save the Deer of Cayuga Heights

I have been asked to pass this on by a friend in Puerto Rico. I am making no value judgements.


Take Action! Save the Deer of Cayuga Heights


PUBLISHED AUGUST 19, 2009 @ 10:19PM PT

Inhumane, unnecessary deer-killing programs [sic] are in place or under consideration all across this country. But there are a couple in particular that I'm going to write about in the coming days, including, in this post, a proposed plan in Cayuga Heights, NY.

In the last couple days, some of you have surely noticed the petition on this site asking you to speak out against a terrible deer-killing plan in the village of Cayuga Heights in Ithaca, NY--and against the silencing of public comment by the village trustees, in the face of public opposition
to the plan. The action summary explains that the reason so many deer are slated to be killed and the survivors traumatized [sic] and controlled is that "these human-habituated animals’ appetite for tulips, heirloom tomatoes, and ornamental shrubbery has, in the minds of the current mayor and trustees, created a situation so dire and unacceptable, that action of the most extreme sort is not only justified, but urgently required":

The first phase of their plan involves capturing 30-60 female deer, surgically sterilizing [sic]them, then puncturing their ears with numbered tags and encumbering their necks with radio collars. These are the "lucky" individuals. The intended fate of every other deer in Cayuga Heights,
including pregnant does and fawns, is to be shot dead at bait sites at undisclosed locations and times. This annually performed massacre will be carried out by out-of-town contractors who earn their living exterminating wildlife. . . .


Something else that turned up in my post this morning was this: A story about "A cow [which] has been born with reptilian skin and strange markings on its legs in Cambodia. Many believe it to be a sign. A 3 month drought ended with its birth…coincidence?"

Of course it's a bloody coincidence! It's a calf with skin disease. And the poor bloody thing has since died.

The original story was in the Las Vegas Sun, a periodical that I have never forgiven for their review of my appearance in Sin City back in 2003
when they commented on my hair and stomach whilst ignoring the fact that I was one of the only people on the bill not talking arrant nonsense.



I quite like sitting down and doing my emails of a morning, because you never know quite what is going to turn up, and especially since doing the blog I get sent some extraordinary things.

This, for example is a round-up of what is claimed to be the largest marine creatures ever caught. A brief excerpt:

Here we've got a legendary Pacific blue marlin, weighing in at 1,656 pounds, caught in 1984. This 17 foot marlin is the largest to ever have been caught in Kona, Hawaii, but only the second largest to have been caught by rod and reel. For two hours and 20 minutes, fishermen struggled to reel the beast in.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Time for a song, I think, what with it being Saturday Soundtrack Day and all that. This week's song is from the genius that is Ivan Mladek; it’s called zkratky and is basically a song about abbreviations. The dancing isn’t as cool as Jozin z Bazin, but the song itself is every bit as catchy:


And now, while you rock out to that, here is the news:

Tasmanian Devils’ Cancer Tackled Through Social Networks Study

Now, Royal Bengal tigers at Goa's Bondla Zoo

Bear on loose in suburbs of LA

Hobbits walked out of Africa

Ink found in Jurassic-era squid

Jurass-ink park! What an awesome find.

Birthday Alert!

Graham here, with a swift note that today might be a bit unusual, as it's Jon's 50th today!

Will it be CFZ "business as usual" or will strange things happen? I really don't know the answer to that - but, have a good one, Jon!